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Several desktop computers on the first floor of Van Pelt were experiencing slow internet and delayed startup times last week. This past holiday weekend, several desktops in the library had their hardware replaced. 

Photo: Mi Jiang

Van Pelt computers have been experiencing technical difficulties this week.

Many desktop computers in the Electronic Lookup Computer Lab on the first floor of Van Pelt have been marked as out of order. Others have had slow internet speeds and delayed startup times. 

“The plan is for new computers to arrive on Monday over the holiday to alleviate the problem,” said Marlin Bocino, an intern at Van Pelt. ”We’re having connectivity issues, so this entire week has proven to be slow in this particular area.”

“We’re doing a number of things to improve the speed and startup of machines in that location,” said Joe Zucca, director of Strategic Initiatives and Library Technology Services.

Zucca said that the slowness is caused by a variety of issues such as network configuration and student profile configuration on the library computers. He also added that Penn Libraries’ technology department is taking various steps to correct the problem.

The library tech department will be adjusting the cycle used to replace equipment so that some of their newer purchases will be put in the ELC to combat the current issues. In addition, he said that the department has been studying how the computers connect to the internet in hopes of speeding up access to the network.

New policy decisions will also tackle the problems facing Van Pelt computers. For example, they will be shortening the length of time that files can stay on users’ profiles, which they believe will increase the machine speed.

“Right now, there’s a 24-hour lag at the end of the profile before files get wiped. That’s a good thing if you’ve forgotten to take something off the machine and you have to go back and hope to find it there. But there is a cost in performance in having a profile linger that long,” Zucca said.

Zucca stated that the issues were not addressed earlier in the summer because a reimaging project — which updated versions of software available to computers and also how machines were configured to deliver the software — was the top priority at the time. He said the improvements will be implemented soon, though a specific date is not set for when all the issues will be resolved.

Despite the slowness, some students say that it is not a major problem.

“To me, it doesn't take too long because while it’s loading, I like to get out the work that I'm working on and the supplies that I’ll be using,” Engineering freshman Faith Taliaferro said. “By the time I’m ready to work, it’s loaded, and I can go on the computer.”

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