Windows on ATMs

Posted on March 20, 2009. Filed under: Nonsense, Windows |

Well, this morning I found to be out of cash. Walked about 6 blocks to the ATM on my way to the office.

I entered the little glass box… Inserted the card and ….. nothing… Screwed around with the card reader, leaving the card for longer periods inside, then faster insertion…. The machine was operational, I could see the funky plasticine ad, but the ATM wouldn’t react to the card being inserted.

Called operations support, the machine asked me to wait… No answer after 10 minutes, second call, no go… I’m not walking another 12 blocks to the next ATM!!!! (the standard block in Paraguay is about 100 meters). I stuck the head behind the ATM, there’s a power plug! 🙂

Ok, “Windows system” (reboot) should fix it, why not?, it would be the same as a remote reset… The plug wasn’t of decent quality, as soon as I touched it, it made short circuit and the ATM reseted itself :s

Black screen, doesn’t startup, horror!. Some seconds later and Windows XP boot screen appears, WTF!?, real horror!!. The last time I saw an ATM reboot, it was OS/2 or some sort of custom OS (ugly, but rock solid). I knew this pretty-full-off-ads new machines had to have somethign wrong….

Meanwhile, XP started an autologin and launches the software that seems to handle the ATM logic, Diebold Agilis. A few more seconds… The hardware teller or the part that spits the money starts to make a lot of noise, seems to be initializing the devices… 40 to 60 seconds later, red screen: “Off-line” (damned!!!).

Ok, I give up. “Probably there is a security measure that requieres an operator to connect and enable the ATM”. Leaving the ATM (little?) box, thought again about the distance I had to walk to the next one and I realized that it can be broken too, so I gave it 1 or 2 minutes more, waiting from outside (the wall’s are made of glass).

Suddenly, the message changes to “Out of service” and some seconds later, the dancing puppets appear. Tried to insert the card and it asked for the PIN, SUCCESS!!.

Apparently the device/OS communication fell apart and required a reboot…. At last I extended the life of my shoes, and found out the new ATMs run XP :s

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