IT system failures continued to plague the U.K. government this week, when as many as 80,000 civil servants working for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) had to deal with what is being described in the local press as the biggest computer crash in government history.

The DWP was carrying out a “routine software upgrade” on Monday when the system crashed, leaving around 80 per cent of the department’s 100,000 desk machines disrupted or completely shut down, a DWP spokeswoman said Friday. The problems lasted through most of Thursday, but the “majority of our system is up and running now,” she said.

Microsoft Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) run the DWP’s network as part of a

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