Steve asked “Do you have any idea about end of life/end of support for SBS 2003 sp2?  I’m not finding it anywhere?

And another Steve answered this — Microsoft Product Support Lifecycle for SBS 2003 – The other steveb – Steve Banks’ Blog on SBS, EBS, and other Small Business Technology Topics:

But let’s make this real clear —

“SBS 2003 SP1 will be supported until 2014 at least for extended support.”

That said, I’m not a fan of being the first on a platform, nor am I recommending that you be the last.  What is pushing most upgrades are when the hardware changes out.  I can’t accept/don’t like installing old code on new hardware either.

I have two pairs of pants that got a bit dusty when moving around computers this week.  It’s amazing how many dustbunnies can be inside a computer isn’t it?  So the pants I was wearing were a bit dusty so I was checking to see if they could be washed or only dry cleaned.  And from the tag in the clothing, I couldn’t tell.  Granted the tag was small (not as small as the Certificate of Authenticity tags on the side of computers mind you) but still, and they were all in icons.  And Saturday night at my house is laundry night.  Do I know how to paaarrrty or what?  So I’m sorting colors and clothes and get to these two pairs of pants that have never been washed before, and I honestly don’t know if they can be.  And the only “manual” they have instructing me what to do when or if I should wash them is on that tag with a bunch of icons.

Okay… great… but what if you don’t know what the icons mean?  

So I do what every self respecting geek does when facing laundry issues. and so I had to search to figure out what the symbols meant.  Sometimes we’re like that in technology when we communicate to those that don’t live and breathe this stuff.  We use jargon and words that we assume everyone will understand….because of course WE understand what we mean.  But if you aren’t in the business… in this case … I’m not a specialist in laundry (or at least try to only do it once a week or as necessary) and my entire world doesn’t live and breathe around laundry, it’s no wonder that I’m looking at this laundry jargon going “Huh?”.  Is that a W for wash or a Crossed out washing machine?

Don’t forget when trying to explain something new to a user that they may be not understanding what you understand.  Ensure that you are communicating on the same level, with the same understanding.  Ensure there are visual instructions when someone starts to use something new.  Ensure that the instructions you give are clear and jargon free (as much as we can in the Information Technology world).

And in case anyone is wondering, Do not wash, No bleach, Do not tumble dry, Light iron, Dryclean, Any Solvent Except Trichloroethylene.

Hmmmm, maybe I can use a lint roller and get the worst of the dust off of them?


Open licensing changes frustrate one reseller:

“As for customers requiring a WindowsLive ID, it’s a matter of security. Customers ultimately own the license and the software even if they hand over permission to their IT environment to a solution provider, Sharp said.”

There’s a nagging question I’d like to know.  Was this an issue in the past or merely something done for the Attorneys.  As I was poking around the VLSC web site seeing if there was a Windows 7 Ultimate license I could download or order a media kit like there was for Vista Ultimate, the more you dig around the VLSC web site, the more you hit spots that are still the old web sites.

I still don’t think this site is small business friendly as it should be.  I’m poking around and having to try to figure out where things moved around to.

As part of the new system integration, Microsoft is increasing security to mitigate privacy and anti-piracy concerns. If customers would like partners to work on their behalf, the customers must add their partner of choice as an administrator for Open Licenses.

You know, there were partners that posted (whether or not they actually did so) that they were going to go to bittorrent to download media because they couldn’t get access.  I’m not sure how this is mitigating anti-piracy.  The best apology would still be a month extension on everyone’s license agreement.

On Wednesday, February 3rd there will be multiple webcasts showcasing the new process —

I’d urge everyone to make time for a webcast. I’ll be honest and say that it will take some time for me to regain the favor of open value licensing I once had.

So if you are migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 one of the key things you need in place is SBS 2003 sp1.

SBS 2003 sp1 is not the same as Windows 2003 sp2.

SBS 2003 sp1 is a five part service pack

Windows Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1:

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 Service Pack 1

Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Windows Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Component

Windows XP Service Pack 2 for Client Deployment

Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Service Pack 1 for Client Deployment

If you already have Windows 2003 sp2 on the box you can substitute the SP2 that is already on the box for that first plart.

But you need to get the latest Sharepoint service pack and most importantly that component referred to as

Windows Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Component

You can skip over XP sp2 and the Outlook 2003, but that’s the part you need to ensure a proper base.

Don’t forget, review the tips at to have a successful migration.


[Warning:  Do not try installing Windows 7 on older PCs without parental supervision]

We have a policy in the office to change out a batch of computers every so many years.  And this year there were three computers in the office that needed a refresh.  Because I had done an earlier trial run with someone in the office, I knew that about 99.99999% of our business apps could handle 64bit just fine and of the few that couldn’t, we could virtualize an XP or set up a computer in the corner to be the designated XP that people could remote desktop into and share the application.  So I deployed three new Windows 7 64bit to people in the office.

But now here’s where the fun starts.  Now we have people in the “food chain”.  Those computers that I’m replacing are middle aged.  Not elderly.  They might need a bit of face lifts (better video card) and perhaps a tummy tuck (I max out the RAM by going to to see how expensive it is to upgrade them to more memory).  Now because I’m the master patcher/go to person at the office, the more versions I have to update and deal with, the less efficient I am.  Thus I try to keep the number and type of different versions of operating systems and Office to a minimum.  Office 2007 is much nicer to patch than 2003 as it doesn’t require that you feed it a cdrom during service pack updating and what not.  So I looked at those middle aged computers and did something that I honestly don’t recommend.  I installed Windows 7 64bit on them and they worked.  Now why am I being two faced here and telling you not to do what I just did?  Because I’ll be the first to admit it’s not the most pleasant technology experience in the world.  While Windows 7 installations is one of the easiest and fastest to do (with about 15 to 20 minutes between boot from DVD to a working operating system), the fun begins AFTER the operating system is installed and you see if it likes two major things:

Video cards

We have everyone in our office using at least two monitors.  Yes, even the receptionist at the front.  It allows her to look at the calendars of all of the partners inside of Outlook and see who’s expected to arrive at the office as well as doing her normal tasks.   But we have a few folks that have three monitors.  And that one particular upgraded workstation was my problem child.  Brand spanking new HP workstations come with several PCI Express slots (the ones where the video cards get plugged into) so that you can get a machine with one dual monitor card as well as TWO dual monitor cards.  My middle aged machines come with ONE PCI Express slots and multiple PCI slots.  If that’s greek to you, just call them one of the long ones and three of those white ones inside the computer.  In this one computer, the existing PCI express card didn’t like to play nice with a salvaged PCI card from another machine.  And that’s when I found out that trying to find a PCI card online with a Windows 7 driver is about as successful as the search for the fountain of youth.  I finally did get it working with a different PCI express card, but the moral of this story is two fold:

First – your best bet is STILL to buy Windows 7 on a brand new machine.  You won’t be surfing trying to find PCI video cards that support Windows 7.  You will ensure that the drivers were tested and built to work.  Second – two montors is relatively easy to do with a dual head card, getting three and four works the best with matching cards.  Of course, you can more easily get two matching dual head cards in a brand new computer.


The second major sticking point is printers (and other devices).  I knew already from my testing that I had 64 bit printer drivers for my HP Laserjet 8000 and our two multi function Ricoh scanner/copier/printers.  I forgot to check if the locally attached printer (a Laserjet 1012) had a 64 bit printer.  So when I attached the printer, it didn’t quite find it’s own printer.  So the first trick you can try is to see if there is a printer number close to the one you are attaching.  There was a Laserjet 1015 which worked a little bit.  But then we hit the issue of “unsupported personality”.  The topic is discussed here:   If you merely do basic printing you probably won’t see this issue.  But if you do printing from applications like Quickbooks and other accounting apps you’ll see it.  So the solution?  Turn off the machine and turn it on again every time it happens.  Yeah.. I know not a good solution.  So you have a couple of options here.  The first option is to follow the rule of “the kids on the playground”.  The more inexpensive the printer, the more it will work best with the era of the operating system it was sold with.  The Laserjet 1012 was an inexpensive printer discontinued back in 2006.  The Ebay going price is $30.  HP is currently offering a trade in program for any brand of printer to replace it with a new one —  So your first decision will be is whether or not it’s better to donate the printer to a charity or trade in your printer for a new one.  In my case there was another printer in the office we could trade out and it would work.  But it’s a lesson to watch what kind of printer we buy in the future.  Cheap may not pay for itself in the long run.

That said I have at home an HP Laserjet 4L that is as old as the hills and still using it on Windows 7 and it’s still running just fine.

So the other moral of this story is, if at first the printer doesn’t work, don’t beat your head against the wall.  Go donate that printer or trade it in for a new one.  When buying printers in the future, remember that cheaper may not be better.  See what sort of printer driver it has.  If  you can’t tell, ask on a forum. 

You know that Steve Jobs does PR well.  Even my Dad last night asked me about the iPad.  I told him about the chatter that the gals were not liking the name.

It struck me with the media frenzy that if Steve Jobs introduced toilet paper, I have no doubt the Scoble-ish people would stand it line to buy it.

The PC Officially Died Today | The New Republic:

The headline and hype of this post just makes me shake my head.  I do hope that the iPad (and dudes, as a gal I must say that the name IS lame) does catch on because there is a real issue of attention span deficit that our twitter world is generating in our young people.  The size of my local paper, the Fresno Bee keeps getting smaller and smaller and thinner and thinner.  People want a twitter sound byte world.  But life isn’t a twitter feed.  And sometimes comprehension only comes from reading.  And I’m not convinced the younger generation is reading and comprehending like they should.

So if it takes a tablet device to bring newspapers, books, textbooks to an afforable marketplace, so be it.  If it takes Steve Jobs to give his blessing on it, so be it.  But the idea that we just jumped a new hurdle in computing, oh pllllleaaseee, come on with the hype.  You are starting to go down the same road of financial divide between Wall Street and Main Street that is impacting Obama.  I’ll wait to see if that iPad makes it to Main Street and not just hyping it up Wall Street.  $400 is still a lot of money.  “It’s what you do with it, stupid”, should be the matra of any platform released these days.

You know about the HP datavault right?


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Twitter / Ross Miles: ZOMG!! The SBS 2008 Migrat …:

ZOMG!! The SBS 2008 Migration guide tells you to enable circular logging!!!!!! WTF???

It does it for purposes of migration.  When you migrate over the email, those log files will grow.  Now you can leave it disabled and then  just be aware that right after you migrate those mailboxes that store will be a tad large, then it will shrink down and go back to normal size.

What the Microsoft migration docs fail to say is once you enabled it for purposes of migration… go back and TURN IT OFF.

But really it truly is okay to enable it for migration… then to turn it back off afterwards.