On March 29th at around 3 p.m my workstation here suddenly started throwing up massive number of windows indicating a write error to the c drive.  Uh oh, says I, what’s going on and a drivesmart window popped up indicating I had massive failures on my C drive.  Worrying that it was a fake alert I rebooted my pc and got the lovely experience of a pc that booted but didn’t build a full start bar and then died.

I tried again and no go this time.  Massive harddrive failure on a Western Digital VelociRaptor 300 gig drive.  Not something you want in the middle of a busy week with projects still to do and forensic software loaded up with keys tied to the operating system and other such licensing things that make rebuilding a forensic workstation something you do on a down time, not during busy season.

But I have BBBG.  Backup Box by Gramps a Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials box that takes a backup of my system.

Buy one here: http://www.smallbizserver.com/store.php

Buy several for your clients.

I inserted a spare 500 gig SATA drive that I happened to have in the closet.

You boot from a usb key or a cdrom and then you follow the screen commands.

You start the restore process

You enter the password for the server

You select the computer (it’s really a Windows 7, still called SusanVista – don’t ask)

You confirm you want to over write the drive you’ve put in the machine

They lie.  It took like two hours.  I fired up a laptop and remoted into a TS box in the meantime. 

It completed.  Note I went back a day and restored from the day before’s backup in case there was any corruption.  Mind you there was NO errors or warnings anywhere about drive failure from this drive.

Rebooted the system.  Because it was a totally different style of hard drive it needed a second reboot but it did not kick a WGA freak out.

And there we have it.  Fully restored to exactly the way it was.

After a complete failure of a hard drive:

We now hold a moment of silence for a dead hard drive.

And we have a happy Backup box by Gramps customer.

So if you are looking for a solution to add client backup to an existing SBS 2008 or 2011 standard network, this is how you do it:


A few years ago at a SMB nation there were like 400 vendors of which 399 were backup vendors.

Okay so that’s a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.

Microsoft Online Backup Service – Windows Server Blog – Site Home – TechNet Blogs:

So along comes Microsoft and offers …yet another online backup offering.

Does it allow for geographic limitation of the data to not be tainted by the Patriot act?

Does is allow for fedexing and seeding of backups and restoration of backups?

’cause if you ain’t got that honey, you are not bringing anything to the table.  And you -cannot- restore an online backup with any sort of reasonable recovery time unless you have a really really fat pipe.


A call to action.

Small businesses are being targeted for phishing attacks.  Brian Krebs of Krebs on Security is leading the charge to try to educate and warn all of us that are at risk.

If you get phished or tricked and your bank account emptied out, you have no recourse at this time.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/fbi-us-losing-hacker-war/11143  The FBI says we’re losing the hacker war.  Us small businesses need to be warned about how we’re being targeted.

Our risk is our computers.  Our risk is our trust of emails being sent to us.  Our risk is clicking.  We’re not keeping track of our banking transactions. I’d like those of us in the small business IT industry and small business accounting industry to help our customers become a lot more aware, a lot more proactive and realize that if something happens, we have no protection.

I’m going to be reaching out to Intuit, to the California CPA Society and to other organizations to see if we can get a bit of grass roots organizing going.

In the meantime read those posts of Brian Krebs and see if you or your clients would fall for an attack.

More Details on Microsoft Small Business Competency Trickling Out! – SMB Nation Blogs:
CloudSpeak. “In for a penny, in for a pound of cloud” was the message we heard regarding the technical emphasis of the SB competency. Legacy on-premise solutions such as Windows Small Business Server weren’t really part of the conversation today. Instead, it was all about Office 365. Interesting but albeit somewhat risky strategy for Microsoft to be all in the for cloud when the channel has expressed revenue reservations about that path. True, the reality is that times are changing fast. Microsoft is hedging partners will get on the cloud train with the SB competency.

Translation… because you guys are supporting your clients’ SBS 2003 boxes that are still chugging, Microsoft can’t make money off of you.  They need you to upgrade those guys to Office 365 where they lock them into monthly subscription fees!  You are holding Microsoft back, dude! 

I just hope someone up there in Redmond knows what they are doing.  For every one partner that says they are using Office 365, there’s another five I see that says that they can’t make money off of it or it has no support model for their needs.  You guys in Redmond are betting the farm and I just hope this goes your way.  Out here in the sticks I see Google docs being used by small businesses, I know of no one (other than myself on that free year long offering) using Office 365.

also known as the ipad and uefi fix

Update Rollup 2 for Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard is available:

Update Rollup 2 for Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard is now available.

This update rollup contains all the updates that were included in the previous update rollup. Additionally, this update fixes the following issues that were not previously documented in a Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article.

Issue 1

Consider the following scenario:

  • You enable the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) mode on a computer that is running Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard.
  • You configure a recurring backup task on the computer.
  • You try to perform a bare-metal recovery by using the Recovery Console.

In this scenario, the Bare Metal Recovery feature does not find any valid backups.

Note This update does not change any existing backups on the computer. Therefore, to resolve this issue, you must configure the backup task again after you install this update.

Issue 2

Assume that you try to log on to the Remote Web Access webpage of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard by using a user principal name (UPN). In this situation, you receive the following error message:

Server Error in ‘/Remote’ Application.

The domain is null or empty
Parameter name: domain

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.ArgumentException: The domain is null or empty
Parameter name: domain

Issue 3

Assume that you try to connect to a client computer that is joined to a Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard-based network domain by using the Remote Web Access webpage. However, if your username contains Unicode characters, the username is displayed incorrectly when you are prompted to enter your user credentials. For example, this issue occurs if your username contains a Chinese character.

Issue 4

You cannot download files from the Remote Web Access webpage if you log on to the webpage by using a slate device. For example, you cannot download files from the Remote Web Access webpage to an Apple iPad.

Issue 5

Assume that you migrate from Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard to Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard. In this situation, you cannot log on to the Remote Web Access webpage by using a nonadministrative account. When this issue occurs, you receive the following error message:

Server Error in ‘/Remote’ Application.

An error (87) occurred while enumerating the groups. The group’s SID could not be resolved.

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.DirectoryServices.AccountManagement.PrincipalOperationException: An error (87) occurred while enumerating the groups. The group’s SID could not be resolved.


Playing with Windows 8 part 2:

For now don’t use the connect computer wizard to join a Windows 8 to a SBS 2011 standard.  There’s a currently being investigated issue where the permissions set during the process mangle with metro.

It’s a beta what can we say.

But Susan, what will I lose if I don’t use the connect wizard?  On SBS 2011 – actually nothing.  Everything comes down via group policy EXCEPT for the moving of the profile and on a brand new system… you don’t have a profile move to worry about.


The Connector has encountered an unexpected error

If you receive an error that says “The Connector has encountered an unexpected error” please also check if the NetTCPPortSharing service is in starting status but not successfully started. In some situations, NetTCPPortSharing service fail to start on XP client with .NET 4.0 installed. That may caused by several reasons including

1.LocalService account does not have proper access rights to the root of the C: drive
2.LocalService account does not have proper access rights to the C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\V4.0.30319\SMSvcHost.exe.Config file 3. “The disk on which the C: Volume exists is a Dynamic disk”

You may be able to resolve this issue by perform the following steps:

1.Give LocalService account Read permission to C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\V4.0.30319\SMSvcHost.exe.Config
2.OR Give LocalService Read and List Folder Contents permission to the root of C:

You may see this if you have used a repartitioning program to expand your c drive and it required you to change your C drive to a dynamic disk.

Prior to this we followed these posts  where we used files from .net 3 and replaced them with files in .net 4. Please do not use this workaround anymore and instead use the recommendations above and adjust the permissions of the C drive above.

Please also see the client troubleshooting guide at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/3941.aspx

And review Robert Pearman’s great resource located at http://titlerequired.com/2011/09/27/troubleshooting-client-connector-install-sbs2011-essentials/ 

(putting this here for bingle juice)


If you are playing with Windows 8 make sure you check out:




In addition to that Metro apps shipped on the consumer preview kinda go wonky after joining the domain.

Note the following posts:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w8itproinstall/thread/e39a7312-7863-4645-9e66-d5b2fa3a4a15 and http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w8itprogeneral/thread/863fe449-4e31-444c-9b21-6accc0eb4a10

Also follow Philip’s blog to open up RDP on Windows 8 – see http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/2011/09/windows-8-remote-desktop-connection.html

Bottom line when you join a Windows 8 consumer preview to a domain Metro kinda loses it’s mind a bit.