Free or Discounted, SQL, Misc.

Free or Discounted:

Technet Labs – these are really nice.


Microsoft MCP Exams Discount – from VUE:

You can take Microsoft MCP exams at a discount with Vue ( use MSUU4C7E638B and get 20% off the exam 🙂



I have one free voucher, first person to email me, gets it. It expires in June 2005, so hurry J

GONE! Sorry!



SQL Server Health and History Tool (SQLH2)



UNOFFICIAL Windows98 Second Edition Service Pack 2.0.1 – What the heck? This is not from Microsoft.

Oops Department, Exchange, Clustering, SQL, Windows Security, LCS, Misc.

Oops Department:

Xbox 360 not compatible with current games – Make that most games, like Halo and Halo 2. I can just hear it now; yes I would like to buy Halo 2.360. This is what happens when you replace the processor and video on any machine. More 360 specs can be found here

Microsoft’s infomercial introduces newest Xbox – what the heck, come on Microsoft, kill the infomercial crap.


Microsoft sued over Excel data-linking – DOH!


Microsoft Tests Version of Tuneup Service – This is a great idea – NOT!


Microsoft sees the light, HP study’s not right – Read the article for several good Oops J


Sun, Microsoft Get Closer – From the keep your friend close and your enemies closer school of thought…



New Public Folder Administration coming in Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 – Sweeeeeettttt!


Just say NO to A/A – I could not agree more!


So, I have to guarantee you that I can recover the contacts in this OU…


Exchange 2003 Backup and Restore with NTBACKUP


Exchange 2000 – All Technical Articles


Microsoft Solution for Windows-based Hosting Version 3.0



MMCV Utility for Microsoft Message Queuing – To help manage MSMQ MSCS from TS – neat.



MSDN TV: Data Cleansing Applications with SQL Server Integration Services


Windows Security:

Ultrasound – Monitoring and Troubleshooting Tool for File Replication Service (FRS) – Excellent FREE Utility, I love it, if you have not used it, give it try – email me with any questions.


Securing Wireless LANs with PEAP and Passwords


Step-by-Step Guide for Setting Up IPv6 in a Test Lab


Step-by-Step Guide for Setting Up a PPTP-based Site-to-Site VPN Connection in a Test Lab


Updates to “Deploying Secure 802.11 Wireless Networks with Microsoft Windows”



Windows Messenger 5.1 Group Policy ADM File


Live Communications Server 2005 Document: Active Directory Schema Extensions


Live Communications Server 2005 Document: Security Guide – Version 2 already


Office Communicator 2005: Office Communicator 2005 Telephony Planning and Deployment Guide


Office Communicator 2005: Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 Planning and Deployment Guide


Office Communicator 2005: Microsoft Office Communicator Getting Started


Live Meeting 2005 Add-in: for Joining from Instant Messaging


Live Meeting 2005 Windows-based Meeting Console Standalone Installer – All Languages



Windows Installer 3.1 Redistributable (v2)


Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit – Version 4.0.1 J

From today’s Stuart Kwan Active Directory Chat…

Q: With the large changes coming down the pipe with Longhorn and other technologies, where is Microsoft planning on bringing AD? We have seen several major changes from AD in 2000 to AD in 2003 and what can we expect for Longhorn?

A: For Longhorn we’re looking to introduce a read-only domain controller, reduce domain controller reboots, and separate the domain administrator from the local machine administrator accounts.


Q: Have Microsoft published any AD performance indicators relating to the benefit of using 64-bit Windows on domain controllers?

A: We do not have any 64-bit DC case studies published yet, but the main benefit is the ability to keep a larger DIT file in memory due to being able to address more physical memory on a 64-bit machine.


Q: In 64-bit Windows, is there a way to control exactly how much of the ntds.dit gets loaded into memory, or is this controlled automatically?

A: This is controlled automatically, there isn’t any direct way, but you could look at the I/O rates or other secondary effects.

Exchange, Windows, XP, LCS, Misc.


10 Tips to Optimize Exchange 2003 Performance (Part 2) – Numbers 6-10 actually J


Understanding Exoledb’s default folders – Geeky, but yet cool all at the same time.



Internet Information Services 6.0 Migration Tool


Windows SharePoint Services Service Pack 1 – WSS – Windows Version no SPS.



IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Security with Microsoft Windows XP



Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003 Hotfix KB 893607



Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 SP1 – Great yet another MDAC!


Publishing Company WPA2 Case Study – WiFi baby!


Step-by-Step Guide for Setting Up a PPTP-based Site-to-Site VPN Connection in a Test Lab – Since always test things first!


Step-by-Step Guide for Setting Up IPv6 in a Test Lab – Yeah right!


Step-by-Step Guide for Testing Connection Manager Profiles in a Test Lab

Microsoft Product Support’s Reporting Tools (MPS Reports) can help you document your systems

I am not sure if you have talked to Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) lately or not, but they have a really great set of reporting tools available for download:


What is nice, besides that they are all free is that you can use them to document a system, though they are not supported by Microsoft unless you use them for PSS.


You get all kinds of things, not just a report or documentation of your system, but very useful troubleshooting tool information. Here is a list of the current areas that you can dive into:

  • Alliance Reports – Overall system reports

  • Clusters – Microsoft Clustering Services

  • Directory Specialty Services – Active Directory

  • Exchange – 5.5, 2000, and 2003

  • Microsoft Data Access Component (MDAC)

  • Networking – Netdiag, Dcdiag, Gpresults, etc.

  • Performance Monitoring – Complete system map

  • SQL Server – 2000 & 2005

  • Software Update Services (SUS)

Do the following from the machine you want to report. After you downloaded the executable, start it. You will be prompted with a license screen.


Click Yes to agree to it.


The MPS Report Tool will start to run.

You will be asked if you would like to include MSINFO32 information, type Y or N and enter.

A Readme.txt file will then popup.


The readme will explain what exactly will be reported. Nothing is ever written to the registry or modified on the machine during this whole process.


While running, you may receive errors, this is normal for any given report. It all depends on what is installed and running on the machine at the time you run the MPS Report Tool.


When the process is complete, which can take from 5 to 20 minutes, you will see a windows screen with the cabinet file.


The path will be C:\WINDOWS\MPSReports\Setup\Reports\Cab. The report will start with the machine name followed by an underscore and MPSReports name. This is your report!


It’s just that simple. Now you can expand the cabinet and see the contents or save the file for future use.


Lots of text files are in the cabinet, to view them extract them to a directory and view with notepad or wordpad.


As you can see you can download different tools to document or troubleshoot various issues. I love this kinda stuff J

How to obtain a Microsoft Hot Fix – or should you?

I have been working with Microsoft Enterprise Platform Support a lot lately on an issue I am experiencing. The term hot fix got thrown around, a term that I have a very strong opinion on.


First, how to obtain a Microsoft Hot Fix – go to and find the area that fits your current need. Call the support number, and select the option for hot fixes. Someone from Microsoft will answer; tell the support person you are calling for a hot fix. After you give your information and state your case, they send you a download link. It’s just that easy.


Why do you have to give them your information? Name, location, machine name, etc. They actually track all hot fixes, who has them, when they called, etc. Why? Cause a hot fix is a big deal, a very big deal. If you ever call in on anything else, whether related or not, they need to know if you have any hot fixes installed. And since most of us can’t remember what we had for lunch, let alone if a hot fix we installed 2 years ago, they keep track for us.


While Microsoft will indeed give you a hot fix, is it really free? Any change to the system can cause a chain reaction to other parts; these could be good, like fixing your issue. The change could also be bad, like causing other harm. I always make sure I have a good backup, one that I can actually restore from.


Why are they free? They are free because Microsoft loves you. No really, they are free because someday they will hopefully make it into a free service pack.


Should I get a hot fix? This is a very tough judgment call. I try to avoid them like I do paying taxes. If you can find a way around it, I do. Microsoft has helped me in the past avoid installing a hot fix; I just had to ask for a different solution. But, just like I do every year with my taxes, sometimes you can’t avoid installing a hot fix. I only do this as a last ditch effort.

SQL, Windows R2, Misc.


Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 – For SQL & SQL Analysis Services


Windows R2:

Overview of the Distributed File System Solution in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2


Install and Upgrade to Windows Server 2003 R2


Beta 2 Step-by-step Guide for Storage Resource Manager


Print Management Step-by-Step Guide


Beta 2 Reviewers Guide for Microsoft Services for Network File System in Windows Server 2003 R2


Storage Manager for SANs Quick Start Guide


Overview of Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) in Windows Server 2003 R2



‘In China today, Bill Gates is Britney Spears’ – I love the title of this article, it makes me laugh!


MSN Messenger 7.0 for Windows – Build 813


Network Access Protection Platform Architecture


How to Bundle ADAM With Your Application


ADAM Step-by-Step Guide


3D Button Visual Editor – Web page or application button maker!


Desktop Backgrounds for Windows – Free

Security, Exchange, Windows, Project, LCS, Live Meeting, Misc


Hacked! Your Company…



Top support issues for the Exchange information store;en-us;893083


More information about Windows 2003 SP1 SCW and Exchange server. – Good stuff.


Using the Microsoft Exchange Server User Monitor (ExMon) tool


Upgrading Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange 2003 in a Medium-Sized Organization


Best Practices for Public Folders


Components of Public Folders in Exchange Server


Exchange Server 2003 Events and Errors – Way cool!


Harnessing the power of Ambiguous Name Resolution (ANR)


Exchange Server AUTD Binding Cleanup



Changes to Functionality in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 – English



Project Server 2003 Document: Solutions Planning Guide


Project Server 2003 Administrator’s Guide



Windows Messenger 5.1: How to Add External Contacts in Windows Messenger


Live Meeting:

Live Meeting 2005: Microsoft Office Live Meeting Intranet Portal SP1


Live Meeting 2005 Document: Live Meeting 2005 Intranet Portal SP1 Administrator’s and Programmer’s Guide



MDAC Utility: Component Checker

Fail-Over Clustering in Longhorn

This came across my desk the other day. Looks to be pretty good stuff. Moreinformation can be had at

What you can expect:

Improved Cluster Setup, Setup is streamlined and simplified, Create an entire cluster in one seamless step, Thorough cluster testing to ensure your cluster will function properly,
All the power of a full cluster test suite in your hands to guarantee the actual cluster you are setting up will provide rock solid stability
Fully scriptable for automated deployments

A Cluster Migration Tool Will assist migration of a cluster configuration from one cluster to another
Rolling upgrade of Windows 2003 to Longhorn cluster. It will be a “Roll Forward” model. migration from win2k3 to Longhorn cluster will is not that simple under the hood as from win2k to win2k3.

All New Cluster Administrator Tool! Designed to be task based and easy to use. Less dials-n-knobs to worry about.

Expanded tool functionality for better manageability. Cluster Administrator graphical tool. Command line (cluster.exe) Fully scriptable with WMI. Enhanced WMI functionality over Windows 2003. Migration from legacy cluster debug logging (cluster.log) to Event Tracing for Windows (ETW)

The name “Virtual Server” is going to be replaced by “Virtual Instance” because Microsoft has an actual product “Virtual Server 2005” to avoid confusion.

Virtual Instance Share Scoping:
Just see the shares available through that Virtual Server, Removes user confusion when browsing Clusters, Ability to modify resource dependencies while resources are online, Facilitates scaling up disks while applications are online, Cluster VSS Writer for Backup & Restore

Network Name resource stays up if either IP Address resource A or B are up. Today both resource A and B have to be online for the Network Name to be available to users. Allows redundant resources and scoping impact to dependent services and applications.

Support for GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks, Allows support for larger then 2 TB partitions, GPT provides improved redundancy and recoverability.
Support for all platforms:  x86, x64, and Itanium
Support for Hardware Snapshot restores of Clustered Disks
Improved disk Maintenance Mode will allow giving temporary exclusive access to online clustered disks to other applications

Quorum enhancemenst: New best-of-both-worlds quorum model. Hybrid of Majority Node Set (MNS) logic and Shared Disk Quorum model. This model will replace both of the existing models
Scales from Small to large node clusters. Clusters with or without shared disks
Geographically dispersed clusters. Can achieve current “Classic” quorum or MNS quorum functionality. Shared quorum disk is optional. NO single point of failure. Can survive loss of the Quorum disk.

No More Single-Subnet Limitation!!!!
Allow cluster nodes to communicate across network routers. No more having to connect nodes with VLANs!
Configurable Heartbeat Timeouts. Increase to Extend Geographically Dispersed Clusters over greater distances. Decrease to detect failures faster and take recovery actions for quicker failover. Using new Quorum with 3 sites, “wiser decisions” about automatic failover is provided.

Integrated with new LH TCP/IP Stack. Full IPv6 Support. Client Access via IPv6. Tunnel IPv6 address resources for IPv4 compatibility. Inner-node communication with IPv6
No more legacy dependencies on NetBIOS, Ready for NetBIOS-less environments!!
Simplifying the transport of SMB traffic
Removes WINS and NetBIOS name resolution broadcasts, Standardizing name resolution on DNS !!

Pure Kerberos based authentication, No more legacy NTLM!!
Secure mutual authentication
Enhanced encryption, Better performance
Moved from datagram (UDP) protocols to secure TCP session oriented protocols
Auditing of Cluster Access: “ Who failed over this group…?”
Logged to Security Event Log, Can be bubbled up through security tools or remote event management such as MOM