Category Archives: 741

NTBackup Script Procedure

1)      Copy robocopy.exe from the Resource Kit to something like c:\backup\tools. This is used in step 5 below.

2)      Create a backup list using the GUI version. Save a system state only as night.bks, save all the drives and system state as night-all.bks. Make sure you use the backup directory path listed below in the script or modify to a SAN location.

3)      Use the follow for the required .bat file


            *** BEGIN BAT FILE ***



REM  Build Date String yyyymmddhhmm


for /F “usebackq tokens=2” %%i IN (`DATE /T`) DO Set TIMESTR=%%i%

for /F “usebackq tokens=1,2,3 delims=/” %%i IN (‘%TIMESTR%’) DO SET MONTH=%%i%

for /F “usebackq tokens=1,2,3 delims=/” %%i IN (‘%TIMESTR%’) DO SET DAY=%%j%

for /F “usebackq tokens=1,2,3 delims=/” %%i IN (‘%TIMESTR%’) DO SET YEAR=%%k%

for /F “usebackq” %%i IN (`Time /T`) DO Set TIMESTR=%%i%

for /F “usebackq tokens=1,2* delims=:” %%i IN (‘%TIMESTR%’) DO SET HOUR=%%i%

for /F “usebackq tokens=1,2* delims=:” %%i IN (‘%TIMESTR%’) DO SET MINUTE=%%j%








@ECHO Directory String %DIRSTR%


IF NOT EXIST “c:\backup\tools\nightlybackup.bat” GOTO SKIP


C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntbackup.exe backup “@\\DOMAINCONTROLLERNAME\c$\Backup_DCNAME\night-all.bks” /n “DCNAME.bkf” /d “Nightly” /v:yes /r:no /rs:no /hc:off /m normal /j “Nightly” /l:s /f “\\DOMAINCONTROLLERNAME\C$\Backup_DCNAME\%DIRSTR%DCNAME.bkf






C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntbackup.exe backup “@\\DOMAINCONTROLLERNAME \c$\Backup_DCNAME \night.bks” /n “DCNAME.bkf” /d “SS_Nightly” /v:yes /r:no /rs:no /hc:off /m normal /j “SS_Nightly” /l:s /f “\\DOMAINCONTROLLERNAME\C$\Backup_DCNAME\%DIRSTR%DCNAME.bkf



            *** END BAT FILE ***


Comments and legend for the above batch file.


First I turn of echo

Next section builds the current date, we will use this to sort the backup and delete ones older than 7 days.

If not exist statement is useful if you store anything on a SAN drive. If they SAN is down normally the backup will fail, so I check before and then just run night to just backup the system state.

First backup runs a backup of the DOMAINCONTROLLERNAME (replace with a real name), creates a new file called DCNAME.bkf (replace with server name), next I label the backup Nightly, verify is then turned on, restricted access is NOT turned on – you may want it though (so /r:yes would turn it on), hardware compression is turned off, the backup type is set to normal, next the job name is set for backup reporting, next logging is set to summary, and finally the file name is created with the date and time stamp at the front (again for sorting and deleting older files later).


4)       To schedule a task to automatically backup a machine. Go to Start-> Control Panel -> Scheduled Tasks -> Add Scheduled Task.  During the configuration the following options are selected:


Scheduled Task Wizard


Scheduled Task Wizard






Scheduled Task Wizard

Type a name for this task

Perform this task





Scheduled Task Wizard

Start Time

Perform this task

Start date


3:15 AM

Every Day



Scheduled Task Wizard

Enter the user name

Enter the password

Confirm password





Scheduled Task Wizard

Open advanced…





5)      Finally I use robocopy to clean up, so the backup won’t fill up the disk.

c:\backup\tools\robocopy c:\backup\ c:\backup\t *.bkf /MOV /MINAGE:10 rd /q /s c:\backup\t

I use Robocopy to look at the c:\backup and create a c:\backup\t folder (for temporary). I look for anything that ends with .bkf which is then Moved to the temporary (c:\backup\t) folder, if it is at least 10 days old. This process is done quietly and uses a sub directory of c:\backup\t.


Enjoy, let me know if you have any questions or issues.

Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering Microsoft Official Curriculum is out!!!!

The Windows Server Failover Clustering Product Group is proud to announce the release of the first ever Windows Server 2008 Microsoft Official Curriculum course

Course 6423A: Implementing and Managing Windows Server 2008 Clustering


The course will be available in the channel May 15th, 2008.


Special thanks go to the following to make this happen:


Elden Christensen

Ahmed Bisht

Chuck Timon

Mike Briggs


I have seen it, excellent work gang, this is truly an exciting day for Failover Clustering!!!



114 Days until Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008…

Are you ready for another OS version? February 27th, 2008 is the public launch date. Microsoft has a Vista sidebar gadget to help you remember the date – They seem to love this date, the end of February as they have done it before. Could it be they know by wives birthday is Feb 28? 

Free E-Learning for 2008 – (requires Microsoft Passport login to get the free stuff). 

Links to everything: 

Nice overview: 

2008 Learning Portal: 


File Server Clustering: 

Print Server Clustering: 


I love new OS releases and 2008 looks to be an excellent one!


Observations about the software industry today

Sometimes I think that the movie Conspiracy Theory should have been about the software industry today. What has become of it lately? Here is what I believe:

         I believe the Anti-Virus companies write all the viruses.

         I believe most software is way over priced.

         I believe we now alpha test software for vendors

         I believe we beta test when service pack 1 comes out.

         I believe 1.0 is not the standard to avoid, RTM (release to manufacturing/gold code) is.

         I believe we get the final, ready for the world product when service pack 2 comes out.

         I believe most software has too many features for 98% of the users.

         I believe all the added features cause 100% of the problems with software today.

         I believe it is better to update software then to design it properly to begin with.

         I believe we, the paying consumer, don鈥檛 complain enough so things are only going to continue to get worse.

         I believe you pay 10 times the cost of software in support costs and lost productivity when it does not function properly out of the box.

         I believe the world has become too computer savvy because of buggy software.

         I believe a computer should be just another asset at the office place, taken for granted like a stapler or pencil.

         I believe that a computer isn鈥檛 taken for granted because broken things always get attention and notice.

         I believe release dates are based upon dates on PowerPoint slides, not when the product is anywhere near being ready or bug free.


Exchange Server 2007 MCP Exams 鈥 Notes from the field

I love taking Microsoft exams because I learn so much. I learn what Microsoft feels are the important product features that everyone show know. I learn different ways to do common tasks within the product, let鈥檚 face it sometime we only know as much as our peers. I also learn exactly where I stand on the product, and what I really need to work on.

As I get older though I am either getting smarter or lazier, take your pick. I simply don鈥檛 study for the exams anymore. Sorry, but I don鈥檛. I take the exam to learn the question format, style, content, and lastly to gage what if anything I need to study. I recently did this for the 3 (yes I said 3) exams that relate to Exchange Server 2007. I would now like to break down what took place without breaking my NDA.

70-236 TS: Exchange Server 2007 Configuration

This is a fun exam. Honest, it is. I would recommend this as the second exam in this series. I walked in to take my practice version and almost pasted. Lots of PowerShell (Exchange Management Shell – EMS). I failed my first attempt by 2 questions. I needed more Edge server information. I need to learn more PowerShell cmdlets, like anything test-*. I did not feel the test was worded poorly nor had any long questions. Either you knew it or you blew it.The second time I took this I studied:

  • test-* cmdlets

  • Microsoft Search service repair

  • DR repair and movement of Hub Transport logs

  • Edge Configuration cmdlets

  • General EMS syntax
I passed my second attempt because of the above and the fact that I could relax knowing I had plenty of time to take the exam and concentrate on the PowerShell questions. All and all it鈥檚 a fair exam. My only problem is that I suck at PowerShell/EMS, honestly. After the exam I wanted to recreate some of the cool ones the test went over and I could not do the syntax. It is one thing to see 4 or 5 various ways to attempt to do a command, easy pick the one that works. Now, try and do that without the spoon feeding. The help files are ok, but I need more examples to choose from, like on the exam.
70-237 Pro: Designing Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
This exam is trying to test if you fully understand all the concepts of Exchange Server 2007 design. I passed with flying colors on my first attempt 鈥 without a lick of studying. The questions were very cut and dry, with usually only 1 glaring answer. I would definitely start by taking this exam! It is a very fair exam.
70-238 Pro: Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
OUCH! Make this your last exam and do yourself a favor, study! This one got to me, deep inside it hurt, and badly. My first attempt I failed by 3 questions, but I did not feel I was really that close. This is a wonderfully well rounded exam. From soup to nuts you need to learn it all to have any chance. This is a VERY wordy exam; several questions were a good two pages. Tons of reading. I took 90% of the time to complete it. Time was an issue and I pushed myself at the end, I regret doing that.The second time I took it I studied:

         Edge Configuration

         Backup/DR scenarios 鈥 incremental vs. differential

I passed my second attempt and almost jumped for joy when I read the word passed. You need to know Exchange from top to bottom for this exam.  I had Novell questions, Security Configuration Wizard, GPO, IPSec, VPN, IBE, Hosted Services, and tons of CCR vs. LCR vs. SCC questions. I found the wording VERY difficult. As a clustering MVP I still had a very difficult time with the HA questions. I knew every word, but not the way it was worded. This is a VERY wordy exam; several questions were a good two pages. Tons of reading. I took 95% of the time to complete it. 95%! Dang! Time was not really an issue though, because I knew I would finish with a few minutes to spare. The timing is very close, but you will finish.

So what does it all add up to?

In the end, assuming you pass all three exams, you get two new classes of certifications. MCSE is gone (long live the MCSE), it has been replaced by MCITP 鈥 Microsoft Certified IT Professional (all three exams are required). Any certification with IT in it is silly in my eyes. MCP has really been replaced with MCTS 鈥 Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist. After your pass the 70-236 exam you are a TS. Here are the official titles cut from my official Microsoft Transcript.

Microsoft Certified IT Professional

Microsoft Exchange 2007 Messaging Solutions Administrator

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist

Microsoft Exchange 2007: Configuration

Hello Microsoft Certification, the product is called Microsoft Exchange SERVER 2007. I think you left off a word. Strange! And what gives with the Solutions Administrator, I take a Design and Deploy exam but I can only administer? Sounds more like an Architecture cert to me.Anyways, I am done rambling here, good luck on your exams, study and enjoy! Drop me a line when you pass them.


ClusterHelp dates for 2008 and Copenhagen update

Russ and I will be in Copenhagen, Denmark September 3-6, 2007 (yes just a week away) and we still have a few spots open in the course. If you would like to attend use the link the left (under ClusterHelp). I am really looking forward to it. Russ will be lecturing and I will assist in the labs, thus both of us supporting what we wrote 馃檪

If you can’t make Denmark, we have courses in NYC scheduled through 2008 now, just added today:

Jan. 21-24, 2008

May 12-15, 2008

Oct 13-16, 2008

Come on out and enjoy one of these great cities with me!


15 Rules of IT

1) If a computer or system is working on Monday, something has gone wrong and you just don’t know about it.

2) When you don’t know what you’re doing, document it.

3) Computer errors must be reproduce-able, they should fail the same way each time.

4) First call tech support, then panic.

5) Experience is directly proportional to the number of systems/computers ruined.

6) Always keep a backup of your data, and hope everyone else does the same.

7) To write a program really well, have your wife/husband/Mother/Father test it.

8) If you can’t get the system to match the Statement of Work (SOW), redo the SOW.

9) In case you experience doubt, make it sound convincing.

10) Do not believe in miracles–rely on them.

11) The technical term is H.O.S.E.D. (Hardware Or Software Error Detected), use it often and amaze your friends.

12) When it starts working; and hopefully it will, you fixed it in case anyone asks.

13) No troubleshooting experience is a complete failure. At least it can serve as a negative example.

14) Any expensive piece of software will break before any use can be made of it.

15) Team work is essential, it allows you to blame someone else.


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