Category Archives: 742

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.

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’t 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’t 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 – 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’s 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’t study for the exams anymore. Sorry, but I don’t. 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’s 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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.


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.


This is an original post, feel free to reproduce as long as you give credit.

Dell PowerEdge 2850 Hardware issues

Dell we have a problem.

It has come to my attention that ALL DELL PE2850’s have a hardware issue. It seems the dudes at Dell really messed up some firmware updates. If you are not running BIOS A06 and BMC 1.68 or higher download Dell’s Server Update Utility 5.1.1. ( or later (I have only tested 5.1.1 though). Get 5.2 here

So what happens if you are running the bad version? CPU IERR EO7F0 on every CPU in the machine at the same time. And then you get the famous Dell amber flashing light. Every OS locks up without processors, no really they do. If you call Dell Support (which I have done), you get greeted by a tech that says “Hi, welcome to Dell support. Please update your firmware and BIOS.”. DOH!


Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" Beta 3 is out

But if you want to test failover clustering….

Standard SCSI based clustering will no longer work (yes I tested it, no go). 

Rocket Division StarWind will be the product you want to use to test Failover Clustering. You will have to wait until the June 2007 time frame while they make it work with Beta 3.

FalconStor iSCSI Storage Server I am not sure when they will support it.

Microsoft bought StringBean ( which has a great WinTarget program. The program is now part of Windows Unified Data Storage Server and it called Microsoft iSCSI Software Target. That one works today, if you are lucky enough to have a copy.


April 18th I was invited to Microsoft for the first every IT Pro Townhall event. We were not allowed to take pictures, so I don’t have any of those, but we could take notes. Here are my random notes and thoughts:

 We started the daily with an early breakfast. Looking around the room everyone had one thing on their mind, how did I make the cut with all these smart people? It was a who-is-who of the IT industry.

Panel Discussion #1 – Next generation of the Web and its implications on IT Professionals; both as consumers and in the enterprise

First up was a session on Web 2.0 with Bill Veghie (Microsoft), Chris Jones (Microsoft) and Craig Barnes (Attensa)


·         Chris Jones @ Microsoft – does not know what it means. Applications are more interactive.

·         RSS, dash boards, combination of data that was simply not possible before, integration, blogging, Google/Yahoo are bringing spreadsheet content to the web, both online/offline, AJAX, face book

·         Stating Wikipedia as fact, not a great Web 2.0 idea.

·         Collaboration

·         Interoperation and credentials

·         Tracking data back to an original source, audit

·         Community, social networking, social information tagging – Richer

·         Reputation based system – Mark Minasi

·         Data is not information – Jesper Johnanson

Panel Discussion #2 – The Evolution of the IT Professional Community

The second session had a panel with Dave Sanders (Culminis), Beth Quinlan (BQ), Kevin Kline (PASS), Lee Benjamin (Exchange Guy Consulting).


·         Hands on lab, virtualization, connecting people and products

·         Relationships – ties it all together

·         User Groups

·         Developers and IT Pro are the real community

Panel Discussion #3 – Data Center trends, Virtualization and Managed Services

This session had an interesting panel – Bob Muglia (Microsoft), Ron Markezich (Microsoft), Dan Holme (Intelllliem), Mark Minasi (MR&D) 


·         Smaller amount of IT professionals, more people running core business

·         Consolidation of storage, pooling resources

·         Microsoft is living all the products in Dog Food

·         Everything can be virtualized – Bob Muglia we will hit that point in the future

·         Check Alert to Ticket ratio, Microsoft using MOM is 1.5

·         Virtualized another egg shell – Jesper

·         IPSec & Server Roles – powerful security

·         Microsoft does this for Energizer – LCS, Exchange, etc.

·         Microsoft should dog food its own licenses

·         Does this phase our IT Pros? No, it empowers them to fix issues and solve problems

·         Assumption was 5 years ago 100% of IT Pro would be off shore, that is not the case today

·         Slimmer product suites, maybe limit Exchange features just calendaring and Internet email

Keynote – Steve Ballmer

·         What is Microsoft?

o   Broad horizontal technologies

§  Desktop

§  Enterprise

§  Online information and commerce

§  Modern consumer electronics

o   Two classes of people   

§  Have an IT department

§  They count on Yahoo or Hosted Services

·         Web 2.0 – CRM, like the Xbox live – PC live and what that means to us

·         Vista slow adoption and any lessoned learn that would help with future products like Longhorn – “it has meet my expectations”

·         What do you think about User Groups – do not under invest in user groups, that would be a mistake and should be rectified.

·         “If you don’t have world class email, you are sorta dead!”

· email me, I will try and get back with you in a week

We are supposed to get a Podcast of the day’s events, if we do I will share (if I am allowed).


How to create a fresh Windows Server 2003 SP1 without install Service Pack 2 (SP2) and still use Windows or Microsoft Update


1)      You need to install a new machine with Windows Server 2003 or R2. You are required to install SP1 because SP2 is not support by your software or  hardware vendor.
You have a Windows Server 2003 SP1 or R2 machine that you need to update, but you don’t want SP2 – yet.
You don’t have a WSUS or all post SP1 patches on a CD/DVD 


Install your OS with SP1 or R2. Run Windows Update and you will see this screen:
the + next to Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (32-bit x86) and the screen now shows: 



Notice that the Don’t show this update again option is grayed out. Select the Select and install other updates radio button as seen here:
Notice that the Don’t show this update again option is now not grayed out. Select it:
Now the easy step, close your browser and run Windows\Microsoft Update again. It should look something like this:
Now go on and install all the pre SP1 updates
J If you need to install SP2 in the future, download and install it or click on the Restore them now\Restore hidden updates link.
 Sometimes the answer is very simple. 


Before you run off and install Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2)…

Of course read my other blog posts on SP2, but also go and download this – Hotfix Scan Tool for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 Deployment. Its a simple install, then you run it by doing this:

From the command prompt type: 

 cscript c:\windows\system32\HotfixScanTool.vbs

 The output should look like this:

Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6

Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.


Detecting if any updates in the Block installation list were installed on the system…


No updates in the block installation list were detected.

You can proceed to install Windows Server 2003 SP2

Feel free to install SP2 (if you have tested it and full vendor support).

Clustering terms made easy

Clusters are Highly Available and should never be considered Fault Tolerant.

Highly Available = is when I come anytime my wife calls me.
Fault Tolerant = Marriage.

You don’t want to be married to you SQL/Exchange Cluster 🙂 You do want it around whenever you need it though.

Active/Active = when your cluster is too busy for its own good.
Active/Passive = one worker, one manager, you decide which is which.
Node = Clustered computer, could also be the worker who sits in a cube, not to be confused with Dude.
Virtual Server = this is kind of like be on a telecom at work, only you are calling in from Hawaii and nobody knows.
Quorum = Cluster=Quorum, Quorum=Clustering.
Failover = the only time at work that you can fail and still be a hero.
Failback = great way to get fired, let your server failover without you controlling it (Don’t confuse with the above term).
Cluster = when it fails, also known as a Cluster Fork, only fork is spelled funny – u c what I mean?

Yes, I know, this post should have been on April 1st [:)]