Category Archives: 880

Internet Explorer Keywords for DNS Troubleshooting

I think its safe to say that DNS is part of the fabric of the internet. I don’t remember how many times I had (or helped someone with) issues with public DNS, but I can assure you that it has been a lot. DNS controls everything about your domain, from the correct resolution of your website to where your email should go.


My two favorite sites for troubleshooting public DNS issues are www.dnsreport.com and www.dnsstuff.com. These two sites have saved me in numerous occassions and whenever somebody is having some DNS issue they are my first stop to help determine the problem. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with each site… I can assure you that you will find them as useful as me. Did I mentioned that both sites are free? 🙂


Ok. So, those sites are old news for you? Well… I have something here that you might like. I “borrowed” an idea from Susan’s blog and created a registry file that adds a set of keywords to the IE address bar so you can use this site even faster.


Right click here, select “Save As” and save it to your desktop renaming the extension to .reg (alternatively you can just click the link to see what we are adding to the registry). Double click on the file and allow it to be imported into the registry. That’s it! You can now open IE and use the following keywords to do amazing stuff…


DNS somedomain.com – Generates a DNSReport for that domain


A something.somedomain.com – A record for that hostname


MX somedomain.com – MX record(s) for that domain


PTR x.x.x.x or something.somedomain.com – Reverse DNS records for that IP/Hostname


WHOIS somedomain.com – Registration information about a domain


So, do you think this is useful? Comment below and let me know what you think!

Create easier-to-remember URLs for OWA, RWW and even Sharepoint


If you are running SBS you must know by now that you need to type http://something.yourdomain.com/exchange or /remote to access OWA or RWW from the internet. One issue that I often encounter is that users forget those URLs are (specially if the are technologically-impaired J).


 


So, what about giving your users simpler URLs? Like http://webmail.yourdomain.com for OWA and/or http://remote.yourdomain.com for RWW


 


What about Sharepoint? Typing :444 at the end of an URL is really not cool at all. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use http://intranet.yourdomain.com to access your intranet directly? If this idea sounds appealing to you… then keep reading:


 


Method 1 –


 


If you have your DNS hosted with ZoneEdit, GoDaddy or any other DNS provider that provides URL redirection you can do this in less than 1 minute. Just open the DNS console and create those records. The great thing about this is that its easy, you don’t have to do anything on your end and you can even keep port 80 closed on the SBS box.


 


Method 2 –


 


If you are the kind of guy (or gal) that likes to do things themselves then this is for you. Here’s an example on how to do it for OWA:


 


1)      Create an “A” record on your public DNS for webmail.yourdomain.com that points to your server IP address. Remember that this is something you do to the public DNS so your SBS box is not involved (i.e. you probably need to call your ISP).


2)      Go to the SBS box and open the IIS console. Drill down to websites, right click and select “create new”, follow the wizard. Name it “OWA redirector”, on the host header box type “webmail.yourdomain.com” and finish the wizard.


3)      Right click on the newly created website and select properties. Go to the Home Directory tab, change it to “Redirection to a URL”, type “http://something.yourdomain.com/exchange” on the Redirect to box and click ok.


 


Now you should be able to type http://webmail.yourdomain.com and be automatically redirected to OWA. Do the same thing with RWW and Sharepoint. Heck, you could even go to Mapquest get the URL of your office location and then create a redirector from http://map.yourdomain.com to that. The possibilities are endless with just a little creativity J


 


BTW-> If you think about it, you could host the redirectors on your own server and then your clients can have port 80 totally closed. No reason why the redirector has to be on the same server as the target.

LimitLogin – Tool to limit and monitor concurrent logins in a domain

A couple of people in the past have asked how to prevent users from logging more than 1 time (or x number of times) on different devices across the network. I stumbled accross this tool which seems like it does exactly that better than the old CConnect.exe (also some other nice features):


LimitLogin v1.0


 LimitLogin is an application that adds the ability to limit concurrent user logins in an Active Directory domain. It can also keep track of all logins information in Active Directory domains.


 LimitLogin capabilities include:


·         Limiting the number of logins per user from any machine in the domain, including Terminal Server sessions.


·         Displaying the logins information of any user in the domain according to a specific criterion (e.g. all the logged-on sessions to a specific client machine or Domain Controller, or all the machines a certain user is currently logged on to).


·         Easy management and configuration by integrating to the Active Directory MMC snap-ins.


·         Ability to delete and log off user session remotely straight from the Active Directory Users and Computers MMC snap-in.


·         Generating Login information reports in CSV (Excel) and XML formats.


LimitLogin grants System Administrators, Help Desk staff or any other IT-related personnel the ability to quickly query for any user logged on to the domain and view the machines they’re currently logged on to, while enabling the above list of features and management tasks to be performed on those user sessions.


Note: As far as I can tell this only works with Win2k3 domains and the clients must be running Win2k or XP. You can download the tool here.


 

A Recycle Bin for Sharepoint?

Today I was cleaning up the stack of magazines that I have in my desk and came across an article on how to add a Recycle Bin to Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS).


MSDN Magazine – February 2005 – Page 62


http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/issues/05/02/RecycleBinforWSS/


I have to admit that I have absolutely NO IDEA what these guys are talking about. That really doesn’t mean anything since my knowledge of programming and .NET is very limited (almost non-existent). However, I know that we have very smart people in the SBS community than can probably figure this out. In fact, I encourage anyone that knows enough of this to make it work to write something SBS-sized so mere mortals like myself could benefit of it.


Bottomline-> I don’t know if its possible and/or how well it works… but the article sounds interesting and definitely something that we on SBS-land could benefit from.

Cheap SSL Certs

I’m on some sort of vacation since last week at home in Puerto Rico… I say “some sort” because I’m actually upgrading my last SBS2k box to 2k3 and using the old box as a terminal server. While I was preparing the migration the client asked if there was a way to take out the “Security Warning“ page that they get when they access OWA (and RWW in the future) from a public computer (one that the cert has not been imported previously)… and I told him that it would cost $400-800/yr to get a Verisign cert to fix that. We both knew that there is no way they were going to pay that for getting rid of such small annoyance.


The next day I got curious, researched this a little more and found out that there were many “trusted“ companies (I mean trusted in the sense that IE and most browsers already trust the ssl cert authority) that sell SSL certs for less than $30/yr. So, I asked my client if the “convinience” of not having to click on the security warning box was worth $30 and they said yes. So, I ran the SSL cert wizard on the SBS box to issue the CSR, then I went to www.godaddy.com and got a Turbo 128-bit SSL Cert in about 10-15 minutes. The browser (and more importantly my client) was happy.


This reinforced my beliefs on a couple of things…


1) This is not something I would normally do… but for $30 is not a bad deal.


2) Verisign overcharges for pretty much everything… I don’t know how people keep doing business with them. Who cares where the cert comes from (i.e. normal people don’t check who’s the issuing authority)?


3) Anyone can get an SSL cert. The “verification” process was a joke (just a reply to an email sent to the domain owner). While I really don’t care for SBS, some people think that just because there is a “secure” icon on the browser the transaction is really secure.


That’s all for now… 🙂


 

How to create an “Offer Remote Assistance” shortcut

One of the features I like most about Windows XP (and SBS 2003) is Remote Assistance. In particular, I love being able to offer unsolicited remote assistance to my users (i.e. without them initiating the RA session, this way the user only has to click “ok” on the RA popup). This translates on helping users faster, not to mention that you can enjoy margaritas from the confort of your home while you help users. ow that I think about it… those “Earn $$$ while sitting in front of your PC at home” scams on the internet might be true after all.


Anyway, going back to the point… since I use this feature a lot and its somewhat hidden on XP (not so much in SBS) I thought it would be a good idea to create a link in my desktop (and/or the server desktop) to offer RA to users in distress. To do this, simply create a shortcut that points to:


%windir%\explorer.exe “hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm”


Now, I only have to connect to the site, double click there and type the address (talk about being lazy!). 🙂


Happy RA-ing!