CRM: Migrating Public Folder Data

This article covers using Outlook to Migrate a contact folder from Exchange Public Folders to a PST File to then migrate to CRM.


A CRM client needed their contacts which were currently kept in public folders migrated to CRM. Obviously the first step is to get the contacts from Public Folders in to a format that is can be imported to CRM. So in this case we need to get the contacts to a PST file and the steps below are taken from Microsoft KB327304


Certainly, many people would first think of using Exmerge to get PST data from Exchange, however Exmerge does not work with public folders. This article does not cover the steps of migrating data from Outlook to CRM since that information is well covered elsewhere.


ExMerge does not work with public folders, it only works with mailboxes. When you use ExMerge to upgrade to Exchange 2000 or to Exchange 2003, you have to download public folders on the server that is running Exchange Server 5.5 to a .pst file on an Outlook (MAPI) client, and then publish this file on the new Exchange 2000 computer or on the new Exchange 2003 computer.


  1. Use an account on a Microsoft Outlook 2002 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 client computer that has administrative rights to log on to a mailbox on the server that is running Exchange Server 5.5.
  2. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Outlook Data File.
  3. Click Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click OK.
  4. Name the file Public.pst, save the file to a path that has a lot of free disk space, and then write down the location where the file is saved.

    NOTE: The .pst files have storage limits of 2 gigabytes (GB) each. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    208480  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/208480/ ) Description of the purpose and capacity of Outlook storage facilities
  5. Accept the default settings that are listed in the Create Microsoft Personal Folders dialog box, and then click OK.

    A new folder group that is named Personal Folders is created in Outlook.
  6. In the Outlook folder list, expand Public Folders, and then expand All Public Folders.
  7. Drag each top-level public folder that you want to export to the Personal Folders folder that you created in step 4.

    All top-level public folders and their subfolders are copied.
  8. Log off the Outlook client.
  9. From the Outlook client, use an account that has administrative rights to log on to a mailbox that is homed on the Exchange 2000 computer or on the Exchange 2003 computer.
  10. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Outlook Data File.
  11. Click Personal Folders File (.pst), locate and click the .pst file that you created in step 4, and then click OK two times.
  12. Drag the folders from the Personal Folders folder to All Public Folders in the Outlook folder list.

Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
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Branch Office: Using SSTP for Site-to-Site VPN on Windows Server 2008

In this post I will define how SSTP is different from PPTP and L2TP. I will cover some of the advatanges of this technology which released with Windows Server 2008. Finally I will cover the basic steps to setup SSTP and provide resources for further configuration advice. The end goal is to use SSTP for a site to site VPN over which client computers can share resources.


Note: Certain aspects of SBS and EBS environments mean they are out of scope for this article however, this arcticle is still a good starting point for understanding the principles of SSTP and how they would apply in an SBS or EBS envirnment.


What is SSTP and how is it different than PPTP and L2TP:


SSTP is Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol which is a new form of VPN tunneling protocol and is supported on versions of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista with SP1 or greater. SSTP encapsulates PPP traffic on top of HTTPS thus using port 443 which is a commonly open and used port for secure web traffic. Because SSTP uses the SSL port 443 it is different  than PPTP (1723) and L2TP(1701) which are commonly screened out by firewalls and therefore less useful. The difference do not end there. For the purpose of this article SSTP provides administrators with opportunities to configure secure VPN solutions which leverage greater compatibility with firewall which transparently allow traffic.


 


 

Industry Statistics: 2000 IT Pro Survey about using Service Providers

Microsoft recently worked with  MarketTools’s Zoom Panel Tech to conduct a 2000 IT Pro survey on the subject of how and why they use solution providers (IT consultants, resellers, system integrators and hosted service providers).


Here are the highlights:


Over 70% of IT pros surveyed use some sort of solution provider (consultant, reseller, system integrator or hosted service provider.)

  • Consultants were indicated by IT decision makers as the most commonly used solution provider (57%) vs. resellers (43%), solution integrators (38%), and hosted service providers (36%)
  • 42% of IT decision makers view solution providers as “highly” or “extremely” influential in the direction of their IT systems, versus other outside influences, such as vendors, peers, publications and analysts.
  • About 40% of IT decision makers say their solution providers help them save money (7, 8 or 9 out of 1-9 scale.)
  • “Strategic advice, guidance and overall expertise” (39%) were cited by IT decision makers as the most important value provided by solution providers, over skills such as deployment and implementation (21%) or ongoing support/maintenance (14%)
  • 54% of IT decision makers say “Overall planning, strategy and management” by solution providers provide the greatest value versus specific technical cababilities, such as systems management (38%), storage and disaster recovery (35%), virtualization (34%), security (28%) and others.
  • 47% of IT decision makers want their solution providers to most closely align with MSFT – by far the top vendor preference.
  • Versus IBM (12%), HP (10%), Vmware (9%), Symantec (2%), RedHat (2%), Other (8%)

Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
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Creating bootable USB using Diskpart and using it to install Windows 7

There has got to be a way to create a bootable USB drive using Windows! In this article I will describe how to do it with nothing more than the Windows DVD and a separate Windows workstation. First of all, I hate that HP utility that needs a floppy. What the tarnation is that? If you don’t have a DVD of a floppy drive you need this method.


Before we begin you will need to know a few things. You will need to know the drive letters of your drives such as the DVD drive with the Windows 7 media, the drive letter the USB stick.


[um] WARNING: The drive letter of the USB drive might change during this process.
[um] WARNING: All information on your USB drive will be erased.
[um] WARNING: Your USB drive must be large enough to store the content of your DVD drive. (3 GB or larger)
[um] WARNING: This article assumes you have significant administrative experience and understand the consequences of each command. Proceed at your own risk.


Task 1: Making the USB drive an Active Primary Partition.


  1. Open a command prompt (with administrative rights if required by your OS).
  2. At the command Prompt type Diskpart and press enter
  3. Type List Disk and press enter
  4. You will see a list of all the disks on your computer.. A number will identify each disk.
    1. If you do not know which disk is you USB drive go through the list by typing Select Disk 1 enter and then type details. repeat until you know you are on the right USB drive. Hint: It is probably the last one.
  5. Type select disk 4* and press enter. The system will report: “Disk 4* is now selected” (*Where disk 4 is the number of the USB drive, change this number to reflect your system).
  6. Type Clean and press enter. The system will report “DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.” This will remove the disk from your current drive letter for your USB.
  7. Type create partition primary and press enter. The system will report “DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.”
  8. Type select partition 1 and press enter. The system will report “Partition 1 is now the selected partition.”
  9. Type active and press enter. The system will report “DiskPart Marked the current partition as active.”
  10. Type assign and press enter.  The system will report “DiskPart successfully assigned a drive letter …”
  11. Type detail disk and press enter. Details will be listed and under the column heading “LTR” you will see the drive letter. I will assume it is U: for the remainder of the explanation.
  12. Type  exit  and press enter. This will leave the DiskPart context.


Task 2: Formating the USB Drive and copying the install files.


  1. If the command prompt is not still open, open the command prompt.
  2. Type format U: /fs:fat32 /q and press enter. (Where U: is the letter of your USB Drive)
  3. A warning will appear indicating all information on the drive will be lost. Type Y and press enter.
  4. You will be prompted to enter a label for the drive. Press enter to continue.
  5. We have now formatted the drive and can proceed to copying the files. Assuming Drive d: for DVD and Drive u: for USB
  6. Type xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f u:\  . The files will copy and may take a long time depending on the USB drive performance.

Once the files have completed copying, the USB drive is bootable. You may have to change the Boot Order in the BIOS settings of the machine you which to boot from the USB drive.


Jeff Loucks
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Hyper-V: Disk2vhd Free Physical Disk Conversion tool

Well dual boot just went obsolete. At least installing to two different directories it did. Now you can achieve true isolation. Mark Rusinovich wizard extraordinaire and the Microsoft Sysinternals team launched a great new tool. Disk2VHD excerpted from the Sysinternals site:


 Download Disk2vhd (704 KB)


Introduction


Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk – Microsoft’s Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows’ Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted (though performance is better when the VHD is on a disk different than ones being converted).


The Disk2vhd user interface lists the volumes present on the system:



It will create one VHD for each disk on which selected volumes reside. It preserves the partitioning information of the disk, but only copies the data contents for volumes on the disk that are selected. This enables you to capture just system volumes and exclude data volumes, for example.


Note: Virtual PC supports a maximum virtual disk size of 127GB. If you create a VHD from a larger disk it will not be accessible from a Virtual PC VM.


To use VHDs produced by Disk2vhd, create a VM with the desired characteristics and add the VHDs to the VM’s configuration as IDE disks. On first boot, a VM booting a captured copy of Windows will detect the VM’s hardware and automatically install drivers, if present in the image. If the required drivers are not present, install them via the Virtual PC or Hyper-V integration components. You can also attach to VHDs using the Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Disk Management or Diskpart utilities.


Note: do not attach to VHDs on the same system on which you created them if you plan on booting from them. If you do so, Windows will assign the VHD a new disk signature to avoid a collision with the signature of the VHD’s source disk. Windows references disks in the boot configuration database (BCD) by disk signature, so when that happens Windows booted in a VM will fail to locate the boot disk.


Disk2vhd runs Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1, and higher, including x64 systems.


Thanks Dieter Rauscher for the heads up,


Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology


 


 

Windows Server 2008 R2 Branch Office: Features to Empower the Cloud

If you are involved at all with Microsoft on a professional level, you could not miss the fact that Microsoft is lugging the Juggernaut that it is toward Cloud computing. Branch Office is a logical intermediary step in the strategy since technology that Microsoft develops here will be leveraged to connect to a platform in the cloud like Windows Azure.


Over the remainder of the month I am going to deep dive on new features of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Win7 as they relate to Branch Offices. I will talk about strategies for mitigating common problems and provide an in depth look at these new features. This is an introductory article on the series.


Microsoft is leveraging some of the peer-2-peer technologies we have seen evolve for allegedly legal and illegal software and music distribution through tools like Kazaa and also through initiative like IBM’s Peer to Peer Remote Copy or the European Unions P2P-Next. I first saw this type of software leveraged commercially by a gaming company about 2 years ago and Microsoft is putting it into commercial application in one of its applications of Branch Cache. The use of peer-2-peer technologies is not only a revolutionary step forward but also an acknowledgment that resources that pass through Internet are constrained and the more you can share locally with other users the less you strain that resource.


These are only a few of the ground breaking tools we have seen emerge with this new release generation and I hope you will subscribe to my blog to keep up to date on how the technologies we see in Branch Office are going to shape the future if consumers and business act the way Microsoft and others in the industry predict.


Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology

A Case for an Interleaving Constrained Shared Memory

New Research from the University of Michigan duo Jie Yu and Satish Narayanasamy looks into encoding a set of tested correct interleavings in a program’s binary executable using Predecessor Set (PSet) constraints. These constraints are efficiently enforced at runtime using processor support, which ensures that the runtime follows a tested interleaving. They analyze several bugs in open source applications such as MySQL, Apache, Mozilla, etc., and show that, by enforcing PSet constraints, one can avoid not only data races and atomicity violations, but also other forms of concurrency bugs.


Source: A Case for Interleaving Constrained Shared Memory


 Conclusions:


Testing and verifying a multi-threaded program is more difficult than a single-threaded program, because the number of possible interleavings is exponential over the number of memory operations executed by different threads. They make a case for an interleaving constrained shared-memory multi-processor which avoids untested interleavings.

This paper makes the first step towards designing an interleaving constrained multi-processor. To detect untested interleavings one needs a set of invariants fundamentally different from the ones used to detect incorrect interleavings such as a data race invariant or AVIO. They focused on constraining the runtime interleaving such that, no two remote memory operations are allowed to depend on each other at runtime, unless that dependency was observed in at least one of the test runs. They built a software tool to detect PSet constraints and enforce them, but as expected, it incurs significant runtime slowdown. They proposed extensions to a multi-processor design, which enables efficient detection of PSet constraint violations. On detecting a violation, checkpoint support is used for re-executing the program with an alternative interleaving and resolve the PSet constraint violations.


They analyzed several bugs in real applications, and showed that the proposed system can avoid not only data races and atomicity violations, but also other unstructured memory order related concurrency bugs. The number of false constraint violations in a well tested program is very small, and as a result, the resulting performance overhead is also negligible.


Thanks for the great read!


 Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology

Hyper-V 2008 R2 – Gotcha #1 – How to install Windows Server 2003 SP2 without a network card

Well I am deep into using Hyper-V R2 and I have probably forgotten a dozen things that caught me off guard at the beginning. I have resolved to just blog about them as they come up rather that put them in order of importance.


In order for Hyper-V 2008 R2 Integration services to be installed on Windows Server 2003, SP2 needs to be installed. Now in most circustances this would not be a problem because you could use slipstreamimng to make another ISO image with the SP2 or SP3 install files. For more information on slip streamimng look here: How to integrate software updates into your Windows installation source files.


Having said that, there are instances were you can’t slip stream media because of deeper integrations. Just one such case is with SBS 2003 R2. It so happened that I was creating an SBS 2003 VM when I hit this snag. It is one of those catch 22 situations. The network card does not work because integrations services are not installed but you can’t install integrations services without SP2 installed and you can’t get SP2 on to the VM because you don’t have a network connection yet.


So I started thinking through how to get SP2 on the box. My first two thoughts were Pass-Through Disk or Build an ISO. I quckly abandoned those. I started downloading SP2 while I was thinking and that is when VHD support in Wndows 2008 R2 came to mind. Before the download had completed I shutdown the VM with the partially installed SBS 2003. The following is a step by step of how to mount a VHD as a drive in Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2.


Task 1: Attach VHD as Drive on Parent Partition


  1. Click Start > Rick Click on Computer
  2. Select Manage from the right click context menu
  3. Select Storage
  4. Right click Disk Management
  5. Select Attach VHD from the right click context menu
  6. Browse or type the location of your VHD file (In my case it was the OS drive for SBS 2003)
  7. Click OK. Assign a drive Letter (I will assume you selected V: for the rest of the description)
  8. You have now mounted the VHD file as a hard drive and can access it like a regular drive.

Task 2: Add Windows 2003 SP2 to the drive


  1. Right click on the Windows 2003 SP2 installer file you downloaded earlier
  2. Select Send to > V: (V: being the drive letter you assinged to the VHD file)
  3. You have now copied the file to the VHD file on you. You can vaerify this by using Windows Explorer.

Task 3: Dettach the VHD from the Parent


  1.  
    1. Click Start > Rick Click on Computer
    2. Select Manage from the right click context menu
    3. Select Storage
    4. Click Disk Management
    5. Right click on Drive V:
    6. Select Dettach VHD from the right click context menu
    7. You have now detached the VHD file as a hard drive and can start the VM again.

Task 4: Restart SBS 2003 R2 Child Partition and install SP2


  1. Start your Child Partion
  2. After you have logged on
  3. Open windows Explorer and go to the c: drive
  4. Double click the Windows 2003 SP2 installer.
  5. After the installer complete and you have completed the required restarts, insert the Integration Services disk
  6. Once the integration services complete the network card will find its drivers.

So finally I could complete the install of SBS 2003 R2 on Hyper-V 2008 R2.


Hope that helps,


 Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology