Category Archives: Uncategorized

Xobni and Outlook

I just came across a new product, currently in beta, that turns Outlook into a “social networking tool”. Not only does it give you lightning fast email searches, but it brings a wealth of information that I certainly did not think possible, much less needed. Email analytics, extract phone numbers from emails, threaded conversations, quick attachment discovery, and on, and on, and on.


They say a picture is wroth a thousand words … so check it out here: http://www.xobni.com/learnmore/


-kw

Spiceworks 1.6 and SBS

I’ve recently been taking a look at Spiceworks, which is a free network administration tool. I am not either promoting or recommending this tool. But other people I have talked with have looked at it, so I wanted to see for myself.


I installed Spiceworks on my workstation (not on the server). An issue you may run into is that when Spiceworks does a scan of your network, it may not be able to identify either your workstations or your SBS server.


If your SBS server is running ISA 2004:
Within the ISA Server Management console, right click on the SBS Protected Networks Access Rule and choose Configure RPC Protocol and clear out the check box for the Enforce strict RPC compliance option.


For your workstations, you will need to enable Remote Admin for the workstations in your network. You can do this in one of two ways, either via GPO or by visiting each computer and running a NETSH command


Method 1: GPO (Note: there is a general Microsoft Technet article on the subject)
1. Open up Group Policy from your SBS Mgmt Console
2. Go to the SBS Firewall GPO and right click and select Edit
3. Open Computer Configuration, open Administrative Templates, open Network, open Network Connections, open Windows Firewall, and then open Domain Profile
4. In the details pane, double-click Windows Firewall: Allow remote administration exception.
5. In the Windows Firewall: Allow remote administration exception properties dialog box, on the Settings tab, click Enabled


Method 2: NETSH Command line
– Click Start > Run > cmd
– Type: netsh firewall set service remoteadmin enable


Hope this helps!
-kw

Term Server and the Remote App

The following situation was recently posted to the NG. Les Connor’s reply, as usual, nailed the solution perfectly!


First SBS2003 installation, one reception workstation and 2 business partners with laptops who would be in and out of the office. The problem is the line-of-business applications these people use. I was amazed at how limited the configuration options are for these apps. They mostly seem to have derived from old DOS apps to which have been retrofitted for some multi user capabilities. They all expect the binaries and data to be in a single folder hierarchy with no configuration options to separate the data to a different folder/drive/share. The trouble with these types of apps is that you cannot install the executables/binaries/read only bits on the local machine (eg laptop) and have them access data on a network share. So all binaries have to be loaded over the wire (or wireless) with consequential performance hits.

When I got RWW up and running and the partners discovered Remote Desktop Connection they were really impressed. However now we have only one permanently wired in workstation (reception) which is available (only after hours) for RDC.


So finally I get to my question. If we were to set up a Terminal Server could it be used via RWW and RDC to access the business apps (with just screen updates/keyboard/mouse going over the wire)? I note that in RWW only administrators can remote connect to servers – does Terminal Server appear as a server in RWW or are there other options?


And the answer is … (thanks, Les):


Hi John, So long as the LOB apps will run on a TS, this is a great approach.


With the limited amount of users in the current environment, and subject to your hardware being up to the task … Install Virtual Server on the SBS. Install your TS as a virtual machine, join it to the domain. A new link to ‘Connect to my Company’s Application Server’ will magically appear in Remote Web Workplace :-).

Now this is sweet. From anywhere you have an internet connection, and without installing any software, anywhere, your mobile users have access to the LOB apps, as well as the rest of the domain/network resources 🙂

Les Connor [SBS Community Member – SBS MVP]
SBS Rocks !

Still trying to reach you, Mr. Gaskin!

I have been trying to contact either Mr. Gaskin and the editors at Network World ever since they received my initial response to Mr. Gatskin’s review of the SBS 2003 R2.


In what could be categorized as “truth is stranger than fiction”, my repeated attempts to contact therm have fallen null and void. That is, until my latest attempt on Friday evening. Lo and behold, on Saturday evening I find this in my inbox:


This message was created automatically by mail delivery software. A message that you sent has not yet been delivered to one or more of its recipients after more than 24 hours on the queue.


 


The message identifier is:     1GBi6k-0004Im-3B


The subject of the message is: FW: FW: Feedback


http://www.networkworld.com/reviews/2006/073106-microsoft-smb-server-test.html


The date of the message is:    Fri, 11 Aug 2006 21:16:16 -0400


 


The address to which the message has not yet been delivered is: james@gaskin.com


 


No action is required on your part. Delivery attempts will continue for some time, and this warning may be repeated at intervals if the message remains undelivered. Eventually the mail delivery software will give up, and when that happens, the message will be returned to you.



Hopefully, Mr. Gaskin will be able to resolve his email problems. Or, perhaps he would consider installing SBS2003!


Response to the James Gaskin’s "Challenge"

Author James Gaskin published a review of SBS 2003 R2  in Network World on 7/31/2006.


I thought the article was quite favorable, highlighting many of the important features in R2. I responded to him privately, first, with my comments and suggestions, and subsequently posted on my blog: http://msmvps.com/blogs/kwsupport/archive/2006/08/03/106657.aspx


Primarily, I took exception to his repeated assertions that SBS could not be kept secured by neophyte SBS admins, nor could they install or maintain it without help from consultants. I also suggested that he could have done his readers a service by directing them to the SBS Specialist Community and the public SBS newsgreoup, if help was required.


Well, he did receive my comments, because he sent me back a challenge privately.


I appreciate your comments, and will mention them soon on the SMB page. So you’re willing to bet that 100 percent, or even 90 percent, of your SBS customers have an up to date, secured installation with all appropriate patches and security alerts under control without much outside help? If that’s true, I’ll do a story on just you guys and how your customers are more secure than most.


 


James E. Gaskin



Well, I responded to his challenge the same day (with two NW editors copied on the email). He claims he did not receive my response. But rather than the courtesy of trying to contact me again to see if I received his challenge, he went ahead and made presumptions based on not hearing back from me – Microsoft Fans Don’t Respond


This evening, I resent my response to his challenge, and have posted it below. Tell me what you think!


James, I hope I’m not naïve enough to claim that every SBS site is up to date on their security patches! Some intervention, even with R2, is required. But R2 makes the whole process so much easier, and that was the (positive) point I was trying to make.


Microsoft’s SBS Dev team has done a fantastic job in designing a new front end interface to WSUS in R2. They’ve simplified the whole process of reviewing new patches, and scheduling them for download and implementation. I say this from personal experience. I tried installing standard WSUS on several systems in the past year, and was frustrated with the learning curve and process. But, with R2 I would not be hesitant in training selected users at a customer site to be responsible for reviewing/scheduling security patches.


 


Saying that, most customers that I know still prefer that their SBS consultant continue to manage and schedule implementation of security patches. In those cases, the combination of Remote Web Workplace and WSUS in SBS R2 makes this a very easy process for the SBS consultant to do remotely.


 


Now, if you can get me an SBS R2/WSUS console that allows me to monitor multiple customer sites on one screen, then we would be rocking!


 


Finally, I’d be happy to touch base with my counterparts, if that’s OK with you, to see if any of them would like to take you up on their offer!


 


Sincerely,


Kevin Weilbacher


 


Driver Update Challenge

For years, I have recommended people to only use WU/MU/WSUS to install critical updates, and to avoid at all cost installing or updating any drivers that these tools may report. But, I have also talked to many Microsoft people who tell me that updating drivers via WU/MU/WSUS do (or should) work.


I would love to hear from anyone who regularly uses WU/MU/WSUS to perform driver updates on production workstations and/or servers. If I can get more than ten positive stories, I’d be willing to put my own home production server and one workstation on the line and try it.


So, you have one week to share your stories or experiences!

I’m Back!!!

Well, as Arnold Schwarzeger said  in Terminator 3: “I’m back!”


Back in February I had to put myself on a self imposed hiatur from posting in the public newsgroup, because oif a variety of personal and business related issues. Every person needs to learn when to say ‘No’, even to those things that he or she dearly loves. I recall a pastor once saying that every good thing is not God’s thing for your life.


So here’s the short version of my life the last 4 months:


1) At the beginning of 2006 I had a 3 day physical at the Mayo clinic in Minnesota, where an MRI scan showed some clump of cell/tissues on the right side of the head. Doctors are going to observe and measure it every 6 months. As long as it does not grow, there’s no other concerns. There’s a good chance that it is just dead tissue. But, as you can guess … this led to some increased concerns for my health


2) Meanwhile, for the last two years we have been trying to build a new house. One year into the project, we had to totally throw out the old plan and come up with a new plan, as the surveyors did not do their job right, and the house plan we had designed would literally not fit on the property!!!


3) Last fall, probably due to the steess of redoing house plans for the umpteenth time, my wife had a relapse of her Lyme disease. She has been going to a specialist for several years, and it had been under control. By the beginning of the year, it was getting the best of her.


4) We finally set a date of March 3rd to move into to our new house.So what does my boss do? He decides we need to move into new facilities. But since the new facilities will not be done in time, and the lease on our old office space was up – we were going to have to move twice – once in February, and again in April or May. Yup, we had to break down servers and workstations, relocate phone and data and Internet services twice in an 8 week time span. And inthe interim location, we had phone and data cable just strung all over on the floor.in every office and the hallway. What a sight!


5) Meanwhile, way back in November we had a contract  to sell our old house. Sure enough, in February, the people pulled out. We got a second offer, but they couldn’t get financing. I went with a realtor to sell the house, and we were suppose to close last Monday (June 5th, which is my birthday). You guess it … no closing. So here it is Friday, June 9th and my realtor tells me tonight we “may” close next Monday at 2pm. You just got to love double mortgage payments and double utility bills!


6) Meanwhile, back on the family front, our younger daughter, Jenny, who is turning 28 next week and has Downs Syndrome, and lives with us, had a severe bronchial problem which caused her to miss two months of work. My wife was fighting migraines due to the medication she was taking for the Lyme disease.


This barely scratches the surface, but as you can see .. this left very little room for all of our “extra curricular” activities.


I am happy to report that (1) my wife is doing better, but not out of the woods, (2) my daughter has been working at McDonalds again, and hasn’t missed a work day in the last two months, (3) we are loving our new house, (4) we are moved into our final office space in downtown Tampa, and (5) we are booked for a cruise in July — and I better not see a hurricane!!!!


Through it all, people have been great, and the strength of our faith in God has kept us singing, in good times and in bad! Here’s a cheer to many more good times in the days and years ahead for each if us!

Workaround if OWA requires domain name for logon

Recently I installed Exchange 2003 SP2 on an SBS server that did NOT have SBS SP1 on it. After installing the Exchange service pack, remote users could not logon just using their username. They had to include the domain name as well — format: domain\username. I tried running the KB 832539 fix that came out after SBS SP1, but it would not run, saying it could not find Exchange 2003 SP1.


If you have a similar situation, here is the workaround that will allow a user to login to OWA by just using their username:


1. Start up IIS
2. Under the Default Web Site locate the Exchange virtual directory (the one labeled Exchange, not the ExchWeb one)
3. Right click on the Exchange virtual directory and click on Properties
4. Go to the Directory Security tab
5. Click EDIT in the Authentication and Access Control section
6. The default domain name field will currently contain a single slash: \
7. Replace the single \ with the Netbios Domain name* of your SBS server and OK the changes
8. Then stop and restart the Default Web site


* If you are not sure of the Netbios domain name of your server, go to AD Users & Computers, then right click on your server name, and click Properties. Your Netbios domain name is listed in the Pre-Windows 2000 domain name field.

2004-11-19 “Singin’ in the Rain”

I suppose the reason I like to sing, and to listen to music, is that it makes me happy. Nothing like a good ol’ rock ‘n roll song, or a broadway showtune, to lift my mind out of the day to day work issues … and whistle a happy tune!

I was standing in a very long line at the Washington DC/Reagan National Airport yesterday evening to fly back home to end one very long (21 hour) work day. I turned to the person behind me and started talking about show tunes. Before long, we had a whole group of people talking about their favorite movie and showtune. Sure made waiting in line to go through the Security Clearanace a lot a happier event.

One of my all time favorites movie musicals, now over 50 years old, is ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor.

MP3:
http://www.reelclassics.com//Audio_Video/Music4m/clips/singin_maintitle_clip.mp3
Midi: http://members.tripod.com/~bakkutteh/singing_in_the_rain.mid


Singin’ in the Rain
aka Patchin’ Once Again

I’m patchin’ once again
Just patchin’ once again
What a glorious feelin’
It’s broken once again

I’m looking for help
The boss is upset
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for bed

Let the stormy clouds chase
Every bug from the place
Come on with the patchin’
I’ve a smile on my face

I load up my tapes
While I sit here and wait,
Just patchin’,
Just patchin’ once again

Patchin’ once again
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I’m happy again!
I’m singin’ and patchin’ once again!
I’m patchin’ and singin’ once again.


Kevin Weilbacher [SBS-MVP]
“The days pass by so quickly now, the nights are seldom long”