Category Archives: 5775

Windows Server 2008 and Vista Service Pack 2

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Well – after months of testing the first service pack for Windows Server 2008 was released – Service Pack 2… yes – that sound strange doesn’t it – the first Service Pack for Server 2008 is SP2, that is because Server 2008 was released at SP1 level because it shares the same code base as Windows Vista.  So Microsoft have now created Service Pack 2 – which applies to both Vista AND Windows Server 2008 (and therefore SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Foundation too).

Tonight I decided to “quickly install” Vista Service Pack 2 on my Toshiba Portege R500 laptop.  I thought that it might help with stability issues that I’ve had.  Well, I’m not sure on the stability issues right now as it’s only been 2 hours since I installed it, so I’ll report on it later.  However it did take nearly 1.5 hours for the Service pack to full install including all the reboots.  It’s not a quick install, but it did go through nicely without any issues.  The system seems a little snappier to respond right now and I’m sure that I’ll find out more tomorrow.

Links you need…

Technet Information and Downloads for SP2 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-au/windows/dd262148.aspx

Category: Software
Published: 28/05/2009 9:59 PM

Windows Live Family Safety Filter – How to Remove it

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Ok – so now I’ve finished testing it, there is one downside that I’ve found that “might” make it a little more difficult for me as an IT Pro.  During testing I’ve found a few times that the Windows Live Family Safety Filter will prevent me from doing some basic testing (Pings etc) unless it is signed in.  Now given I am administrator on my laptop it’s not an issue for me to circumvent this when I need to.  however now that I’ve done my testing I decided that I want to remove the Windows Live Family Safety Filter.  The only problem was that I could not find it in my programs list.  After much digging I found it buried under the Windows Live Essentials option.

To remove Windows Live Family Safety Filter on Windows Vista, go to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Windows Live Essentials, and right click on it to select Uninstall/Change

 

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The select Uninstall from the Windows Live screen.

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Select Family Safety to remove it.

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Once it’s all done you get the following dialog box.  As a precaution, I decided to reboot my computer even though it did not ask for it.

 

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Category: Software
Published: 18/04/2009 12:24 PM

Windows Live Family Safety Filter – monitoring my kids Internet Access

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I’ve been trialling out the Windows Live Family Safety Filter so that I could have it running on the computers for my kids.  I’ve got a teenager and a soon to be teenager, and I need to monitor both and block some of the less than desirable web sites from their computers.  My kids often take their computers to friends places and therefore I needed a solution that will work regardless of where they are. I also needed a solution that will allow me to unblock legitimate sites if I need to.

So I installed the Windows Live Family Safety Filter on my laptop.  So far so good – I tested it over the last few weeks and it works fine for me. I can via the website see where I’ve been and my wife and I can both use it to monitor and block access as required.  Below you can see the initial control panel where you can select what level of blocking you can select on a person by person

 

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You can then drill down into the Activity Reporting section and see the websites that have been accessed by the child along with how many visits the child has done to the website.  You can also elect to see only the blocked activity if you wish.

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On the right hand side, you can choose to Change Setting – this will allow you to block the site either for this user or for all accounts in your management domain.  Note – I don’t normally go to www.playboy.com – but did so to illustrate what you can do with this.  If you select the arrow to the left of the website, you can expand all the pages on the site that the child has visited (I didn’t here as there were some VERY adult articles there).

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Furthermore, you can then see what applications are accessing what websites on the “Other Internet Activity” tab.  Below you can see that Outlook.exe has accessed a number of sites – this is for the images in emails that I received.

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All in all – this is a great free tool that you can use to monitor and manage the web surfing activities of your children and therefore provide them with additional protection.  Naturally, I’m not relying on this alone. I am also working on educating the kids so that they will more readily recognise “bad stuff” and avoid it.

Category: Software
Published: 18/04/2009 11:35 AM

Are your appointments out by an hour today?

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If you like me totally forgot about it then you might notice that your appointments on your Windows Mobile device are out by an hour today vs what you have in your Outlook Calendar.  I’m based in Sydney, Australia and Daylight savings was modified last year to end on the First Saturday in April – it used to be the last Saturday of March.  This simple change means that unless you know about it and have updated all your Windows based computers, servers, mobile devices and Outlook that you will have your appointments occuring 1 hour different this week.

For me – I’ve already done my servers, computers and outlook, but forgot my Windows Mobile Device.  Here’s the link to update your Windows Mobile device.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/daylight-savings-update.mspx

Category: Software
Published: 29/03/2009 7:51 PM

GFi WebMonitor causes AV updates to stop

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I’ve got a larger non SBS site and we discovered that a recent upgrade to GFI WebMonitor caused the AV updates to randomly stop to the servers. The site uses Trend Micro’s OfficeScan product and we were experiencing an error message during the update cycle that suggested that the AV pattern file updates were corrupt.  We traced it back to the GFi WebMonitor software which was intercepting all downloads including the AV Pattern File updates.  To solve the problem simply add *.trendmicro.com to the Whitelist in the GFI console and Save Settings.  Now things work once more.

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Category: Software
Published: 12/09/2008 4:32 PM

Shockey Monkey coming to Sydney

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Yes – that’s right folks, the community focused Shockey Monkey system launched by Vlad from Own Web Now and built using 100% community input is coming to Sydney.  It’s due to officially launch shortly, and Vlad is shipping servers to Australia as we speak so that he can work around some of the privacy laws that surround storage of customer data.  Check out Vlads blog for more info here

Category: Software
Published: 17/02/2008 9:39 AM

Windows 2008 Step by Step Guides

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Microsoft have released a number of step by step guides on how to configure Windows 2008 Server.  They are not SBS specific (I’ll have some on my site soon) but I figure they are a great place to start for people wanting to get the lowdown on Windows Server 2008.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=518d870c-fa3e-4f6a-97f5-acaf31de6dce&displaylang=en&tm

Category: Software
Published: 12/02/2008 6:42 PM

HP RAID Controller – Drive Expansion

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I’m onsite today doing some work with a client – one of the things I’ve had to do is to add some disks to an existing HP RAID setup.  Part of the screen below includes an animated refresh button which "might" give them impression that it’s refreshing the screen often. It’s not.  The tip of the day is to HIT the REFRESH button.  Had I done it earlier, I would have realised that my drive expansion was actually FINISHED. 

DOH!

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Category: Software
Published: 12/02/2008 11:10 AM

Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 have RTM’d

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Ok – so i’ll be blog post number 3,458,266 to tell you that after a long wait, Vista Service Pack 1 has been released today (Tuesday here in Australia but Monday in the USA).  In addition Windows Server 2008 went RTM as well putting it on target for the official launch later this month.  I found this morning that Windows Server 2008 is now available on MSDN for those subscribers, but Vista SP1, and apparently we should expect Vista SP1 to be coming out in the next few weeks too.  I’m not sure why they can’t release it now at least for downloads if indeed it is officially RTM’d.

Does this mean you should go out right now and deploy Windows Server 2008 in your production environments?  Well – the answer to that is that it’s up to you.  If you exercise due caution in your testing then sure – go right ahead.  If you head out with wild abandon and deploy it without testing then your in for trouble.  Don’t do that to your clients.  Test it and become familiar with it.

For me – I’ve been playing with it for a while now and will hopefully this weekend upgrade the web server that runs SBSfaq.com to W2008.  I figure that’s one of the best ways for me to get my hands dirty.  If there are problems then the only person it affects is me…oh yeah – and my loyal subscribers.  Please bear with us as we go forward on this path.

Category: Software
Published: 5/02/2008 11:24 AM

Exchange 2007 SP1 fixes lots more than is documented

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I’ve been wrestling with Exchange 2007 on my one of my larger sites now for the last 7 weeks.  I’ve had the case with MS PSS here in Australia for that long too and they have not been able to make ANY progress on it at all.  When I first lodged the case, Exchange 2007 SP1 was in beta – and at that time I asked if the issues we were experiencing were resolved by it at all – apparently they could find no such solution to our problem in the notes for SP1 – therefore they did not (and as at last Friday – a week and a bit AFTER SP1 was released) suggest or recommend we install it.  Their words were "you can try it if want but you don’t have to and we don’t know of anything that will fix it".

Despite all this – the customer is getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress with this issue – we have put a workaround in place using Virtualised Exchange 2003 servers on each of the remote sites, but that was a band aid solution.  I decided that I had to try as I know from experience that not all the fixes documented in a service pack actually fix things the way the software vendor intended them to.  So I applied Exchange 2007 SP1 to the sites and it worked!!!  I got a few funny error messages along the way and I’ve detailed them below in case you strike them yourself.

Remember – when your working with a software vendors support team – don’t assume that they know it all.  Ask intelligent questions and always question what they ask you to do so that you know where you are heading with the fault investigation.  If they don’t have a plan of attack with the next few steps thought out then ask for another engineer.

Issues we had that were directly fixed with Exchange 2007 SP1 included;

1. Mail was backing up in mail queues on the remote site servers and no mail flow was possible between the remote servers (although strangely mail would flow from the remote sites OUT via the Head Office Exchange 2007 server to the net, but not the other way).

In the mail queue viewer we got the following messages depending on if we were looking at the headoffice or the remote servers mail queues;

421 4.4.2 Connection Droppedthis was seen when the HO server was talking to some remote sites

451 5.7.3 Cannot Achieve Exchange Server Authenticationthis was seen when the HO server was talking to ONE remote site

The SMTP troubleshooter when run on all remote servers gave even more cryptic messages including;

530 5.7.1 Client was not authenticated – this was seen when the remote sites were talking to ALL other remote sites (except ONE)

Remote server servername.domain.local failed the mail acceptance test. BDAT command: Respond = Remote socket is not available. Check for firewalls and applications that can possibly block the BDAT command. – This was seen when the both the head office site and remote sites were talking to ONE remote site

We applied Exchange 2007 SP1 to all sites and mail flowed again without a problem.

 

2. The second issue we had on ONE server only (and this may be a side effect of the investigations done to date) was that whenever we tried to assign a certificate to the SMTP service we got the following messages;

And further more when we went to install Exchange 2007 SP1 we got this message;

Hub Transport Role

Failed

Error:

Active Directory operation failed on servername.domain.local. This error is not retriable. Additional information: Insufficient access rights to perform the operation.

Active directory response: 00002098: SecErr: DSID-03150A45, problem 4003 (INSUFF_ACCESS_RIGHTS), data 0

The user has insufficient access rights.

We resolved this issue by deleting cached credentials (go figure) using the following command;

Start > Run > "control keymgr.dll" and then delete all entries that were there

We then reapplied Exchange 2007 SP1 and it worked fine.  This site was the one that gave funky authentication messages and the BDAT message listed above – I don’t know how the cached password could have caused this issue or even if it was the fault – but I mention it for sake of completeness.

 

3. The last issue was that when applying Exchange 2007 SP1 to a health server, it stopped part way through with an error indicating that the Application log file was full.  We cleared the application log and restarted the SP install – but it then failed with an error indicating that IIS was not running or installed or disabled.

I looked and found that the following services were stopped and set to disabled IIS Admin Service, HTTP SSL Service and World Wide Web Publishing Service.  I set them to automatic and started them and then restarted the SP1 install – all went through without an issue.

 

Hopefully my experiences will save you from a similar fate – good luck 🙂

Category: Software
Published: 18/12/2007 2:37 PM