I already posted this video via twitter but i wanted to follow up with a brief over view of what we were doing and demonstrate we dont just sit about the office timing computers to boot up. Well, most days we don’t, the rest of the time we are playing Halo.
Last week the MD of one of our biggest customers said ‘Im going on holiday, and when i come back i want a new laptop’ Of course we said, well thats fine but um, you might wanna buy one?
He then dissapeard off to some exclusive destination for Uber Rich Managing Directors, and left us to ponder what laptop to purchase for him.
We had a budget of £550.00 (+VAT) and looked through our suppliers list of laptops for that price. We decided that the list was totally uninspiring, and in actual fact the difference in quality between the lower range, £300 laptops to the £600 laptops was negligible.
Because of that, i thought, well, why don’t we get a more conservative laptop, and beef it up with an SSD HD?
My boss was aghast, “do you know how much they cost?” I replied that i did, but with a cheaper laptop, the overall cost would be the same and the performance would be increased.
He took some convincing, and with the help of Philip Elder and Tim Barrett, i was armed with enough ‘expert opinion’ to sway him to pay up.
So we settled on the HP ProBook 4525s.(Model XX800EA)
AMD Turion II 2.5ghz Dual Core (2mb Cache)
3GB Ram (DDR3 1333) (Max 8GB)
320GB 7200rpm SATA300 HD
15.6" LCD (16:9 WXGA 1366×768 LED)
Mobility Radeon HD 4250
Win 7 Pro x64
Plus all the usual USB & Network Interfaces, Card Reader and Webcam
We decided to install an Intel SSD following previous research and glowing recommendations, we settled on a 160GB 320 Series Intel SSD. We picked one of these up for under £200.00
Installing the drive was a little trickier than we had assumed it would be, unlike laptops we are accustomed to, these ProBooks have a totally solid base – with no vents or access to components. We had to strip the laptop down (after carefully reviewing the manual) by first removing some screws from the battery bay, then removing the keyboard bezel, then the keyboard, then the palm rest.
Installing the drive itself was easy and don’t be fooled by the black ‘bumper’ on the Intel drive it fits perfectly with that still attached. In fact if you take that off as we did, the drive will fall apart LOL.
We also used Acronis to image the HP shipped drive to the SSD drives (which was incredibly quick) before we installed the drive.
We powered up the SSD laptop and followed the usual setup requirements, we roughly timed it at 9 minutes. We lost interest in timing the non SSD laptop.
The real test came when both laptops had been ‘configured’ to a point where we had a user account with a password, and we were no longer prompted to do any setup when powering on.
The video below shows the results of a cold boot, with more or less simultaneous power on.
You can see that the SSD (On the Left) boots much quicker than the standard HDD, not only that, but once we type the password (we gave the HDD time to catch up) you will notice that the HP Security software logo in the top left on the screen is the last app to load at logon, this appears almost instantly on the SSD but takes some time to appear on the HDD.
Of course adding the SSD makes the laptop a little more expensive but we think it is a massive improvement, even considering we traded off 1GB of ram to go to a lower model laptop than those retailing at the £550 mark.
A good test would be to fire it up against a £550.00 laptop, which if we had one we would do. However i imagine the SSD would still beat it without breaking sweat.
The real test of course will be when we present this laptop to the client, and gauge their reaction.
I am more than proud to say i have been re-awarded as a Microsoft MVP for Small Business Server.
(i had a whole speech worked out for not getting renewed so this totally messes that up, maybe next year you will get to read it ;o) )
Special thanks to all the great people i have met over the last year especially, Tim Barrett, Susan Bradley, Dave Shackleford, Mr Eriq ‘Q’ Neale, Magical Marina Roos, Wayne Small and Dean Calvert, could name more but sure you are already bored.
I had a customer email me to show me a very weird issue.
When a user of a mac replied to one of there messages, the email came through showing the display name as a previous user of that mac.
ie. User A
Of course User B wanted this corrected.
The issue did not occur in Outlook for PC or using OWA / iPhone ActiveSync.
It was definatley an issue caused by the Mac.
I checked everywhere i could to find a setting – but couldnt find one within Outlook.
The only thing i could find referencing User A was the reigstration info of Office.
So we followed this article – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2394111
Unfortunatley this did not help, and actually left Excel a little unstable but that was easily fixed with a few restarts.
We then resolved to research the issue for a few days and come back to it.
A second conversation started up when i questioned if the same thing happend on a secondary account that User B had setup in Outlook.
Again i hit google, this time i turned up this page..
The very bottom comment solves the problem.
So thank you very much PSnell – i once again have a happy mac user.
I use an iPhone, and i have blogged before on how to use the iPhone configuration utility in order to make deployment of the phones easier for clients.
I didn’t cover the iPhone’s ability to use ‘Autodiscover’ in that post, it didn’t occur to me at the time.
It didn’t occur to me until the other day, and then i set about confirming how it works, and in what scenarios you can use it to auto-configure a clients phone.
To follow me through this post you will need:
A Small Business Server 2011 Standard (you should have run the ‘Connect to internet’ ‘Set up your address’ ‘add a trusted certificate’ wizard)
An iPhone or iPad
Note: When i say External IP of either SBS Server or Exchange Server, i mean the address you would type if you were going to Remote Web App / Remote Web Workplace, eg. remote.domain.com = 220.127.116.11 – this applies even if you are using a third party to provide anti spam or filtering services to your email.
So, from the ‘home’ screen find ‘settings’
Find ‘mail contacts and calendars’..
Choosing Add Account.. we can then choose a Microsoft Exchange Account.
You are then faced with 5 configurable settings.
- Email Address (your email address)
- Domain (your internal domain name, i.e.. sbs.local)
- Username (the username you use on your office computer)
- Password (the password for your office computer)
- Description (a description of this account – i.e. Company Email)
If you fill out these details with the settings relevant to you, you can then click Next. (if you click return it will automatically attempt the next stage)
You will see at the top of the screen ‘verifying..’
This is the part that has interested me, and i went to some lengths to find out what the iPhone is actually doing here.
However if i had used my brain at all i could have guessed it actually just follows the same behaviour you can see if you run the ‘Autodiscover’ tests here (at testexchangeconnectivity.com)
The iPhone will use DNS to query for your domains ‘default’ record – this is usually represented as an @ in your dns zone file.. but not something you are likely see if you are using a third party to host your DNS. Your default record like any other record translates ‘domain.com’ to an IP Address.
So for example, if you type in http://domain.com in to your browser, you MAY end up at your website, but you may end up elsewhere. It depends on the configuration of that record.
Suffice to say, it most likely does NOT point to your Exchange server. That is a problem.
If this query does return an IP address, then the iPhone will attempt the next stage of verification.
If you do not have an @ default record, for your domain, which is a valid configuration, then of course that query will fail and failover to query for ‘autodiscover.domain.com’.
At next stage of verification the iPhone will attempt an HTTPS connection to either – https://domain.com/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml or https://autodiscover.domain.com/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml
This XML file is located on your exchange server, you can see it within Windows Explorer.
You can open the file in notepad if you are interested to see the content
Please note THIS SHOULD NOT BE EDITED
You may be presented with a certificate warning if you are using a self signed – or single name certificate that is not for ‘autodiscover.domain.com’
It will attempt to login to the server with the username and password provided. If successful – your iPhone will be auto configured for your Exchange servers address.
You can then continue to finish the setup of your account.
If an HTTPS connection fails, then the process is repeated on HTTP.
If any of the above steps fail, or cannot complete – then you will be presented with a new box on your screen, and that will be for ‘Server Address’
Of course that’s fine to just enter at that stage – but it may be useful for some to know how to get this bit to work.
So to recap – to get the autodiscover feature to work:
- You must either point your domains @ record to the your Exchange Servers public IP address.
- Delete the @ record from DNS and then setup a new A Host record, for ‘Autodiscover.domain.com’ and point that to your Exchange Servers public IP address.
I am making no recommendation on which option to choose, however i personally chose to delete my ‘default’ record and nothing bad has happened.
What other things will prevent a smooth auto configure? A self issued, or incorrectly named certificate.
Now most people will know with an iPhone you can simply ignore invalid certificates, BUT this is an extra prompt, and in the spirit of removing those obstacles to your users you should consider getting a UCC certificate for your SBS Server.
SBS Server will run perfectly well with a single name certificate – in fact it is designed with this in mind.
However the price difference between a single name certificate and a UCC certificate has come down considerably so now there is a good case for using a UCC instead. If the iPhone could use the DNS SRV record method for attempting autodiscovery – like Outlook clients can, then we could stick with a single name certificate.
I came in this morning to write some documentation for a client after a migration to SBS 2011 Standard. Focussing on the differences in the new RWA and how to use it effectively.
When i logged into the RWA and clicked on check email i was presented with this:
Oh, i thought, maybe i logged in with an admin account that doesn’t have a mailbox. Not a problem, so i logged back into the RWA with an account that definatley does have one.
Nope, same problem.
I logged onto the server and checked that all of the URLs for OWA were correct in the EMC, i turned to IIS – i tried to browse the OWA site directly through IIS and received the same problem.
Loading up the services.msc console i sorted all services by their startup type and noticed that one service for exchange was not running.
Starting this service and reattempting the login to OWA resolved the problem.
Are you installing SBS Standard and wondering why you have the option of an upgrade or a custom install?
The WinPE environment for SBS Setup is based on the underlying Win2008R2 code (or for SBS 2008, just Server 2008), the full server products do have the functionality to upgrade enabled*, but for SBS this is DISABLED. So your only option is a custom install. Slightly confusing if you havent seen it before, but now you know.
*More info on upgrade paths for full server products can be found here:
A question came up on my twitter feed search about the differences between SBS Essentials and Windows Home Server. I tweeted back a simple reply, but got to thinking that perhaps those differences are not being explained or that the info is just not out there or easy to find. So i drew up this quick overview table showing the key differences between the two systems, and go into a bit more detail below.
SBS Essentials, like all versions of SBS, HAS to be a domain controller. It HAS to hold all of the FSMO roles, and there can be only one SBS box per domain. The SBS domain cannot form trusts with other domains or forests.
WHS cannot be a domain controller.
SBS Essentials cannot join another domain as a member server, it can join an existing domain IF the FSMO roles are transferred and any other SBS Server is demoted down and removed.
WHS cannot join a domain as a member server,
Remote Web Access (RWW/RWA)
Both SBS Essentials and WHS have a remote web access portal page, Differences here are that WHS now includes the ability to access and stream your media through the RWA, Essentials does not have the ability to stream media.
This could be misleading to some, SBS Essentials will backup itself (a server) it will not backup member servers, save for a server running Windows Multipoint 2011.
WHS Cannot backup servers.
The feature first introduced with WHSv1, that many of us in the SBSC jumped on for business use – was client backup. This feature is now available to SBS Essentials to include up to the maximum of the 25 clients you are allowed on the network (storage permitting) WHSv2 is limited to 10 clients.
SBS Essentials Health Reporting is much like that you will find in SBS Standard with reports and email alerts also in some cases recommended actions on how to fix problems. WHS Health reporting is limited to alerts only.
SBS Essentials cannot be a member of a home group. WHS of course can be a member of a Home Group
Addins (Third Party Apps)
SBS Essentials and WHS can take advantage of custom addins, built by you, or by ISV’s. Notable addins include the cloudberry app, OWN’s integration for their email products, LightsOut and MyMovies for WHS. You will find that a lot if not all of the addins work across the platforms. More addins here.
Office 365 Integration
The big one! As you may be aware SBS Essentials is designed with a cloud email solution in mind, in fact most Small Business do already use Cloud Email in the form of POP3 or IMAP or plain old Webmail. The Office365 integration addin will be launched sometime this year and will allow you to sync your users to and from OF365, syncing passwords between systems Details on this are still being confirmed so this is subject to change.
No plans currently to have console integration with WHS – but this also may change.
SBS Essentials will not have the ability to share media – this is related to the RWA access as above. I don’t believe there is any block on simply putting media files on a normal server share on the SBS.
WHS of course will host your media and stream it to you through the RWA.
SBS Essentials does not have the ability to be integrated with a media center, and of course WHS Does have Media Center
So there you have it. As i said these details are subject to change, but these are the core differences, if you think SBS Essentials – Business use / WHS – Home use, you wont go far wrong.
You can find more information on SBS Essentials and WHS 2011 here:
get the bits…
The East Anglia SBSC group was visited by Steve Wheeler of Microsoft last night to provide a non technical overview of SBS 2011 Standard, SBS 2011 Essentials, and a brief look at Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials (Code Name Breckenridge) and also Multipoint Server.
You can get yourself a copy of the slide deck here…
We were also treated to a ‘Small Business Server’ branded energy drink.. and proof if we needed it, that Susan Bradley is the centre of the SBS Universe..
So i have a clients laptop (XP SP3) which is bluescreening on startup with a NAVEX15.sys error.
(This from Nirsoft – Blue Screen View)
The system would boot into safe mode with networking, but not full windows.
I tried all sorts to clear this, System Restore, msconfig – disabling all non MS services and everything not in c:\windows from the startup tab.
I also uninstalled the NAVEX and any Symantec devices from Device Manager, (look for show hidden devices)
This didnt help.
I then searched the registry for navex15.sys and deleted the related keys from the registry.
This allowed me to boot up.
I then uninstalled symantec.. but wait it asked me for a password, and i dont remember that (like i ever knew it!)
Enter this great little tip from of all places, the symantec forums..
Specifically this entry from reza akhlaghy:
There’s an easy way, when password prompt opens, run task manager and END
task called MSIEXEC that runs under your user account (not system). The password
go away and uninstall continues !!
So far this trick works both for SEP and older versions…”
Bingo. Symantec now uninstalled.
I am using NiNite.com to update all web related apps on this system, and then, unfortunatley, i have to reinstall Symantec.