Updated Error Code Lookup Tool

The Microsoft error code lookup tool (which no Windows admin should be without) got updated today: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=be596899-7bb8-4208-b7fc-09e02a13696c&displaylang=en&tm. While it says it’s for Exchange, it really covers Exchange, Windows and a number of other Microsoft products. You can plug an error code in and this tool will give you whatever definitions it finds in the headers compiled into it. If you’ve ever seen an event that says “the error code is in the data”, or you get a message that “unknown error 0x80045500” has occurred and you have no idea what to do, this is where to start. I keep the … Continue reading Updated Error Code Lookup Tool

Getting Total Installed Memory with WMI

Getting the amount of memory installed in a machine with WMI is a bit confusing particuarly if you only read the docs partially. I was initially using Win32_ComputerSystem::TotalPhysicalMemory, but the documentation warns  “Be aware that, under some circumstances, this property may not return an accurate value for the physical memory. For example, it is not accurate if the BIOS is using some of the physical memory.” The suggested alternative is Win32_PhysicalMemory::Capacity. This was an easy switch in my script, but, I was getting numbers I knew were wrong for the machines I was querying. The part I didn’t read was … Continue reading Getting Total Installed Memory with WMI

Impromptu Hard Drive Refresh – Thanks Acronis

I fix other people’s computers and IT problems all day, so the last thing I really feel like doing is fixing my own computer problems at home. My personal workstation decided to blue screen earlier in the evening which was nice. It was one of those blue screens you can’t really do anything about without having driver verifier enabled and since I didn’t there was nothing I could really do. I did take a SWAG based on the contents of the dump and decide to update my nVidia drivers for my apparently now practically ice age video card. When I … Continue reading Impromptu Hard Drive Refresh – Thanks Acronis

Group Policy Editor Shortcuts

I came across these shortcuts today for navigating the group policy editor and thought they’d be worth sharing. They’re holdovers from Windows Explorer that also work in the GPO editor. If you press * while targeting a folder in the console, the folder and all of its’ children will be expanded If you press + while targeting a folder in the console, the folder will be expanded one level If you press – while targeting a folder in the console, the folder will be collapsed When you double click on a policy setting, that dialog that comes up is non-modal. … Continue reading Group Policy Editor Shortcuts

Getting Rid of Apple Software Update

I had to load Quicktime on my PC for one reason or another in the past few months. It’s not generally a package I load, but, apparently I needed it for some reason. I of course did the extra legwork to find the Quicktime installer that didn’t include iTunes, as I also don’t have any use for iTunes. In the past few weeks this really annoying dialog started popping up periodically hawking not only some new QuickTime build, but also iTunes. I have been clicking Quit for weeks now and it’s been getting old. I hadn’t really invested the time … Continue reading Getting Rid of Apple Software Update

Windows 2003 Forest Functional Level

Thought I’d post an informational post for folks who are moving an AD forest to Windows 2003 forest functional level (aka FFL2) as I realized today this piece of information might not be quite as well known as I might have thought. As an FYI, this change adds a number of attributes to the partial attribute set (aka the PAS or global catalog): Ms-DS-Trust-Forest-Trust-Info Trust-Direction Trust-Attributes Trust-Type Trust-Partner Security Identifier Ms-DS-Entry-Time-To-Die MSMQ-Secured-Source MSMQ-Multicast-Address Print-Memory Print-Rate Print-Rate-Unit MS-DRM-Identity-Certificate This is done when you upgrade the forest functional level because at this point there are no Windows 2000 domain controllers in the … Continue reading Windows 2003 Forest Functional Level

Upgrading my MCSE

So I have an MCSE: Messaging 2003. Took something like 7 or 8 tests to get that way back when and it’s still good. Being the good consultant that I am I decided I’d figure out what I need to do to get whatever the new equivelants are on Windows 2008 and Exchange 2007: The new Windows 2008 exam seems to be an “MCITP: Enterprise Administrator”: Windows 2003 MCSE upgrade Test Windows Vista Test Windows 2008 Enterprise Administrator Test OK so, three tests total for an upgrade. That’s a lot of test questions, but, seeing as my transcript says I took … Continue reading Upgrading my MCSE

Forcing a Blue Screen via iLO

Sometimes one of the most useful resources at your disposal when troubleshooting a hang or other issues is the memory dump file Windows will write out during a blue screen. If a system is hung and you are not able to get to it locally, pressing Ctrl+ScrollLock, ScrollLock isn’t going to be a feasible solution. If the server is an HP server with an iLO card (Integrated Lights Out), and you’ve set a registry key in Windows ahead of time, you can force the system to bluescreen, write the memory dump, and restart. The key to doing this is generating … Continue reading Forcing a Blue Screen via iLO

Loading VMWare 6 Tools on 2008 Server Core

Normally in VMWare when you go “VM>Install VMWare Tools…” with a Windows guest, autorun kicks right in and the installer launches. On server core this isn’t the case. You need to launch the MSI by hand. To do this, swich to your CD drive (e.g. “D:”), and then launch the MSI manually: msiexec /i “VMware Tools.msi” The MSI will launch, but at least for me it appeared hung shortly into the install. There are a couple DLLs it tries to load which aren’t in the server core image. The errors about this are hidden behind the installer so if you … Continue reading Loading VMWare 6 Tools on 2008 Server Core

How to Sysprep in Windows 2008

I thought I’d document how to setup the new sysprep process equivalent on Windows 2008 since the old setupmgr file for making sysprep.inf’s doesn’t exist anymore (and neither does sysprep.inf). The first step is acquiring the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) from somewhere. You can get it from Microsoft’s website, MSDN subscriber downloads, and probably the volume licensing downloads site too I’d guess (though I haven’t checked). The ISO is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=94bb6e34-d890-4932-81a5-5b50c657de08&DisplayLang=en, and is about an 800MB install on my 2003 SP2 x86 box. You’ll also need to copy the install.wim from your 2008 DVD sources folder to the … Continue reading How to Sysprep in Windows 2008