Problems with HP?

Body: homeI’ve heard in the community over the last few weeks a growing concern about various aspects of HP’s products and service/support.  A large amount of this is coming from the Australian partner community.  I’ve taken a number of those concerns direct to HP for their input and they are mobilising a team to better understand and address the issues.  In the interim, can I ask that people that have issues get their facts together for me.  HP will want to understand things like the problems experienced, specific details such as case numbers, dates of issues and the like.  If you can get these things together and email them to me via this link I’ll act as a funnel to HP in the short term to try to help them better understand the scope of the problem and hopefully get to a positive outcome for us all.

Category: HP
Published: 29/05/2009 11:05 AM

Susan saves the world with a zipper…


The one and only SBSDiva – Susan Bradley has taken it upon herself to get out there before the launch of Windows 7 and save the world with her one woman marketing campaign.  Susan has had this cool logo created to help promote the fact that User Account Control should be left ON in Windows 7.  This much despised feature of Windows Vista has been massively improved in Windows 7 and now has various levels of “make my computer unsafe” vs the Vista “Make it safe or Make it unsafe”

Anyway – consider this seriously when you are using Windows 7.  The security features are there for a serious reason.

Category: Security
Published: 29/05/2009 6:47 AM

Windows Server 2008 and Vista Service Pack 2


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

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

SaaS / Cloud Computing – interesting concern


Microsoft today announced they will block access to MSN Instant Messenger for 5 countries on a sanction list according to the US government.  CRN reported it here

Ok – so with all the hype about cloud computing, the users are not supposed to care where there data is as it’s “in the cloud”.  Here’s the catch – what if your data actually resides on servers on foreign soil and suddenly due to government action you no longer have access to that data? How will your business survive?

Now I admit that the risk to many of us here in Australia is pretty limited, however what if suddenly our data is located in say an Indian Data Centre and due to restrictions that the Indian government may decide to place, they prevent access to it from us here in Australia?  What then?

Seriously – have a good think about the pros AND cons of cloud computing before you dive in. Do your research, make sure you know EXACTLY where your information is as it may be subject to laws and regulations that you have absolutely no control over.

Category: Business Focus
Published: 26/05/2009 10:49 AM

Sarah Arnold begins blogging – aka Australian MS Partner Program


For those that have never met her, Sarah Arnold is the Partner Program Manager at Microsoft Australia. Sarah recently began a new blog focused on the needs of the Australian Partner channel.  Her blog can be reached here

She also has a cool MSN widget on her blog that allows you to IM direct from the webpage to her if she is online. She is very keen to hear from all Aussie partners so that she can ensure that not only do we get the right information, but that she can take the clear messages from the Australian partner channel back inside Microsoft.  Watch her blog for info coming up on the Australian Partner Conference due to be held in the Gold Coast in September.

Category: Business Focus
Published: 26/05/2009 9:43 AM

Trend Micro WFBS 5.1 and 5.0 Patches


Last week Trend announced the release of a number of patches for their Worry Free Business Security products targeted at the SMB market. These patches are both a rollup of all accumulative patches plus an additional patch that did not quite make the rollup itself.

The information below comes from an informal channel communication that Kieran Cook – one of the local Trend engineers sends out from time to time.  This is EXACTLY the type of communication we need to see from vendors on a more regular basis. It leaves NO DOUBT what patches need to be applied and in what order.  If you want to get onto Kierans informal mailing list then send him an email via this link

Trend will later this week be releasing the next version of their WFBS product, v6.0.  Stay tuned here for more information and about how you can get your own copy of my Trend WFBS 6.0 Visual Installation Guide.

Worry-Free Business Security 5.1 Critical Patch – Build 1292 (Standard & Advanced)



"Ntrtscan.exe" closes unexpectedly and an error message appears when Client/Server Security Agent attempts to scan folders with names that exceed 1040 characters.

***Note: it should be installed on top of Patch 1. (Below)***




Worry-Free Business Security 5.1 Patch 1 (Standard & Advanced)



This patch includes hot fixes and critical patches 1239, 1244 to resolve issues discovered after version 5.1 was released.

Note: customers already installed individual critical patches can still apply this Patch. The installer will automatically overwrite the existing installed critical patches.




Worry-Free Business Security 5.0 Critical Patch – Build 1449 (Standard & Advanced)



"Ntrtscan.exe" closes unexpectedly and an error message appears when Client/Server Security Agent attempts to scan folders with names that exceed 1040 characters.


Note: it should be installed on top of Patch 1.



Worry-Free Business Security 5.0 Advanced Patch 3 (Standard & Advanced)



This patch includes fixes and critical patch 1400, 1404, 1414, 1418, 1434 to resolve issues discovered after version 5.0 was released.


Note: customers already installed individual critical patches can still apply this Patch. The installer will automatically overwrite the existing installed critical patches.





Original: WFBS_50_WIN_EN_Patch2.exe




Add the following hot fixes and critical patches after Patch2:

1. Hot fix 1435

2. Hot fix 1441

3. Hot fix 1442

4. Critical Patch 1434

5. Hot fix 1429

6. Hot fix 1438


Category: TrendMicro
Published: 26/05/2009 8:35 AM

Microsoft SharePoint set to expire


Microsoft today announced that they have another SharePoint “opps” in the works.  The fact that the blog post came from a Corporate Vice President suggests to me just how bad this “opps” is and also just how seriously they take it.  The blog post here shows that if you apply Service Pack 2 to a full SharePoint 2007 server, or Search Server 2008 Express that it will stop working after 180 days.  They are working on a bug and will have something out shortly.

THIS DOES NOT AFFECT SBS 2008 – It does however affect Search Server 2008 Express which I know a few SBSers are playing with.

Category: SharePoint
Published: 23/05/2009 8:45 AM

The difference between Yoda and you


Just read a cute news article that talks about “International Talk like Yoda” day. As I read it I can’t help but think of how this relates to the SMB IT Professional community.  No – not the actual talking like Yoda, but the persona that he is.

Yoda is certainly old and wise – that much is for certain. In all the Star Wars movies, you see Yoda using his years of experience to solve problems and defeat enemies much bigger and stronger than him.  How does he do that I keep thinking… then I realise that it’s actually his years of experience that mean he instinctively knows the answer even though he has not been confronted with this exact problem before. How does this relate to us – well compare Yoda to a young padwan. The young padwan thinks he knows all the answers and is in a rush to solve the problem before they really understand it.  Compare this to our industry and look at how people user the power of google to quickly find answers.  The problem is they find the answers, but what is the correct question?  That to me is the difference between Yoda and the young padwan.  Yoda KNOWS the question, and has a fair idea of the answer even before he jumps to google.  The young padwan will google and then use the top hits as the answer without KNOWING that the question he has asked is the right one.

So – today being “International Talk like Yoda” day – think before you google. Ask what do you EXPECT might be the right answer.  Use your common sense to ensure you don’t get lead astray by the dark side.

Category: Rants
Published: 22/05/2009 7:45 AM

How to mess up your network with virtualisation…


Got a call from a friend yesterday.  He had some problems with his network which essentially revolved around Active Directory being messed up.  The exact details are a little unclear, but the long and short of it was that around a week back, their main DC had some hardware problems so they resolved it by transferring the system over to Hyper-V (not sure how they did this either).  The AD problems continued and they dug deeper. Along the way (and I don’t know where/when) they decided to DCPromo two of their non virtualised DC’s down to member servers (one of them was their exchange server). Problems persisted.  I was asked to look into it some more and found a few things. Netdiag was reporting all kinds of problems with DNS (which was AD integrated), and in the event logs for Directory Service we found just one error which suggested that they were in a USN Rollback scenario.  USN Rollback scenarios are discussed here .

The USN is an internal number that allows domain controllers to track where they are at with respect to replication of Active Directory information. If a DC detects that it has rolled back then it will stop replicating information to other DC’s. It will also put the NETLOGON service into a paused state.  It does this to protect the rest of the network.  Ok so my friend being a developer (and having a couple of developers with him) saw the NETLOGON service was paused, so what did they do?  They wrote a script to restart the NETLOGON service so it would not pause. Sheesh – NEVER LET A DEVELOPER RUN YOUR NETWORK. 🙂

Ok – so the way to fix a USN Rollback is to dcpromo the affected server down and then back up to a domain controller OR restore a system state backup. Only problem was that this was there last DC, and I was uncertain of the last system state backup.  It turned out that it was only done AFTER they moved the virtualised DC from physical into virtual. Ouch.  Digging deeper it follows that they did some form if image backup on the physical system while it was live – unsure of what tool was used, but doing something like this is NEVER a good idea in a multiple domain controller environment.

It’s now a few days since I started writing this blog post and my friend has had to accept defeat. He finally bit the bullet and called MS for support – their only responses were as above – restore the AD from backup… which he didn’t have a good backup of at all.  He had to accept that he needed to rebuild his entire domain from scratch. 

What caused it? Well I suspect that the way he moved the physical DC into a virtualised environment was the start of the problems. Not ensuring he had good / tested backups along the way was also part of the problem.  Not calling on experienced resources early in the piece was a big problem too.

Long story short – Microsoft have said that they don’t support imaging of DCs live – there are reasons behind that – DON’T DO IT.  If you are out of your depth – CALL FOR HELP. Backups are useful… during a problem situation you can NEVER have too many of them.

Category: Troubleshooting
Published: 22/05/2009 6:12 AM

SBS Migration to SBS 2008 – Experiences today


Doing a migration tonight and thought that I’d document some of the experiences for those that are interested.  This is not a complete list, just some things that I see people falling over.  This post is NOT A SUBSTITUTE for reading the excellent documentation that Microsoft have provided.

Run the SBS 2003 BPA and fix EVERYTHING listed – even the caution items.  I had the following issues to address. 


The first one is ok – the C: drive is 100GB in size and there is 6GB free.

The second one is due to the broadcom network driver being dated 11 March 2008 – ok – updated to a more recent driver and I’m good to go.

The third one is easy to fix too – ok – did as instructed and it’s sorted.

The fourth one – now that’s a concern. This relates to Active Directory and in particular the SYSVOL share.  Any server in a journal wrap condition NEEDS TO BE FIXED BEFORE you install SBS 2008.  I resolved this issue on my server and then was on my way.

Ok – then reading through the document, you verify all the bits on SBS2003 are at the right levels.

You get to the bit that talks about running the Source tool. The first screen you get is this one below.


That tick box – don’t tick it UNLESS YOU MEAN IT.  Make very sure you have a good AD / System State backup separate to your normal backup – just in case!  So far the issues I’ve seen most people have with SBS migrations all relate to not having a good solid Active Directory in the first place.  A system state backup will help recovery if things go wrong from this point forward, so don’t underestimate it!

If you have a failure at this point it will point you to a log file which you can review and determine the cause of the problem.  The most common failure I’ve had so far is where I use a newly created domain admin account and then forget to add the new account to the Enterprise Admins and Schema Admins groups.  Easily fixed!

The last part of the Source Migration tool takes a while as it updates the Active Directory Schema – have patience and spend the time reading the next few pages of the SBS 2008 Migration documents 🙂  After about 20 minutes you will get the screen below.


Ok – after the reboot, you will be tempted to get stuck right into installing SBS 2008.  I suggest however that you DO NOT.  Instead take a moment and do another system state backup to an external USB drive. This is your last known good point in case things go wrong.

Installing SBS 2008

Before you install SBS 2008 you need to create the migration answer file.  Read the documentation and do this. My one big tip here is that there is a check box when you create the file that allows you to run the entire SBS 2008 setup in unattended mode.  Do yourself a favour and remove that check box as it will then allow you to read and confirm each of the installation screens during the SBS 2008 installation.  This is your LAST chance to get it right.  Once the SBS 2008 installation starts, you can tell it’s in Migration mode because you will get the screen below (assuming you took my advice above that is and NOT allowed it to run in unattended mode).


You are asked to confirm that yes you have backed up the source SBS 2003 server and that YES you have READ the Migration Guide. It’s amazing how many people are not doing that at all.

The next part will be where the SBS 2008 server runs through the installation process. This takes around an hour or so dependant on your hardware.  Hey – what a great time to READ the SBS Migration documentation!  That way you’ll be able to really understand what you are doing over the next few steps.

Ok – so if you did all your homework then at the end you will get this screen below.  Congratulations.  SBS 2008 is installed in Migration mode. The 21  day counter starts now.  Yes – that’s right – you now have 21 days to have the SBS Migration completed and totally remove the old SBS 2003 server from the domain.  If you don’t then your SBS 2003 server will shutdown every 2 hours.  And no – there’s nothing you can do about it either.


Your SBS Migration is part way complete.  Now for the really hard work 🙂  More on that another day – for now – I’m outta here!

Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar
Published: 21/05/2009 11:16 PM