Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Useful links for MS6423 (Implementing and Managing Windows Server 2008 Clustering) Students

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

What’s New in Failover Clustering

Requirements and Recommendations for a Multi-Site Failover Cluster

Microsoft Support Policy for Windows Server 2008 Failover Clusters

Failover Cluster Step-by-Step Guide: Validating Hardware for a Failover Cluster

Microsoft support policy for server clusters, the Hardware Compatibility List, and the Windows Server Catalog

Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring a Two-Node File Server Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2008.doc

Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring a Two-Node Print Server Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2008.doc

2 Whitepapers located at

Setup for Failover Clustering with VMWare

Location for this document:

Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Clustering – Best Practice Guide

Failover Cluster Step-by-Step Guide: Configuring Accounts in Active Directory

How to disable IP version 6 or its specific components in Windows

How to Alleviate Disk Space Pressure Caused By a Large Windows Component Store (WinSxS) Directory

Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3

Stopping the SBS 2003 licensing check

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

One of the most annoying things about Small Business Server 2003 is that it does a licensing check on a regular basis to make sure it is still a domain controller and hold the Operations Master roles.  After seven days (or twenty-one days if you installed the update that is part of the SBS 2008 or SBS 2011 migration tools), the server will start shutting itself down.

Unfortunately Microsoft does not document any way to avoid this.  I have found a workaround, but all the standard disclaimers apply:  This is not supported by Microsoft, you may be in violation of your licensing agreement, this may not work in your environment, we cannot be responsible for any side effects of this change, and are no way liable for any damage that may result.

To disable the SBS licensing check, you will first need to suspend the SBS Core Services (SBCore) service.  You will not be able to stop it from the Services MMC, and if you kill the sbscrexe.exe process, it will automatically restart itself.  To suspend the process, you will need to download a copy of Process Explorer from the Sysinternals website ( or a similar utility.   Run the utility, find the sbscrexe.exe process, and suspend the process.

Next, open the Registry Editor.  You are looking for the HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\SBCore key.  Right-click on SBCore and go to Permissions.  Add the Administrators group into the Access Control List and give the Administrators group Full Control permission and have the Registry Editor replace all permissions on child nodes.  Once this is complete, press F5 to Refresh and you should see a value under SBCore called Start.  Change the value of Start from 2 to 4 (4 is the code for Disabled in the service’s properties).

Once this is done you can kill the sbscrexe.exe process and it should not automatically restart.  If you ever patch your SBS 2003 server after this, it may attempt to reenable the licensing and restart the service.  You can stop this from happening by navigating to C:\Windows\System32\sbscrexe.exe in the file system and setting the Everyone group so that it is denied all permissions.  However, if you do this, certain SBS patches and services packs will fail to apply.

Good luck, and I hope this helps someone;


WMV videos not playing in Internet Explorer

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

I’ve been working on a frustrating issue with my own computer the past couple of days and finally found a fix.

For some reason, Internet Explorer stopped playing WMV videos.  I could save them and play them in Windows Media Player, but if I just clicked on a link in IE, I would get the less than useful This Page Could Not Be Displayed error message.

I was finally able to resolve the issue by opening an elevated Command Prompt and running “regsvr32 wmp.dll”  This apparently reset the MIME association with WMV files appropriately.

Hope this helps someone;


Exchange 2007 OWA Virtual Directory Authentication Issues

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

I ran into an interesting issue a couple of weeks ago with Outlook Web Access authentication.  A good friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) called me to get some help getting OWA working properly on Exchange 2007.

 After some testing and questioning, I discovered that they attempted to rename the OWA virtual directory to Exchange without deleting the existing Exchange virtual directory.  Step 1 was to convince them it was easier to get their users to type the new URL than re-purpose the Exchange virtual directory.

 Once we resolved that issue, we started working on getting the OWA virtual directory up and running.  We kept getting a 401 error, which really didn’t make sense since the OWA virtual directory was set in Exchange to employ Forms-Based Authentication.  So in the interest of time, we decided to delete and recreate the OWA virtual directory.  Same error message.

I started digging into IIS Manager, and discovered that the OWA virtual directory was set to Forms-Based Authentication.  So, tried changing it through the GUI to Windows.  It just reset itself back to Forms-Based. 

So I started digging into the web.config file.  Turns out the web.config file had the authentication type set to Forms-Based, and for some reason, the GUI change was not being written to the web.config file.  We edited the web.config file manually to use Windows Authentication, and it started working.

 Right about now, you are probably saying “Huh?”  That’s pretty much what I said too.  Here’s a quick summation of the lessons learned:

1.  With IIS 7 and IIS 7.5, it pretty much doesn’t matter if have a GUI, to do real work, you are going to have to edit text (XML) files. I thought we gave that up when we left DOS, Novell, and Linux/Unix behind, but I was apparently wrong.

2.  For forms-based OWA authentication to work, the virtual directory has to be set to use Windows Authentication.  (That one left me scratching my head for a while….)

3.  It is much easier to accept defaults and retrain users than it is to decide you don’t like Microsoft’s changes and set things up so the users don’t notice as many changes.

 Hope this helps;


New Technology Blog

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

If you are looking for technology news, tips, or trick, you might want to check out a new blog, Two IT Guys.  One of the “Two” is a long-time Acknowledge IT customer, colleague, and all-around knowledgeable IT guy. 

 Check them out here:


Looking for a few good Sharepoint Administration students

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

We’ve heard lots of interest in Sharepoint over the past year, so we are looking for students for Microsoft course 5061, Implementing Sharepoint Server 2007, October 26-28th, 2009. 

 If you are new to Sharepoint Server, or have some experience in Sharepoint Administration but would like additional information or formal training, let us know as soon as possible.  We would like to get the class details confirmed by Friday, October 9th, 2009.


Windows 7 XP Mode is shipping

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Those of you who have taken my Windows 7 First Look classes know that I am excited about Windows 7 XP Mode, basically a free version of Windows XP SP3 available to people running Windows 7 Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate on computers supporting hardware virtualization.  This Windows XP virtual machine can have older incompatible applications installed in it that show up on our Start Menu just like any other application.

 The release schedule for Windows 7 XP Mode was unknown until today, when Microsoft released that Windows 7 XP Mode (and by necessity the new version of Virtual PC, which is what the XP virtual machine runs in) will be available for download from the Microsoft Download Center on 10/22/2009, the same day as Windows 7 is released to the public.

I haven’t been this excited about an operating system since, well, I can’t remember….


Book Review–Pro SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I’m not sure whether to be excited or disappointed about this book.  The authors (Landrum, McGehee, and Voytek) try to explain SQL Server Reporting Services in a conversational tone, which I find much lighter and easier to read than most technical books. 

As an occasional user of other reporting software and tools, I am starting to learn SQL Server Reporting Services to have another option that a lot of people have already bought with their purchase of SQL Server.  This book helps, but also hurts….  🙂

 The book succeeds in describing SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services concepts and theory in a format that someone like myself new to Reporting Services can understand.  Unfortunately, a lot of the code examples have issues, and don’t work exactly as described (or they are assuming a level of knowledge I don’t have that means there are other things I should be doing not in the step by step instructions….)

 Overall, not a bad book, but not really a good one either.  Not sure I would spend the 40 bucks on it again.


SQL Server TRY-CATCH error handling

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Thanks to four very talented and inquisitive developers who were taking my Implementing a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Database class last week, I was encouraged to delve a little deeper into SQL Server’s TRY-CATCH error handling structure.  (You know who you are, and thank you….)

First implemented in SQL Server 2005, the idea was to introduce structured exception and error handling into SQL Server.  The general idea goes something like this:

      <SQL Statement(s) to attempt data modification go here>
      <SQL Statements for Custom Error Handling Go Here>

If the code contained between the BEGIN TRY and END TRY statements runs successfully, then execution jumps to the next statement after the END CATCH statement.  If the code contained between the BEGIN TRY and END TRY statements produces an error with a severity level greater than 10 that are not fatal to the connection.

If you are familiar with the TRY-CATCH block in other Microsoft languages such as Visual Basic, you are used to seeing execution jump to the code contained in the CATCH block immediately after the error (exception) is thrown.  Unfortunately for consistency’s sake, this is not the case for SQL Server.

In SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008, all code between the BEGIN TRY and END TRY executes before the error states are checked.  This means you can get yourself into trouble if you “assume” that it behaves like the TRY-CATCH block in other languages.  For example:

          <SQL Statement(s) to attempt data modification go here>
          <SQL Statements(s) to attempt a second data modification go here>
      <SQL Statements for Custom Error Handling Go Here>

If SQL Server’s TRY-CATCH behaved like Microsoft’s complied languages, then if the first transaction failed, execution would immediately jump to the CATCH block.  However, in SQL Server, both transactions would run, and while a failure of either would cause the CATCH block to execute, you could end up with one transaction committed you did not expect to be committed.

While SQL Server’s version of the TRY-CATCH is restricted to a single batch, it is not restricted to a single transaction.  If you are going to use the TRY-CATCH in SQL Server, you will want to make sure you only have one transaction or logical unit of work in the TRY block.

 Hope you find this useful;


Book Review–Windows Powershell Scripting Guide

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

 It’s not often I give a book rave reviews, but I only have one small nitpicky complaint about the Windows Powershell Scripting Guide.  That is that the title doesn’t truely convey the usefulness of this book for Windows administrators.

A better title, in my humble opinion, would be:  Powershell Scripts That Do Everything In Windows.

 The first two chapters give a nice basic overview of the Powershell environment, its configuration, and basic language elements (flow control, conditionals, etc.).

 After that, all the rest of the book is about scripts to accomplish many of the day to day Windows administration tasks in Powershell.  Need to read event logs, manage your failover cluster, or configure Server Core?  Scripts to accomplish those tasks and many more are in this book.

 If you want or need to script in Windows, you should have this book for the amazing number of scripts the author includes, if nothing else.