David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small.  

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  • Hyper-V Security and Management from Windows 7

    [modified 2/11/09 with new link] I’ve seen two Hyper-V announcements this week. One is about the new Security Guide and the other is how to manage Hyper-V from Windows 7. Security Guide Hyper-V Security Guide–Beta Now Available! Are your customers concerned about attacks on their virtualized servers? Help them secure their virtual environments with the Hyper-V Security Guide. The Hyper-V Security Guide , now under development, has tested guidance and best practices to boost the security of virtualized Windows Server environments. Want an advance look at this free guide? Join the beta program. Then bookmark this link to the program site to get the latest information about upcoming events. Hyper-V Management from Windows 7 This is something that caught me out. The Hyper-V Management tools for Vista do not load on Windows 7, but tools have been published. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=7d2f6ad7-656b-4313-a005-4e344e43997d and install this. Then go to...
  • Windows 7 tips and secrets

    I LOVE using Windows 7. I keep on going “oh, that’s nice” when I discover things, so what are my top LOVE’s: Speed – it runs much, much better on my laptop and does NOT keep the hard disk chattering Thumbnails – when you hover over a thumbnail it hides all the other windows and shows you that one on the screen IE tabs shown as thumbnails. I use IE tabs a lot and sometimes finding the right tab is hard. In Windows 7 I can flick through the thumbnails in the task pane and it flips through the tabs Jump lists – you now get a recently used list for any application – so Excel just shows the Excel recently used files, Word the word documents and so on. The are available by the program icons, but also if you right click on the program on the task bar Opening another copy of the program – hold shift and click on the icon in the task bar and another instance is spawned Fixing icons onto the task bar – now if there is a program you always start, fix it to the task...
  • Windows 7 downloads to end on the 10th – get it now

    I’ve been running Windows 7 since the public beta. It is, I have to say, an extra ordinarily strong beta. So much so I now run this on my work and home machine as the default OS and I have not looked back. That is not to say it is without faults, but the fact that the screen resolution get’s stuck occasionally is not what I call a major fault. So, the important thing is that the ability to download the beta is ending on the 10th of February. If you intended on getting it, but “no just yet”, don’t delay. Download it, get the key and then load at your leisure. From the team in the UK: The Windows 7 beta is only available until the 10 th February to download, so get your copy now ! MSDN and TechNet Subscribers will continue to have access to the Windows 7 Beta bits throughout the Windows 7 Beta phase. The above dates do not apply to MSDN and TechNet Subscribers. Product keys for the Windows 7 Beta will continue to be available. So if you have the Windows 7 Beta but didn’t get a...
  • Outlook Anywhere (RPC over HTTP) not working or slow with SBS 2008

    I’ve been working with the Microsoft support teams to diagnose non-connection and very slow syncing for someone who uses SBS. The team came up with a fix and while there is no KB article on this yet, below is a link to a workaround that made logging on go to a few seconds from what was about 5 hours :-) Slow Connectivity for Outlook Anywhere and Sites that use the SBS Web Applications App Pool [Today's post comes to us courtesy of Wayne McIntyre, Justin Crosby, and Damian Leibaschoff] We are currently investigating an issue where connections to Outlook Anywhere are extremely slow or fail completely. This issue also affects other sites that use the SBS Web Applications app pool. If you notice these symptoms and wish to verify you are experiencing this problem, open IIS management console and check the worker process queue for the SBS Web Applications app pool as shown below. The Official SBS Blog : Slow Connectivity for Outlook Anywhere and Sites that use the SBS Web Applications App Pool ttfn David Technorati...
  • Microsoft catches up with illegal software seller

    I’ve been asked in the past why Microsoft didn’t take more action against rogue software resellers. We do and you will have seen adverts about this recently, but I saw this and thought I would share. My advice – if the price looks too good to be true, it is. Microsoft catches up with ITAC owner Barry Omesuh receives custodial sentence and could be forced to sell properties to pay £2.5m fine for parallel importing Written by Kayleigh Bateman CRN , 27 Jan 2009 Software giant Microsoft has claimed a "major victory" in its long-running piracy battle with now defunct Manchester based sub-distributor ITAC. ITAC managing director Barry Omesuh was given a total of seven custodial sentences at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, ranging between one and nine months and to be served concurrently, and also ordered to pay £2.5m in damages. Included in the court order was a grant to Microsoft enabling it to sell Omesuh's properties in order to pay his debts. Despite ITAC having...
  • The PowerPoint Team Blog : A Picture + 1000 Words…

    Want to know how to create amazing work in PowerPoint – look at the PowerPoint team blog! The PowerPoint Team Blog : A Picture + 1000 Words… We learn best by examples. And the better the example, the better the results. That’s why its a pleasure to point you to a new group of PowerPoint examples that are stunning, inventive, evocative… simply beautiful. Nice enough if it stops there, but each and every one of these examples includes very detailed instructions on how you can reconstruct the design, and learn how to apply the technique to your own work. Animation for graphics and text, static text effects, photographic effects, new background techniques, Smart Art and transition effects… this is a holiday present come early for PowerPoint users. And they’re free! Get them here . Here’s a small sample, which of course does not include the amazing animated designs. And in case you’re wondering, this is the work of PowerPoint MVP Julie Terberg of Terberg Design . Julie...
  • Catalog of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Installation Error Messages

    So there I was talking about migration issues and Chris Pucket pointed to this GREAT store of error messages and resolutions for SBS installs.  I've copied the links for now, but expect them to be updated over time!! Still let me know Migration issues on the link above! Catalog of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Installation Error Messages This topic links to information about errors that you might encounter while installing Windows SBS 2008. If you encounter an error that does not appear on this page, see “Troubleshooting Windows Small Business Server 2008” in the Windows Small Business Server Technical Library (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=111318). Click a link to view information about that error message. An error occurred while installing or configuring a Windows SBS 2008 application An error occurred while promoting the server to a domain controller Anti-spam agents for Exchange Server 2007 cannot be installed Anti-spam automatic updates for Exchange Server 2007 cannot be configured...
  • SBS 2008 Update Rollup 1 Released to fix Vista AV reporting issue and GoDaddy domain registration issue

    Hi everyone, the first roll-up of fixes for SBS 2008 shipped today. It addresses some minor issues, which is good, but always worth being aware of. From the Official SBS 2008 blog SBS 2008 Update Rollup 1 Releases Today Windows Small Business Server 2008 Update Rollup 1 releases today. This rollup package addresses the following issues in Windows Small Business Server 2008. Issue 1 The Security tab in the Windows Small Business Server 2008 Console incorrectly reports the spyware and malware status of Windows Vista Service Pack 1-based clients that are joined to a domain. Specifically, some security applications are reported as incompatible in the antivirus and malware status that is reported. Issue 2 The Internet Address Management Wizard exits unexpectedly when you register a domain name. This issue occurs when you select GoDaddy.com as the provider, and then you click Register Now How to obtain this update This update will be available from the Microsoft Update Web site: http://update.microsoft.com More Information...
  • How to create a VPN on Windows Vista to connect to a Windows Server, such as SBS 2008

    I was going to include this in the book, but decided it was not quite the right subject matter, so I've decided to post it on the blog. SBS 2003 had a pre-defined tool for VPNs. The tool exists in SBS 2008 to produce the same tool, but you have to configure it by hand. This is covered in this blog entry here . If you are on a client machine and you need create a VPN connection, or you are a user and want to create a VPN on Windows Vista, follow this guide. Start at the Start menu . Press the Connect To button to start the process. You will be told that you are already connected to a network, but you will need to create a new connection. Do this by selecting the Set up a connection or Network option and press Connect . In the Choose a connection option screen, select the Connect to a workplace option and press Next . Now select Use my Internet connection (VPN) . The Internet address is that for your remote server. If you are using Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) this will likely be "remote."...
  • Citrix Access Essentials, SBS 2008, EBS 2008 and you - Birmingham, 10th Feb

    As many of you know I work with Citrix in the UK. While their product is not appropriate for 100% of the SBS & EBS market, if you would like to know more about the opportunity when you are a Citrix Partner and specifically about Access Essentials for SBS and EBS, you should attend this event. There is also a great prize too :-) If you want to see a blog all about Citrix then look at their official blog here and if you want to see someone in the community talking about his area then look at Brian Madden's info here. www.citrixpartneraccelerator.co.uk Find out how your business could join the fast lane in 2009 by becoming a Citrix partner. It's an exciting time to be part of the Citrix Partner Network™: in the last year we launched new virtualisation solutions, expanded our partnerships with the world's top hardware and software vendors and added new incentives to channel programmes. At our Citrix Partner Accelerator event, you'll learn how these investments could help you develop your...
  • SBS 2008 backup under Hyper-V R2 gets dynamically swappable drives and what else is coming in Hyper-V 2008 R2

    I saw this and thought I would share it. Hyper-V R2, which is in beta already supports hot add/remove of drives, so native SBS 2008 Backup will work as youcan now dynamically add and remove those USB drives and they can be configured as pass-through disks so you will not have to create VHDs on them. Other interesting features for me were the live migration and huge memory support , all in the free version along with the management console! Hyper-V R2 BETA is available to test here . There is also an overview document that can be found here . In the overview document is the summary of Hyper-V as shipping today and the products as of tomorrow: Capabilities Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Windows Server 2008 R2 EE, DC Processor Architecture x64 only Yes Yes Yes Hypervisor-based Yes Yes Yes Product Type Standalone product Standalone product Operating System Number of Sockets (Licensing) Up to 4 Up to 8 Up to 8 = EE | Up to 64 = DC Number of cores supported by the hypervisor 24 (with...
  • vLite detail screenshots for producing a Lite install of Vista – For Windows Vista Magazine

    I recently built a Lite version of Vista using vLite . While most of the settings are simple enough to understand I’ve put up the screen shots that I used to build my slimed down Vista. First you need to select the compatibility options Then you need to step through the settings. Items ticked are REMOVED from the install of Vista. The rest is up for you to choose again. Have fun David
  • Active Directory Health Check - Make sure your AD is healthy before you migrate SBS 2003 to SBS 2008

    [updated 29/9/12 with new link] Given the recent comments about AD validation I thought I would share this excellent document on verifying your AD before you begin a migration (or at any other time) Active Directory Health Check - Active Directory This document outlines a basic procedure for validating the health of your domain and is a good practice for iterative maintenance and an excellent pre-check before doing any potentially dangerous domain operations I would add a couple of extra tests to the list in this document, which would be placed after the 1st DCDIAG test, also perform: DCDIAG /test:DNS /DNSALL /e /v DCDIAG /test:DcPromo /e /v DCDIAG /test:RegisterInDNS If you system passes these tests then it is a good indication of health. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , Windows Server 2008 , Active Directory , migration , Microsoft , SBSC , Partners
  • SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 migration thoughts and issues

    I've been part of a lively debate on the Yahoo UK SBS Group about how to migrate from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 and what the issues are.  The information I have so far is good, but I need much more to take it to the product teams. For sure, the issues so far are: Concerns around the "state" of AD before a migration is started - how do you check it - look at this blog post Concerns around the Exchange migration in terms of time taken and failure scenarios - how to remove the chances of this? Concerns around "on-site" versus "off-site" strategies Concerns around recovery options in the event of failures (restore from backup not being ideal if you want it diagnosed) My problem is that I have no data to take to the Microsoft product teams, which means I can't ask them to fix things so this is a two fold open invitation. If you have had an issue, share it via comments below, but also PLEASE e-mail ( doverton@microsoft.com ) as well so I can get in touch with you and potentially...
  • How to upgrade (migrate) from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 on the same system without using a swing migration

    Someone posted this question on a discussion group at work and it got me thinking. If you bought a nice new system over the last 2 or so years in preparation for SBS 2008 (Cougar as was or even SBS v.Next) and had it installed with SBS 2003 you've probably heard that SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 is a 2 box migration and needs the Swing technique to do an on box migration. I've come up with a much simpler solution, but your hardware might need some additions to make it work. So here is what you need: Box with 6GB of RAM minimum (4GB for SBS 2008, 1GB for SBS 2003 and 1GB for Hyper-V server). 1 new disk for SBS 2008 system disk and 1 disk to hold Hyper-V (which could be small if desired or temporary) System that meets the minimum system requirements of Hyper-V ( http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/system-requirements.mspx ) You need to ensure your hardware is really up to spec and is fit enough that you want your new SBS 2008 system to run on it for the next 2+ years, otherwise this may well be a false...
  • David Overton's first book - Installing and Configuring SBS 2008, including migration from SBS 2003

    [updated 5th May 2009] Hi, If you are interested in ordering a copy, click here and you will be taken through to the Packt Publishing ordering page, with a choice of electronic (e-book in for form of a PDF) or Softback traditional book or both available for immediate shipment . If you are interested in other locations, click here . For a small amount of information on each chapter, see the items below. Introductions Introduction to SBS 2008 Preparing to migrate from SBS 2003 Installing SBS 2008 and connecting to the Internet Migrating systems and settings from SBS 2003 Migrating email from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 Migrating the CompanyWeb SharePoint site Migrating users and data from SBS 2003 Configuring your services Securing your server Managing users and their computers Working with SBS Services as a user Introduction to SBS 2008 management The chapter flow is well described by this picture: To order the book click http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx?1M Small Business Server 2008 – Installation, Migration...
  • Microsoft job cuts: thousands of UK staff at risk - ComputerWeekly.com - What a load of old rubbish

    [updated post MS announcement on 22nd January 2009] I hate bad journalism and this is a really good prime example. Microsoft job cuts: thousands of UK staff at risk Author: Cliff Saran Posted: 11:08 05 Jan 2009 Rumours are spreading on the web that up to 3000 staff at Microsoft UK could face redundancy. Up to 30,000 jobs worldwide could be at risk, as the company battles with the economic crisis, which has led to businesses spending less on software Microsoft like any other business is facing financial pressure, so I'm sure there will be a squeeze, but there are less than 3,000 employees at Microsoft UK, so cuts of 3,000 staff would remove Microsoft UK from the map. Maybe someone lent on the keyboard too much and put an extra zero or two on the end. I'm absolutely not in the know, but this is clearly (I hope) bull writing at it's best. New people join and others leave Microsoft all the time, just like any enterprise. In the past the balance has been tipped so that more people join than those who want...
  • Office Small Business 2007 – get up to 25% off in the UK

    I saw this at the Special Offers site from the Small Business team and thought I would share. Office Small Business 2007 – get up to 25% off Buy Office 2007 Small Business Edition before 17 January and you can get a discount of up to 25%. Enhance productivity in your workplace and manage tasks and your customers more efficiently with Microsoft Office Small Business 2007. Excel, Word, Publisher, Outlook and PowerPoint provide all the tools you need to give your business a professional edge. (Offer applies to FPP (Fully-Packaged Product) only, ie not via volume licensing or OEM etc.) Availability: UK Small Businesses Valid from: December 21 2008 Offer expires: January 17 2009 How to buy: Equanet: Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business CD Equanet: 2007 Version Upgrade Grey Matter: Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business CD MacWarehouse: Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business CD MacWarehouse: 2007 Version Upgrade Microwarehouse: Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business CD Microwarehouse: 2007 Version Upgrade PC World Business...
  • Hyper-V Management console stops working after a month or so with error “Cannot connect to the RPC service on Computer ‘xxx’. Make sure your RPC service is running.

    [updated with net accounts command 20/2/2009] This can help diagnose and resolve the issue if like me, it was running fine and then it suddenly stops about 4-5 weeks after it all got started. My initial thought was that some update had changed things as the blog post here documented the initial setup where the same error was seen. The error once again looked like this: However checking all the same firewall and other settings revealed nothing. Finally I discovered that the user I had created had a password setting that meant the password had expired. Simple, yet checking from the command line is a right royal pain. To fix, these were the commands I used: net user <username> “<new or existing passsword>” /active:yes /expires:never /passwordchg:no net accounts /maxpwage:unlimited Simple, yet the cause of so much time trying to fix. Hopefully this will solve it for you too. Thanks David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Hyper-V , Error , User , Password
  • SBS 2008 Forefront Virus protection for e-mail Errors or Warnings - “At least one of the engines enabled for update has not been updated in the last week” – how to solve

    My SBS 2008 installation is pretty good, but one area I’ve noticed some problems was with ForeFront. I either had errors or at best warnings all the time about the scan engines. I would go and hit a manual update, but the bar would be 30-90% across and suddenly stop. When I looked in the event log I could see errors like these below. Searching the internet delivered me the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/939411/en-us which talks about timeout issues, however even with the recommended change things did not resolve themselves. Source: GetEngineFiles Event ID: 6014 Level: Error Description: Microsoft Forefront Server Security encountered an error while performing a scan engine update. Scan Engine: AhnLab Update Path: http://forefrontdl.microsoft.com/server/scanengineupdate/x86/AhnLab Proxy Settings: Disabled Error Code: 0xC0001F58 Description: The operation timed out. Source: Microsoft Forefront Security Event ID: 7003 Level: Warning Description: Not all of the selected engines enabled for updates...
  • Internet Explorer security vulnerability fix now available – think of it as an early Christmas present… now about Firefox’s 3 issues this week…

    I think everyone knows that an urgent security issue has arisen in IE this week and Microsoft has taken the (wise) decision to publish a fix outside the normal 2nd Tuesday release cycle. Some have said switch browser because of this issue, but not only can that be complex, but most browsers suffer security issues so once again the only real protection is to wrap in cotton wool and hide. Or, use the built in features of Vista and IE7/8 which means protected mode and NOT running as admin. You might ask why a Christmas present? Well, if this continued un-patched then your information is seriously at risk and that would make for a very bad Christmas if your credit card information was stolen!! Either way, if you have IE on your systems then you will need to update your systems urgently. Of course, my Hyper-V server (or Windows Core for that matter) don’t have IE, so no updates for them!!! Just for completeness, here is the information from the Technet newsletter Internet Explorer Security Update I wanted to...
  • How to size the hardware required for SBS 2008

    This question has been asked many times and was once again asked today on an internal forum.  It is hard to come up with an explicit answer, but I feel I can give you some (personal, non-binding, your mileage may vary, please take with a pinch of salt and don’t sue me) opinions.  For SBS 2003 the non-scientific sizing appeared to go like this: “between 2 & 4GB of RAM, depending on number of users”.  I often saw a machine for around 25 users with 4GB of RAM and there was headroom. Disk – don’t buy 1.5TB disks, but don’t by 30GB either.  Buy largish and try to size data before you make the decision 1 CPU or 2, or perhaps more importantly, a box that can take 1 CPU or 2? The the time SBS 2008 arrived the difference in cost of a 2GB or 4GB box was trivial.  Now SBS 2008, if you want to be scientific about it would look something like this: Minimum specs are found at http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/system-requirements.aspx Think Windows Server 2008 for x users, plus Exchange sizing for...
  • Two more SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 issues fixed - Provider=SQLNCLI – Provider cannot be found error and Property Owner is not available for database

    So these are really quick snippets.  I hit an error where my Gateway monitoring software could not connect to the database.  All the errors were along the lines of “Provider cannot be found” and when I looked in the Connection String it stated “Provider=SQLNCLI” which is the SQL Native Client connector software. The fix that worked for me was very simple, to change the “Provider=SQLNCLI …..” to “Provider=SQLNCLI10 …..”.   The second issue was nothing that came about from the SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 conversion, but became an issue when I could not see the properties for the database.  The error I would see was that “Property Owner is not available for database”.  The fix can be found here - http://blog.dampee.be/post/2008/06/22/MSSQL-2005-error-message-quot3bProperty-Owner-is-not-available-for-Database-databaseNamequot3b.aspx .   ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SQL Server , SQL Server 2008 , Tips
  • SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 forklift upgrade resulted in 50% cpu utilisation (& resolution) – aka SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 SQL Application Move

    I’ve recently moved the database behind DavidOverton.com (also uksbsguy.com) from a Windows Server 2003 system with SQL 2005 to Windows Server 2008 with SQL 2008.  This would be the same process if you were potentially performing a migration from SBS 2003 with SQL 2005 to SBS 2008 Premium with SQL 2008 (or SQL 2005, but the performance issue only happens with SQL 2008). The process was amazingly simple: Stop the database on the Windows 2003 system Copy the datafiles, errorlogs, logs etc to the new system Install SQL 2008 on the new system, creating an instance by the same name Modify the registry to point to my new files (details here ) Start SQL 2008 Obviously I had to do some IIS stuff (create a new site) and install and redirect my logging software (WhosOn), but overall it went very well. Or so I thought until I noticed that my normally nominal CPU utilisation had gone bananas.  One of the SQL 2008 new and improved features is the Server Activity History which makes it very easy to pinpoint problems...
  • How to get an existing disk to be available inside Hyper-V, how to install RAID Management tools and how to shrink a non-Dynamic VHD

    Once I had built my Hyper-V Server I still had a few to resolve.  I thought I had better document the solutions I found to my 3 disk related problems from this entry . So the 3 issues covered are: How to get an existing disk to be available inside Hyper-V How to install RAID Management tools How to shrink a non-Dynamic VHD How to get an existing disk to be available inside Hyper-V (called a pass-through disk) Just to give you some background, I was moving a non-VM OS inside a Hyper-V system.  I had created the VM, but I could not get it to just “boot” from the old boot disk – the disk was not showing.  I’d read that this type of disk was a pass-through (or pass-thru) disk, but I could not find out how to configure it easily.  The solution turned out to be very simple.  Run DISKPART on the Hyper-V server, identify the disk and mark it offline.  It would then appear in the list of disks that could be installed.  What is more, if I ran out of disks I could install a SCSI controller...

(c)David Overton 2006-18