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.  

David Overton's Blog

  • How long is the grace period on SBS 2008 (how long can you evaluate SBS 2008 without entering a product key)

    I saw this one come up internally and externally, so I thought I would share the answer.  Remember that SBS 2008 is built on Windows Server 2008, Exchange 2007 and SQL 2008 (for the premium edition).  This means that you are bound by the limits of those products.  For SBS Standard this is Windows Server 2008, which is 60 days that can be extended to up to 240 days using the rearm process documented in the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948472 . SQL2008 has a trial period of 180 days, so if your evaluating SBS 2008 Premium edition you are limited by that.   ttfn   David Technorati Tags: SQL 2008 , Windows Server 2008 , SBS 2008 , SBSC , Partners , Microsoft , Eval , Evaluation , Trial
  • 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...
  • 70-282 Exam - what has changed, what has not and how it stands now after all the feedback

    Howdy. There has been a lot of discussion recently about the huge changes to the 70-282 exam, especially following people helping us with the 71-282 beta exam work. Having worked many hours as an investagtive reporter (at least 2) and searched many a rubbish bin, I now have a pretty good answer to what happened. I managed to get this statement from the "right people" inside Microsoft. In short - 71-282 was a beta which had some things in it that did not make it into the final revised 70-282 exam. "70-282 Clarification around the introduction of a new version of the exam In Early 2006 Microsoft felt that exam "70-282 Designing, Deploying and Managing Network Solutions for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses" had not been performing at the Microsoft standard. Microsoft constantly reviews customer feedback and exam statistics, and determines if exam item changes or additions are required. To keep this exam current and valued by our customers and partners, Microsoft revised the questions and carried out testing of the...
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Connector Beta (how to connect Office Live Basics or Windows Live Hotmail to Outlook)

    Don't you love the way the title of a product described what it is? While this product does what it says on the tin, it misses out the most important thing - what can you connect Outlook to. The answer is e-mail and contacts based on our Hotmail service, so this includes OfficeLive. If you sign up to one of the subscription OfficeLive services (i.e. you pay us to use it) then you get a connector which can do all this AND synchronise your calendar items too. Once in Outlook you can do all the searching, filing and manipulation you want to do. Today you can now download the beta of the next version of the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector. Download: Microsoft Office Outlook Connector (Beta) The Microsoft Office Outlook Connector is designed to let you access your Windows Live Hotmail account through Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007. You will be able to download and install the Connector to sync up your email and contacts in Windows Live Hotmail for free. However, if you are a paid subscriber of MSN Premium, Office...
  • Can Windows Server 2003 R2 be added to a SBS 2003 SP1 (i.e. non-R2) domain - Yes

    [updated 14:52 27th June 2007] I got this question yesterday and while I will not name names, I felt this should go public. It is from a customer who I believe has been mis-informed by a partner about SBS 2003, SBS 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2003 R2. Here is the mail I got: To: David Overton I have a question concerning compatibility. I have a SBS 2003 with SP1 as my domain controller.... I am about to migrate to a new ERP package and have purchased 2 additional Windows Server 2003 R2 servers from XXXXXXXXXX. I have been told the new servers will not be able to join the Domain and I must upgrade my SBS 2003 to SBS 2003 R2. Is that true?? Here is my reply You have been mis-informed. Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 r2 interoperate without any difficulty. If you are trying to use a specific R2 feature such as remote printer management or FSRM then you might have to upgrade, but joining the domain is not a problem. Also, SBS 2003 R2 enables you to get some extra benefits from your CALs with regard to licensing...
  • David Overton moving on to pastures new

    With a tear in my eye the time has come for me to move my stick hut somewhere new. I have loved working in and with the small business community and with a set of awesome partners who can complain and nag, but normally with good cause and that are more willing to say thank-you and "good job" when the time is right. To you all I take my hat off for making me feel so welcome. As a legacy we now have SBSC up and running, partner groups that support themselves, a voice into Microsoft from the smaller end of the partner community and a better understanding of the motivations of both Microsoft and our partners. We also have a new level of engagement with customers. I wish I could take credit for all of this, but I am just a figurehead for a great team of people inside Microsoft. A nice chap called Mark in the OEM team will be helping to drive Cougar knowledge through the community when the time comes (no, this is not the time yet, trust me), SBSC has been supported by Jen as many of you would have seen from...
  • Vista SP1 beta vs XP SP3 beta and performance - what a load of old <insert your favourite derogatory term here>

    I saw the article at ZDNet ( Windows XP outshines Vista in benchmarking test - ZDNet UK ) and at various other places and decided to comment. It compares a 1GB XP machine and a 1GB Vista machine and says that Vista is slower - both using beta service packs. This article links back to the blog of a certain benchmarking company ( http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2007/11/windows-xp-sp3-yields-performance-gains.html ) and the result was an article with quotes in it like: "Vista, both with and without SP1, performed over two times slower than XP with SP3 in the test, taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced XP's 35 seconds. Vista's performance with the service pack increased less than two percent compared to performance without SP1 — much lower than XP's SP3 improvement of 10 percent." Now this annoyed me twice. So did they turn off things like the pre-loading of applications, was this a fresh PC or one where the inbuilt tools could optimise themselves? Did they...
  • Answers to some of the questions about SBS 2008 (32-bit 2nd server, SCE, beta upgrades, migrating users

    [updated 23rd Feb 2008] After posting on SBS 2008 the other day I've had a few questions, so here are some answers Can the 2nd server be x64 or x86 (32-bit) and can it be used for Terminal Services / Hyper-V / a.n.other purpose The 2nd server can be 32 or 64-bit. It is essentially Windows Server 2008 Standard edition, however it does check it is part of a SBS domain. Therefore it can be used for almost anything a Windows Server can be used for (and SQL can be loaded on it too) Why was System Center Essentials removed from SBS 2008 The short answer is that this was not the right product for SBS owners, however SBS can be used / works with SCE. For this reason SCE can, for example, be loaded on the the 2nd server Can I install SBS 2008 beta (cougar) in my production environment and upgrade to RTM when it releases The answer here is one about the fact that betas are betas and have bugs, so there are risks. Officially the answer is “don’t consider using Cougar beta in your production environment unless you are...
  • Getting up and running with Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, including getting my external SATA drives working, adding network drivers, enabling the remote management tools

    [updated 7th Dec 2008 with links to more answers] It has been a while since I posted on the blog - I've been writing a book and installing and upgrading SBS 2008 a few times. I decided that rather than have a bundle of servers under my desk I would buy one large server (well, quad core anyway) and run my operating systems using Hyper-V server. Let's start with the ingredients that you will need: Download Hyper-V Server - http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/how-to-get.mspx Hyper-V Configuration Guide - Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 Configuration Guide Hyper-V Getting Started Guide - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=26426203-DE3C-4D74-851E-4E1388A81D5F&displaylang=en Download Management Tool (you probably only need one of the below) Vista 32-bit - Download the Update for Windows Vista (KB952627) package now Vista 64-bit - Download the Update for Windows Vista (KB952627) package now Server 2008 32-bit - Download the Update for Windows Server 2008 (KB950050), 32-bit...
  • SBS 2008, Installation, Migration and Configuration – Chapter 3 - Preparing to migrate from SBS 2003

    Preparing to migrate from SBS 2003 If you are migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 then there are a number of preparatory steps you need to complete. In this chapter I will cover off the preparation required to migrate from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008. This will cover off the following steps: Checking your SBS 2003 server is healthy Backing up the server Installing required software Changing SBS 2003 to prepare it for migration Completing the migration tools I will also answer some questions that enable you to decide when and how to perform a migration. I then explain the steps of migration that you will need to follow: Plan the migration process including how you will move 3 rd party applications Communicate plan and impact to users and get agreement on impact Checking the health of SBS 2003 Active Directory Backup existing server Change network configuration to match SBS 2008 design requirements Update software on SBS 2003 Change Active Directory functionality level Confirm SBS 2003 is currently configured at best practice...
  • How to find out what is causing a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) by using the kernel debugger tools

    Having had James take up an offer to find out what is causing his BSODs, her has now asked me how I found out which driver appears to be having the problem. While there is no substite for lots of debug work, a very simple process is to run the crash dumps through our debugging tool (full dumps are best, followed by kernel dumps and then finally mini-dumps). The first thing is to find the dump files - it will either be c:\windows\memory.dmp or mini-dumps under c:\windows\minidump. Find the file you want and copy it somewhere so you can examine it. Then get the debugging tools - http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/default.mspx and download the x86 (32-bit) version. Once the tools are extracted, open a cmd window and go to c:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows and type kd -z c:\mydumpfile.dmp -v -y SRV*c:\websymbols*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols . Wait for it to load and do an analyze. The debugger will open and if it has not done it already, type !analyze -v and see what drivers...
  • Skype vs Windows Messenger

    As a rule I use my mobile to make calls - I know this makes me very 20th Century, but since I still listen to some 80's music, I guess we'll all just have to live with this. When I have used various VoIP solutions I often find the mike on my PC has let me down (I often forget the headset) or the comms is just not up to it in the hotel I am staying in. Having said that, many people use skpye. When looking at this option again, I came across these blog entries which I thought game interesting food for thought. Do you read the EULAs?? Why Skype is Bad Why Skype is Bad (part 2) Unified Communications and more about Microsoft ttfn David
  • How to do a clean install using the Action Pack Windows Vista Media

    [Please also read the Action Pack FAQ on this blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/13/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx ] This has been discussed lots on the aliases and in the comments on this blog, so here is what I did to do a clean install. In Summary, the process was: Boot Windows XP on the machine Log in (I used an Administrator Account) Insert Vista DVD Start the Install Type in Product Key Select Advanced install Select the disk and clean install Wait for Install to complete (I am not going to talk you through entering your name etc) Log into Vista Run the "Free up Disk Space" tool from the control panel to remove the Windows.old programs If you are worried about clean installs in the future, use the backup tool to do a hard disk image backup now In pictures, it looks like this: Just to clarify a few things - yes, before you blow away your old OS, don't - you can move it to one side and then migrate any documents and then remove the...
  • The price of Vista in the UK - some really, really bad maths

    OK, so this has really got my goat - I read that there is a £100 difference between the UK and US prices for Vista Premium Edition, so I thought I would add my PERSONAL view on this. Microsoft does not set the prices, the resellers do - some offer products at a loss to bring you in, some add plenty of margin because they believe the market can bear it When comparing prices we need to do so on as close to a level playing field as possible - so no VAT & state tax etc There is some difference due to the unusually high exchange rate - and using the market exchange rate rather than a normal punter exchange rate does not reflect the man on the street pricing The figures stated don't seem to bear out in reality in my opinion I found a typical story here : UK customers face disparity and confusion over the pricing of Microsoft Windows Vista , Computing Which? has discovered. Windows Vista Home Premium has a recommended retail price of $240 (£125) in the US. But to buy the same software in the UK would set consumers...
  • If you want Windows XP Pro on a new machine, buy Windows Vista (Business or Ultimate) and then downgrade

    I’m not sure how many people are aware of this, but if you buy a Windows Vista Business or Ultimate then you can use a Windows XP CD (which you have legal access to) to load Windows XP onto that machine. When you need the product key / or need to activate, this will potentially fail, but a quick call to the activation centre with your Vista product key should give you all the details you need. Then when you are ready to put Vista onto that machine, you can do without the cost of buying it anew. Alternatively you can buy Windows XP today and should you ever want to load Vista, you can give more money to a shop to get a copy again. For further information go to http://oem.microsoft.com/script/sites/public/licensing.htm More information can be found in this one page document OEM Downgrade from Vista to Windows XP ttfn David Please Note the following (in legalese) Windows Vista Downgrade Rights Clarification Per the EULA and OEM DTOS Agreement, the end user customer is responsible for supplying media for the...
  • You can't use Outlook Web Access because you can't send or reply to mails. You've seen a server update will fix it, but you can't get the server updated - here is the simplest way to work

    I have to thanks Lauren for bringing this to my attention. She had found my posting on how to update Exchange so that this did not happen, but she could not get the SBS / Exchange Server updated. Her research said that using Firefox would fix the problem , but to me this was just a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut, so I guessed there must be a much easier solution and there is. Use "basic" or "light" mode. This may sound complex, but it is about as easy as it gets. Here is the Exchange 2003 login screen, simply select "basic" client and you are done. Here is the Exchange 2007 login screen, simply select "light" and you are done. Gosh, so easy. For the technically minded the issue comes from the Active-X control that Exchange is using. The answer is to either apply the update to the Exchange web components, or use a browser without the Active-X control. ttfn David Technorati tags: Outlook Web Access , IE7 , Internet Explorer
  • Microsoft, web services, new business models and small business

    In the IT market the term "change is the only constant" has been around for years (well, certainly since I left ICL where change was not constant, but that was due to the contract that dictated that everything did not change, so fell behind). Note, this post is purely the ramblings from my mind, not a statement from Microsoft in an Official or Unofficial capacity We've seen big iron, then smaller systems, the rise of SMP, the reduction in IT hardware and software costs for solutions, the rise of Microsoft servers, client server, 3-tier, clustered computing, multi-core and now internet enabled computing. There is much more, of course, to come, but how we deliver IT to customers has changed too. Of course, this is all generalised and some people have always been at one end or the other, but general acceptance is always shifting - remember the ASP business model of the late 90's - dead, yet here it is again with Software as / plus service. The pricing of some services even appears to be £0, yet...
  • An amazing deal for UK Students to get Office 2007 ULTIMATE for £39 to own or £13 per year to "rent it" - tell them all about it!

    This offer is called "The Ultimate Steal" and I have to say I can see why. Microsoft is now offering Office 2007 to university students for the sort of price that would normally suggest this was a con or stolen software, although as Steve Clayton has already verified, it is real . The Offer is simple "Get Microsoft® Office Ultimate 2007 for just £38.95 to own or £12.95 to use for one year" As I said this is only open for people in education, but if you go to The Ultimate Steal presented by Microsoft you can get lots more info. A summary, but not complete, eligibility requirements are: You must hold a valid email address at a U.K. educational institution ending in .ac.uk (for example, leina@contoso.university.ac.uk) Be actively enrolled with at least 0.5 course load. You must be able to provide proof of enrollment status (ie, student card) upon request by Microsoft. If you are unable to provide proof of enrollment, you will be required to pay the full retail price of Office Ultimate 2007 (approximate...
  • Whitepaper on Migrating SBS 2003 to New Hardware

    It is funny how things happen. I was debating with my dad which was better - building a new server and re-joining the clients, migrating via AD in a VPC to give the server the same name or adding the server and dealing with the fact that the "server" has a name change. I then told my dad that I had blogged about this and he should have read the document, only to discover that I had not. I've seen it covered in a few places. I'm always open to feedback on this sort of information. I am pro-VM based migrations but people seem to think they are too hard, so more on that would be really good. The Official SBS Blog : Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 ... Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware - E-Bitz ... Whitepaper - Migrating SBS 2003 to New Hardware Microsoft has released a new whitepaper and set of worksheets entitled: ” Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware “ Sections include: Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware...
  • Setting up your internet connection in SBS 2008 console

    The Console setup process ( Once SBS is set up, how to do the basic configuration through the management console ) sets up SBS 2008 for use. One of the first steps is setting up the internet connection. This is the process I followed: The routines automatically detected the router IP address – I had not set it anywhere Then finished off The process of enabling others to communicate with SBS and setting up firewall etc can be found here . Finally, all the SBS 2008 entries can be found at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Tips , SBSC , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Community , Partner , Console , Connect to the internet
  • Setting up services for the internet in SBS 2008 console (domain name, web site, Remote web workplace, e-mail)

    The Console setup process ( Once SBS is set up, how to do the basic configuration through the management console ) sets up SBS 2008 for use. Once the internet settings are completed, the next big steps is setting up the internet facing services. This is the process I followed: 1) The 1st time I had to create a domain for my server 2) I chose to do this using the provided tools (this then provides DNS management of www.domain.com going to Office Live, but remote.domain.com going to this server and the MX record pointing to the SBS box too. 3) Once you have chosen your provider you go off to a web page to purchase the domain 4) Then you enter your login details It you already have a domain then the process looks like this: 1) Enter your domain and provider details 2) confirm the details and enter them as per step 4 above Continue the process from above as the tool configures the system. Note that if your router does not accept UPnP (or it is turned off, as per mine), then you will get the warning and errors shown...
  • How to encrypt backups and optionally the system disks on Windows Server 2008 and SBS 2008 and Windows Vista too

    Hi, someone asked in the forums how if the backups on SBS 2008 and Windows Server 2008 were encrypted and the answer is no, even if the drives being backed up are BitLocker protected ( more details here ). However you can get encrypted backups with a bit of effort. To do this you will need to at least BitLocker enable your removable drives and optionally your system disk. I used the information at http://blogs.msdn.com/askdavid/archive/2007/06/08/enabling-bitlocker-on-removable-drives-usb-flash-drives-usb-hard-drives.aspx as a guide to putting together what I needed to do, so many thanks David Chandra for this. This same process can also be used on Windows Vista There are a couple of snags however and you need to work out which scenario you wish to have (if you have a TPM chip then option 2 & 3 can be replaced with entering a key into the TPM prompt: encrypt just the backup disks you will need to run a script each time a volume is added back to the system encrypt the system disk and the backup disks and you...
  • How to get SBS 2008 to "fix" managing WSUS after you have manually upset it

    Today's post covers what to do when SBS says it no longer can change the WSUS settings from the console.  The exact message is "Windows Small Business Server Update Service is not running because it automatically turns off if you customize Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)". One way round this problem is to manually change all the settings in the WSUS console (from Administrator Tools, select Microsoft Windows Update Services 3.0 SP1) and change the settings as per instructions found at http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2006/07/13/441594.aspx .  I'm a sort of "quick fix" kind of guy, so the easier way is to go to the same tool, but then run the wizard.  The steps are: Start the Wizard   Click through the first two screens and set the updates to come from Microsoft Update Configure the proxy if required and press next.  Then press Start Connecting.  When done, press Next again. Select the language(s) you want to download Make sure "All Products"...
  • Great Weekend sailing that ended with me in A&E and St Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight

    I seem to be able to find trouble at the moment. I attended part 1 (3 of 5-days) of a competent crew training course designed to get me on the ladder to bigger and better sailing experience and finally teach me what the wind has to do with sailing. Over the three days we started with the basics, like how to make a distress call, only ever abandon a boat when you will be stepping up into a life raft, clothing, life jackets and how to use a toilet on a boat. We then progressed to the basics of sailing, so the naming of the various parts of the boat (I have real trouble remembering the shrouds). Finally we got on with the sailing and had some awesome days learning to sail in all weathers. As should be the way with sailing, each night was spent with much merriment and drinking, but as many of you know, I don't drink, smoke or swear ever, so I was always 1st up :-). We also arranged it so that the 3 men on the boat all had cabins and the 2 ladies shared the communal area - this might sound mean, but the men managed...
  • Vista and Office for Small Businesses - replying to Susanne's and Vijay's blogs

    Wow, I go on holiday, spend some time catching up on e-mail, and what do I find " There’s a whiff of coffee in the air… " asking if Microsoft can help position Vista and Office for small businesses and then Vijay also asking " What’s the Value Proposition…?? ". Now these two blogs acknowledge that there is value in both products, just that the communication of that value is not getting through. It is also worth me saying that I thoroughly appreicate and desire this sort of discourse. Without getting the occational slap around the face Microsoft can not improve what it does, especially if the slap is deserved. Lets start with some ground rules: Vista & Office are not something that every business has to buy either on the 30th November or the 30th January, some people can or will wait a month or two before they feel the need :-) Microsoft does not have all the answers - that is why we rely on a fantastic partner network to fill the gap between MSs view and the customers The products value is additive - one feature...
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(c)David Overton 2006-20