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Archive for January, 2009

I understand that title is a bit harsh. Let me preface this with the fact I do LOVE my WHS. It keeps all the machines in my home fully backed up and those full backups have saved my rear more than once already. Recently my wife’s laptop was knocked to the ground while on and open at a sporting event. After a few successful reboots the HD decided it had enough and went to the Peripherals graveyard in the sky. After replacing the 200Gb Sata drive with a new 250Gb one i booted to the restore CD and then injected my NIC drivers from USB. I selected the machine and date I wanted to restore from and in a matter of 3 hours her laptop was a mirror image of it’s fully funcitonal self.
To give some background on my WHS, it’s not one of those slick pre-packaged HP models (even though i covet those) but rather it’s a older Dell dimension C521 3.0ghz machine with 4gb of ram and a couple of 1 TB sata drives. Also tacked on the back side are 2 USB externals of 1TB and 500Gb respectively. this provides for MORE than enough storage and backup space. One little quirk I noted so far was after a power loss. For some reason one of my external drives would not turn back on automatically like it should have. Since the WHS couldn’t access the drives in it’s striped set it showed all the storage as "offline"  Once corrected the server recovered and was useable once more.
Now to my current conundrum. After rebuilding my laptop from being based on Windows Server 2008 Data center edition with a small partition used for Win 7 testing, I moved to a primarly sized partition for Win 7 beta (build 7000) and the smaller sized one now for WS2008 R2 Data center edition for testing. Yes, you read that right I am now currently bleeding edge since I’m banking on beta OS’s. I feel this will give me the best step up for when these finally drop later this year. I’ll have the most experience possible with Hyper-V 2.0, Powershell 2.0, Windows 7 and so on and so on. Since rebuilding my machine with said OS’s and adding the newly named laptop back into the home server playing field I can back up successfully but for some reason cannot access the old build’s backups. I am looking to pluck the 7-8 Hyper-V based VM’s I created so I don’t have to double my work. I am repeatedly getting the "Cannot connect to windows home server, make sure all services are running". This ever so generic error really irked me since I already WAS connected to the server! How does it supposed I was able to see all the past backup jobs?!?
So here I am trying not to injure myself or the machine in trying to find a solution.
Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me. Sorry to vent on you guys :)
Well i cracked open one of my first paperback tech books for the first time in a LONG time. It seems i’ve been using soft copies of books and articles found online exclusively for some time now. It was giving me horrifying flashbacks of the days when I was studying for my MCSE, and every night I labored over books trying to get properly prepared for those exams.
I took on a new nemisis of mine, Powershell. I suppose the word nemisis is too harsh of a term. I tend to frown on anything NOT completely GUI based. Not that I fear typing, i just feel it’s bringing me one step closer to coding or development. THAT in and of itself strikes terror in my soul.  I have used it a bit in the past both in the classroom and on assignments for Exchange 2007 environments. Then I only really learned enough in that specific niche to make myself useful and proficient at the lowest of levels. Now mind you I have a very good grasp of the syntax structure and the whole Verb-noun style it uses, but some of the slicker features and custom arguments have esacped me. Knowing full well how Win 7 (PS 2.0), WS2k8 and Exchange 2007 all use Powershell in varying forms, I decided it was time to sweep up Powershell, embrace it and call it my own..
I am using a Manning published book titled "Windows Powershell in Action" by Bruce Payette
Now be mindful that I have just started reading it, but I like this author’s approach. Not preachy, very blunt and honest about what and how he’s covering a topic and even funny in parts. Comedy within tech books is key for me as it keeps me awake and interested. in the message the author is trying to convey. As I ramp up my knowledge of this new skillset I hope to bring more reviews or at least a final review of my feelings toward this book at a later date.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I had a student today pose the question of "What is the difference between active and passive FTP"
I had thought it was wether or not the client kept it’s logged in session active while connected to the server, but after some research i was wrong. This was not a new feeling for me as over the years I have learned the more I know, the more I realize i DON’T know. It’s actually all about who is iniating the connection between the client and the server and also which ports are used. Below ew some links to a fnice reference articles.

Have you been tasked with creating a default corporate image and wished you could configure it ONCE and not have to worry about the settings or preferences when a new user logs on and creates a new local or roaming profile?

Windows (XP – Win7) allows us to do so using the following steps.

  • Have another admin level local account. I typically create a new local admin acct called “Setup”
  • Ensure you have show Hidden and System folders ON
  • Log in to the new local account and get it completely set as your default configuration. this can include everything from desktop icons, to IE favorites to MS Office preferences to printers. Once complete, log off “setup” user and back on using the local admin account
  • Now logged on as admin, access the system properties window by right clicking “Computer” or “My Compter” icons either via the desktop or start menu. At the System Properties windows click on the Advanced Tab, and click on the “Settings” button in the middle section labeled User Profiles as shown here..


  • In the new window that appears you should see a list of profiles and the “setup” user profile you wish to copy. Highlight it and then click on the “Copy To” button in the lower right as shown here…


  • The copy to button should be active and you will be prompted for the location to copy the profile to. For XP BROWSE (do not type the path in) to C:documents and settingsDefault user. If this path doesn’t appear you don’t have show hidden and show system folders on. For vista / win7, browse to C:usersDefault
  • You will then be prompted for what permissions will be used on the new profile after it’s copied. Add the “Everyone” group.
  • BINGO! now all new profiles created on that machine will be built off of the “setup” profile you created earlier! Congrats!

You can also reference this TechNet article for more information..

Default user profiles in Windows OS’s

here is a guilde from Microsoft on deploying Windows XP with an unattended installation!
sysprep and unattend.txt anyone??
ever wondered how to use the USMT to the best of it’s capabilities??
Here is some great info on some best practices and syntax on this tool..
USMT Team Blog
USMT 3.0 (vista)
USMT 2.6 (win 200 / XP)
Looking to move from Exchange 2003 or another mail system to Exchange 2007? Ever wonder what the heck you need in place infrastructure wise or hardware wise? I was asked this same question from a previous student who is in this situation. See the link below to the technet article outline the components…
I have found some good sites out there for OS mods and tips, but these are a few of my favorites..
Vista – Tweak Vista!
XP – Tweak XP!
Well ImageX is a fast utility, but it’s not about going around the track. ImageX offers alot of disk imaging capabilities that first began to emerge around the time of Vista Launch and has been augmented a bit for Windows 7. For an excellent article on it’s use and syntax, follow the link below..

Tons more information today. Everything from Exchange 2007 recovery to Server 2008 R2 preview scenarios to soft skills and the presentation I am a part of later today on windows deployment in a classroom environment

I have been pretty impressed by the level of knowledge from the stable of presenters here in Redmond this week. There was a AD session yesterday that totally blew me away and it was just something about viewing AD DB data using support tools like repadmin. I wasn’t completely aware that the tool had that kind of power for more than just forcing MMR topologies to sync.

I hope to post some links later on some of the advanced uses for Repadmin.