Tuesday, 27 February 2007

System Builder Tip: Vista Business OEM Downgrade Rights

Folks, if you are like me and you have clients not ready to run Vista Business or Ultimate on their SBS networks, get yourself an XP Pro SP2 Fully Packaged Product ASAP! You can use that media to install and validate the downgrade XP Pro SP2 Retail for your client.

The OEM method, as explained further down, could be a bit of a struggle as you would need to make sure that you have their old system with the XP Pro SP2 COA on it! So, make sure to advise them to bring in the old system before tossing it into recycling or passing it on.

Microsoft Licensing today indicated to us that we could use the retail key to install and validate the downgrade version as many times as is required. Product Activation need only know that we are authorized system builders installing a downgraded OS.

A reason for indicating that one needs to grab an XP Pro FPP is because they are becoming few and far between at the Big 3 or 4 distributors here in Canada. I am sure that the U.S. may be the same. The Microsoft Licensing Rep mentioned that the Retail key can be activated with no issues, or the System Builder can call the Activation Centre to get it activated with little or no issue. Your Microsoft Partner ID or System Builder ID may be required for this service.

From Microsoft's document: Microsoft Select License, Open License, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) License, and Full-Packaged Product (FPP) License Downgrade Rights

Can I downgrade my OEM version of Windows Vista Business to Windows XP Professional?
Yes. OEM downgrade rights for desktop PC operating systems apply to Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate as stated in the License Terms. Please note, OEM downgrade versions of Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate are limited to Windows XP Professional (including Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP x64 Edition). End users can use the following media for their downgrade: Volume Licensing media (provided the end user has a Volume Licensing agreement), retail (FPP), or system builder hologram CD (provided the software is acquired in accordance with the Microsoft OEM System Builder License). Use of the downgraded operating system is governed by the Windows Vista Business License Terms, and the end user cannot use both the downgrade operating system and Windows Vista Business. There are no downgrade rights granted for Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Home Premium.
A document download called, "Windows Vista Downgrade Rights" that I can't seem to locate the actual Microsoft download page for, can be found here (PDF). This document gives a visual presentation of Windows Vista Downgrade Rights along with a straight forward FAQ.

It also explains that in the case of downgrading Windows Vista Business OEM the CLIENT is to provide the OEM key!

For larger System Builders who have a spool of COAs with their OEM packs, this may not be much of an issue as of yet. But, for the smaller System Builders and OEMs it may become one very quickly as the Big 3 or 4 here in Canada have NO stock on XP OEM product. I suspect that this is also the case in the U.S. and other places.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

System Builder Tip: Register as an Intel Partner, Buy from the Big 3 or 4 = Associate Member with benefits

We are a part of the Intel Channel Partner Program at the Associate Member Level.


From what I understand, our 2007 stickers will be out to us sometime in March.

Why the plug for Intel and their Channel Program? Because the support we receive from the Channel is second to none. Intel's channel support is the one big reason we don't do AMD in our servers.

Another big reason is, we have one point of contact for close to all points of failure on a server product short of storage and memory. We don't need to deal with different manufacturers and their individual RMA processes, or different suppliers and theirs. That kind of mixed up RMA process is a serious waste of time which means lost profit.

We receive excellent 24x7 toll free support for all aspects of our Intel servers. There are many times where calling into the support help line, a fresh set of eyes, ears, and mind has brought about a resolution to a problem that we were having. Or, the technician we were speaking to confirmed what we had already concluded about the errant part or parts.

Intel Warranty Service for Associate Members and above can Advance Swap a bad server board, backplane, or other server component with the replacement part usually arriving the next morning.

This is especially important I find for us smaller companies. We can keep stock on warranty replacement parts for the server products we sell, but in limited quantities. The advanced swap setup allows us to do that.

And, there is one aspect of this support that I find crucial to our being prepared to sell the right product to our client. When we go through a significant technology change, we can call in and work through the new system configuration needs with the Intel support technician.

Over the years, I have been burned a few times putting together a system quote where one part was not compatible, or refused to work with, another part in the system. This is not so common today, but I find that it is very helpful to have the option to call and confirm.

We did it with our first S5000PSL based server last fall, and again with our first S3000AH based server just before Christmas. Investing the 15 or 30 minutes on the phone with Intel can save a whole bunch of headaches in the future!

System Builder Dollar Saver Tip: The Big 3 or 4 distributors tend to charge a hefty "admin" fee to recieve your application to purchase from them. Do the following to save yourself that money:

  • Register with the Intel Channel Partner Program and become a registered level member.
  • Attend one of Intel's Channel conferences in a city near you.
  • The Big 3 or 4 Distributors are bound to have tables there, and they usually have a wiaver for their fees if you sign up there.
  • Make sure that once you are registered with them, that you speak with the appropriate department to verify that they know you are Intel Registered.
  • Purchase the appropriate amount of Intel Server Product to elevate your membership level to Associate.

The amount to purchase to raise your membership level works out to be one dual Xeon 5000 series server, or a couple of Xeon 3000 series servers depending on configurations.

It is well worth your time IMNSHO! :D

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

SBS 2K3 R2 - WSUS 0x80070643 for Visual Studio on the Server

A screen shot of the error:



Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x80070643: Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1.

And then, off to the download page here: Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005 Team Suite Service Pack 1

Wowzers! A whole 432 MB download! No wonder WSUS choked. Might not be the reason, but it sure could be.

A little ways down the download page we find:

The above is a, "just in case" it doesn't work. :D

Download it, run the install, and all should be good!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

Monday, 26 February 2007

Remote Desktop Connection (TS Client 6.0) KB925876

It seems that there have been some connectivity issues with the new RDP 6.0 Client via SBS RWW.

Susan Bradley mentions it here, as does Dean Calvert here.

So far, we have seen a few TS 6.0 glitches.

One particular hiccup with the client that I have noticed though, is when connecting to a member server on the domain with MSTSC 6.0: if the client session is sitting long enough for the session to lock out, generally 15 minutes, the TS Client resets the "log on to" to the local machine instead of the domain.

It has happened pretty consistently.

When logging back into the server one is greeted with:


The first few times it happened, I thought I was making a typo since our passwords tend to be quite long.

But, that was not the case, as clicking the Options button reveals this:


One needed to change the log on location back to the domain from the local machine.

It has since become a habit, but it was a little annoying at first!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

Surreptitious Software Install - SpyDawn

A client called complaining about some sort of spyware warning he was getting:




As you can see, Windows Defender is down and nothing is picked up as being out of the ordinary by Norton either.

Double click on the Windows Defender icon, and this is what happens when we click, "Remove All":


Heh, after a reboot the Malware was still there blinking away, and directing one to their, "Buy our Software" site when the blinker is clicked on.

So, onto the next step: Find out if there are others who have killed it.

It took some weeding to find a site that actually has info on it.

I came up with the instructions and a link to a utiltiy to kill it at BleepingComputer.com.

Essentially one needs to do this:
  • Download the Removal Tool to the desktop.
  • Reboot into Safe Mode (F8)
  • Logon using the infected user profile
  • Run the tool from the desktop

  • Run option 2: Clean
  • Answer YES to the registry clean option
  • Disk Cleanup may or may not run
  • Once finished, do not reboot yet
  • Disable the System Restore to clean out any possiblity of re-infection
  • Run Disk Cleanup: Start-->Run-->CleanMgr [Enter]
  • Choose all drives if necessary and let the utility run
  • Go back to the SpyDawn Cleaning Utility and hit the space bar to reboot
  • Enable the System Restore once into the user's profile

The system should be Malware clear after this.

Now, one must ask the question, "Is the system safe to leave the shop at this point?"

Based on the research that I have done on this particular Malware threat, it is reasonable to say yes. Has the software's writers implemented some sort of Trojan? There is no 100% guarantee that they haven't. So, the client must be made aware of this.

Now, onto the logic behind this particular scenario:

Someone browses to a Web site and picks this software up without their knowledge.

The situation BEGS the following questions:

  • When the person goes to the SpyDawn Web site, purchases their "Product", downloads it, and installs it, are they truly protected from threats?
  • Given, in my opinion, the below the boards method for delivering the product "advertizement" in the first place, and the subsequent trap into purchasing the "product" ... how can we expect that installed product to behave above board?

What else can be said?

A legitimate software product, or method of advertizing, gives the end user the option to install the product or respond to the ad.

In all cases of software installed on a user's system, an option should be there to totally remove the software product from their system. The user should not have to pay a professional to do it for them!

UPDATE: Okay, so I misspelled Surreptitious in the title on my original post! It has been one of those days! :D

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

Office 2007 - Outlook Performance on XP - Outlook 2007 Bug

A while back, I blogged about my having performance issues with Office 2007, specifically Outlook 2007, on XP versus Vista.

It seems that there is a documented bug in Outlook 2007 that causes a huge impact on performance that is tied into the POP3 email receive being broken.

Roundtrip Solutions Blog has the lowdown on it here.

It now makes sense as to why the huge difference. The Vista machine is running Outlook via RPC/HTTPS to our SBS Exchange server here in the office. So, no POP3 accounts are setup on that system.

The machine here in the office is connected to our company's SBS Exchange server internally, but is also pulling e-mail for my other company accounts via POP3 from the same Exchange server. It makes it easier to sort e-mail coming in that way, and the POP3 connection remains behind ISA with accounts that are setup only for e-mail.

So, now we wait for Microsoft to fix the issue!

Thanks to David Overton for the original head's up here.

And, I stand corrected on my original assessment of Office performance on XP versus Vista! ;)

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

Saturday, 24 February 2007

WSUS Workstation Error 0x8007000e or MS Update 0x800a0007

This one has been quite popular as of late.

I have added a second part to the post as the errors showed up again after the first fix.

The second fix worked again.

Note to Microsoft: Verify Windows Genuine Advantage and its tools, Microsoft Update, and WSUS work together properly!

You can find the original post here with the update about half way down.

I do hope that this problem does not show up again as I am running out of options! :D

UPDATE to the UPDATE :D

The second fix just showed up in our MS Updates on a system that has just been freshly installed!

Definitely looking like a Genuine Advantage - Microsoft Update/WSUS issue.

UPDATE 07-05-07: WSUS 3.x install on SBS 2K3 R2 is another way to hopefully eliminate this problem. New blog post here: SBS 2K3 R2 - WSUS 3.0 install experience with some caveats.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

System Builder Tip: Laptops - Make a Factory Default DVD Set for Recovery

We have been selling a good number of Acer laptops, and now that Toshiba has caught up with the Core 2 technology, and Toshibas.

Lately, to save a few bucks, manufacturers of laptops have been putting recovery images on a partition that is only accessible via the Make Backup CD/DVD Utility.

If the laptop's hard drive dies before that utility has been run to create the backup disks, one has a real problem.

When we receive a new laptop model, we always run through a prep process including updating the operating system and any applications that are installed on it.

We now also run the CD/DVD backup utility to create a set of factory default DVD images for that model. In the process, we always make sure to never check the, "Do not show this again" option.

We then remind our client to make a set of factory default disks as soon as they get it to the office or home.

We picked up a couple of extra large 14" x 14" CD wallets that we keep all of our recovery disks in.

The DVD Recovery disks we make are notarized with the system manufacturer, model number, and last 5 or 6 digits of the serial number. That way I can quickly look up who the disks belong to when we get a laptop for hard drive warranty.

It always helps to be prepared. One never knows when one will hear, "I don't know what happen to those disks," or, "what disks?"

Doing this has paid for itself.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

Friday, 23 February 2007

Office 2003 - Icons loose their image, documents loose icon images

I received a complaint yesterday from a client who was experiencing a CSRSS.exe 100% CPU usage problem.

Microsoft's KB: Csrss.exe uses 100% of the CPU When you Right-Click an item in Explorer

We must create a new profile for the user.

When I arrived, she showed me that her Microsoft Office 2003 Professional icons were blanks. They did not have the proper image associated with them on the Start Menu. Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and other Office documents had no images on their icons either.

Having seen this before, I figured the fix for the CSRSS running at 100% would fix the problem.

That didn't do it. After the reboot into her new profile, the icons on the Start Menu and the document icons were still broken.

I have seen this before on a system we upgraded from Windows 2000 Pro to XP Pro SP2.

The fix was actually quite simple: Uninstall Office 2003, and reinstall it again.

This particular client has their Office Pro software installed via Group Policy.

So, normally, all I would have to do is uninstall and reboot. The GP would take care of the rest.

That didn't work for the previous time I had this happen, nor did it for this time either.

This is what I received for a message after starting the uninstall process:



This patch could not be opened. Verify that the patch package exists and that you can access it, or contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows Installer patch package.


A quick search turned up a quick fix: Microsoft KB: You receive the "This patch package could not be opened" error message in an Office program

Therein is a download to manually remove the offending Office installation from the Windows Installer database.


Okay, reboot, and guess what? No GP software install. The GP check didn't catch the removal of just the database items.

So, a manual install was in order.

Once the manual install was done, the icons worked for both the programs and their associated documents.

Now, I will need to verify the patch level of that particular Office install next week to make sure that WSUS picked up the changes! In goes a Task with reminder. ;)

If any other programs and their associated documents exibit the same issue, a reinstall is in order for them too. PDF files were affected as well.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

SBS 2K3 RTM SP1 R2 - Fax Deleted from Companyweb

We got a call the other day from one of our client's receptionists in a bit of a panic. She had accidentally deleted an incoming fax from the Companyweb Incoming Fax site.

I did a bunch of searching on the Web, and all I could seemingly find was that I needed to recover the STS database, mount it somewhere else, and then go and get that fax.

That was it!

Given the amount of time involved with the recovery, I was to do it this weekend.

Low and behold, today I was on-site to work on a separate fax related issue. There were a few very specific companies that could not fax my client.

I swapped out the modem, a USRobotics external USB, and went through some diagnosis.

While working on that, I discovered the spot where MSFax parks the incoming faxes BEFORE they are routed to the Companweb site!



And, guess what I found! :D That deleted fax.

I must admit, I did not know that the incoming faxes were stored locally with a copy being forwarded on to the Companyweb site. I had assumed that the original was routed through with fax document touching the hard drive.

When troubleshooting incoming faxes, the folder above the inbox contains the necessary log files that one needs to look over to see just what may be going on with a troublesome incoming fax.

And, that is where the rest of my focus went!

My client will be happy on Monday! :D

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

Thursday, 22 February 2007

System Builder Tip: Microsoft Partner - Microsoft Office Ready Master Kit (OPK) Part Number



We all received this one with our January Action Pack.

Did you get the, "Huh? What is that exactly?" from your supplier?

Microsoft's part number for the OPK: 269-11458

Note to Microsoft Partner Program: Next time you give us a little note like that, please put a part number for the product indicated so that it is easier for us to obtain it! It took a bit of hunting around to figure it out!

Advice to System Builders: Pick up one or two extra copies for those "Just in Case" moments. Media can be damaged or outright ruined quite easily. It will save you quite a bit of coin in that event to have an extra!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

System Builder Tip: Get the Winternal's Admin Pack - Or Vista SA & Get it Free!

Mark Minasi's Supporting Windows Vista audio CDs that I purchased a little while ago just paid for itself a thousand times over.

How?

He mentions during his introduction on CD 1 that the Winternal's Admin Pack would soon be introduced as one of the free parts of Vista's Software Assurance benefits.

So, off to Winternal's site I go to find out more. They do indicate that the Admin Pack is available for the time being, but soon to be only offered to Vista Software Assurance clients with a link to the Vista SA site.

On the Vista SA site, check out those tools at the bottom that are going to be included as well!

(Best Daffy Duck) Ohhh Booyyy! Ohh Booyyy!

Vista Software Assurance is really kewl!

SKU for Open Value Year 1: 66J-01283 (minimum 5 on the first order & 3 year commitment).
Vista Business Retail SKU: 66J-00002

If you need to use the Admin Pack tools now, go for it. One can save you from having to flatten a domain for a changed and forgotten SBS Admin password, or from having to muck around trying to figure out how to use the "tools" that are out there to do it. We have had very little success with those "tools".

We have worked with a company that has the Admin Pack tools, and they demonstrated the method to change the domain admin password in one server reboot on one of our virtual SBS test boxes. I was impressed to say the least.

Legit is where it's at! :D

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

System Builder Tip: Hard Drives and Reliability?

Here are two important reads for those of us who build, manage, and provide warranty services for our servers:

At the Computer World Blog: Everything you know about disks is wrong

And at Storage Mojo: Google's Disk Failure Experience

I am sure that we all have hard drive manufacturers that we tend to purchase over others.

For us and our systems, both our servers and workstations, we stick with the Seagate branded drives. We have seen a lot of success with them, and overall, our failure rate has been minimal.

We avoid Hitachi at all costs. They are supplied in Toshiba laptops, and we have seen an extremely high failure rate. Especially in laptops aged between 18 and 24 months. Toshiba warrants their Tecra line for three years, but it makes for a significant impact on productivity for our clients.

Fujitsu and Western Digital had their bad moments with us over the years. So, we tend to avoid them unless necessary. That may have changed recently in the last year or two, but once bitten, twice shy! ;)

All in all, our real world experience is somewhat reflected in Google's experiences.

And for that matter, Google should grow some cohones and publish the manufacturer names for the good and the bad. Everyone should have to face the music for building crap, and those that build the good stuff should get the extra business!

Both articles are a really good read, and quite informative!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

SBS is Happy Today


This particular SBS installation is SBS 2003 SP1 Premium Edition running on an Intel 2U SR2400 with dual Xeon 3.0 GHz. processors. It has two hot swap RAID arrays, one RAID 1 pair for the OS, backup files, and VSS images; and a RAID 5 array of 4 drives for their data. During peak season for them, they can grow at close to 1 GB a month, so we have a rather large RAID 5 array, with archiving of older data to keep things under control.

This SBS box is up to date, and running a large USB 2.0 external hard drive for backups. We come in every couple of weeks to swap out that drive and provide an archiving service for them if need be.

I find that this box is the one that we see the most happy reports from.

It runs very stable, and other than the occasional reboot for updates, it has never been shut down.

It is serving 14 desktops as well as a number of outside employees via RWW and some dedicated RDP boxes.

Configuration:
  • Intel SR2400 2U chassis with SATA backplane option

  • Redundant power and fan option - LX chassis model

  • 2 x 3.0 GHz. Xeon 800 FSB CPUs

  • 4 GB Kingston ECC DDR

  • 2 x 500 GB Seagate SATA in RAID 1

  • 4 x 400 GB Seagate SATA in RAID 5 (1.2 TB total use)

There is till room to grow for this particular client.

Advice: If the system is dual processor capable ... always try and plug in the second proc at build time. Have fun matching the existing one two or three years down the road otherwise. And, it will be twice the cost, and at a higher CPU stepping point that your existing board may not have a BIOS flash to support!

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and burnt it! :D

UPDATE: It is one of those days, 1 GB a month is not a whole heck of a lot! :D

Looking over the logs, they can grow at well over that in one month, coming close to 1 GB every couple of days!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Wednesday, 21 February 2007

    SBS 2K3 RTM SP1 R2 Premium - Post install must do - Tame SQL Memory Usage

    As soon as the ToDo list is done, and one has installed the Premium Technologies, one must reconfigure the maximum amount of memory that some of the SQL Server and MSDE instances use.

    Otherwise, we end up with this:

    A gigabyte in use for one SQL instance as well as Allocated Memory messages in your Outlook folder for that client!

    BTW, I generally install a minumum of 3 GB in all of our SBS servers. Once everything is configured, I change the Allocated Memory Alert threshold to just over the installed physical memory level. Thus, I won't have to do it later after receiving the continuous e-mail messages. :D

    To tame the SQL instance's memory usage do the following:
    Right click on your taskbar and bring up the Task Manager.
    Click on the Processes Tab.
    Click on the Mem Usage category to sort by it, then click it again to bring the highest ones to the top.
    If PID is not the second column in your view, click on view and select columns.
    Put a check mark beside PID.
    Click OK.
    Note the PID of the offending SQL instance.
    Now, click:
    Start-->run-->cmd-->enter.
    tasklist /svc
    Scroll back up until you see the PID in the list.
    To the right of the PID, will be the appropriate instance to go after.
    The following screen shot has the rest:



    In this case, the offending instance belonged to the Firewall MSDE.

    So, we proceed at the command line as follows:

    osql -E -S mysbsserver\msfw
    sp_configure 'show advanced options',1
    reconfigure with override
    go

    You will get a message that the option has been changed from 0 to 1.

    Then, on to:

    sp_configure 'max server memory',128
    reconfigure with override
    go

    You will then get a message indicating the maximum allowable memory for that instance has been changed from 2 GB to 128 MB.

    It is pretty kewl to watch the memory drop from over a gigabyte to the 128 MB mark almost instantaneously!

    Exit out of the osql command shell by typing:

    exit [enter]

    Done!

    For all of our new installs, I place memory restrictions on the following instances by default:

    • MSFW
    • SBSMonitoring
    • WSUS

    If the server has less that 2 GB, I tend to be a lot more restrictive than 2 GB to 3 GB, and a lot less restrictive for installations with more than 3 GB of RAM.

    Thanks to Susan Bradley's posts here and here where I originally discovered how to deal with this issue.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Microsoft Partner - Microsoft Action Pack Licensing Change

    I have been following a number of different conversations with regards to the changes in the licensing scheme for the Action Pack XP Pro and Vista Business operating systems.

    There is David Overton's Blog here, and here.

    Another, is on Susan Bradley's Blog here, and here.

    And, yet another, is on the Microsoft Small Business Community Blog (US) here, and here.

    A transcript of the Q & A Webcast that happened with Eric and Tram of the MSBS Community can be found here at Tim Barrett's Blog. Pretty scary in some cases, so brace yourselves! :D

    Here is David Schrag's take on it ... he even went so far as to create a MAPS wiki!

    And, on Microsoft's Partner Portal, the actual Webinar explaining the whole thing here.

    As I understand it, the new licensing scheme indicates that the desktop operating systems are licensed as upgrade versions.

    I believe this to be a terrible move on Microsoft's part.

    Why?

    Because, we relied heavily on our Action Pack when we first started out!

    Can you imagine what it would be like for a start up IT company that supported Microsoft's products to have to pay outright for their products? Or, for a one man/woman shop to have to fork out that kind of coin in the first couple of years? YIKES!

    That to me, contravenes the spirit of the Action Pack. It is supposed to be there for those of us who resell Microsoft's products. It is NOT a way to get "FREE" or "CHEAP" Microsoft software! It is supposed to be there for us to learn Microsoft's products so that we can facilitate a better Microsoft Product Experience for our clients!

    It is our knowledge, our expertise, that enables us to provide a stable network infrastructure based on Microsoft's products. Without that knowledge and expertise, our clients are left with a bitter experience of both the IT company that came in to do the work, and the Microsoft products that seemingly did not work!

    The Action Pack gives us the ability to, "Walk the Talk".

    After four years in business, we are now in the position to purchase some of the software we need. We are doing that through retail licenses for XP Pro (almost gone), and Vista Business. We then tack on Software Assurance for desktop operating systems.

    We are utilizing the Open Value Licensing scheme to spread our software license purchase payments over three years. It makes the most sense for us, and extends our SA agreement to three years versus the two for the upfront SA purchaser.

    For those companies that can afford it, those a little further down the trail to sustainability, Open Value Licensing with Software Assurance is the way to go. Check into it.

    Most importantly of all ... stay legit ... and know how to!

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Sunday, 18 February 2007

    Windows Vista - the new MSPaint

    The new version of MSPaint in Windows Vista ROCKS!

    Why?

    How many of our clients have any form of image editing software on their machines other than MSPaint? Generally, for most clients not directly connected to some sort of publishing industry, it is unlikely.

    So, when I need to create a quick How-To manual while on-site, I have to use the XP Pro based MSPaint. Trimming images from screen shots using this process is painful at best. After so many years of doing it, I pretty much know the default dpi x dpi of the various message windows and pop-ups! ;*)

    The kewlest new feature, yes it is deliberately misspelled, is the CROP feature! No more CTRL-E cut the width and height, rotate, CTRL-E, cut the width and height, and so on, and so on! Throw in a whole bunch of CTRL-Zs to step back too! Even with a good idea of the height and width of a screen shot item it would generally take three or four edits to get each side cropped!

    On Vista, I click on IMAGE, CROP. Then, I drag my mouse from opposite corner to opposite corner of just the item I want, Right Click, select crop, and voila! Save and done...Just saved myself oodles of time for some of the more complex quick Help Manuals that I sometimes need to create on the spot.



    This one feature is definitely a step up!

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Saturday, 17 February 2007

    Virtual Vista - Blue Screen STOP 0x000000D1

    DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL




    I was doing some tweaking on our two virtual Vista Business installations. They were both rebooted at the same time, with one BSOD as above.

    The system is a new SR2300 with dual 2.8 GHz. Xeons and 6 GB of RAM. Drives are a pair of Seagate SCSIs mirrored by the host OS.

    The funny thing is, the other instance just kept trucking. A "reboot" of the virtual machine allowed the instance to boot with no issues.

    There is no virtualization tech on this particular machine. So, there could be any number of reasons why it happened. One is an attempt to hit a spot in memory that was already occupied, another being something with the hardware itself.

    Some further testing will be in order. Though, in this case the Vista machines are for testing purposes only. We also have two XP Pro SP2 instances on it that are running quite stable. So, time will tell as we tear Vista apart, and put it back together again!

    I like that ability with the virtualized OS: Kill it, then kill it again, then kill it again...As long as my original VHD copy is around, I am good to go!

    The machines are virtualized on Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise Edition.

    Microsoft's take on it: KB 293077 Error Message: STOP 0x000000D1 DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL.

    UPDATE 2009-04-01: The above link is now a dud. Here is a link for a search for the stop error on Microsoft's support site: 0x000000D1 Search.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    IE 7 Bug on Multiple Monitors - Pop Up Info Doesn't Leave



    This info tab from IE is stuck on my right monitor. I have had it happen a number of times now. The last one was for the script warning that happens the first time I click on the Add A Link button while blogging on my main monitor.

    I have a multiple monitor setup, and I suspect the bug is tied into that.

    It is strange, and so far, the only way to get rid of it is to log off the system and log back in again.

    Strange...

    It may be possible that it is related to the ATI video drivers. We shall see if the problem disappears with the next Catalyst release.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    System Builder Tip: Vista Install - Stop Error 0x0000009F - FIXED!!!

    DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE

    Hmmmm, KB Troubleshooting a Stop 0x9F Error in Windows XP nope.

    KB Troubleshooting STOP 0x9F Error Messages in Windows, again nope.

    KB You receive a Stop 0x9F error when you wake a Windows Vista-based computer that is connected to an IEEE 1394-based device definitely doesn't cut it either as the BSOD happens during install.

    The setup is a brand new Intel D945GTP, Pentium D, and Kingston RAM. Most BIOS settings and on board components are disabled with the exception of the video. Two revisions of this board did it: the GTPL and the GTPLKR.

    At least this time the Stop Error stayed there and the thing didn't reboot on me. When it kept rebooting, all I saw was the blue flash. After the reboot into setup it would do it again in exactly the same spot. Just a tad bit frustrating.

    Not sure what I am going to do as there is little info out there on it other than the KB articles already cited.

    Looks like Microsoft doesn't have this one licked yet! :(

    For you system builders, be wary of quoting on a system with Vista before you have tested the configuration. Things like this could be costly to your business and your client's trust in you.

    UPDATE 2007-02-23: Okay, a lot of hits on this one. I will dig deeper to see if I can discover a work-around.
    If anyone comes up with the solution, please comment!

    UPDATE 2007-03-08: I picked up an ATI FireMV 2200 PCI-E low profile capable video card so as to bypass the onboard video. I till get the BSOD.

    I am a little stumped. Going to check and see if we can update the BIOS and go from there.

    UPDATE 2007-03-23: Spoke with Intel Desktop Board Technical Support about this issue this evening. The tech recommended I try a different media disk. So, off goes the OLP Ultimate version, and on goes the OEM Business version.

    The system still blue screened. Different error this time, and I could not catch it as the screen went blank as soon as the last line peeled off the screen.

    But, after trying a little bit of a different tact for searching, Vista Install Error Log, I came up with Vista Install Freeze Problem on Microsoft's Forum.

    Instead of booting into Windows PE (did not know/realize that I could - heh still learning ;)) I took the drive over to our Data Mule station and slaved it up. Did a search for logs on the failed Vista install and came up with:

    2007-03-24 00:14:37, Error [windeploy.exe] Failure occured during online installation. Online installation cannot complete at this time.; hr = 0x8007000a
    This came from the setuperr.log that was in C:\Windows\Panther\UnattendGC.

    Then from setupact.log also in the same directory:

    2007-03-24 00:12:27, Info [windeploy.exe] ------------------------------------------------
    2007-03-24 00:12:27, Info [windeploy.exe] WinDeploy.exe launched with command-line []...
    2007-03-24 00:12:27, Info [windeploy.exe] Setup has not completed, adding pending reboot.
    2007-03-24 00:12:27, Info [windeploy.exe] Found no unattend file.
    2007-03-24 00:12:27, Info [windeploy.exe] Found generalization state [0x4], setup.exe completion flag [False] --> launching setup.exe.
    2007-03-24 00:12:27, Info [windeploy.exe] Launching [C:\Windows\system32\oobe\setup.exe]...
    2007-03-24 00:14:37, Info [windeploy.exe] ------------------------------------------------
    2007-03-24 00:14:37, Info [windeploy.exe] WinDeploy.exe launched with command-line []...
    2007-03-24 00:14:37, Info [windeploy.exe] Setup has not completed, adding pending reboot.
    2007-03-24 00:14:37, Info [windeploy.exe] Setup was launched during Safe mode.
    2007-03-24 00:14:37, Error [windeploy.exe] Failure occured during online installation. Online installation cannot complete at this time.; hr = 0x8007000a
    2007-03-24 00:14:49, Info [windeploy.exe] Flushing registry to disk...
    2007-03-24 00:14:50, Info [windeploy.exe] Flush took 656 ms.
    2007-03-24 00:14:50, Info [windeploy.exe] WinDeploy.exe exiting with code [0x8007000a]
    Both of the above errors were the last log files to be touched by the OS just before it died.

    And then, from the setupapi.dev.log in the C:\Windows\inf directory we have the following:

    inf: {Install Inf Section [i945G0] exit (0x00000000)}
    inf: {Install Inf Section [i945G0.Hw]}
    inf: Empty section
    inf: {Install Inf Section [i945G0.Hw] exit (0x00000000)}
    dvi: {Writing Device Properties}
    dvi: Provider name=Intel Corporation
    dvi: DriverDate 08/21/2006
    dvi: DriverVersion=7.14.10.1103
    dvi: Class name=Display
    dvi: Manufacturer=Intel Corporation
    dvi: Matching DeviceID=pci\ven_8086&dev_2772
    dvi: Strong Name=igdlh.inf:Intel.Mfg:i945G0:7.14.10.1103:pci\ven_8086&dev_2772
    dvi: {Writing Device Properties - Complete}
    inf: {Install Inf Section [i945G0.Services]}
    inf: AddService=ialm,0x00000002,ialm_Service_Inst (igdlh.inf line 115)
    inf: ServiceType=1 (igdlh.inf line 127)
    inf: StartType=3 (igdlh.inf line 128)
    inf: ErrorControl=0 (igdlh.inf line 129)
    inf: ServiceBinary=C:\Windows\system32\DRIVERS\igdkmd32.sys (igdlh.inf line 131)
    inf: LoadOrderGroup=Video (igdlh.inf line 130)
    dvi: Add Service: Modified existing service 'ialm'.
    inf: {Install Inf Section [i945G0.Services] exit(0x00000000)}
    dvi: {Install DEVICE exit (0x00000000)}
    dvi: Writing common driver property settings.
    dvi: DriverDescription=Intel(R) 82945G Express Chipset Controller 0 (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM)
    dvi: DeviceDisplayName=Intel(R) 82945G Express Chipset Controller 0 (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM)
    dvi: {Restarting Devices} 00:13:07.671
    <ins>
    àà‡uæým ý  àà7Š+ÔŸ Ú@

    Those last characters demonstrate something unhappy in the install process me thinks. And this kinda points to what I have a hunch about: Intel delivered some sort of driver for the Vista image for the 945G chipset that doesn't seem to be working.

    They worked on the 965 chipset because it is current, and a lot of new systems would be going out on it. That seems to me to be logical at this point from a business point of view, but, what about those of us who are still supplying 945 chipset based systems?

    So, I am waiting for the Intel rep to call back so that I can let him know that the install failed on a different Vista DVD media set.

    To cap it all off, here is what I have done so far (keep in mind that setup has started from ground zero with each combination:

    • Swapped hard drives
    • Tried an Adaptec 1210SA RAID controller
    • Turned off all of the BIOS settings for any peripheral device or service
    • Originally 2 x 512 MB Kingston
    • 2 x 1 GB Kingston
    • 1 of each stick of 512 MB or 1 GB Kingston
    • Turned on all BIOS settings + added ATI FireMV 2200 PCI-E video
    • Turned off all BIOS settings with the above ATI
    • Different Pentium D CPU
    • Different PSU
    • Different optical drive
    • USB optical drive versus IDE
    • Unplug every connector except keyboard and video + all BIOS settings off
    • Updated the BIOS!!!
    • Different BIOS revisions
    Obviously this is not the complete list. But, it gives you an idea of the amount of time I have put in trying to figure this one out.

    I don't see it as a waste of time, I see it as a challenge! :D

    And, once I have exhausted all possible avenues, I will let it go. But, for now, there are a couple more to go yet including an RMA for this board.

    But, before the above happens, I also have the 64 bit OLP version of Vista Ultimate. I think I might as well give it a whirl while waiting for the SBS setup to finish for an install we are doing tomorrow! :D

    Hmmmm...I caught sight of the offending driver briefly: something like igdkme....sys ... That kinda says Intel Graphics ??? 64 bit install dies at the same spot too. :(

    UPDATE 07-03-24: WHOOO HOOO!!!!

    I finally got Vista Ultimate 32 bit to install on this board! Intel just released a BIOS update for the board that fixed compatibility issues.

    It sure did! :D

    Sometimes, patience and persistence does pay off and makes the whole struggle worth it!

    Thanks to Ben over at Intel Desktop Board Support who helped me with some suggestions along with the recommendation to check out the newly released BIOS.

    So, to you System Builders, if you are having Stop issues, bet on the system board and a needed BIOS update for compatibility!

    Now, on to some testing for Aero compatibility and Assessment Scores.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Friday, 16 February 2007

    System Builder Tips: Windows Vista Feature: During install ... USB drive live!

    I am sure that there are a lot of people who have been caught in "floppy hell" when it comes to installing operating systems with some sort of special controller card or on board controller.

    I am installing Vista Ultimate onto one of our small form factor Pentium D machines along with Office 2007 to take with me to client's locations for demonstrations.

    This particular box has a 2 port SATA RAID controller in it.

    Vista could not find any drivers and requested some. The demo box has no built in optical or floppy drive. There is an optical drive connected via USB for the install only.

    I connected a USB floppy with the driver in it, and Vista scanned it, pulled the driver, and the installation now continues. No reboot for a drive to be connected!

    To me, that is a pretty neat feature. I don't know how many times I have been caught by an OS that requested a driver from a floppy only!

    It gives me the impression that I can now keep a USB flash drive with the requisite drivers that can be used with future Vista and hopefully Longhorn installs!

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    SBS 2K3 Premium - All Editions, ISA, and DHCP on SBS

    I haven't seen this problem in a while, but, every once in a while it pops up and takes a bit of time to figure out.

    We were updating a Lenovo laptop - wow, they sure have a lot of software updates for their laptops - and when it rebooted, it could no longer connect to the network.

    After some troubleshooting, it turned out that it looked like the physical connection was dead.

    Nope, take it to another network connection and still the same thing.

    The bad thing was, it was one partner in the firm, and when the other partner decided to take his Lenovo out of its docking station and plug in the troublesome one, he could no longer connect!

    I ended up heading in to verify just what was going on as a remote session could only get me so far.

    I took a new network switch with me just in case. Plug all the active nodes in, and nope, problem still existed, only now everyone couldn't connect even after a reboot of their systems.

    I remembered dealing with this before, and low and behold I found my culprit:


    Whenever a network connection is released, you see 0.0.0.0 when the "IP" comes up via ipconfig /release. If you try and renew your address, and no DHCP server answers, then you end up with a 169.x.x.x IP. However, when the machine calls out to the DHCP server, it still broadcasts itself from 0.0.0.0.

    Guess what? ISA says, "No way & no how are you coming in here!"

    I belive that most of us do not encounter this situation often, because the network adapter tends to hold on to the address it had until it expires, then ask for another one, FROM the now expired address. And so on, and so on...

    So, here is the fix:



    Or should I say, the fix that I came up with in a pinch! :D It works though, and that is the main thing.

    Take careful note when creating the Access Rule, that I have both DHCP services, both Internal and Local Host included in the From part of the rule, and All Protected Networks (including Local Host) in the To part of the rule!

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    IE 7 on WSUS 2.x when install is delayed


    This screen shot was taken a little while ago.

    Why am I posting it?

    Because, in this client's case, IE 7 would have broken their custom accounting applications and a couple of key Web sites.

    After some more testing, and a few tweaks, IE 7 has now been released to their workstations.

    What I thought was interesting though, was that every time I logged into the server and connected to the WSUS 2.x Web console to verify, approve, or decline updates, IE 7 would be right there at the top!

    We declined IE 7 at 100% of our clients when it was released. It took about two to three months before we finally saw enough compatibility with our client's particular situations.

    Once things settled down though, IE 7 is our browser of choice now. Yes, it still has quirks for coders to work with, but it is no where near as bad as IE 6 was to code for.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Thursday, 15 February 2007

    Vista - Telnet Client not Installed by Default

    I went to test a POP3 server connection from one of our Vista remote clients, and discovered that the Telnet client was not installed by default.

    In the Vista default view:


    Click on the green Programs Link. You will be taken to the following page:


    The link with the shield, Turn Windows features on or off, is the next one to click on.

    You will be greeted with the now famous UAC (User Access Control):


    From there, you can choose to install whatever Vista feature you are looking for:


    Then, you will be done.

    If you are a bit of a traditionalist, as I am, then you can switch to the Classic View, and click on the icon!


    Now, off to find the source of my POP3 problem!

    Windows Vista User Access Control on TechNet:
    And, Microsoft's Windows Vista homepage.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Software Installed Without My Permission

    I use my MSN Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Messenger installations to keep in touch with my clients and a few suppliers that have sales reps into it.

    On our client sites, these programs are restricted via ISA Firewall policies for most users.

    Windows Live Messenger just nagged me to update, so I did.

    I got some sort of EULA for a toolbar of some sort that I denied, along with some indication that they were going to install some other programs.

    I was not given the option to say NO to those other programs! I get cranky when that happens. The toolbar at least didn't install when I denied the EULA.

    I DON'T like software being installed on my system without my permission. This is especially true since I spent many hours over many years cleaning out client systems of software that surreptitiously installs itself and does bad things.

    Today, we have labelled most of those programs that get installed surreptitiously as Malware, or Spyware depending on their purpose.

    While I realize that these particular programs are not necessarily categorized as either of the above, it goes without saying that, in principle, software should not be installed on a person's system without their permission.

    Microsoft of all companies should know better! 8*O





    There are the culprits.

    NOTE TO MICROSOFT AND REAL PLAYER (or whatever the chicken your company name is): If I wanted your software on MY system, I would have gone to Real's site and installed it MYSELF.

    NOTE to Real Player: Your software is NOT installed on my system, that is your player, and it won't be. And soon, neither will your Rhapsody stuff either.

    UPDATE: Mea Culpa, that is, I stand corrected as per the one comment. Apparently I missed the do not install check boxes as they were quite small. If that is so the case, then please accept my apologies ... however ... my opinion still stands as regards software installing without my permission.

    And, for that matter, for making the, "Do Not Install" buttons too small for these old eyes to see! Not really fair, IMNSHO. :)

    UPDATE 07-02-18: I couldn't resist, I needed to verify just where I went wrong. Installed Windows Live Messenger 8.0 on one of my virtual XP Pro SP2 machines and logged off. When I logged back on, I received the update request and I followed through on it.

    This is what I received:



    When I saw that, I went through the same process on one of the Virtual Vista machines and produced the same result.

    I know the update that I went through that originally spawned this post was completely different than this, as there were a number of different steps. Fluke? I am not sure. Perhaps a lot of people did complain and things were cleaned up? Again, I am not sure.

    So, for now, my quest to verify what I went through is at a stand still. This situation does reinforce the need for me to take screen shots of pretty much everything and anything that I am doing!

    UPDATE 07-03-09: Okay, I stand humbled. I made mistake, and my apologies to those affected by my rant. I ran through an update today that I allowed all of the check marks to stay on with, and essentially went through what I experienced initially. Must have been a really bad day that day! 8*(

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Tuesday, 13 February 2007

    Supporting Windows Vista - Mark Minasi Audio CDs

    I am pretty excited!


    Did I say that, "I am pretty excited!"?


    OH YEAH! :D

    I ordered Mark Minasi's Supporting Windows Vista audio CDs when I saw mention of them on Susan Bradley's Blog.

    I can remember reading Mr. Minasi's books way back when I first started out into this industry and I was a voracious reader - I had the time then! ;)

    They just arrived today! And, other than UPS gouging me for 20% of the value for their freakin no permission asked for brokerage fees, I am very excited about it.

    I am looking forward to learning a lot about Vista and it's abilities through this very intelligent and talented man.

    Thank you Mr. Minasi for sharing your wealth of knowledge!

    You too can obtain your copy on Mark's Web Site. That is at Minasi.com and not markminasi.com as that is currently occupied what looks to be domain squatters?

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    SBS 2K3 R2 Premium - WSUS Workstation Error 0x8007000e or MS Update 0x800a0007

    I am still not 100% convinced that I like the integrated WSUS setup in SBS 2K3 R2.

    I like the granularity of control on the WSUS 2.x installations that we have across all of our client SBS SP1 installations with the exception of a couple that have extremely limited disk space for now.

    At least with the WSUS 2.x Web Console I could see first hand what the updates are doing, whether they had been installed, and what level of updates I wanted to release to the clients. Essentially, I had control over ANY level of update.

    In WSUS R2 edition, I do not. Other than the occasional call to approve updates, I am not seeing my clients get updated with certain types of updates. There really is not a whole heck of a lot of ways to control what is happening for updates in a WSUS 3.x SBS R2 edition setup.

    So, on my two virtual XP Pro SP2 clients, I am getting this error if I head to the Microsoft Update site:




    The 0x800A0007 brings up nothing relevant to my situation. Updates were working, now they are not.

    On the WSUS admin tool I have the following:


    Kinda looks the same doesn't it? Not...

    So, I searched, and I hunted, and I found this at the TechArena site.

    I started with the following command line as per the forum: wuauclt /resetauthorization /detectnow

    Still the same, however, after a reboot, I made it into the Microsoft Update site!

    After a long scan wait, it wanted to install the Windows Genuine Advantage Tool.


    Insert client location expletive here, "What the chicken?!?" (My favourite on-site saying when frustrated - If things are going really bad, "OH POOO")


    Okay, so you don't want to install that way... Well there is more than one way to ...

    Head over to the Windows Genuine Advantage site and run the validation manually.

    Install the ActiveX control into your browser, the check runs and:


    Voila, we now have a recognized and legitimate installation of XP Pro SP2.

    Head on back over to the Microsoft Update site, and run the Custom scan again and we have a list of updates.


    Long and short of it: WSUS error 0x8007000e and/or Microsoft's Update Web site's error 0x800a0007 can be caused by the WGA tool NOT installing automatically.

    Short list:
    • 0x800a007 and/or 0x8007000e errors for R2 WSUS or MS Update Site updates

    • run wuauclt /resetauthorization /detectnow and then reboot

    • Go to Microsoft's Genuine Advantage Site and validate Windows

    • Head back to the Microsoft Update Site and rerun the custom scan

    • You will need to install a bunch of updates!

    Be prepared to have some work over this if you have a number of desktops displaying the same issue!

    UPDATE: Microsoft's WSUS Download page that includes a number of troubleshooting tools.

    UPDATE 2007-02-24: Okay folks, me thinks this may be a Genuine Advantage and Microsoft Update related bug.

    Why? The errors showed up on the same two boxes again! These are virtualized XP Pro SP2 machines. They are the only two boxes being affected by this situation. They are also a relatively new setup and install.

    I messed around with ISA to see if it was being difficult with the connection to the point of setting up an IP rule associated with one of the troublesome machines to have unconditional access to the Internet with no positive results.

    So, given that the last time I had this problem, it was related to the Genuine Advantage setup, I headed off to the site to see if that was broken again. The validation worked with no problems.

    Still no ability to update from the MS Update site.

    Okay, what's next? Off to Microsoft's download site to see what other Genuine Advantage downloads there are. You can see the four (4) search results here.

    I came up with this one:


    The Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications tool, and this one:


    The Network Diagnostic Tool download that required validation. Funny that none of the other validation required downloads didn't show up in the search results.

    Anyway, I downloaded both, and went to install them and low and behold, for both, I receive this puzzling error:


    Um, this is an SBS network, all users are added to the Local Admin group on the workstation.

    So, log off, then log on again as the domain admin.

    Install both tools, reboot, and hit the Microsoft Update site again.

    Just like the last time, it took a very long time, something like between 5 and 10 minutes, for the Custom scan to run.

    But, I was greeted with:


    I logged the domain admin account off the workstation and ran the updates again logged in as myself. It worked again after a long pause.

    This whole situation is leading me to think that there is something broken in the validation component, Genuine Advantage, and permissions that won't allow updates to run on the systems.

    UPDATE 2007-02-24 #2: Okay, this is just freaky! I have a laptop on my bench that had its Hitachi drive die. I installed the replacement disk, ran the factory disks to rebuild it, and then straight into Microsoft Update. I always update a new machine to Microsoft Update if it comes stock with the Windows Update component only.

    Looky here:


    That just blows me AWAY! The fix found above to get Microsoft Update/WSUS working again (WSUS error did disappear), was before this laptop. The Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications download is new...it is 67 of 67 on the list.

    I am pretty much convinced now! There is something funky going on with Windows Validation and Microsoft Update/WSUS!

    UPDATE 2007-05-01: Microsoft has just released an update that might fix the issue: Microsoft KB914810: The Automatic Updates service may stop responding. You will need to get in touch with PSS - a link is provided in the KB - to obtain the hotfix.

    Please let me know if it helps you!

    UPDATE 07-05-07: WSUS 3.x install on SBS 2K3 R2 is another way to hopefully eliminate this problem. New blog post here: SBS 2K3 R2 - WSUS 3.0 install experience with some caveats.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    SBS - Troubleshooting Guide

    It seems that the troubleshooting guide on Microsoft's Web site has been updated recently.

    If you are having problems with a component within your SBS server setup, this is a good place to start:

    Troubleshooting Windows Small Business Server 2003

    Hopefully that document will be helpful. If not, there is always the TechNet Managed Newsgroups for TechNet subscribers. This is a service that we have been subscribed to for about a year now. We are subscribed at the TechNet Plus level, and it has provided a wealth of information and trial software that augments our Action Pack subscription.

    And, of course, there is your search engine of choice.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Monday, 12 February 2007

    Windows XP - Installling Windows Desktop Search - Error

    I was attempting to install Microsoft's Windows Desktop Search on my current XP Pro SP2 machine.

    This is what I received:




    So, onto the log file as indicated in the error:



    There is a lot there. A few key words about admin rights in there caught my eye.

    I am a local admin on this machine, but it may be asking for more rights than I currently have.

    So, I logged off, logged back in as the domain administrator, and voila, the setup completes!



    It is now installed. While I was at it, I installed the UNC add-in for networked drive search, and the Outlook Saved Mail add-in.

    So far, it seems to have a similar functionality as the search feature built into Vista.

    Downloads are available here:
    Windows Desktop Search 3.0 for XP
    Windows Desktop Search 3.0 for Server 2003
    Windows Desktop Search: Add-in for Files on Microsoft Networks
    Windows Desktop Search: Add-in for Outlook saved mail (.msg file) indexing

    And finally, you can browse the search results for Windows Desktop Search on Microsoft's download site here.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Vista - Windows Help Error Message

    Here is a little something that caused me to have a little chuckle:



    This happened to me when I tried to open the help that is associated with the IIS 6 Diagnostic Tool WFetch 1.4.

    I headed on over to Microsoft's KB 917607 page and low and behold here is what I found:

    ... the Windows Help program has not had a major update for many releases and no longer meets Microsoft standards. Therefore, starting with the Microsoft Windows Vista and the Microsoft Windows Server Code Name "Longhorn" operating system releases, the Windows Help program will not ship as a component of Windows. Also, third-party programs that include .hlp files are prohibited from redistributing the Windows Help program together with their products. Users who want to view 32-bit .hlp files must download the program from the Microsoft Download Center, and then install it on their computers. The download for Windows Help is still in development and will be available in early 2007 [Emphasis mine].

    Wow, kinda leaves a whole lot of us in a bit of a pickle eh? Have a program coded with the old Windows Help setup you need to access while installed on Vista?

    Not going to happen!

    The pain of it though, the program WFetch 1.4 is BY Microsoft! :*P

    Oh well, I guess it is another little thing that will hopefully be made right at some point as per the KB article!

    And, maybe another reason for some to not install Vista at this point.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Sunday, 11 February 2007

    SBS 2003 SP1 Premium - Can no Longer Connect to Companyweb

    Within the last couple of days our Companyweb page would no longer show up on our client workstations here at home.

    Nothing has changed, other than the fact that I have just done Phase 2 of a Swing Migration on this network. We have a new server to replace the ageing 1U that is currently serving our SBS needs.

    I thought that it might have been TempDC's presence in AD and DNS that was messing things up. But cleaning out AD of TempDC's presence did nothing to fix it.

    With the help of a tool called WFetch 1.4 which is part of the IIS Diagnostics Toolkit, and can be obtained here, I was able to figure out that I could connect to Companyweb when the tool specifically had port 8080 as the port to connect to.

    I received a host not found error if port 80 was the port to connect to.

    It has been a bit of a puzzle. The only other thing that I could think of that has changed was the update for the ISA firewall client to make it compatible with Vista. I am not sure if this is the culprit yet as I will need to test it further.

    Armed with the above info, it came to me that when WFetch was directed to port 8080 it was being told to work WITH the proxy server for local addresses, and not BYPASS it.

    I opened the Connections properties for IE's LAN Settings, unchecked, "Bypass proxy server for local addresses" and voila!

    We now have our Companyweb back.

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Thursday, 8 February 2007

    The Mac versus PC Ad thing...

    As a passionate PC user, I find the PC versus Mac thing sometimes very funny.

    I do believe that Macs have their place in the world, just not mine.

    Not after that *#()#! Mac ate my floppy with my third year Psychology paper the evening before it was due. I had been working on that one for a while, and it was quite a frustrating experience as both the the U. Support staff were unable to help, and the stupid machine refused to release my disk. U. Support came down the next morning when the lab was open to reboot the Macs to get them back, and I got my floppy finally...but no paper. :*P

    That had happened before, but not leaving me disk-less, and with no damage to the contents.

    I swore off Macs after that. At least I could manually remove my floppy from the PC machine behind me, and I would have had options for recovering the data from it too.

    Yes, my PC machine was temperamental too, but I had the knowledge and capability to deal with those eccentricities and work with or around them. And I could backup my work.

    Recently, Apple has had those PC and Mac commercials. Not being much of a TV watcher, I haven't really seen too many of them.

    But, I certainly have heard about them from both PC and Mac camp friends and acquaintances.

    Charlie Brooker has a great take on those commercials in his article, "I hate Macs". It is a good read, and quite funny.

    And, btw, I do show my bias for liking this particular article! :D

    Thanks to Vlad for pointing out this great read.

    Happy PCing,

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Wednesday, 7 February 2007

    Office 2007 and IE 7 peformance on XP Pro Versus Vista Business

    Is it just me, or does Office 2007 and IE 7 run like dogs on XP Pro SP2?

    The reason I ask this is because the XP Pro SP2 based system I run in the Office is no slouch!
    • Intel QX6700 Quad Core Extreme

    • Intel 975XBX

    • ATI X1900 CrossFire & X1900XTX Video

    • 4 GB Kingston RAM
    It may be possible that I am experiencing some sort of configuration issue, but nothing comes up in the diagnostics for Office that I can see.

    The system at Home running Office 2007 and Vista Business is configured as follows:
    • Intel P4 650 3.4 GHz. HT

    • Intel D925XCEV2

    • ATI X850 PCI-E

    • 4 GB Kingston RAM

    Office runs so smooth, as does IE 7.

    When it comes to IE 7, we are running a smaller Internet connection at home, 1.5 Mb/s as opposed to the 4.0 Mb/s here in the office where the XP box is. Makes for even more puzzlement.

    Same sites on both machines, XP & IE 7 renders slower than Vista and IE 7.

    I can remember hearing at the various Microsoft events that I attended that Vista, Office 2007, and IE 7 were meant for each other.

    This experience of mine working with both OS configurations on fairly high end machines definitely puts some truth to that!

    By the way, both the home and the office are Small Business Server 2003 Premium integrated with Exchange 2003 SP2.

    The big thing for me at this point is to wait until the more exotic components that I have plugged into the system here in the office has Vista drivers that are no longer in Beta. I will then blow away the box and build on Vista Ultimate as we are licensed for it via our Software Assurance.

    In my experience, Vista, Office 2007, and IE 7 rock together!

    Happy Vista, Office 2007, and IE 7 Operating!

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Coding CSS Resource - CSS-Discuss.org

    For those of us who dabble, or work full time coding Web sites, there is an excellent mailing list that can help you work through the many browser hoops needed to get your CSS working!

    The CSS-Discuss.org list is one of the best resources I have come across.

    There are a number of very helpful people on the list who will help you validate your CSS, work with the Box Model browser hoops, and more.

    Happy Coding,

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists

    Software Assurance Image Downloads = .img?

    When dealing with a client recently who has Software Assurance, we went to download their updated software as per their SA Agreement.

    Here is what we ended up with:


    Okay, the file's label says, "ISO", but the actual extension is .IMG.

    What gives?

    Seems that one need only RENAME that .IMG to .ISO and away we go! :D

    Burn The ISO to disk, and then go ahead and run the software install/upgrade.

    Thanks to the TechNet Forums for this one (You will be asked to create an identity for the forums to view this link).

    Happy with Software Assurance!

    Philip Elder
    MPECS Inc.
    Microsoft Small Business Specialists.