Saturday, February 26, 2005

Small IT Solution for Mobility v 1.0 (Beta)

Hat tip to Adam’s Mindspace.

Setting up a Small IT Solution for Mobility using Microsoft’s Small Business Server combined with Mobile-based Pocket PC (Phone Edition) and Windows Mobile-based Smartphone devices.

This is a big selling point for Small Business Server. Demonstrate this to a small business with a mobile sales force and the lights are guaranteed to go on.

Posted by Stevereno on 02/26 at 03:59 PM
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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Small Business Server Hardware on a Budget

MCP Magazine Online reviews four servers for under $1,000. 4 Dirt-Cheap Workgroup Servers Put to the Test

HP wins the day hands down with twin 80Gb hard drives. The Dell system, on the other hand, is disappointing with one 40Gb hard drive. Surely Dell could do better than that.

Posted by Stevereno on 02/19 at 07:36 PM
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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

.rar e-Mail Attachment With Virus Package Bypasses Filters

There is a new attachment that virus writers are using that may bypass your antivirus scanner. It has the extension “.rar” and according to this article on e-Week most antivirus programs don’t scan for it.

I took a look at my antivirus program and the “.rar” extension was nowhere to be found. I went the compressed file section of my gateway and was able to add the extension so it is scanned at the gateway. That’s the best I can do for now. You may want to check your antivirus program and make sure this extension is covered.

The virus relies on social engineering to deliver it’s package. The lure, an invitation to view pornographic content is most common. Since the .rar extension is not well known you may want to alert your staff that any e-mail with this attachment should be deleted.

Posted by Stevereno on 02/02 at 11:19 AM
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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Small Business Server Backup Failed - A Simple Problem

Last week I had a Backup Failure on Windows Small Business Server Premium. The Shadow Copy failed on drive C. When that happens SBS Backup reports failure because of the large number of open files it skips.

This is a simple problem. One of the SQL Databases had been set to a full recovery model instead of “simple” recovery model.

According to the Microsoft Small Business Server troubleshooting page, “SQL ServerTM?2000 is installed and one or more databases have a recovery model that is not set to Simple. Windows Small Business Server?2003 Backup can back up a database only if its recovery model is set to Simple.”

How do you fix this?

If this happens you will have an critical error in the Monitoring and Reporting screen in Server Management that will tell you which database has a problem.

Open SQL Server Enterprise Manager and find the database container from the name in the critical error. Right click on it and select properties. Go to the Options tab and look at the recovery Option in the middle of the screen and set the model back to simple. Click OK and close SQL Server Enterprise Manager. Whey you run the backup again it will have a nice green checkmark in the status column indicating success.

Posted by Stevereno on 01/23 at 12:58 PM

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Bootable CD Saves The Day

Travis has a great article, What’s in your tool bag?  He uses a bootable CD for system recovery.  Bart’s PE bootable XP CD could be a great addition to your set of tools.


Posted by Stevereno on 01/05 at 07:59 PM

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Sharepoint Lists - Powerful Stuff!

Serge van de Over writes about Sharepoint lists functionality  right out of the box. There is a lot of power in Sharepoint. Here is an under the hood look at what you can do with lists.

Posted by Stevereno on 01/04 at 05:39 PM

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Slipstream XP SP2 to an unattended installation CD

AseLabs has a short article on building an XP CD that slipstreams XP SP2 on to an installation disk then does an unattended install of XP. 


Posted by Stevereno on 11/25 at 11:31 PM
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Internet Time setup for Windows 2003 SBS

I am in the process of moving SBS to a new hardware platform.

I wanted to setup the time service to find a reliable internet time server. This had been configured on the old server but it was hard for me to recall how this was done. Searching the Windows 2003 Server website revealed the following article How to configure an authoritative time server in Windows Server 2003. I started through the procedure in the section “Configuring the Windows Time service to use an external time source” until I reached step 4.

“4 b. In the right pane, right-click NtpServer, and then click Modify.”

The registry key called for in Step 4, “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Services W32Time Parameters” did not have a data set in the right pane to modify called NtpServer, believing that the instruction were correct I added the REG_SZ data set including the time server DNS name appending it with “,0x1” as per the instructions.

Once I completed the instructions, I stopped and started w32tme service and figured that would take care of keeping the server time up to date.

It didn’t.

Afterwards I started seeing w32time service errors in my system log file and started investigating the problem.

Unable to pinpoint the problem right away I posted a request about it on the Windows 2003 SBS newsgroup.

Kevin Weilbacher, a SBS MVP came to the rescue with an article from the SBS FAQ by Mari?tte Knap called “How to fix time synchronization errors”

I realized the error. The default SBS NTP packet filter in ISA only allowed outgoing TCP requests on port 123. We need UDP send receive to remote port 123 in order for time synchronization to take place. Once I corrected the problem by adding the UDP packet filter, w32time service grabbed the data from the internet time source and was synced.

I picked a time server from the Microsoft article “A List of the Simple Network Time Protocol Time Servers That Are Available on the Internet” and hard coded it in the registry in step 4 referenced above. The instructions actually mention a “peer” file where you place a space separated file with a list of time servers to sync to but adding the DNS name of one time server is sufficient.

Now, happily, my Windows SBS 2003 Server is synced to a reliable time source. Since the server is a domain controller all the XP workstations will sync their time against the SBS box and everyone will be happy.

A word of caution, if you break the registry during edits it could bring disaster. Make sure to backup the registry before you modify it.  A system state backup should do the trick.


Posted by Stevereno on 11/25 at 11:06 PM
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Monday, November 22, 2004

Spyware Removal Tools

ARS Technica reviews five of the latest spyware removers. If you need a primer on the threat of spyware then check out Part 1 of the article.

Posted by Stevereno on 11/22 at 09:23 PM
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Friday, September 03, 2004

Running With Least Privileges

Aaron Margosis has a website about running your computer with “least privileges” as in, NOT an administrator. Everything you ever wanted to know about Windows 2000 / XP “run as” command and more.

Good Stuff.


Posted by Stevereno on 09/03 at 11:15 PM
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Sunday, August 22, 2004

SBS Group Policy “String is too long” Errors After Updating Workstations to XP SP2

I had successfully upgraded a test workstation on our Small Business Server network and wanted to set group policy, Small Business Server Client Computer Policy, to enable the Windows XP SP2 firewall. I was able to open the Active Directory Users and Computers MMC from the XP Workstation with my Administrative ID using the “run as” and enable the firewall as Microsoft had detailed. That went fine on the XP machine.

It was a different story when I went to the server and tried to open the Small Business Server Client Computer Policy. I received error after error after error stating that the “String is too long.” I had to click through a ton of errors before they cleared the screen.

I remember reading about this on Susan Bradley’s website so I went there. There is a patch for your Small Business Server on Microsoft’s website that fixes this problem. I installed the patch and it fixed the problem without a reboot (thanks Bill).

The SBS community rocks!  Amazing resources right at your finger tips.


Posted by Stevereno on 08/22 at 06:02 PM
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Sunday, June 27, 2004

How Secure Are Your Systems?

Microsoft has come up with some rules called the 10 Immutable Laws of Security.  It really gives you something to think about. It is very easy to get complacent and forget the basic principles of computer security.

I found a reference to this site on Susan Bradley’s blog. She is a Small Business Server MVP (you will find Small Business Server MVP’s listed in the right column) and is security conscious to a fault. Oh, don’t take that as a complaint. It’s a good thing.


Posted by Stevereno on 06/27 at 11:17 PM
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Friday, June 25, 2004

Critical Trojan in the Wild - Download.Ject

There is a vulnerability in Internet Information Server 5.0 that was reported today. Websites can become infected and then infect visitors to the web sites on the infected machine. However, that being said if the System has been patched with update 835732 the system will not have the vulnerability.

Just another reason to keep your system up to date. On the client side you will be protected if you keep your antivirus updated and your security settings for Internet Explorer set properly.

For details see this Microsoft Bulletin.

A technical look at the problem can be found on SANS Internet Storm Center Handlers Diary dated June 25th.


Posted by Stevereno on 06/25 at 11:22 PM
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Monday, June 21, 2004

Install Software Update Services Server 1.0

If you have Small Business Server installed and you want to automatically distribute updates and patches to your network systems check out this guide. It explains how to deploy Software Update Services Server to your Windows 2003 Small Business Server.

I recently updated the Small Business Server in my test lab. The installation took about 30 minutes and works as advertised. The install took 30 minutes but in order to have the updates available for network systems you had to approve each update in the server by checking each one. This took some time. There was a bunch and it was a real pain because you couldn?t select them all then uncheck the ones you don’t want.

It is completed and I no longer need to go to the workstations and update manually. If your have a lot of systems on your network SUS will save you some administrative time.

Check it out.


Posted by Stevereno on 06/21 at 09:41 PM
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Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Small Business Server Weblog

Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 has to be one of Microsoft’s best products for small business. I wanted to do a weblog on Small Business Server to talk about my experiences with the product and provide a resource for the Small Business Server community in the process.

Small Business Server is an “enterprise in a box” and has everything that a small business could need to leverage information technology in a way that is easily managed. It incorporates a company intranet website, with network wide FAX, e-mail, database server and firewall on a single computer. It can make a business very productive.

I look forward to building this into a good resource for the Microsoft Small Business Server.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Stevereno on 06/19 at 09:03 PM
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