Archive for the ‘SBS 2011’ Category


Introduction

Guess I am like the cobbler’s kids who didn’t get their shoes when everyone else did.  I am the last of my clients, save one, to migrate off SBS and onto Windows 2012 R2 Standard.  I thought you could benefit from some of the issues I ran into, and solved.

Here’s my scenario.  Have a Hyper-V server running SBS 2011 as a virtual machine.  Created a new virtual machine and installed Windows 2012 R2, did updates.  Unfortunately, it sat for several months while I finally got a few days to do he migration.  More about that later.

Long ago, I migrated email and SharePoint to Office 365, so I had disabled services and IIS application pools on SBS.  My starting point was to fire them up again in order to remove them.  I did not want AD to migrate with all of those extra objects.

Removing Exchange Server 2008 R2

This did not start off well.  When I launched EMC, it failed to connect to the SBS server.  I ended up putting it aside for a few days but came back to it.  I had tried to guess or remember which services should be started, but I seemed to have failed.  I also only started the Exchange-related application pools.  I easily tracked down an article describing which services start automatically, fired them up, and enabled those that should start manually.  BTW it describes all of SBS services.

That did the trick, and EMC successfully opened.  But I knew that in order to uninstall Exchange, I had to remove the mailboxes.  Fortunately, I had a small number of them.  And to make it easy, I used Exchange PowerShell commands to do this.

Get-Mailbox | Disable-Mailbox
Get-Mailbox -Archive | Disable-Mailbox -Archive
Get-Mailbox -Arbitration | Disable-Mailbox -Arbitration

First, please note that my scenario had with SBS – a single mailbox database and server.  That is why there are no qualifying parameters on the commands.

If your first thought is to use EMC to remove mailboxes, CAUTION!  That method removes both the mailbox AND the user from AD.  If you do want to remove some users and their mailboxes, do that but otherwise use Disable-Mailbox.  There is a Remove-Mailbox command but it also removes both user and mailbox.

So what the first command does is get a list of mailboxes which are piped to the next command.  The second does the same thing but gets the archive mailboxes.  You will then not be surprised the third command gets the arbitration ones.

I tried just getting archive and arbitration mailboxes, but the id names were too long to display in their entirety, so piping was essential.  And easier. And faster.

I then tried to uninstall Exchange but got two failures.  The first block came from Trend Micro Worry Free Advanced that it was using the database and the second was the Offline Address Book in Public Folders.  I uninstalled the messaging agent for Trend Micro but getting rid of the OAB was harder.

First I tried to simply delete the public database but it was not empty (I knew that from the OAB warnings).  I then tried to create a new, empty one to mount but then Exchange would not let me create a second one.  So under Tools, I chose Public Folders and expanded the tree and selected OAB then the firs entry and deleted that.  It was the only entry I could delete.

Luckily, I was then able to uninstall Exchange.

Removing SharePoint

Could not have been easier.  Just uninstall from Control Panel.

Back to Windows 2012 R2

I had already joined the domain and installed Active Directory Services, so I was ready to promote it to a domain controller by starting the configuration on that role.  Just added to the existing domain and it just worked.

I needed a few more roles on this new server, and then trouble started.  I tried to add both Remote Access and Windows Update at the same time and the installation failed.  Separately they also failed.  Again and again.

I cheeked for updates and found plenty and installed and rebooted.  Still no luck in adding roles or features.  I finally found this article which pointed me to a fix.  Note that I modified both policies that it refers to.  After the gpupdate, installation of roles worked fine.

I had not run into this issue before with 2012 R2, so I think it is related to both the GPO settings from SBS 2011 and that AD is at 2008 R2 levels and cannot be promoted until SBS is removed from the domain.

But this puts me well on my way to being where I want to be.

Now I just have to move Worry Free Advanced and get client machines set up under Windows Essentials role.


 Virtual Machines Have Prevented Disasters More than Once

Let me tell you about the latest situation where I look like a hero instead of a fool.  How can you not love someone who does that for you?

I have a client who is still on SBS 2011 for a variety of reasons.  Let’s sum them up by saying it is unlikely to change for a while.

A few years back, I suggested making SBS a virtual machine and running on a Hyper-v host.  The OS for the host was Windows Server 2008 R2.  Earlier this year, both of the USB drives they were using for Windows Backup (one for the host, one for SBS) had to be replaced.  The new drives were formatted NTFS with 4096 byte sectors.  If you don’t know already, Windows Backup in 2008 R2 and earlier can’t create a backup on these targets.  So for a while, the system has been running without backups.

Why not Just Upgrade?

Duh, why didn’t I think of that?  I did, but an inplace upgrade to 2012 R2 kept failing.  Finally, we located a 2012 Standard .iso and license for sale and grabbed that.  The in place upgrade went well, very well.  Much to our chagrin, the product key would not activate even though it was valid, and the client got his money back.  But there we were with an OS that was about to die from lack of activation.

So I tried the upgrade from 2012 to 2012 R2, and it succeeded.  Problem solved, right?

You Probably Picked the Wrong Answer

When it finally rebooted after the upgrade, a colorful blue screen appeared with the message

MUI_NO_VALID_LANGUAGE

The scarce number of articles I found relating to this indicated that it was an invalid product key (I knew that) and re-installing would fix it.  So in goes the DVD and we boot from it.  Enter the correct 2012 R2 product key, select upgrade, and we are instructed to remove the disk and reboot.  When we do the same nasty error above appears.

So I Said…

Let’s just forget about the host system and create a new one.  I didn’t format any disks, just let the installation go.  It completed fine, booted into 2012 R2, and I added the Hyper-v role, reset the static IP address, and got down to setting up a new virtual machine.

I pointed to the existing .vhd for SBS and the virtual disks for Exchange, SharePoint, and data that were on physical drives on the host and attached them through ISCSI controllers, started the virtual machine and bingo!  There is was.  Almost.

I Nearly Cried when It First Started

Active directory showed NO users, NO joined computers, and SBS Console said the OS was not operative.  While I played around for a bit, then looked again after about 5-10 minutes, AD values were back!!  But there was no Internet connection and nothing looked right on the SBS Console network tab.

First I ran Connect to the Internet, and that restored the connection.  Then I ran Fix my network, and suddenly there was the trusted certificate and all the other goodies.  It has been running like a champ ever since.

One Last Thing

The 4096 sector drive for SBS still doesn’t work, so I am trying a WD drive that emulates 512 sectors,  I am going to create another post about this, although there is a lot of information on this topic out there already.

So, to sum it up, your Hyper-v host machine is disposable.  You can trash it and provided you don’t lose the date, you can reconstruct your workhorse servers.  I highly recommend this approach.

Even better, use an iSCSI device (like QNAP, which I love as well) and keep all your virtual information on the drives apart from your computer.  That means the entire platform is disposable.

Is this a remake of an old movie?

Posted: December 12, 2015 in SBS 2011

Source: Is this a remake of an old movie?

Find TechEvents on Thumbtack

Posted: August 7, 2014 in SBS 2011
Tags: ,

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Always feel free to visit directly at TechEvents .


Almost Gone!!!!!

By midnight, the virus outbreak will have ended, although experts are warning it may reoccur in another form in a year.  Enjoy this foolish day.

Late Breaking News!

Field reports indicate the effects of both viruses have started to disappear.  Exerts believe they will be  completely gone by midnight tonight.

New Computer Virus Detected Around Midnight

This virus represents a serious threat unlike any seen before.  Known as the 401-14 virus, it can infect a variety of devices:

All versions of Windows

  • All versions of Apple OS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • IBM Mainframes
  • And a few other OS included embedded ones

The first sign, apparently, that a device has become infected is that it runs significantly faster.  Even on a slow network connection, upload and download speeds increase by a factor of 10 or in some extreme cases over 100 times.

Once everything is running faster, which the virus has been programmed to detect, it begins its real work.  Watch for the following signs:

  • Security flaws are patched in Windows IE
  • Suspicious web sites are blocked automatically
  • Phishing and spam messages are sent automatically to your deleted folders
  • Programs that did not install properly, or would not run, are automatically re-installed to run

Some users with mixed OS devices, like those using Windows on desktops and laptops but also using Macs and iPads or Chrome books, have reported unexpected compatibility between programs and data on these devices.  This has prompted one well known security specialist, who wished to remain anonymous because of the work he does for government agencies, warned that if this virus spreads, it could do unprecedented damage to manufacturers and users alike.

As more information comes in from the field today, I will update this post.

New Human Virus Discovered 

If a massive viral outbreak for computing devices just discovered wasn’t scary enough, then consider an almost simultaneous announcement from the Center for Human Disease Control of a heretofore unknown strain of virus that infects humans.  Coming on the heels of the computer virus announcement, the Center has tentatively named this new virus the H-401-14 virus.

Doctors and scientists have so far only isolated a few but scattered outbreaks.  Hospitals and clinics have been altered to be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Patients who suffered from severe depression and anxiety to milder forms of just being grumpy or unpleasant undergo a sudden personality change and are kind to strangers, jovial with those around them, and in some cases, break into song.
  • A more serious effect is that the virus can irreversibly destroy any signs of HIV, HEP-A/B/C, and antibacterial drug resistant pneumonia and tuberculous.
  • In one reported outbreak in the nation’s capital city, GOP and Democratic members of Congress were seen having dinner together (burgers on gluten-free bus with kale and chocolate organic shakes) and then retiring to work on legislation for immigration, tax reform, and income inequality.
  • In several states, outbreaks reportedly are linked to roll backs on re-redistricting.

Be careful about rumors that might prove to be so outrageous as to be unfounded.  For example, a possible mutation of this virus has been shown to limit contributions from wealthy corporations and individuals that have flourished since the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, but despite being a person, corporations are as yet unaffected by this virus.

We can only hope and pray that the worst effects, even if it becomes a pandemic, is that everyone will break into song.  But it will be a brave, new world.

In the meantime, enjoy your day and check back for updates.


Thursday, March 27th, 2014 Satya Nadella Press Conference

It it difficult not to be impressed at how Satya Nadella, the new Microsoft CEO, came across in his press conference yesterday.  First, there was the substantive announcement of Office products for the iPad, a long awaited announcement, and Enterprise Mobility Suite, perhaps even more important but not directed at the herd of individuals who were applauding the iPad announcement.  But Enterprise Mobility Suite is much more telling of what is happening at Microsoft now and a harbinger of what we can expect from them in the future.

Second, there was the tone and style.  Not too flashy, certainly not distant.  Goldilocks.  Just right. The announcement ended making me want to go have a cup of coffee with Satya.  Sorry, Steve, but in spite of the fact that 15 years ago we did just that, I rarely felt that way when you left the stage.

Office Suite for the iPad

The first best thing about the announcement is that within an hour or so, you could actually get the products.  Not what we have become conditioned to in the industry as a whole and especially from Redmond.

Full disclosure: I don’t own an iPad.  I have Windows 8.1 tablets and devices including a Windows 8 phone.  I am driven by the accessibility those platforms give me to Office 365 (the hosted services thing, not the subscription Office 2013 thing – more about that later).  So my experiences are thus far second hand; five iPad owners and I gathered together last night for our first men’s book club meeting by coincidence, so I heard their tales.

The first thing I heard was a joyous reaction to having them available almost right after the announcement.  Close behind that was how good they were.  All of the expected functionality but clearly with a touch pad interface in mind.  Not just a port, but a proper adaption to the device.

The second thing was that when they went to the App store, searching for Office yielded all sorts of apps, but nothing from Microsoft.  Instead, it is Word, Excel and PowerPoint not as a suite but as individual products.  You can also find them on the Microsoft Office site at Office on Mobile Devices.

That Office 365 Thing…

I have written about this before.  There are two very different things Microsoft calls Office 365.

One is a way to use Office 2013 by paying for it with an annual subscription fee, essentially leasing it instead of purchasing outright.  There are a number of advantages:

  • No upfront cash outlay for the purchase
  • Use up to five copies on different platforms as opposed to a single platform with a purchase
  • Always have the latest version as your subscription continues
  • And a handful of other subscription features

The other is hosted service: Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and OneDrive for Business.  Depending on the plan – and of course cost – subscribers can get the same five installation download of Office 2013, and the cost is just the same as getting Office 2013 standalone.  But Office 365 in this context is a powerful and flexible collaboration platform that makes features, once only available to large organizations, affordable and accessible to organizations as small as a sole proprietor to very big companies.

Enterprise Mobility Suite

Companies are going to embrace this.  If there is a way to put this simply, it may be to say that it is common for computers and some devices to be under the control of the company.  Their servers control security and can limit data leakage.  However, it is much more the case that works will bring their own device to the workplace environment, whether it is an iPad, Android tablet or phone, or even their own Windows tablets.  Those fall outside of company server control.

Enterprise Mobility Suite will address that with three services, mobile device management, identity management and rights management.  While consumers are unlikely to rush to buy this, IT departments are going to embrace it I predict, and so does Microsoft.  Read about it at Enterprise Mobility Suite.

More to Come

The announcement concluded with an announcement of a subsequent press conference next week.  This may be even more of a promising sign than the actual product announcements.

2013 in review

Posted: December 31, 2013 in SBS 2011

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.