19 December 2007

Windows, iSCSI and NAS (Network-attached Storage) in Test Environment

Recently, I worked on a project to be deployed on a Windows servers cluster.
Before setting up the production environment, it was necessary to check if one of the required applications will work on a cluster.

To those of you who doesn’t know what a cluster is, just take a look at what’s written on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_cluster

That time, I had no extra servers for testing, so I decided to setup the cluster in a virtual environment. To do this, I created 2 Windows 2003 Servers on my VMWARE station.
However, the biggest problem was the storage space.

Anyone who worked at least once with clusters, knows that they need a shared storage, also called a NAS (Network-attached Storage).
Unfortunately, I have no NAS in my lab, so I used another technique for my test.
If you do Googling a bit, you will find a lot of Linux-based NAS software, like FreeNAS.

However, I wanted a Windows-based software and I founded probably one of the best (IMHO), which is StarWind, available for FREE in a Personal edition.
Now, I’m not going to show you how to install a cluster, I just would like to show how to connect two (or more) servers to the same Network-attached Storage by using the iSCSI technology, and how to do this in a test environment.

When you launch StarWind for the first time, you will see a screen like this one:

The first step is to add a device.
To do this, right click on the localhost:3260 icon and select Connect.
For the username and password, simply use the word test.

When the connection will be established, click on the Add device button to display the following screen:

Here, select Image File device and click on the Next button.

On the next window, select Create new image and click on the Next button. You'll have to enter a name, a location and a size for the image.
For best performance, it's recommended to avoid image compression and encryption.
The next screen is of the highest importance.

REMEMBER to select Allow multiple concurrent iSCSI connections (clustering).
If you forgot to select this option, your cluster setup will fail.

The next steps are just about few clicks on some Next buttons and a Finish one.

Finally, you should see a screen similar to this one:

Before connecting the Windows Server 2003 to the iSCSI storage, we need to install the iSCSI Initiator, that can be downloaded from Microsoft.

While I was writing this article, the setup of a Windows Server 2008 RC1 with Hyper-V Beta finished.

Since the procedure for connecting iSCSI disks to a Windows Server 2008 is quite similar to connecting them to a Windows Server 2003, I'd like to show how to do this on a Windows Server 2008.

So, from the Control Panel we start iSCSI initiator. When we do that for the first time, we get the message below:

Click on the Yes button. On the next window also click on the Yes button and you will see the following window:

Click on the Discovery tab, click on the Add Portal button, enter the IP address of the iSCSI machine (where StarWind is installed), and click on the OK button.

Click on the Targets tab, and click on the Log on button.

Select the options according to the picture below, and then don't forget to click on the OK button.

Click on the Volumes and Devices tab, and click on the Autoconfigure button.

Now, we are ready to click on the last OK button, and go to the Disk Management.

If all the previous steps were done correctly, you should see a screen similar to this one:

The next steps are very simple, and I don't think that I've to explain how to create a volume and a partition in Windows.

When done, if we open My Computer we will see a new Local Disk, like in my example:

At this point, we have successfully configured an iSCSI storage under Windows, and we are ready to go on.


16 December 2007

PXE, aka Pre-Execution Environment and Acronis - Part 2

Since I've published article "PXE, aka Pre-Execution Environment - Part 1" I've got a lot of emails with the same question - 'Where is a Part 2?". So, here it is.

I know many Network Administrators who work with Acronis products and i also sometime work with those good products. This week i did a project for one of my clients in Seattle, WA. The main idea was to deploy an Acronis image on new servers and configure those servers according to system requirements. So, again, those servers came without floppy drive and CD/DVD :) and as all of you know, to restore Acronis image on a new machine we have to use Bootable Rescue Media, aka Bootable CD with Acronis on it. Yes, I know, that Acronis provides a products with PXE integrated, but i don't have it :) and I've used my own PXE server.

The first step I did was create Bootable Rescue Media. Then I took 2 files, kernel.dat and ramdisk.dat from Acronis's directory and put them into C:\PXEServer\TFTPRoot\Boot directory. Well, now was the time to make a small changes to our "default" file (default file located in C:\PXEServer\TFTPRoot\Boot\pxelinux.cfg\ directory). After all those changes my "default" file now looks as follow:

DEFAULT menu.c32



MENU LABEL ^Acronis Bootable
kernel kernel.dat
append initrd=ramdisk.dat vga=791 ramdisk_size=32768 acpi=off quiet noapic

LABEL NetworkBoot
MENU LABEL ^Network Boot
kernel memdisk
append initrd=w98se-netboot.IMA

LABEL CleanBoot
MENU LABEL ^Clean Win 98 Boot
kernel memdisk
append initrd=W98.IMA

MENU LABEL ^Memory Test
kernel memdisk
append initrd=W98_MemTest.IMA

The next steps were pretty simple ;), Boot, Select Acronis from the menu, Select Image for recovery and.....

Thanks to time PXE saved me I was able to spend some time in very beautiful city Seattle.

Relaited Articles
PXE, aka Pre-Execution Environment - Part 1


07 December 2007

PDC 2008 Announced

Next Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC): October 27–30, 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

PDC is the definitive Microsoft event for software developers and architects focused on the future of the Microsoft platform.


06 December 2007

Windows XP Service Pack 3 white paper

Microsoft has released a white paper on Windows XP SP3, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft download center.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview

05 December 2007

Download Windows XP SP3 RC directly from Microsoft ;)

Today, one of my friends asked me how to get SP3 RC1 for Windows XP. Many of you know that this release available for Beta Testers, but Friend of mine is NOT beta tester. So, you can use a Hack that will allow you to download Windows XP SP3 RC1 directly from Microsoft. Windows XP SP3 will be the final service pack for really good Operating System from Microsoft. SP3 will bring a lot of bug fixes and some new features from Vista. Well, if you can't wait for official release, create a .bat file, let say xpsp3rc1.bat. Copy & Past toxpsp3rc1.bat following commands:

@echo off
reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\XPSP3 /f 2> NUL
reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\XPSP3 /v RCPreview /t REG_SZ /d 1c667073-b87f-4f52-a479-98c85711d869 /f
echo XP SP3 RC1 registry key has been set. Please check for updates in Windows Update.

Once you have created the file run the file by double clicking it. Wait for the Confirmation Message on screen. The Above file adds a few entries to the Windows Registry that makes Microsoft suppose that you are a part of the Private beta program Check for new updates on Windows Update. You will see Windows XP SP3 listed in the available updates. Download and install it. Remember to Reboot :). Please note this hack is the exact way Microsoft expects its beta testers to try Windows XP SP3 out, so you don’t have to worry too much about Microsoft catching hold of you.

I tried this on Windows XP Machine and this hack worked.

28 November 2007

More VHDs available

On the Microsoft VHD site and there have been some new VHDs added. New on the VHD site recently are:
Biztalk Server 2006, Windows Server 2008 Beta 3, Exchange Server 2007 SP1 Beta 2 and Windows Vista Enterprise 30-day Eval Edition. There is also a new VHD available for Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express.

23 November 2007

Content on log files via browser

I’ve a client that runs special program on about 100 servers. This program writes a log on central server every 3 minutes. So, when I checked main server, I found a directory Logs (C:\Logs). Log’s directory contains many log files (each log for each server). On this server installed and runs a web server, Apache ;). So, I’d like to show a small AppsRuns.php file, which stored on web server. If we go to the http://server1/AppsRuns.php we will see a content of each log file on one web page. This web page refreshing every 10 sec. Here is a content of AppsRuns.php file:

    $refresh_time = 10; // seconds
$path = "C:\LOGS";

header("Content-Type: text/plain");
header("Refresh: $refresh_time");

if($handle = opendir($path)) {
while (false !== ($file = readdir($handle))) {
$pi = pathinfo($path . '/' . $file);
if($pi['extension'] === 'txt') {
include($path . '/' . $file);


17 November 2007

Updates: Free Deployment System Scripts

I have made a small change in my "Free Deployment System", the set of script allows to deploy, install or run applications on any remote computer.
Equally, I just added a few new lines. In to Config.bat added a new line:

set DSRV=
By using a DSRV environment i can set IP or Computer Name of my Deployment Server.
Also, added two new lines to the INSPKG.bat script (Script in original article already changed, so you can simply take a changed script). One of new lines contains following:
%Tools%\psexec.exe \\%RCOMP% -u %USR% -p %PASS% -i cmd /c md C:\Updates
This line creates a directory C:\Updates on remote computer. I use C:\Updates on remote computer to copy there necessary scripts and source of installation programs. The other new line in INSPKG.bat is:
@echo set DSRV=%DSRV%> \\%RCOMP%\C$\updates\config.bat
As you can see, by this line I create a config.bat file on remote computer and put in to environment, that sets a name or IP of our deployment server. Additionally, we need to change a package script. So, after changes, our package script looks like follow:

@echo off
call c:\updates\config.bat
\\%DSRV%\packages\7ZIP\7z442.exe /S
So, now, if we are changed our deployment server, we have not to change our packages script.

16 November 2007

MTEE Commandline Standard Stream Splitter - sends any data it receives to the console and / or to any number of log files

For me and my clients I create many scripts to simplify daily Administration tasks. Many of this script should be running from a command line ( cmd. exe). It’s very easy to run any script and to get a result of it to the log file. But, if you would like to run script and watch the result on the screen and in same time you need a hard copied log, you can use a MTEE command line utility. Mtee is a commandline utility that sends any data it receives to the console and to any number of files. Useful if you want to watch and record the output from a batch file or program.

Mtee is an 11kb standalone executable. There is no installation procedure, just run it.
Mtee is simple to use and only has several options. To list them, type mtee/?

You can download Mtee from offisial web site by following to the http://www.commandline.co.uk/mtee/index.html


09 November 2007

DirectX 9.0c - Unattended (Silent) Installation

I've asked by one of companies, where i provide an IT consulting services, how to install directx on client's computers unattended?

Equally, on internet existed a lot of articles about how to do this. Who use an old dxsetup.exe file, who try to edit an exe file in HEX-Editor and then use switch OPK . Also, admins use other tricks, likes an AutomatIT or similar products. Just one consider i can't understand :), why nobody tries to read a HELP?

By going to the http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb219742.aspx you can find, black on white, how to install directx in unattended mode. All you have to do, is to add the switch "/silent"!

Admins, I'm also VERY lazy admin, but reading a HELP save your time, remember the RTFM rule ;)


06 November 2007

WSUS will become optional role for Windows Server 2008 Server Manager

In addition to roles and features that are included with Windows Server 2008 by default, Server Manager enables integration of additional roles and features that are available on the Microsoft Download Center and Windows Update Web sites as optional updates to Windows Server 2008.

One role that will be available as an update is Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 (WSUS 3.0 SP1). This update to Server Manager enables full integration of WSUS 3.0 SP1 into Server Manager, allowing installation, configuration, and management of WSUS 3.0 SP1 using the Server Manager console and wizards.

Beta testers can download a server manager update for Windows Server 2008 RC0 to enable this new optional role, for now that is just WSUS. But since MS removed Windows Sharepoint Services as default available rol on WS08 I think this will become an optional role for Server manager too.


23 October 2007

Windows XP Service Pack 3 RC Preview is now available on Connect

Microsoft just released Windows XP Service Pack 3 RC Preview is now available on Connect.

Beta testers can get it now!


Goodbye Windows Vista!

Goodbye Windows Vista!

A little over two weeks ago I gave up using Windows Vista, reformatted my hard drive and reinstalled Windows XP.

For now, this is only a temporary Goodbye while we wait for the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and I’m not quite ready yet to say Goodbye Microsoft.

Why Windows XP instead of Windows Vista?

Quite simply because I got sick and tired of this revolutionary operating system being so slow and of having to wait while it would load up dialog boxes for opening or saving files.

This type of ordinary operation on a regular workday sometimes had me waiting for over half a minute before allowing me to see the contents of the directory I was trying to explore.

In the end, a lot of time wasted every day and therefore a decrease in productivity.

Since the change, everything is great. My PC now runs with clockwork precision and I no longer spend time waiting for my computer’s operating system to finish off some unknown or imaginary task before finally doing what I’m asking it to do.

English translation of the French article “Goodbye Windows Vista !” by Andrew Kovacs, Ph. D.


21 October 2007

Create Windows Live Messenger Buttons !

Create a handy button for your Windows Live Messenger contact so your friends can easily add you to their contact list.

Buttons make it easy! Use the button builder to create a button that fits your personal style or even just your mood. Add the button to your Windows Live Hotmail, Outlook and other email
signatures, Windows Live Space, or blog, and your friends and family can simply click your button to add you to their contact list.

Click here for Button Builder.

20 October 2007

Get Serial Number of Main Board from command line

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 contain the WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) Wmic.exe command-line utility. By using Wmic.exe we can get a lot of information about computer (server).

To display the local computer name and serial number of Main Board I’ve created a very simple script, SerNum.bat. SerNum.bat contains:

@echo off
For /F %%a in ('wmic baseboard GET SerialNumber /value^|find "SerialNumber"') do Set %%a
@echo %Computername% - %SerialNumber%

On my desktop, the above script displays:



13 October 2007

Apache looses share to IIS again, never been so close

In the October 2007 survey we received responses from 142,805,398 sites, an increase of 7.6 million sites since last month. This continues the strong gains seen last month, a rate of over 5% monthly growth, with MySpace, Microsoft Live.com, and Google's Bloggereach gained over 1 million sites this month. Benefitting from the gains at MySpace and Microsoft Live, Microsoft-IIS now hosts over 50 million sites.

Total Sites Across All Domains August 1995 - October 2007

Total Sites Across All Domains, August 1995 - October 2007

Apache loses 2.8% share this month, partly through the strong growth at the major blogging systems, and partly due to 2.5 million domains on Apache expiring at trouble-free.net. Apache has around a 10% market share advantage over IIS now, which is the smallest gap between the two since IIS was launched in 1996.

On the active sites measure which excludes templated sites, Apache gains 1 million sites this month, though this is eclipsed by growth of nearer 3 million for Microsoft-IIS.

Market Share for Top Servers Across All Domains August 1995 - October 2007

Graph of market share for top servers across all domains, August 1995 - October 2007

Source: news.netcraft.com


SharePoint End User Training Kit now available!

The SharePoint End User Training Kit is our offering, and it's available at no cost!

The initial release of the kit includes training content for SharePoint's collaboration capabilities. To be added over the next couple of months are additional modules covering portals and personalization, enterprise content management, search, business processes, and business intelligence. All of the content will have been written by the Office Online User Assistance team.

The kit will be provided with two deployment options. The first, which is available now, is via the SharePoint Learning Kit ("SLK"), which is SCORM 2004 conformant e-learning delivery and tracking application built as a WSS 3.0 solution. With the SLK, IT personnel can control the look and feel of the training kit, matching it to corporate branding standards, and administrators can add or remove content and customize it as necessary. The SLK also provides a reporting function that shows which topics have been completed and by whom.

The SharePoint End User Training Kit will also have a standalone deployment option, which can be installed on a PC and used by an individual. This version of the kit will be available within the next few weeks.

For more information about the kit and instructions on how to obtain it, please go to our end user focused "Get the 'Point" blog.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/


09 October 2007

Understanding Windows Server 2008 Server Core

One of the most exciting new features of Windows Server 2008 is its ability to install as a Server Core machine.

A Server Core installation provides a minimal environment for running specific server roles, which reduces the maintenance and management requirements and the attack surface for those server roles. A server running a Server Core installation supports the following server roles:
  • Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • File Services
  • Print Services
  • Streaming Media Services
  • Windows Virtualization

08 October 2007


Hi Folk,
As far as many of you know, I've a web site targeted to Netwrok / System Administrators. I've been trying to post news, tips and tricks useful for SysAdmins and not just for them. The main address of this website is http://TheSystemAdministrator.com but from now on, you can also rich it by using these addresses:
http://en.n-admin.com and http://www.AdminInfo.ca

27 September 2007

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 Shell Help

The Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Exchange Management Shell Help file helps you use cmdlets in the Exchange Management Shell to perform day-to-day administration of Exchange 2007. You can view help in the Exchange Management Shell by using the Get-Help cmdlet. This Help file applies to the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1) version of Exchange Server 2007

20 September 2007

FI freeware is a DIR alternative

Download FI.zip, an alternative to the DIR command, which provides file age and size filtering, security, device, alternate data streams, and file link information.

Scripting Example
If you wanted to delete all the files in the C:\Logs directory whose last write date is greater than 7 days:

for /f "Tokens=*" %%f in ('fi /A-d /b /gw">"7 C:\Logs\*.*') do del /q "%%f"

15 September 2007

Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guides

These step-by-step guides help IT Professionals learn about and evaluate Windows Server 2008.

These documents are downloadable versions of guides found in the Windows Server 2008 Technical Library. (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=86808)


13 September 2007

Power Toys for .NET Compact Framework 3.5 CTP (September 2007)

The Power Toys for .NET Compact Framework 3.5 CTP provides a early preview of several tools for evaluating performance, obtaining diagnostic information, configuring and working with the .NET Compact Framework.

Tools included in this package:

Remote Performance Monitor and GC Heap Viewer – Provides real time counter data (ranging from Garbage Collector activity to type loading info) on a running NETCF application. The GC Heap Viewer feature allows you to capture the managed heap at any moment your app is running to view live references, and allows you to compare multiple snapshots to find memory leak issues.

NETCF CLR Profiler – CLR Profiler is an instrumenting allocation profiler for NETCF applications. It provides detailed allocation visualizations, allocation callstacks visualizations and useful for diagnosing memory management issues.

App Configuration Tool (NetCFcfg.exe) - On-device tool for specifying what version of the NETCF runtime an application will run against, displaying installed versions of NETCF and displaying info about DLLs in the GAC.

NETCF ServiceModel Metadata Tool – The .NET Compact Framework ServiceModel Metadata Tool (netcfsvcutil.exe) allows you to generate a Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) client proxy to help developers consume WCF services on device. Like svcutil.exe, which is the desktop version of the utility, netcfsvcutil.exe is a command-line tool that generates service model code from metadata documents and generates metadata documents from service model code.

Remote Logging Configuration Tool – The Logging Configuration Tool enables users to easily configure logging options on a NETCF device including: loader, interop, network, error and finalizer logs.

NETCF Network Log Viewer – A utility for viewing NETCF network log data.

Known Issues: These tools are a pre-release to the community for early feedback. Currently known issues are listed here for your reference:
  • CLRProfiler: failure to get heap dump at around 160000 live objects
  • CLRProfiler: error interpretting the profiler log data: Index is invalid
  • CLRProfiler: Error parsing data in profdev.raw file when app call stack is 4000 calls deep
  • CLRProfiler: “Unhandled exception, Cannot access a disposed object” sometimes occurs on second or third click of “Show Heap Now”
  • CLRProfiler: Error loading profiling log. The results may be inaccurate after a completed app run
  • GC Heap Dump doesnt work with emulators
  • CLRProfiler: “Exception, value too large or too small for an unsigned int” when opening heap view window via “Show Heap Now” for the second time
  • CLRProfiler: Unhandled exception when trying to view individual items in heap dump at around 1600 objects
  • CLRProfiler: Unexpected exception: failure to dump heap when allocations are not profiled (ie. Profile it with allocations is unchecked)
  • CLR Profiler: Sporadic Index out of range error when callstack is deeper than 500 calls
  • Remote Performance Monitor Heap dump: While getting heap dump 'view gc heap' button should be grey
  • CLRProfiler: root node in dumps has a incorrect painting in some cases
  • CLRProfiler: long operations need hour glass or progress bar like when expanding a large cal tree
  • Heap dump: confusing 'cycle' line in ObjectReferences view
  • Killing app in CLR profiler won't kill the app on the attached device
  • CLRProfiler: deleting logs not belonging to this session when running multiple instances of the CLR Profiler
  • CLRProfiler: unable to prune heap dump view if looking at individual instances
  • CLRProfiler: call graph: zoom to node looks wrong (caller should not show 0 callees when it has callees)
  • CLRPRofiler: Goto tree view and then view -> All functions, then try to click on the name tab in the new window, functions should be sorted but are not
  • CLRProfiler: Unable to move nodes when call graph window is expanded to a big monitor
  • NETCF App Config Tool : Should validate if the file entered exists before trying to create the app.config file instead of failing
  • CLRProfiler: module graph looks wrong
  • CLRProfiler: generic types don’t show actual parameter types
  • CLRProfiler: comparing two identical logs gives an error and so does cancelling a comparison

10 September 2007

Microsoft Launches Translation Service

Microsoft launched a service for automatic translation called Windows Live Translator. The site lets you translate a text limited to 500 words or a web page from English to German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Russian.

07 September 2007

XML Notepad 2007 (2.5)

XML Notepad 2007 provides a simple intuitive user interface for browsing and editing XML documents.
Handy features include:
  • Tree View synchronized with Node Text View for quick editing of node names and values.
  • Incremental search (Ctrl+I) in both tree and text views, so as you type it navigates to matching nodes.
  • Cut/copy/paste with full namespace support.
  • Drag/drop support for easy manipulation of the tree, even across different instances of XML Notepad and from the file system.
  • Infinite undo/redo for all edit operations.
  • In place popup multi-line editing of large text node values.
  • Configurable fonts and colors via the options dialog.
  • Full find/replace dialog with support for regex and XPath.
  • Good performance on large XML documents, loading a 3mb document in about one second.
  • Instant XML schema validation while you edit with errors and warnings shown in the task list window.
  • Intellisense based on expected elements and attributes and enumerated simple type values.
  • Support for custom editors for date, dateTime and time datatypes and other types like color.
  • Handy nudge tool bar buttons for quick movement of nodes up and down the tree.
  • Inplace HTML viewer for processing xml-stylesheet processing instructions.
  • Built-in XML Diff tool.
  • Support for XInclude
  • Dynamic help from XSD annotations.
  • Goto definition to navigate includes and XSD schema information.

September Critical Security Bulletins Advance Notification, 5 patches

Critical Security Bulletins

Microsoft Security Bulletin 1

- Affected Software: Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4

- Impact: Remote Code Execution

Important Security Bulletins

Microsoft Security Bulletin 2

- Affected Software:

- Visual Studio .NET 2002 Service Pack 1 (KB937057)

- Visual Studio .NET 2003(KB937058)

- Visual Studio .NET 2003 Service Pack 1 (KB937059)

- Visual Studio 2005 (KB937060)

- Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 (KB937061)

- Impact: Remote Code Execution

Microsoft Security Bulletin 3

Affected Software:

- Windows Services for UNIX 3.0 on Windows 2000 Service Pack 4

- Windows Services for UNIX 3.5 on Windows 2000 Service Pack 4

- Windows Services for UNIX 3.0 on Windows XP Service Pack 2

- Windows Services for UNIX 3.5 on Windows XP Service Pack 2

- Windows Services for UNIX 3.0 on Windows Server 2003 Service

Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

- Windows Services for UNIX 3.5 on Windows Server 2003 Service

Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

- Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications on Windows Server 2003

Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

- Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications on Windows Server 2003

x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2

- Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications on Windows Vista

- Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications on Windows Vista x64


- Impact: Elevation of Privilege

Microsoft Security Bulletin 4

- Affected Software:

- MSN Messenger 6.2

- MSN Messenger 7.0

- MSN Messenger 7.5

- Windows Live Messenger 8.0

- Impact: Remote Code Execution

Microsoft Security Bulletin 5

- Affected Software:

- Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on Windows Server

2003 Service Pack 1 (KB934525)

- Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on Windows Server

2003 Service Pack 2 (KB934525)

- Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on Windows Server

2003 x64 Edition (KB934525)

- Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on Windows Server

2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2 (KB934525)

- Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (KB937832)


06 September 2007

Windows Live Suite Download

Here it is the Windows Live 2.0 wave in the form of 1 installer.



04 September 2007

PXE, aka Pre-Execution Environment - Part 1

Few days ago, I’ve received 50 new servers without any OS preinstalled. The servers came without floppy drive and CD/DVD. I tried to connect an external CD (USB) or Disk on Key, but servers didn’t start. So, I decided to run PXE Boot. If you don't know what PXE is, here’s what is written in Wikipedia:

“The Preboot Execution Environment (PXE, aka Pre-Execution Environment, or 'pixie') is an environment to boot computers using a network interface card independently of available data storage devices (like hard disks) or installed operating systems.”

There are several solutions of PXE implementation. Microsoft has its Remote Installation Service (RIS), there are sort of HP, Symantec and Acronics. Some of them are based on Linux.
I decided not to straggle with Microsoft RIS or Linux and fortunately I found a more simple solution.

So, here is an explanation of what I did:
1. Additional Computer, running Windows to act as the PXE server. I have used Windows XP.
2. Syslinux-3.51.zip (or other version) from http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/ (We need only a few files).
3. DHCP and TFTP Server software for windows (I used TFTPD32. As a DHCP server you can use a MS DHCP Server from Windows 2000/2003).
4. DOS bootable floppy. I have used a boot image with NetBoot and Boot image of clean Windows 98. Both images can be downloaded here.

Download the software above into a temporary folder on the computer that will act as the PXE Server.
1. On the future PXE server, create a following directory structure:
--- TFTPRoot
----- pxelinux.cfg (This is a directory, not a file)

2. Download and Unpack syslinux-3.51.zip in any Temp directory. We need only 2 file from the archive. Take a pxelinux.0 and put it in the root of C:\PXEServer\TFTPRoot\Boot . Then, from the directory memdisk take 'memdisk' file and put it same place (C:\PXEServer\TFTPRoot\Boot).
Take file menu.c32 (from \syslinux-3.51\com32\modules) and put it to the C:\PXEServer\TFTPRoot\Boot.

3. Download Tftpd32 v3.03 from http://www.jounin.net/tftpd32_download.html and extract the tftpd32.exe files to C:\PXEServer.

4. Now we need a boot disk image. You can take a boot floppy and create an image, by using the WinImage. I have downloaded Universal TCP / IP Network Boot disk from http://www.netbootdisk.com/

Created diskette, and then made an IMA image in WinImage.

NOTE : Universal TCP / IP Network Boot disk uses a boot disk which created at Windows XP. It was a problem to use this diskette for PXE boot, so I took all files from created disk and placed them in the boot disk of Windows 98. If you do not have time to create an image, you can simply download it here.

5. Now, in the C:\PXEServer\TFTPRoot\Boot create directory pxelinux.cfg (I am not mistaken, as it is written-pxelinux.cfg directory).

6. Inside pxelinux.cfg create a text file default. Please note that the file should be NO extension. In my file you have an option to select which boot image to use, image with network Support (Universal TCP / IP Network Boot disk) or simply use a clean boot of Windows 98. Here is a content of my default file:

DEFAULT menu.c32
LABEL NetworkBoot
MENU LABEL ^Network Boot
kernel memdisk
append initrd=w98se-netboot.IMA
LABEL CleanBoot
MENU LABEL ^Clean Win 98 Boot
kernel memdisk
append initrd=W98.IMA
LABEL BootNormal
MENU LABEL ^Boot Normal

7. Now, let’s run tftpd32.exe. In Global Settings select TFTP Server and DHCP Server. See Figure 1 for an example of my setup. After finishing settings click OK.

Figure 1

8. On the DHCP Server tab make settings appropriate for your network. The one of the most important settings, this is' Boot file '. Set the 'Boot file' to ' /boot/pxelinux.0 '. See Figure 2 for an example of my setup. Remember to click on SAVE button.

Figure 2

9. The server setup is DONE! Now, you can turn on a new server and choose at startup PXE Boot. Further installation, is a thing of technology :).

Note: If you already have any DHCP server at your network, it will be a problem. I'd like to advise to disable another DHCP server or to configure it as written above. For example Microsoft DHCP Server Boot option file is 67 (67 Bootfile Name).

02 September 2007

Free IIS 7 Beta Hosting

Want to Go Live but don’t want to set up a server? These great Hosting partners have the answer and the best part is, it’s FREE! IIS7 Beta Hosting is an excellent way for developers & designers to take the sites they’ve played with on IIS7 in Windows Vista and test them early on IIS7 in Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" Beta 3 today. Furthermore, for PHP developers, this is a great opportunity to check out the new FastCGI component that enables scalable PHP hosting on Windows.

29 August 2007

Announce from Microsoft

WS2008, Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3 are announced for Q1 2008


27 August 2007

Windows Vista Fun

Microsoft UAC is great!


22 August 2007

Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1

Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, contains the following new functionality:
  • 32 physical processor support for the Enterprise edition
  • Native 64-bit Windows host support (not guest however)
  • Virtual Server host clustering
  • iSCSI support
  • Enhanced PXE boot
  • Hardware-assisted virtualization (Intel VT & AMD-V)
  • VHD Mount command-line tools and API
  • Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) support
  • Default size for dynamically expanding disks increased from 16GB to 127GB
  • More than 64 virtual machines (VMs) on 64-bit hosts
  • Service publication using Active Directory Service Connection Points. This allows all instances of the Virtual Server service to be located within the forest
You can download Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/

MS KB articles translated into French

Microsoft publishes a very large number of articles in its Knowledge Base (KB) but a lot are not translated and are available only in a machine translated version. The quality of these machine translations not being always perfect, Bernard Opic (ex-MVP Microsoft Office Outlook) offers translations into French of articles relating to Outlook, Exchange and Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO).

To read these articles translated into French, visit the site of media-tips to the following address:

21 August 2007

Universal TCP/IP Network Bootdisk - Version 6.01 Released!

The Universal TCP/IP Network Bootdisk is a DOS bootdisk that provides TCP/IP networking support. It's designed for use in Microsoft networking environments, on either peer-to-peer or domain based LANs. Currently 92 different network card drivers all included, all on the single 1.44MB disk!

Note: Take a look at Microsoft Article ID : 811497 to resolve a problems logging on to a Windows 2000-based server or a Windows 2003-based server

20 August 2007

Skype blames Windows Update for 48-hour outage

Skype is pointing the finger at Windows Update for a critical system crash that wiped out the VoIP service for two days.

In a statement posted on the company's support page, the company claims: "The disruption was initiated by a massive restart of our user's computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they re-booted after receiving a routine software update." This is presumably the Windows updates that were sent out on Patch Tuesday last week, which required the PC to be restarted.

"The abnormally high number of restarts affected Skype's network resources," the company adds. "This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact."

Skype, which hasn't suffered serious problems with Windows Update before, says its normal failsafes proved ineffective. "Normally Skype's peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly. Regrettably, as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days."

The company insists, however, that despite rumours to the contrary, it wasn't the victim of hackers. "The issue has now been identified explicitly within Skype. We can confirm categorically that no malicious activities were attributed or that our users' security was not, at any point, at risk."

News Source: www.pcpro.co.uk


Dealing With Vista's Not-So-Secret Garbage Dump

This is actually not an indictment of Vista alone, but something I've seen in Windows for quite some time now: the user profile \TEMP directory. It fills up with the most amazing amount of trash imaginable, and over time it can cause programs to malfunction left and right in ways that defy analysis.

Vista does have a way to deal with it: the Disk Cleanup tool. which purges the \TEMP directory on demand. However, as a safety measure, it doesn't delete anything newer than one week -- for instance, temporary files created as part of a program's installation process.

17 August 2007

How to take a last log from the Servers?

I’ve a few servers those same times I have to take a log from them. I’m interesting just in the LAST log from each server. Because of the huge numbers of the servers I’ve created a script Logs-from-Servers.bat, which helps me in my task. Additionally, this script takes a screenshot from each server.

Before show the content of my script I’d like to say what the prerequirements. I used a few tools in the script for simplify it. One is LINEX.exe the other one is LSGRAB.exe and the last 7za.exe

LINEX.exe helps to analyze and manipulate with each line in the TXT fail.
LSGRAB.exe – command line tools, which takes a screenshot from the remote server.
7za.exe - command line tools, which create a ZIP-archive of all logs.

Logs-from-Servers.bat analyzes a file SRVLIST.txt. In the SRVLIST.txt located a list of all my servers. This is an example of the SRVLIST.txt:

InletEx offers free licenses to Microsft MVPs

Any person, who has the Microsoft MVP status, can get one INLETEX Easy Remote Control (ERC) PRO Version single-user NFR (Not For Resale) licenses of free of charge. This offer will be available from August 1, 2007 till July 31, 2008. To get free licenses, you just need to contact InletEx and include in your message, your full name, MVP status, link with the status confirmation and titles of necessary programs and we will reply to you during 72 hours.

To see the offer at IntelEx website, clic here.

If you don't already know ERC, here's a short presentation of this very nice remote administration software.

InletEX ERC-Easy Remote Control can help you eliminate problem to effectual remote support. Easy Remote Control (ERC) is one of the best programs for remote administration under Windows that allow you to work remotely on a computer using the regular graphic user interface (GUI).

Easy Remote Control is based on a wide experience of many System Administrators and was tested with them before it was released.

The main goals are simplicity and comfort, therefore the name Easy Remote Control.

Easy Remote Control can help System Administrators or Helpdesk representatives solve multiple problems remotely and with ease.

ERC enables remote desktop control, even through firewalls or behind NAT!

No prior interaction or pre-installed client software is needed.


Set IP setting for any Network Card from Command Line

Many administrators are familiar with an opportunity of cloning Windows OS (Sysprep). I already described process of cloning.

Recently, one my client has put a task, to install one Windows server, to set up all and to prepare system for cloning. Also it was required, that on all servers would be static IP addresses.

Equally, it's a not so complicated, but we have only one small problem. At cloning, on different servers Windows set different a name for network cards, once Local Area Connection, once Local Area Connection 2, sometimes Local Area Connection 5 and so on. As you understand, it makes a certain inconvenience at automation of process. To solve the given problem I’ve created a script, Set-IP.bat.

At start Set-IP.bat will ask what IP Address, Subnet Mask and Default Gateway to define on a network card of the given server. I wish to pay your attention that the script itself will determine a name of a network card and will rename on necessary to you, in my case I renamed it to Production Network 1. Before the Sysprep, I have created directory C:\Scripts and have put down there Set-IP.bat.

Then in key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

created a Key SET-IP in format REG_SZ with value C:\Scripts\SET-IP.bat

Here contents of SET-IP.bat:

@Echo off
SET /P IP=Please Enter the IP Address for this Server:
SET /P Subnet=Please Enter the Subnet Musk for this Server:
SET /P GW=Please Enter the IP Address of the Defaul Gateway for this Server:
SET /P DSRV=Please Enter the IP Address of the DNS for this Server:

For /F "tokens=3* delims= " %%a in ('ipconfig^|find /i "Ethernet adapter "') do Set NIC=:%%a %%b
For /F "tokens=1 delims=:" %%c in ('echo %NIC%^|find /i "Local Area"') do Set NIC=%%c

netsh.exe interface set interface name = "%NIC%" newname = "Production Network 1"
netsh interface ip set address "Production Network 1" static %IP% %Subnet%
netsh interface ip set address "Production Network 1" gateway = %GW% gwmetric = 1
netsh interface ip set dns "
Production Network 1" static %DSRV%

The End! :)


Check Service Status

Most Windows 2000 / 2003 servers running IIS, have remote registry access disabled, for security reasons. by using psservice I've write a script to determine if the IISADMIN and W3SVC service is running on remote Server:

@Echo off
rem This Script Check the Status of IISADMIN & W3SVC (IIS Server)


For /F "Tokens=3 Delims=: " %%a in ('psservice \\%SERVER1% query %SERVICE1%^|find /i "STATE"') do SET STATE=%%a

For /F "Tokens=3 Delims=: " %%a in ('psservice \\%SERVER1% query %SERVICE1%^|find /i "STATE"') do SET STATE=%%a

@echo The %SERVICE1% on %SERVER1% is %STATE%
goto END


Note: In my case, the Server's IP is:
You can change the line "@echo The %SERVICE1% on %SERVER1% is %STATE%" in Status block to any command, for example to command that send e-mail to you about status of the Server.


Send keypresses by Launchkey

If you need to send key to the any application, you can use a VBScript, like following example:

set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
WshShell.Run "calc"
WScript.Sleep 100
WshShell.AppActivate "Calculator"
WScript.Sleep 100
WshShell.SendKeys "1{+}"
WScript.Sleep 500
WshShell.SendKeys "2"
WScript.Sleep 500
WshShell.SendKeys "~"
WScript.Sleep 500
WshShell.SendKeys "*3"
WScript.Sleep 500
WshShell.SendKeys "~"
WScript.Sleep 2500

But, if you want to use a batch script, use a LaunchKey. LaunchKey is a freeware command-line utility that runs an application and sends keypresses to it.

The syntax for using LaunchKey is:


as in:

Launchkey "Here is some text." Notepad

"You can send all the normal key character keys as well as special keys like ALT, CTRL, F1-F12 etc. More information about how to send key presses is contained in the accompanying Helpfile."

Download LaunchKey.zip