Author Archive

Cloning a drive can also clone it’s ID, and mess up DFS synchronization and AD functionality in general

September 21, 2016

Yesterday I worked with MS tech support to solve a problem at a client with a new server that it turns out I created months ago. The problem I was having was that the sysvol was not syncing between the old and new servers. Also, AD was looking to the old server for some AD functions when it should have been looking to the new server, which holds all the FSMO roles. The question was why? I could not decommission the old server until this was resolved.

I replaced the hard drive in the old server several months ago because the boot partition was too small and was always full. So I installed a larger HD but had left the original hard drive also connected as a secondary drive. It was not booting from this drive, so I assumed it would not cause any trouble. It turns out that DFS looks to the volume ID to identify a drive when syncing, and when you clone a drive the identical volume ID can end up being cloned too. So DFS was finding two drives where there should have been one, and was therefore confused.

Once I took the older drive offline, DFS syncing operated normally. All is now well. So lesson learned. If you clone a drive with Active Directory data on it, do NOT leave the original drive also attached to that computer. If you want to use that drive for anything it should be wiped first.

Activate Office 2010 from command line.

July 14, 2014

If you run into trouble activating Office 2010 through Windows, you can do it with the command line like this:

cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\ospp.vbs” /act
cscript “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\ospp.vbs” /act

I was having trouble getting it activated on my Mac laptop running Parallels, and this did the trick. Must be possible for other versions as well.

Recovering a VM backed up with Windows server backup.

July 12, 2014

The following is what I did to restore the VM Exchange server at PCS from a backup VHD file created with Windows Server Backup to a different VM on a different host system.
  1. To begin with, on the base system where I was trying to move the backup VHD to, in Hyper-V manager I created a new server but did not install any operating system. One of the options was to install the OS later. I gave it all the options I wanted such as RAM etc. 
  2. On the same base system, I created a VHD using disk management. Make sure it is large enough to hold the entire backup. I suggest making it a bit larger than the original if possible, but it has to be at least equally as large.
  3. I did not format the drive. I mounted it in disk management and assigned it a drive letter. Don’t really know if formatting it would have made any difference but it worked this way. My theory was that the format would come from the backup and formatting it would just have been more wasted time.
  4. Using Windows server backup, I chose to recover a disk. I choose the originally backup from the USB drive, as it would not recognize the copy we made to the local drive for reason unknown. Microsoft’s techs did not understand why either. I choose the VHD I had just created as the target location to restore the back to, and set it off running.
  5. The restore process took some time. A bit over two hours. It will depend on the size of the backup. Nothing to do but wait.
  6. When the restore completed, I dismounted the VHD using disk management.
  7. Next, in Hyper-V manager, I set that VHD as the boot drive for the server I created back in step one. In this case it was my Exchange server.
  8. I tried to boot using that hard drive, but it failed with an error.
  9. I then booted the new server from the Windows 2008 server installation disk. To do this you must have a CD drive attached to the VM. This is simply an option I choose back in step 1, but it can be done at any time as long as the VM is off.
  10. I went into the Window recovery environment (which I still call the recovery console from earlier versions).
  11. I opened the command prompt and used “fixmbr”. I then tried to boot the server. This did not work, but it got me a little farther. It got past the previous error and gave me a new error. I did not record the error numbers as I was a bit delirious by this time from two days of wrestling with this.
  12. I booted back to the recovery environment and back to the command prompt. I then ran “bootrec /RebuildBcd”. I rebooted the server.
  13. And there was much rejoicing. It booted. Still, after booting the NIC in the VM did not have a driver, but after I went into hardware manager and told it to reinstall the drive and let it automatically find one, it did. I had to reboot once more and then the NIC worked. I had to assign the correct IP address to the NIC, but once I did that, mail started to work immediately. Everything was as it had been. I check OWA, Outlook on a clients PC and sent some test emails. All was well.
  14. Whew.

Reset Windows Server 2008 r2 Domain admin password

May 25, 2012

The process located here:

Allowed me to reset the domain admin password when I had no other way into the system. It was awesome. I had called MS tech support and they will not help in these situations for security reasons. This saved me.

Virtual machine start failure

August 28, 2011

On a Windows 2008 standard edition server base server, with a Windows 2008 virtual server that had Exchange 2007 installed, we installed some routine Microsoft security updates on both the base system and the virtual machine. After rebooting the base system the virtual machine would not start. We just kept getting event ID 3030 and 3040 and it would not even attempt to start the VM. We uninstalled all the updates, but that had no effect. Finally, we deleted an old snapshot of the VM, one that was 5 months old. It was the only snapshot on the server. As soon as we did that the VM started right up as if there was never a problem. There is almost no information on the Internet on Event ID 3030. I opened a case with Microsoft and even they could not explain what happened.

VPN Router connection issue resolved

July 2, 2011

I was trying to get the VPN server working on a Windows 2008 R2 server and was stumped as to why it would not work from outside the LAN. It was working inside the LAN but not from outside. I had opened the correct ports on the router but it still was not working. It was a Comcast modem/router I was working with and it turned out to be that the Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) protocol was not enabled on the router. Once I had enabled that everything started working. For VPN the protocol number is 47. On this router there was not way to specify the protocol number. It was just GRE is enabled or not.

Windows Server 2003. Netlogon service paused after reboot

April 24, 2011

I had an issue at PCS where the netlogon service would always be in the paused state whenever the server started. If the netlogon service is not running then no other computers can connect to it. In the case of a domain controller it effects the whole domain. No other services can work until the netlogon service is running. I found three things to try.
1. Check for USN rollback by using the command Repadmin /showutdvec (KB Article: 875495, 885875)
2. Check the Registry value “HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Parameters, “DSA Not Writable” (REG_DWORD) and its value is 0x4.
3. Delete “DSA Not Writable” (REG_DWORD) from registry and reboot the server.

Doing numbers 2 & 3 fixed it.