23 May 2009

Backups Successful but not running

This one got me stumped! One of the Win SBS 2008 servers I look after started playing up:

There are two USB drives attached to do backups. The backups worked without any issues since installation in February. The status reports come in with a green tick "Backup Successful". On closer inspection I noticed that the last backup date is 27 April 2009. No backups
since then!

I have added and removed a backup destination, changed the schedule - still
not working. The backup history has no entries between the last success date
and today. No Error messages!! I checked the Server Manager Backup and all looks fine there too, except for the lack of success messages. I checked the event logs (Windows System & Applications and Windows backup), none of them show any errors.

I then run the backup directly from the SBS Console using "Backup now" option. It
returns after about 30 seconds, claiming "Backup Successful!"

Further investigations led me to the command line utility that the SBS console uses. It is called
and has various options. I checked the 'get versions' command to determine what was backed up when. Indeed no backups! I then ran the 'Enable Backup' command to make sure it was really okay to run. No problems here either.

Next I tried to run the backup from the command line using the 'Start Backup' command. Alright, this is invoking the backup! Why did this not work from the SBS Console and what does 'Backup Now' do??

The next check was to visit the task scheduler. This is an area where Windows 2008 has been greatly expanded compared to its predecessor. This is also where I found the root of the problem. The scheduler log file tells me:

Event ID 326:
Task Scheduler did not launch task "\Microsoft\Windows\Backup\Microsoft-Windows-WindowsBackup" because computer is running on batteries. User Action: If launching the task on batteries is required, change the respective flag in the task configuration.

Why the system thinks it is running on batteries is another story... The lesson to me is that we should always double check the scheduler settings, because there are other useful things that we can set, such as when the task schould be halted if it is still running after a few hours. When the SBS console schedules the backup task it uses basic, default settings (such as 3 days before it kills a rogue task).

12 January 2009

Remote Desktop via TS Gateway

I have had an issue with the setup of the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) via the Windows 2008 SBS Remote Web Workplace (RWW). One nice thing that the SBS installer does, it makes it easy for us, almost too easy, so we expect everything to work out of the box. When I tried to connect to a PC, I initially encountered this error:

"VBScript: Remote Desktop Disconnected
An internal error has occurred (error 50331688). For more information, please contact your network administrator or Microsoft Product Support."

RDC works via the Terminal Services Gateway, which is a new service in Windows 2008. There is a Technet article that details the ins and outs of it:


Having installed and battled certificate issues for the RWW before, I suspected that this would be another case of making sure the correct certificate was allocated to the connection:

Go to Server Manager and expand

Roles > Terminal Services > TS Gateway Manager > [Your Server] > Policies > Connection

Select "Configure Central TS CAP" and go to the SSL Certificate tab. There pick the option to "Select an existing certificate..." and browse the list of certificates to locate the certificate you purchased for the server.

Now that I added the right certificate, I can connect to the Server and the Client PCs remotly from the RWW. Nice!

Screenshot of TS Gateway Configuration

08 January 2009

Win 2008 SBS and Quickbooks

Some of my clients and our business use Quickbooks (QB). Here in Australia, we seem to be a version behind the US release, as the local franchise applies the relevant localisations. In May 2008 I contacted their help desk about support for x64 systems. They only just released support for Vista (32bit) and told me that there was absolutly no 64 bit support. I tried it, but ended up corrupting my company file, which caused me a lot of grief.

In August 2008 Quicken released Quickbooks QBi 2008/09. This version has got a server database engine, although it is not clear what it exactly does. I contacted the support desk again, and they indicated that they still don't support x64. Bad news as Windows 2008 SBS is only supported on the 64 bit platform. Quicken encouraged me to try the server component on x64, but of course, they would not be able to give us any support...

In the meantime I have installed Win2008 SBS on one client site with Quickbooks and I am about to install a second site. This is what I did to get it working:

I googled and found this article on Sue Bradley's blog (great site, btw; a must for SBS admins). The above quoted article refers to the US 2008 version, so I still had issues. I chatted with Imran from the local help desk, who dug up another article for me that clarifies what is required for the local 2008/09 version (which equates to the US 2007 version):

The following files must be granted access through the firewall on Port 10172 for both Incoming and Outgoing Traffic: FileManagement.exe, QBDFMonitorService.exe, QBDBMgr.exe, QBDBMgrN.exe, QBGDSPlugin.exe, QBW32.exeQBUpdate.exe

See Quickbooks KB Article 203312

Sue's article mentioned above makes reference to the DB service "qbdataserviceuser18" (US 2008), which in our AUS release is only "qbdataserviceuser17", so the relevant adjustments must be made.

For the firewall I simply added new rules in the Windows 2008 Advanced Firewall applet. I only created 2 port rules without specific rules for the various executables. If you are very security conscious you should probably do it tight. Time permitting I might create a script for the firewall rules to fix this. I then had to re-scan the DB folder for company files and all was working.

There was another little annoyance. When I wanted to use the Quickbooks DB manager, I clicked the bright red icon, that the QB install routine plastered on the desktop. Nothing happened. After some head scratching I found out that it can be deleted. The DB manager has a different icon, which can be found via the start > programs hierarchy.

Update - May 2009

Two client sides have been using QB Enterprise 2008/09 now for a few months and we have had no issues, so I assume the above patches and settings work long term!

07 January 2009

Let's Blog!

Am I an extrovert to start a blog? No I don't think so. I have been toying with the idea for some time. I want to share with you the frustrations and joys of working in the IT industry.

I am going to use this blog as a notice board to publish some of the successes I have while working on the coalface. Occasionally I will also rant about the problems I have found, and I will even throw in some other issues that I feel strongly about.

Credits go to Veronica, who says: "I'm Felix's Swinglish editor and partner in crime i.e. I turn his Swiss Australian english into something closer to the Aussie vernacular." Thanks!