17 December 2010

Remote Installation Service

Today I finally resolved a problem that bugged me for some time. A 2003 Server has been used to install Win XP to PCs on the network using the Windows Remote Installation Service (RIS). The RIS service was upgraded by Microsoft with the release of 2003 Service Pack 2 and is now called Windows Deployment Service (WDS). I recently started working through Win7 deployment scenarios. In the process I changed WDS from "legacy" mode to "mixed" mode.

When I tried to install WinXP again via RIS, I received an error:
PXE-T01 error > file not found TFTP

This message indicates that the client PC received at least one valid DHCP/BOOTP offer, but does not have a boot filename to download. After much head-scratching and Googling, I finally compiled the info to make it all work:

Add these DHCP Options:
060 PXE Client - enter: "PXECLIENT"
066 Boot server host name - enter the IP of the RIS/WDS server
067 Bootfile name - point to: "remoteinstall\oschooser\i386\startrom.com"

By default, DHCP option 60 is not shown on the server and needs to be added to the scope. If WDS and DHCP run on the same server, this can be done through the properties of the WDS, but since my DHCP was not I had to add it manually from a Command Prompt:

1. C:\Windows\System32>netsh
2. netsh>dhcp
3. netsh dhcp>server \\server_machine_name
4. netsh dhcp>add optiondef 60 PXEClient String 0 comment=PXE support
5. netsh dhcp>set optionvalue 60 STRING PXEClient
6. netsh dhcp>exit

Then return to the WDS admin tool and expand it to get to the Properties dialog for the server. Click the 'Boot' tab and enter 'OSChooser\i386\startrom.com' under the x86 architecture.

Restart both the WDS and the DHCP service and you should be able to boot from the network!

14 October 2010

Turn off Server Licensing Trace Log files

In an attempt to save disk space on the C: drive of an SBS 2008 server I have found this article on how to turn off trace logs for licensing. They do not occupy a huge amount of space (it was 400MB on the server I noticed), but sometimes every bit counts...


The article refers to the EBS product, so only the references to ServerInfrastructureLicensing are applicable to SBS 2008

22 July 2010

Moving Hyper-V VMs

I had to "play" around with some Virtual Machines under Hyper-V and Server 2008 R2. I encountered a number of issues when moving and re-importing VMs.

Typically you just use the export and import functions, but being a tech, I always curious what is happening under the bonnet.

These articles helped me at various stages of the project:

Moving a Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V virtual machine by Ken Schaefer

Hyper-V VM fails to start after moving the VHD files by Mat Mirabito

Hyper-V Disk Size Reduction posted by Boris on May 08, 2009 on Technet

When I re-created a VM from scratch using only the VHD file, I had an issue with the VMs networking. When the VM started, it claimed to be connected to an "Unidentified Network". There was no way I was able to change the setting. I tried various ways to resolve this. Narrowing own the isse I found that the problem somehow was with the actual physical port on the switch. I deleted the virtaul network in the host and disabled the network adapter in the VM, then plugged the cable into a different switch and recreated the virtual switch and reconnected the VM.

27 June 2010

Shrinking the Sharepoint Config DB Log file

One of the SBS servers I look after showed a disk space issue. I had already disabled the WSUS log file, so was a bit puzzled where all the disk space had gone. Upon closer inspection using my favority Treesize tool, I found that the Sharepoint Configuration Database transaction log had grown to 11GB. Well the client uses Sharepoint a bit, but surely this was out of the oridinary on a 160MB DB data file.

I fired up SQL 2005 Express Managment Studio that is installed with SBS (make sure you run as Admin), but was initially unable to connect to the Windows internal database, as it is hidden from general view. However after a bit of googling I found that I had to connect using


to access the database. Next I wrote a quick script that shrinks the log file:

USE Master
BACKUP LOG [SharePoint_Config_29c26fca-17b8-48c1-9704-b869932abcb6] WITH TRUNCATE_ONLY
USE [SharePoint_Config_29c26fca-17b8-48c1-9704-b869932abcb6]
DBCC SHRINKFILE([SharePoint_Config_29c26fca-17b8-48c1-9704-b869932abcb6_log],50)

The Database name may vary from system to system (but appears the same for all SBS 2008 installations), so the above will need to be adjusted to the name of your sharepoint config database name.

While you are there, you may want to check and apply the same fix to the actual Sharepoint Web content database:

USE Master
USE [ShareWebDb]
DBCC SHRINKFILE([ShareWebDb_log],50)

Happy Shrinking!

25 January 2010

Disabling the Firewall on a 2008 member server

Today I had to install a LOB application that uses SQL Server 2005. Despite setting all possible exceptions in the firewall, I could not get client connectivity setup.

I then decided that I would need to disable the firewall temporarily. However, this is controlled by the SBS Group Policy. I looked at all the GPOs but it was not immediatly obvious where I would find this object.....

Eventually I found the right one: The 'Windows SBS Client Policy' defines the firewall setting. By changing this entry to 'not configured', I can still enable or disable it, but I have control over the setting from the client.

20 January 2010

Resolving Common SBS Event Log Entries

This message used to appear on most of my clients weekly "Network Reports":

Windows SharePoint Services 3 Search
Event ID: 2424
Event Details:
The update cannot be started because the content sources cannot be accessed. Fix the errors and try the update again. Context: Application "Search", Catalog "index file on the search server Search"

There are quite a few references out there on how to resolve this issue, but equally enough reports that the presented solution did not work. First up I checked this MS KB article to see if it fixed the issue. The problem persisted and eventually I found this SBS blog post, which looks credible and explains what happens. I implemented the suggestion they refer to - yet another blog posting which resolved the issue.

Another message frequently encountered is:

Event ID: 10016
Event Details:
The application-specific permission settings do not grant Local Activation permission for the COM Server application with CLSID {61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1} to the user NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE SID (S-1-5-20) from address LocalHost (Using LRPC). This security permission can be modified using the Component Services administrative tool.

This one is easier to fix, using this blog post as a guide.