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How does Exchange 2007 setup know to resume a failed setup? February 24, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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You Had Me At EHLO… : How does Exchange 2007 setup know to resume a failed setup?
How does Exchange 2007 setup know to resume a failed setup?

In case that you have a failed Exchange 2007 setup for some reason, you might notice that setup now resumes the previously failed setup rather than start completely over. How does that work? Through registry values called "watermarks".

Watermarks are used to mark points of installation. Setup sets the mark of what server roles are installed halfway through setup as opposed to at the end. This is important because Exchange 2007 setup can be resumed. If there is a setup failure, the setup environment can be changed and then setup can be restarted from the watermark indicator as opposed to starting setup from the beginning.

In addition to the setup log files located in C:\ExchangeSetupLogs, there will be several additional useful files that are based on the component definition files mentioned in the preceding section. These files have the following form:

<Install_Type>-<ServerRole_Or_Component>-Date-TimeStamp.ps1

  • These files will be retained and each install produces a new set depending on the tasks involved.
  • They can also be used to troubleshoot setup failures. If a server role for example the Hub Transport Role failed, look in the Install-HubTransportRole-yyyymmdd-xxxxxxxxx.ps1.

When you open those, you will see that some lines start with something similar to this:

# [ID = fdfe6b1a, Wt = 1, isFatal = False]

Explaining what that means:

ID is the ID of the task being run. This ID can be tied back into the registry watermark such that if setup were to fail, thus leaving behind a watermark, you can do a search of the .PS1 file to determine what task setup failed on. While it is straightforward to see what task setup failed on in the ExchangeSetup.log this will give you a definite idea.

In situations where a server role is "partially" installed or an install has failed, comparisons are made in the registry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\v8.0\<name of role>. In this location is a set of registry values that give us a range of values describing the role state:

Not installed – there will be no sub container for the role.

Unpacked – The UnpackedVersion value indicates the versions of the files that have been copied during the file copy phase of setup, but no components have been configured.

Note: The "AdminRole" does not have a ConfiguredVersion reg value since it doesn’t have configuration.

Partially configured – Configuration is currently in progress or failed partway though. Typically the presence of a Watermark would indicate a partially configured role. The value for a watermark can be used mapped to an install task in a *.PS1 file located under C:\ExchangeSetupLogs.

Fully installed (Configured) – The presence of the ConfiguredVersion and UnpackedVersion value indicates a successful install. The value of ConfiguredVersion indicates the version of the product that has been configured.

Note: UnpackedVersion and ConfiguredVersion values must match otherwise Setup will complain.

NTFS Performance Hacks – O’Reilly Media February 21, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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NTFS Performance Hacks – O’Reilly Media
NTFS Performance Hacks

1. Disable Short Filenames

By default, NTFS creates an 8.3 filename every time it creates a long filename, which adds a bit of time to the file creation process. To speed things up, you can disable short filenames using the fsutil command:

fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1

Restart your machine for this to take effect. A couple of caveats:

  • You’ll typically notice a performance difference only on drives that have a very large number of files (300,000 or more) but relatively few folders, and where a lot of your files have names that start similarly (for instance, NTFS Performance Hacks version 1.doc, NTFS Performance Hacks version 2.doc, and so on). That’s because if you have a lot of files that start with the same characters in their filenames and occupy the same folder, NTFS has to work harder (and take more time) to generate unique 8.3 names for these files.
  • If you have an older version of Microsoft Office or some older third-party apps, they may not work properly if 8.3 names are disabled. So test first before you mass-implement this hack.

2. Name Your Files Appropriately

Let’s say you can’t disable 8.3 filenames because of older software on your machine. You can still improve NTFS performance by choosing a naming scheme for your files so that files located in the same folder differ at the start of their names instead of at the end. So for example, instead of

NTFS Performance Hacks version 1.doc
NTFS Performance Hacks version 2.doc

and so on, you might name your files

1 NTFS Performance Hacks.doc
2 NTFS Performance Hacks.doc

and so on.

That way NTFS won’t have to work so hard to generate a unique 8.3 name for each file in the folder.

3. Use More Folders

If you frequently need to open, close, create, or delete certain types of files, keep the number of such files in each folder small. In other words, if you have a lot of these files, create additional folders to spread them out between folders. If this isn’t practical for some reason, then the first two hacks above can help compensate for having too many files in one folder.

4. Use More Partitions

In Windows 2000, when you partition a large disk (50GB or more, say) into several smaller NTFS volumes (10GB each), you can speed disk performance by up to 10 percent. NTFS on Windows XP has been improved to perform better overall, but you can still squeeze a percent or two of better performance out of a large disk by partitioning it into several smaller volumes.

5. Plan Your Cluster Size

The default cluster size on NTFS volumes is 4K, which is fine if your files are typically small and generally remain the same size. But if your files are generally much larger or tend to grow over time as applications modify them, try increasing the cluster size on your drives to 16K or even 32K to compensate. That will reduce the amount of space you are wasting on your drives and will allow files to open slightly faster.

Two caveats, though:

  • If you want to compress older files to save disk space using NTFS compression, you have to leave the cluster size at 4K.
  • The smaller your files (compared with the cluster size), the more fragmented your volume will tend to become over time.

The second caveat means that you should also …

6. Defragment Regularly

Fragmented drives increase the time it takes for applications to open, close, create, or delete files. A good practice is to use Windows XP’s Disk Defragmenter tool to defrag your drive at least once a week, especially if you run applications that frequently modify files and you have a lot of files on your drives. If you like, you can use the Scheduled Task Wizard to automate this process. See How to Automate Disk Defragmenter Using Task Scheduler Tool in Windows XP in the Microsoft Knowledge Base for instructions.

7. Reserve Space for the MFT

NTFS on Windows XP improves performance of the Master File Table (MFT) over Windows 2000 by not placing some of the MFT metadata files at the start of the disk. This enhancement alone can boost NTFS performance on Windows XP by up to 10 percent over Windows 2000. But you can squeeze out even better performance by ensuring that your drive has enough room for the MTF to grow if it has to. This will prevent the MTF from becoming fragmented, which is important because the Disk Defragmenter tool can’t defragment the MFT.

By default, Windows XP reserves 12.5 percent of each NTFS volume (an area called the MFT zone) for exclusive use of the MFT. So if you plan to store tons of small files (under 8K, say) on your volume, your MFT may run out of space before your volume’s free space does, and the result will be MFT fragmentation. To prevent this from happening, you can reserve additional space for the MFT using the fsutil command:

fsutil behavior set mftzone 2

This doubles the size of the reserved MFT zone to 25 percent of the volume. Of course, this means you lose 12.5 percent of the free space used to store files themselves, so there’s a trade-off to consider when implementing this change. You can even make more aggressive changes using set mftzone 3, which reserves 37.5 percent of the volume for the MFT, or set mftzone 4, which reserves a whopping 50 percent. These extreme settings are only useful, however, if you have zillions of files, each smaller than about 1K.

To reset the MFT zone size according to your needs, do the following:

  1. Run the fsutil command as described previously.
  2. Reboot your system.
  3. Create the volumes you need.

To return to the default behavior of reserving 12.5 percent of each volume for MFT, use the fsutil behavior set mftzone 1.

8. Disable Last Access Time

By default, each file and folder on an NTFS volume has an attribute called Last Access Time, which records the last time the file or folder was opened, read, or changed. This means even when you read a file on an NTFS volume, a write action occurs on that volume too. Normally this isn’t a problem, but if you have an application that tends to frequently access files for short periods of time, this feature of NTFS can really slow performance. Fortunately, you can use fsutil to disable writing to the Last Access Time attribute:

fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1

Once this is done, the Last Access Time attribute for newly created files will simply be their File Creation Time.

One caveat: disabling Last Access Time may affect the operation of backup programs that use the Remote Storage service.

9. Turn Off (or On) the Indexing Service

Whether you enable or disable the Indexing Service on Windows XP depends on your needs. If you search for files on your hard drive only rarely, it’s probably best to leave Indexing turned off, since it adds a slight overhead to NTFS operation and also uses up disk space to store the catalog. But if you search for files on your hard drive frequently (and need to search the contents of files as well) then turn Indexing on, as it will speed the search process considerably.

10. Use FAT32 for the Paging File

Finally, if you have a second physical disk in your machine, you can boost performance by moving your paging file (pagefile.sys) onto your second drive. To make this work best, do the following:

  1. Create a volume on your second drive, making sure the volume is big enough to hold your paging file. (Three times your RAM amount will be more than enough.)
  2. Format the new volume using FAT32 instead of NTFS, since FAT32 gives slightly better read performance on smaller volumes.
  3. Don’t create any additional volumes on your second drive–that is, leave this drive for exclusive use by the paging file.

Installing a server role on a server running a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008: Overview February 12, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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Installing a server role on a server running a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008: Over
Installing a server role on a server running a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008: Overview

Installing a server role on a server running a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008: Overview

After the Server Core installation is complete and the server is configured, you can install one or more server roles. The Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008 supports the following server roles:

  • Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)
  • DHCP Server
  • DNS Server
  • File Services
  • Hyper-V
  • Print Services
  • Streaming Media Services
  • Web Server (IIS)

More information about the command-line tools for configuring the server roles is available in the Additional references section at the end of this guide.

Note
This section includes a procedure for each server role in the previous list. You need to complete the procedure(s) for only the server roles that you want to install.

Prerequisites for installing a server role on a server running Server Core installation

To complete this task, you need the following:

  • A computer on which you have installed and configured a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008.
  • An administrator user account and password for the server running the Server Core installation.
  • If installing and configuring a print server, another computer running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 on which you can run the Print Management Console to remotely configure the print server.
  • If installing and configuring a DHCP server, the information required to configure a DHCP scope.
  • If installing and configuring a DHCP server, you must configure the server running the Server Core installation to use a static IP address.
  • If installing and configuring a DNS server, the information required to configure a DNS zone.
  • If installing and configuring an Active Directory environment, the information required to either join an existing domain or to create a new domain.
  • If you are going to promote the server running the Server Core installation to be a domain controller in an Active Directory domain, a domain administrator user name and password.

Known issues for installing a server role on a Server Core installation

  • You cannot use the Active Directory Domain Controller Installation Wizard (Dcpromo.exe) on a server running Server Core installation. You must use an unattend file with Dcpromo.exe to install or remove the domain controller role.

    Alternately, you can run Dcpromo.exe on another computer running Windows Server 2008 and use the wizard to save an unattend file that you can then use on the server running Server Core installation.

  • Dcpromo.exe will restart the computer immediately when the installation is complete or when Active Directory is removed unless RebootOnCompletion=No is included in the answer file.
  • The Web Server (IIS) role does not support ASP.NET in Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008. Because there is no support for managed code, the following IIS features are not available in Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008:
    • IIS-ASPNET
    • IIS-NetFxExtensibility
    • IIS-ManagementConsole
    • IIS-ManagementService
    • IIS-LegacySnapIn
    • IIS-FTPManagement
    • WAS-NetFxEnvironment
    • WAS-ConfigurationAPI

Steps for installing a server role on a Server Core installation

To install a server role on a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008, perform the procedure for the desired role as follows.

Note
Ocsetup.exe syntax is case sensitive so be sure to follow the examples explicitly.

Available server roles

To discover the available server roles, open a command prompt and type the following:

oclist

This command lists the server roles and optional features that are available for use with Ocsetup.exe. It also lists the server roles and optional features that are currently installed.

DNS Server role

To install the DNS Server role

  1. At a command prompt, type:

    start /w ocsetup DNS-Server-Core-Role

    Note
    Using /w prevents the command prompt from returning until the installation completes. Without /w, there is no indication that the installation completed.

  2. Configure a DNS zone at the command prompt by typing dnscmd or by remotely using the DNS MMC snap-in.

Note
Typing start /w ocsetup DNS-Server-Core-Role /uninstall at the command prompt will uninstall the DNS Server role.

DHCP Server role

To install the DHCP Server role

  1. At a command prompt, type:

    start /w ocsetup DHCPServerCore

  2. Configure a DHCP scope at the command prompt by using netsh, or by remotely using the DHCP snap-in from Windows Server 2008.

  3. If the DHCP server is installed in an Active Directory domain, you must authorize it in Active Directory.

The DHCP Server service does not start automatically by default. Use the following procedure to configure it to start automatically and to start the service for the first time.

To configure and start the DHCP Server service

  1. At a command prompt, type:

    sc config dhcpserver start= auto

  2. Start the service by typing:

    net start dhcpserver

Note
Typing start /w ocsetup DHCPServerCore /uninstall at the command prompt will uninstall the DHCP Server role.

File Services role

The Server service is installed by default to provide administrative share support for management tools. To install additional file server features use the following commands:

To install File Services role features

  • For File Replication Service, type the following at a command prompt:

    start /w ocsetup FRS-Infrastructure

  • For Distributed File System service, type:

    start /w ocsetup DFSN-Server

  • For Distributed File System Replication, type:

    start /w ocsetup DFSR-Infrastructure-ServerEdition

  • For Services for Network File System (NFS), type:

    start /w ocsetup ServerForNFS-Base

    start /w ocsetup ClientForNFS-Base

Note
Uninstall any file server role options by using these commands with the /uninstall option.

Hyper-V role

To install the Hyper-V role, at a command prompt, type:

start /w ocsetup Microsoft-Hyper-V

To manage Hyper-V on a Server Core installation, use the Hyper-V management tools to manage the server remotely. These tools are available for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

To manage Hyper-V on a Server Core installation, use the Hyper-V management tools to manage the server remotely. In Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, the management tools are available as part of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) feature. In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1, you can download the tools from the following locations:

Print Services role

To install Print Services role features

  • For the Print Server feature, type the following at a command prompt:

    start /w ocsetup Printing-ServerCore-Role

  • For the Line Printer Daemon (LPD) service, type:

    start /w ocsetup Printing-LPDPrintService

To add a printer to the print server

  1. Determine the IP address or host name of the printer. This may be on the printer’s test or printer configuration page or you might need to refer to the manufacturer’s documentation for instructions.

  2. Verify that the print server can communicate with the printer through the network by pinging the printer from the print server.

  3. On another computer running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, open the Print Management console and add the server running the Server Core installation.

  4. Expand the entry for the print server running a Server Core installation, right-click Drivers, and then click Add Driver. The Add Printer Driver Wizard starts.

  5. Complete the wizard to install the printer driver for your printer.

  6. In the Print Management console, right-click Printers and then click Add Printer. The Network Printer Installation Wizard starts.

  7. Click Add a TCP/IP or Web Services printer by IP address or hostname and then click Next.

  8. Enter the printer’s host name or IP address (the port name will be the same by default), and then click Next.

  9. Make any necessary changes to the printer name, contact information, or sharing status, and then click Next.

Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services role

To install the AD LDS role

  • At a command prompt, type:

    start /w ocsetup DirectoryServices-ADAM-ServerCore

Note
Uninstall the AD LDS role by typing the following at a command prompt:

start /w ocsetup DirectoryServices-ADAM-ServerCore /uninstall

Active Directory Domain Services role

This command installs the Active Directory Domain Services role and promotes the server to a domain controller by using the settings in the unattend file.

For links to information about using an unattend file with Dcpromo.exe, see the Additional References section at the end of this document.

To install the Active Directory Domain Services role

  • At a command prompt, type:

    dcpromo /unattend:<unattendfile>

    Where unattendfile is the name of a Dcpromo.exe unattend file.

Note
Dcpromo.exe can also be used to demote a domain controller to a server.

Streaming Media Services role

To install the Streaming Media Services role

  1. On another computer, download the Streaming Media Services role installer file from article 934518 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=88046).

  2. Copy the appropriate Microsoft Update Standalone package (.msu file) to your Server Core installation.

  3. Run the .msu file.

  4. At a command prompt, type:

    start /w ocsetup MediaServer

  5. On a different computer, use the Streaming Media Services MMC snap-in to remotely configure Streaming Media Services.

Web Server (IIS) role

To install the Web Server role

  1. For the default installation, type the following at a command prompt and press ENTER:

    start /w pkgmgr /iu:IIS-WebServerRole;WAS-WindowsActivationService;WAS-ProcessModel

  2. For an installation that includes all of the options, type the following at a command prompt and press ENTER:

    start /w pkgmgr /iu:IIS-WebServerRole;IIS-WebServer;IIS-CommonHttpFeatures;IIS-StaticContent;IIS-DefaultDocument;IIS-DirectoryBrowsing;IIS-HttpErrors;IIS-HttpRedirect;IIS-ApplicationDevelopment;IIS-ASP;IIS-CGI;IIS-ISAPIExtensions;IIS-ISAPIFilter;IIS-ServerSideIncludes;IIS-HealthAndDiagnostics;IIS-HttpLogging;IIS-LoggingLibraries;IIS-RequestMonitor;IIS-HttpTracing;IIS-CustomLogging;IIS-ODBCLogging;IIS-Security;IIS-BasicAuthentication;IIS-WindowsAuthentication;IIS-DigestAuthentication;IIS-ClientCertificateMappingAuthentication;IIS-IISCertificateMappingAuthentication;IIS-URLAuthorization;IIS-RequestFiltering;IIS-IPSecurity;IIS-Performance;IIS-HttpCompressionStatic;IIS-HttpCompressionDynamic;IIS-WebServerManagementTools;IIS-ManagementScriptingTools;IIS-IIS6ManagementCompatibility;IIS-Metabase;IIS-WMICompatibility;IIS-LegacyScripts;IIS-FTPPublishingService;IIS-FTPServer;WAS-WindowsActivationService;WAS-ProcessModel

Renaming and joining a W2K8 core to the domain February 12, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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Cool stuff to know: Renaming and joining a W2K8 core to the domain
Renaming and joining a W2K8 core to the domain

To further prepare our W2K8 core server for promotion to a DC, we’ll have to rename it first and join it to the existing domain.

First we’ll rename it, by following these steps:
1. type hostname, to receive your current machine name
2. now type Netdom renamecomputer OldComputerName /NewName:NewComputerName
3. restart the server by typing Shutdown /r /t 0

Now that our server has the desired name, we can join in to our domain.
1. type netdom join ComputerName /domain:DomainName /userd:UserName /passwordd:*
By putting * behind the password switch, we can enter the password of the user when prompted without having to type it in clear text.
2. restart the server by typing Shutdown /r /t 0

Exchange 2007 Upgrading the Default Email address policy February 10, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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Quick Tip – Exchange 2007 Upgrading the Default Email address policy… « telnet 127.0.0.1 25
Quick Tip – Exchange 2007 Upgrading the Default Email address policy

Hiya all, many of you will be aware that when you install Exchange 2007 into an existing Exchange 2003 organisation you will still need to maintain your e-mail addressing policies from the Exchange 2003 System manager until you upgrade them by using the “Set-EMailAddressPolicy” cmdlet.

To clarify – when in the Exchange 2007 management console and you tried to edit an E-Mail Address Policies entry (which was a recipient policy previously created within Exchange 2003 system manager) under “E-mail Address Policies” within the “Organisation Configuration -> Hub Transport” you will be presented with an information dialog box such as the following:

This is typical when, for example you are reviewing the “Default Policy” entry which will be present if you are running in Co-existence mode.

If we take the “Default Policy” as an example to upgrade it is suggested that you run the following Exchange Management Shell command:

Set-EMailAddressPolicy “Default Policy” -IncludedRecipients “AllRecipients”

However, when I ran the command I received the following output:

After a little tinkering I found that if you have applied a Mailbox manager policy to the recipient policy in the 2003 Exchange System you need to remove this prior to running the Set-EMailAddressPolicy cmdlet – see below

HDTV FAQ – HDTV Connection Type, Component, VGA, DVI, and HDMI February 6, 2010

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HDTV FAQ – HDTV Connection Type, Component, VGA, DVI, and HDMI
HDTV Connection Type

The need to utilize content protection as well as the differing video codecs limit the longevity of nearly all video equipment requiring seemingly constant upgrading to stay current, but the final standards are in sight.  The current digital format, HDMI will likely be around for quite a while.  Referenced below is a quick chart on video connection types:

Composite Video (Analog yellow RCA) – NTSC SD Video 480i  
S-Video (Analog 9-pin Mini-Din) – Standard Definition Video 480i
Component Video (Analog Green/Blue/Red 3x RCA) – Standard Definition 480i 
High Definition 480p/720p/1080i (consult TV manual compatibility)

VGA (Analog 15-Pin D-Sub) – High Definition 480p/720p/1080i/1080p and *some PC connectivity.  
VGA (Analog 5x BNC or RCA,  R/G/B/H/V) – High Definition same as VGA.  
*VGA and RGBHV is interchangeable
DVI (Digital Single or Dual Link) – High Definition 480p/720p/1080i/1080p and *some PC connectivity
HDMI (Digital) – High Defintion 480p/720p/1080i/1080p and *some PC connectivity