Archive for Computer Management

My Relationship with Dell is Ending

I am mourning the loss today of a very nice relationship.  I used to be a HUGE Dell fan and customer. . .but that will end today.  After what has to be the strangest interaction with the company, I am done with them.

I had a server die on Thursday morning. . .it is a production server and the power supply died.  I should have had redundant power, but this is a little server that sits in the Graphics department, maintained by a very capable man there, and went under my radar. . until now.  Our whole production process has halted because this computer is out of commission and not only won’t Dell ship me the part. . .they don’t know when or if they can!  They have one in stock. . but they can’t release it to me!!  I have a server down. . did I mention that?  Unbelievable.  I used to tell every and anyone who would listen to get a Dell, their service rocks!  No more.  Bye bye Dell.  I think I hear HP calling. . .


Must Have Book for New Admins

I have been reading a book the past couple of days called The Practice of System and Network Administration by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Christina J. Hogan and Strata R. Chalup that I really want to recommend to any new system or network administrator. I have really felt like I am all alone out there a lot over the past year and a half that I have been a new admin, and I wish I had this book a year ago. It looks to be a top level, yet very practical step-by-step guide on how to get your IT Department (no matter how big or small) into to shape. It also focuses on those areas which are important no matter what your industry. I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. I got it for the move I am planning, but I already see that it will help in many other areas as well.

Group Policy Resources

I don’t use Group Policy a lot here.  I am only one admin in a much larger group, but I do need to know a bit about Group Policy for the MCSE tests.  That is why, when I got an email from Windows IT Pro that they were hosting a web seminar on “How To Implement an Effective Change Management Strategy for Group Policy” I signed up.

The web seminar was ok, and I always enjoy hearing and seeing presentations instead of having to read yet another article or book.  I think though, that the best thing I got out of the seminar was a link to one of the speakers websites, which I had not heard of before.

Jeremy Moskowitz has written a book or two on Group Policy, and comes recommended by another favorite Microsoft author of mine, Mark Minasi.  He has a decent website called with a newsletter which I just signed up for. 

If Group Policy is something that you use and need help with, I recommend Jeremy’s site as a good starting place, that is, of course, once you have finished reading all you can on Microsoft’s site.

Deleting a Mailbox in Exchange

I was asked today to delete the mailbox for a user who has recently left the company.  Having never deleted a mailbox before, I thought it best to at least read up on it first before jumping right in and hitting the delete key.

A quick search brought me to a site I have used in the past to help with Exchange questions that I have had.  Armed with instructions and pictures I was able to quickly delete the users mailbox. 

We often have to change passwords around here, so I am very familiar with the ADUC (Active Directory Users and Computers) MMC, so that is how I accessed the Exchange delete tool.  Please note that what follows is a very quick fly-by for my own record keeping.  If you are going to delete anything from your Exchange environment, please do your homework.  Read books, check out Microsoft’s Exchange Support Pages, and by all means, talk to someone else who has been doing Exchange Administration for a while. 

What I did after finding my user in the OU was to right click on the username, from that menu I chose “Exchange Tasks”, from the pop-up menu choose Delete Mailbox and follow the prompts.  It was that simple.

And, just in case you do this all by mistake, there are instructions on the post above as well as additional links for recovering deleted mailboxes.

Mac Inventory Software – iInventory v7.4

We need to be able to tell what software programs, and specifically which versions of programs, are installed on all of our Mac desktops and laptops, but the boss didn’t want to purchase anything.  So, here I am searching form something that will do the trick quickly and for free.

I found a program that I like, iInventory v7.4, but I will need to do some testing before the jury is in with their final decision.  I am installing the client on two Macs right now.  My two test systems are a brand new MacPro and a PowerMac, and so far so good.

I was able to create an agent to install on both systems, and was able to run and then import all of the information.  The agent builder is easy to use, and the software itself is pretty intuitive.  The software has a network scanning feature and says it is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux which does indeed seem to be the case.  The program comes with some canned reports, but they are very basic and I will need to create custom reports after I clean the data up a bit.

Overall, great tool for free, and I have the option to upgrade to a paid version if I need/want to.