Archive for Server 2003

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. . .


Backup Exec and Exchange 2003

So I had a bit of a panic attack over the weekend after our VP of IT called Friday to ask me to send him over a copy of our backup procedure.  I had the procedure ready (in my head at least, just needed to put it to keyboard and paper) but I also realized that in our backup of our Exchange server, we were not doing mailbox backups.

We use Backup Exec version 9, and we are backing up the drives and the Information Store and the Shadow copy Components, but not the mailboxes and public folders.  So, I started worrying and reading as frantically as I could.  What I found after reading quite a bit and trying (and failing) some test backups was that I didn’t need to backup the mailboxes.

According to the Help, “mailboxes and public folders are already included in the Exchange server database backups, but if you want to make the restore of a mailbox or folder easier, you can also select one or more mailboxes or public folders for backup seperately from the database.”  Now, ideally, I do want to backup the mailboxes seperate.  However, until I get that figured out, I am still backing up the data and can restore it in the event of a failure.

Now, back to getting the account setup correctly so I can backup the mailboxes individually. . .more on that later.

Hot 70-290 Study Tool

I was looking at some recommended Windows links over at Networkworld and happend upon these very nice flash cards.

Powered By ProProfs – Create Quizzes or Flashcards


Quick Recommendation

I stumbled upon a video cast that is pretty good, and certainly helpful for anyone studying for the 70-290 test.

I personally am starting with the older versions of the ITIdiots show, but the newer ones may be more applicable to those who are on the cuttting edge of Microsoft Server technology.  These guys have some well done videos, their content is free and easily subscribed to, and the cute accents don’t hurt the entertainment value either.

The videocast won’t be able to replace your training videos, but it is a nice supplement to them.  If you have found some really great free resources, or you have some of your own, let me know.

Exchange Note To Self – Contacts

I came across a new thing today in our OU and I wanted to document both what I found and how I changed our settings.  I came across a few contacts, where all other listings are Users or Groups.

We had three “contacts” setup in our list of users who have email accounts outside of our mail system.  As far as I could tell, they had no account or email with us, but they were members of two internal distribution groups.  The only options I have with these contacts is to add to a group, move, delete email addresses, open home page or send mail.

My boss asked me to delete these accounts today and forward the mail to him.  I couldn’t forward their mail, as it existed off our server, and I couldn’t disable the contacts as far as I could tell either, not did I really want to do this.  Instead, I simply removed the two group memeberships from these accounts.  Which actually achieved his goal, they will no longer get mail from us. 

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.

Reading Up on File Sharing

There was an article in this month’s edition of Windows IT Pro about file servers and permissions issues, which is unfortunately a topic I have struggled with.

I thought I would document that article here and mention a couple of other helpful sights on my quest to understand and implement the correct permissions on my network.

This KB article on the Microsoft support page is a good place to start.  Then there is the O’Reilly book Learning Windows Server 2003 that has some excellent information also.  For even more information, there is an article on too.

Additionally, if you have Windows Server 2003 installed, you can go to the help menu and search for Best Practices under Security, Access Control.

Still Studying for 70-290

I am trying to not get frustrated, but I am.  I have used a plethora of study tools, and each time I change tools, and test on that tool, I fail the practice exams.

 I seem to have the hardware sections down cold, but everything else is questionable.  I have used two different video programs; TestOut and QuickCert.  Neither video program seems to have prepared me well enough.  I also went through the Microsoft Press book, but that did not prepare me completely either.  I am now going through the Syngress book, which I have to say has been the most comprehensive tool yet.  There are tools mentioned in this book that I have not heard of from the other tools.

If anyone has any tips/tricks for studying for and passing this test, I would be most grateful for any help.  I had set a goal for myself of November 2007, but that date of course has come and gone and I have not  yet sat for the exam.  My only consolation is that I have only been working on Server 2003 for just under a year, and have to study in my “spare time.”

So, if you are an MCSE, or have at least passed the 70-290 test, please let me know what worked best for you?

Second Mentoring Session – Installing Exchange Server 2003

We installed Exchange Server 2003 on our new network today. There wasn’t much to it, but I did want to put down just a couple of notes while I am thinking of it.

1. Exchange server does have some dependencies. You will have to install the following Windows Components (I did forget these once home, but a quick look on this very helpful site did indeed refresh my memory:

  • .Net Framework
  • IIS
  • World Wide Web Publishing Service
  • SMTP
  • NNTP

2. We installed Exchange in three steps, forestprep, domainprep, and setup.

3. There is a handly log file that is created on the root of the drive where Exchange is installed called Exchange Server Setup Progress.log for troubleshooting.

4. You have to be logged into the server as an administrator for the domain for this to all work as it should, and yes, you should definitely make sure your DCs are up and running.

Recovering a Mirrored Volume (RAID-1)

A couple of posts back, I made notes for myself on how to in very general terms recover a RAID-0 or striped volume. Today I will quickly outline the steps to take in order to recover a mirrored volume.

If you loose one of your mirrored drives, you shouldn’t panic too much, as long as one of your drives is healthy. What you will want to do is removed the broken drive and add another to replace it and reset the mirror.

1. The first step is to remove the mirror, which you can do by going into the Disk Management Interface and right clicking the failed drive. This should change the setting for the good drive, making it a Simple Volume.

2. After you have added a new drive to replace the failed one and the computer recognizes it and it has been made a Dynamic disk, you can right click the Simple Volume and add the new drive.

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