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First trailer of Halo nightfall has been released. Here’s the official description from Microsoft:

“Halo: Nightfall follows the origin story of legendary manhunter Jameson Locke (Mike Colter) and his team as they are caught in a horrific terrorist attack while investigating terrorist activity on the distant colony world of Sedra. Led by Locke, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agents are forced to coordinate with a Sedran commander with a remarkable history and deep-rooted mistrust of ONI. As the plot unravels, they’re drawn to an ancient, hellish artifact where they’re forced to fight for their survival, question everything, and ultimately choose between their loyalties and their lives. Agent Locke is a new character in the Halo universe poised to play a major role in Halo 5: Guardians releasing on Xbox One in 2015.”

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So your playing… sorry… learning/working with Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and installing/configuring virtual switches.   Your configuration doesn’t take and in the Job’s windows from VMM, you see something like the following: -

HyperVVMMJobsError

 

You log onto the physical console of the server and see that the network connection, now reads  “no active network adapters found”.

Of course the next step is to Google the error, you most likely found lots of posts informing you how to install drivers, etc.   If like me you also Google for a powershell command to remove the device of device manager, in the hope that when you next restart, it will be re-installed and start working again and come up empty handed.

If only you could access device manager and remove the card as you can when you have access to the GUI.  Well you can access device manager from the command line, but not using powershell command, a good old “.exe” is in order.

The version of DevCon.exe required to function with Windows 8/2012 is located in the Windows Development Kit.  Which can be downloaded here.

See here for usage of DevCon.exe.  Useful to know.

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Had an irritating issue, when clicking http links from within Word and else where, you receive something like :

“This operation has been canceled due to restrictions in effect on this computer”

“Your organization’s policies are preventing us from completing this action for you. For more info, please contact your help desk.”

This appears to happen after Chrome has been uninstalled.  You can go into the regsitery and update the correct key, etc.  I found a handy Microsoft Article, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310049.

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I’ve been wanting to play around with Microsoft Direct Access since it was first released with Windows Server 2008.  The issue back then way the requirement for multiply public IP Addresses, which was out of reach for my home broadband connectivity at the the time.

If you haven’t come across Direct Access, it’s a VPN from client to server, without the VPN Client.  I tend to think off it as VPN over HTTP just like Exchange (Outlook Client) Over HTTP. It allows the user to just work on the company network at all times as long as they have a internet connection.

With the introduction of Windows Server 2012/R2, Microsoft have reduced the requirements of Direct Access to a single public IP Address. Which allows it to be used by SME’s, right?  Well kind of, it Direct Access is only supported in Windows 7/8 Enterprise.  Such a dump move by Microsoft.

We (YourIT Pro) rolled out Direct Access (In our office) to take a look how it all works and it does. We installed it all it should of just worked, we couldn’t get it to work at all.  That evening I installed it at home in a lab environment and continued the next day and after finding this update, <update link> and a reboot later I got a connection from my laptop to my home network.

Yet the office configuration just wouldn’t work, the only thing that was different between the Office configuration and the Lab configuration was the router.  In the Office we were using a Draytek Vigor 2820 in the Lab we were using a DrayTek Vigor 2830.  We switch the router and it all started working. :-)

The only reason I can think why this resolved the issue is that the DrayTek Vigor 2830 supports IPv6.  Below are the various links that we used troubleshooting and configuration guides.

Troubleshooting tool : - http://directaccess.richardhicks.com/tag/windows-7/

Hotfix We Installed : – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2929930

Installation Guide: – http://robertsmit.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/directaccess-on-windows-2012/

Once we got this all working, we were very Impressed on how it all works.  Group Policy settings work, file shares appears immediately.  I hope this post helps if your looking to deploy this technology. Feel free to fire any questions that you may have. :-)

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Like I don’t have enough projects going on, yet to be completed but coming along nicely.

Working on networks and trying to prove SMTP is working through firewalls etc.. Most people just use Telnet, which is fine until you want to send an email, sure you can send an email via telnet. This can be a pain when you want to send many tests or you make a typo in telnet.  So I quickly threw this together the other night. The RG SMTP Test Tool.  I’m just putting a few finishing touches and building an installer and I shall release (hopefully) at the weekend.

RG SMTP Tester

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Installed OS X Mavericks and VM Box now doesn’t work. I’ve been getting the following error, failed to load VMMR0.r0 (VERR_SUPLIB_OWNER_NOT_ROOT).

VB_ERR

Here’s how to solve.

1. Open Terminal

2. Type the following : sudo chown root /Applications

3. VM Should start.

This was happening to me on the latest version of Virtual Box and OS X was fully patched.

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We have been running into issues of late with Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange (Office 365) Platform and reliable and consistent email delivery.

MX Record Overview

This is what I believe to be a typical configuration of a SME email configuration.

We have a domain, lets say, example.com.  example.com has two MX records set, with different priorities set.

10 MX mail.example.com         xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

20 MX smtp.backupemail.com  xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

So we have a mail server receiving incoming email on xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx and all works OK, then our server/connection fails, sending email servers will try the first MX record and fail and look for the next record, in this case smtp.backupemail.com, email is stored there until our server/connection comes back on line.

Hosted Exchange

For some reason the sending server must try the first MX record and it’s not responding so the sending server then tries the second MX record and email should be delivered.

The issue we are having is if the second MX record is incorrectly configured then email doesn’t deliver. All of this leads to some emails being delivered and some bouncing.

The issue appears to be that the Hosted Exchange Platform doesn’t always respond the first time and thus the the second MX record is used.  This shouldn’t be happening at all, unless the service is down, the issue is it’s happening when the server is running normally according the the Office 365 Exchange Status.

We have spoken to Microsoft Office 385 support twice and both times we have been asked to removed the second MX record, which were able to do in one instance and it did appear to resolve the issue.

BT

BT have the MX records configured the as the example above. There mistake is that the server specified in the the second MX record (ibmr.btconnect.com) is configured not to relay.  Thus when Office 365 Hosted Exchange platform doesn’t respond, it fails over to a server that’s incorrectly configured.

ibmr.btconnect.com gave this error: Relaying denied

In this case the failover server is configured not the relay the email, most likely because it doesn’t know about the domain.

Summary

It appears that the solution from Microsoft is to remove the second MX record, this is more of a work around than a solution.  The issue appears to me that the Hosted Exchange platform needs to resolve the time out issue.

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Microsoft’s introduced EasyPrint to easy printing from a Remote Desktop Server (aka Terminal Server), it uses Microsoft’s XMAL printer driver.  XMAL is a description of an object in XML, its really cool technology.

The cool thing is that you no longer have to install the printer driver for a remote printer on the Remote Desktop Server (aka Terminal Server), which should make administration easier.

However as ever, it’s never that simply and there are a few know issues, which I have tried to compile a list of them below.

  • Make sure the client is RDC 7.0
  • If Easy Print doesn’t work at all, check if the client meets the requirements : RDP client version 6.1 and .NET Framework 3.0 SP1.
  • .NET is no longer required on the client if the server runs W2008 R2 and the client runs Windows 7.

These are recommended hot fixes:

946411 - FIX: When you print an XPS file on a Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3-based computer, the characters in the XPS file print incorrectly
954744 - FIX: Some pages are printed in the incorrect orientation when you use Terminal Services Easy Print to print a document that contains both portrait-oriented pages and landscape-oriented pages
954743 - FIX: After you apply hotfix 954744, printing performance may be significantly slower when you print documents by using Terminal Services Easy Print

and here are some optional one’s:

962930 - Cannot print from Terminal Services Easy Print on Windows server 2008, access is denied
954399 - Error message when you try to print by using Terminal Services Easy Print from a client computer that you connect to a Windows Server 2008-based computer: “Tswpfwp.exe has stopped working”
959442 - The edges of a document are truncated when you try to print the document by using Terminal Services Easy Print from a client computer that is running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1, or Windows Server 2008
970603 - The content of a printout is different when you print a PDF document by using Terminal Services Easy Print in a Terminal Services (TS) session in Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008

Misc. problems

958894 - The Printer Spooler service may encounter an access violation and crash when the service handles asynchronous notifications from print clients on Windows Server 2008-based or Windows Vista Service Pack 1-based computers
954400 - The Remote Desktop Connection disconnects when you try to print to a Windows Server 2008-based terminal server
958656 - Client-side rendering in Windows Server 2008 and in Windows Vista may decrease performance on Windows Server 2008-based terminal servers
960792 - Error message when a user tries to add a printer in Windows Server 2008 by using a TCP/IP address or a host name: “Access is denied”
973356 - Error message when you create one or more network printers in a Windows Server 2008-based terminal server session: “Printers cannot be installed”
955560 - Handle leaks and memory leaks occur on the Printer Spooler service when a Windows Vista SP1-based computer or a Windows Server 2008-based computer installs and uninstalls network printers
979163 - Many pages are printed when you try to print an Excel worksheet by using a redirected printer if the Terminal Services Easy Print feature is used
980056 - The client printer may print the documents by using an incorrect paper size if the “Use Remote Desktop Easy Print printer driver first” policy is enabled
2004234 - After upgrading a printer driver on any Microsoft Operating system later than Windows XP and Server 2003, the old driver files are still being used

Documentation

Using Remote Desktop Easy Print in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
Printer Driver Isolation in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2
http://www.fws.net/blog/template_permalink.asp?id=102

Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to add. Hope this helps. :-)

Posted by & filed under General.

Basically there are two things that could be causing your backup to fail if it is a removable HD.  I am going to save you the trouble of reading this whole thread and catch you up.

Your removable HD has bloatware (crapware, extra software, custom bios, etc etc…) that prevents windows from seeing it for what it should be (a removable HD). When you plugged your disk in did you also get a new CDROM drive also?  Did you install some special software in order to get to the disk?  Encryption software maybe?  Your disk is not going to work.  Stop reading any further and return it.

Don’t feel bad.

Chances are you didn’t know it was going to be that way and the manufacturer did a poor job of telling you about it before you purchased it. Return your drive and go to this site where there is a nice list developing that tracks disks that have been tested:  http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/1780.aspx

Your disk has more than 512 bytes per physical sector.  If it new and large (like 1TB or more) it probably has 4096 bytes per physical sector.  The windows backup software was designed to work with disks that have 512 bytes per physical sector.  Again, don’t feel bad about getting the wrong disk.

A quick check of about 10 disks online and couldn’t find a single one where the manufacturer listed the bytes per physical sector in the specs anywhere.  Also, until you have this problem, you will probably never know about the 512 byte design issue.

Anyhow, now that you do know about it, you can try to fix it using the Microsoft hotfix here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982018 which adds support for 4096 byte disks to server 2008 and 2008 R2 (and any SBS versions based on them).  Once the hotfix is applied and you reboot, try assigning the removable HD a drive letter and formatting it. Once that is done you can check to see if the disk is going to work by using fsutil.  Here is an example showing the command line and the result:

You see where it says “Bytes Per Physical Sector:” and the result was “<Not Supported>” ?  That means this disk will not work with the backup even though the hotfix is installed.  Some disks don’t report their bytes per physical sector correctly and therefore won’t work.   If you get one that does report 512 or 4096 you should be OK.

Btw, if you do find one that works, be kind and add it to the list of drives here: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/1780.aspx with a comment about your test setup and results.