Friday, June 27, 2008

Unable To Find mapisvc.inf

Well what a royal pain this was, related to an app we use that on install would halt trying to find this file saying it couldn’t find a file that was clearly visible when I browsed to it.

Thanks to the guys at this forum linked, I was able to get there by following nimd4’s recommendation of giving my user account ownership then full control over the file, hit retry and voila it worked like a charm.

Posted by admin in
Friday, June 20, 2008

Windows XP/Vista Speed Up Tweak (remove old device drivers)

Thanks to an article from techrepublic I found one good hint in there which I had never even heard of before, removing old or unused device drivers because they start up with your machine can help to speed up your systems boot times quite a bit. The article is referring to an XP tweak but it works just as well in Vista.

Full PDF linked here.

Follow these steps to view and remove these unnecessary device drivers:
1.  Press Windows + Break to bring up the System Properties dialog box.
2.  Select the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button.
3.  Click the New button below the System Variables panel.
4.  In the New System Variable dialog box, type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices in the Variable Name
text box and 1 in the Variable Value text box.
5.  Click OK to return to the System Properties dialog box and then click OK again.
6.  Select the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button.
7.  In Device Manager, go to View | Show Hidden Devices.
8.  Expand the various branches in the device tree and look for the washed out icons, which indicate unused
device drivers.
9.  To remove an unused device driver, right-click the icon and select Uninstall. 

Posted by admin in • Windows XP
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Handy Vista Commands

I noticed a handy article come through techrepublic today with some nifty vista commands to have on hand.

aero on and off
Right click the desktop and select new shortcut, where it says “type the location” put the following in their own shortcuts.

aero off
Rundll32 dwmApi #104

Aero on
Rundll32 dwmApi #102

Note: aero on will make your screen blink but aero off will do nothing so it just happens.

Task mgr
Bring up task mgr instantly


Shell Commands
This article also had some useful tips on shell commands that may come in handy, shoot through to see them.

Posted by admin in • Windows Vista
Monday, May 12, 2008

Microsoft Activesync Push Explained

MS Activesync, sometimes referred to as AUTD (Always Up To Date) is something I get queried on often so I thought it best I explain it in human and understandable language.

Synchronisation Process
The phone connects to the server over https (if you use http you should be stabbed with your handheld in the eye) and opens a https connection to the server, it then asks the server if there is any new info (contacts, calendar, mail) if there is it starts a sync process if not then it holds the session open.
It does this every 30 minutes, so basically every thirty minutes your phone will connect via https a connection and ask for confirmation of the sync status the server does not respond if there is no new mail thus when new mail or whatever comes in within that 30 minute window the server responds on that session and the phone initiates a full sync.

Graphical Representation:

Thus theoretically its holding open a data connection permanently and I can tell you from experience on my nokia n95 that full push nails your battery ALOT faster than say putting it to do a manual sync every 30 minutes but the benefits are clear. I think Push vs using the sync are really personal and you need to base your decision of push vs sync or manual based on all of your needs.

Performance vs Lifetime List
- Push on permanently – Battery life severely degraded and you will be woken up at 3am by international newsletters
- Push on by schedule – my preferred method, push on between 8am and 8pm(weekdays) allowing me windows outside of work to still get mail but not intruding on my time. Battery Life sacrifice still high, need to charge phone pretty much daily.
- Scheduled or manual push – These will offer the most optimal battery life but will also give you email “latency” as the time between syncs means your ability to receive and respond to emails is limited by the sync windows. Battery life will be the longest in a manual configuration.

The image used here comes from this article

I cached it locally in case that article moves or is changed/removed.

Posted by admin in • Exchange

WSUS Gotchas

Firstly, use this tool for extended troubleshooting, the Client Diagnostic Tool is invaluable in seeing what is going wrong.

Gotcha 1. - updates failling with error : Windows Update is disabled by policy for user

Make sure this is not disabled:
“Turn off access to all Windows Update features”
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Internet Communication Management\Internet Communication settings

I find that although this is stated as ok and recommended in the MS documentation here its actually not ok and breaks all my users.

Gotcha 2. - Assign one pc to multiple WSUS groups

The big gotcha can come if you assign a computer to more than one group in your WSUS organisation and like me have more than one WSUS server.
Scenario: you are using site based OU’s to assign people to their respective WSUS server, this does wonders when people move sites and they are assigned to their local WSUS server based on IP address. This means they don’t span your WAN links for updates and you don’t have to be as on top of employees moving offices.

If like me you like to have a different set of rules for your employees machines to that of your servers then you will create a servers group, move all your servers into an OU so they are assigned that group exclusively and apply your server patches only to that group.

Problem: my servers are all assigned the root server as their location for updates, because of site based OU’s the group policy is pushing them their local sites server and assigning them to their site based wsus location where they are fed the rules the clients get. This causes some sort of conflict which means WSUS just gives up, it sees them assigned the “Server” group as well as a “Site based OU” which are different and assigned to different servers and as such wsus will never update for this server until you get it out of one of those groups.

Solution: at this stage my only advice is to make sure your normal(site based OU) WSUS update isn’t forcibly rebooting systems and take your servers out of their “SERVER” group and let site based OU’s take over. This required assigning all server updates to that group as well so don’t forget that if you were like me and trying to be neat.

This site here is a great resource for client deployment and explaining all the various fields in the Group Policy that you may need to use.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Windows XP SP3 Download

The link to the full download of Windows XP SP3 you need to follow this Windows Network Installation Link.

That is the microsoft download location for the full network install, mostly used by IT professionals who need it but i know some people like to grab the patch anyway for whatever reason.

Posted by admin in • Windows XP
Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. MAPI32.DLL is corrupt or wrong version

We had an issue where a user decided to install his home office 2007 copy onto his work machine and obviously we got a report saying so. Since we aren’t licensed for that the obvious answer was to uninstall and reinstall outlook 2003.

Upon doing so an error would pop up and outlook seemed completely broken, the error was referencing Mapi32.dll and Mapi32.dll is located at c:\windows\system32\Mapi32.dll
This is not the correct file however, nomatter if you rename or delete this it wont fix the issue.

The offending file in question is MSMAPI32.dll in C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033. Rename or move or delete this file then reinstall office 2003 and you are good to go.

Error Message:

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. MAPI32.DLL is
corrupt or the wrong version.  This could have
been caused by installing other messaging system.
Please reinstall Outlook.

Posted by admin in • Office 2007
Friday, May 02, 2008

WU client failed Searching for update with error 0x80244018

I installed an ISA Server with a single NIC config and wanted it to hit my internal WSUS server for updates but when i ran a wuauclt /detectnow at the commandline my windowsupdate.log file would give me this erroneous error.

Error Message:

WU client failed Searching for update with error 0x80244018

The Issue is related to the fact the ISA firewall is locked down to the max by default and so its being blocked.
By following this article Link Here
You need to allow http, https and kerberos-sec UDP in a new access rule from localhost to your wsus box and that fixes the errors for a wsus update.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Exchange 2007 Frontend with Exchange 2003 Backend

I’m currently running up a frontend exchange server for push to mobile devices and although my current setup is all 2003 exchange servers I thought maybe this could be the beginning of my 2007 exchange server infrastructure (I’m on Software Assurance don’t worry MS).

I found this article that describes in the discussions section that its most likely possible to do this, you just won’t get the 2007 functionality to those users on the backend in 2003 exchange servers.

I post this also because this article shows some very valuable info in relation to running 2003 and 2007 exchange servers simultaneously as the changes are very significant.

Posted by admin in • Exchange
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

you do not have security rights to perform this operation - MS Config Manager 2007

When building a lab System Center Configuration Server i came across an odd issue, I accidentally logged in as the local admin when i was building it and when i then tried to login as the domain admin I didn’t have permissions to anything in the SCCM console.

Error Message:

you do not have security rights to perform this operation

Log back in as local admin
Expand config manager
Expand site database
Right click site management -> Properties (Security Tab)
and add the appropriate people with rights as per your requirements, in my case i added domain admins and gave them all rights.

Extending your Schema for Microsoft System Configuration Manager 2007

This is a guide for Extending your Schema for Microsoft System Configuration Manager 2007

Root Technet Resource

Note: Windows support tools required for these processes

1. Extend schema with ExtADSch.exe

2. Create sys mgmt container in AD

3. Set Security on the sys mgmt container

4. Publish Config mgr site info

5. Verify site info is published

Monday, April 14, 2008

MSDTC Could Not Correctly Process a DC Promotion/Demotion event. EVENT ID 53258

Installing a fresh windows 2003 R2 install onto a new esx server and then creating a new forest from scratch yielded this error.
I created a brand new domain from scratch and got this error off the bat so i thought it was worth fixing before it got any worse.

Error Message:

Source MSDTC
MS DTC could not correctly process a DC Promotion/Demotion event. MS DTC will continue to function and will use the existing security settings.

One of the Many responses helped me out here.

1. Click Start -> Administrative Tools -> Component Services.
2. Click the “+” next to Component services to expand it.
3. Right click “My Computer” in the right window pane and select Properties.
4. Click the MS DTC Tab.
5. Click the “Security Configuration” button, a dialog box appears. Click “OK”.
6. Click “OK” on the “My Computer Properties” box; this will take you back to the console.
7. Right click “My Computer” and select “Stop MS DTC” (this stops the MSDTC service.
8. Again, right click “My Computer” and select “Start MS DTC”.
By following the above steps, it appears that this sets the MS DTC defaults resolving the error messages. Check the event log to verify that the problem is gone. You might also want to restart the server to verify this. 

Friday, April 11, 2008

SSH to ESX 3.5

Most people only have a root account created and wonder why you cant login via ssh with that, you can get to the ssh console but when you try to authenticate you can’t.
This is due to a security best practice and should not really be circumvented, your best course of action is to create another account and SU yourself up to admin.
If you feel the desperate need to enable root to have ssh abilities into your esx box (really not reccomended) then here it is.
on the service console on the esx box physically type:
vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Where you see PermitRootLogin the no needs to be a yes
then type
do service sshd restart

and you are done

Posted by admin in • VMware
Monday, April 07, 2008

Deploying Vista Service Pack 1 (Vista SP1) via WSUS

Well I luckily upgraded our WSUS Server to 3.0 SP1 and ran into a snag where I couldn’t deploy SP1 to our Vista test machines, after some digging I found out that under that version you need to run a patch on the WSUS server retrieving the update. Updating the WSUS server that connects to the internet for updates would never actually retrieve the vista SP1 so you have to run through this.

The full step by step is here
Or for my trademark cliff notes.
Get this Patch
Patch your wsus server that connects to the internet for updates (I patched all my WSUS servers to be safe) NOTE: Requires a reboot
Then in the WSUS console under your server right click “Updates” choose “Import”
This will redirect you to the website where you can search for Vista SP1
Pick the standalone pack, click view basket at the top of the page and then import.
Voila Vista SP1 in your shiny new WSUS box.

Posted by admin in • Windows Vista

IIS Service Stuck Stopping

A friend of mine shared a solution to an issue they were having when they tried to update Trends Spam filter and it crashed an IIS service.
When they did the update the IISADMIN Service got stuck in a Stopping state, using the following command restarted all IIS services and fixed the issue.




The Microsoft Article detailing this and other switches is below.;en-us;202013

Posted by admin in • Windows 2003 Server
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