Saturday, October 30, 2004

Get Microsoft Photo Story 3 for free

Read Paul Thurrott’s review and download it afterwards (use Get Offer button). It is an interesting product, although I find it limited in two ways: you cannot resize and utilize a high-resolution and the maximum playback target is 1024x768.

The Sender ID Standard

With AOL now backing Sender ID it seems like it is going to be the standard. Consequently, it is time to read more about in this winntmag article.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Why you shouldn't be using passwords of any kind on your Windows networks . . .

Read this excellent blog by Robert Hensing, Microsoft. Remember to read all the comments. Great stuff!

Madam, I'm ADAM

A Scripting Clinic article worth reading of that name first gives a good introduction of setting up Active Directory Application Mode and then introduces scripting – which is very much like normal AD scripting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

MOM Product feedback center ...

For a while now it has been been possible to interact directly through the Product feedback center with Microsofts development teams on their development tools/technologies. This has now been extended to include Microsoft Operations Manager (Select MOM under Product/technology and search). Use your chance to provide MS with suggestions on how to further develop MOM and on Bugs they need to resolve - and not least get a response from the development team!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Hex to decimal to error text

Just figured out that hex-to-decimal can be very, very easy from the command prompt:

Set /a 0x7a

Next step might be to convert it into an error message:

Net helpmsg 122

This can be done in a one-liner:

Set /a e=0x7a & (net helpmsg %e%)

Note the parenthesis – without, the e environment variable does not exist when net… is parsed by the interpreter. With parenthesis, it is treated like a separate line.

If you get an error number like -2147024891, you have to remove the upper 16 bits before you get the real error number:

set /a "-2147024891 & 0xffff"

Note that the quotes are necessary to treat & like a bit-wise and.

Calc R.I.P.

Everything you ever wanted to know on how to configure SMTP

You might already have seen this blog on You had me at EHLO... but I thought it was worth mentioning as it it a great blog on the inner-workings of SMTP (That you newer can know enough about ;-)

If you don't know the You had me at EHLO... blog i would suggest that you check it out - IMHO it's a must read for everyone working with Exchange.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

You Must Rename the SYSVOL Member Object to Rename a Windows Server 2003 Domain Controller

Looking for information about File Replication Service (NTFRS) I found this interesting KB.
In Windows Server 2003, administrators can change the computer name of a Windows Server 2003 domain controller by using My Computer or Netdom.exe, but neither method renames the domain controller's corresponding NTFRSmember object for SYSVOL from the old computer name to the new computer name. The difference between a domain controller's NetBIOS name and the common name for its NTFRSmember object does not break any functionality until a new domain controller is promoted into the forest with the old NetBIOS name of the renamed domain controller. When this behavior occurs, the new domain controller deletes the existing (duplicate) NTFRSmember object and recreates a new NTFRSmember object for itself. The renamed domain controller that originally created the NTFRSMember object ends up without an NTFRSmember object.
Read the rest in this

Xcacls v5.2 was released 2004-07-02

Can be downloaded. Note that this version is implemented fully in VBScript! and has some new features. You can also look in the file to get a good understanding on how to do the same yourself from your own scripts or get a general understanding on how access control lists works.

PsLogList - now a tail -f feature

If you know tail -f and want the same functionality for eventlogs or if you are just sick and tired of pressing F5 in Event Viewer – get PsLogList from Sysinternals. The new –w switch will show the events as they are logged.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

File based Antivirus scanners and Exchange ...

Hmmm.... after all these years working with Exchange I thought that everyone knew how to configure file-level antivirus scanners on an Exchange Server - but this apparently isn't the case (My gut feeling tells me that I'd prefer not to install an file-level on-access scanner on an Exchange server - but Multi-Purpose servers and other security measures often makes it a requirement).
I've just finished recovering a SBS 2003 Exchange installation from the results of an antivirus scanner which found a variant of Netsky in the e00.log file (The "working" log file in use by exchange, which will be renamed to Exxxxxxx when it reaches 5.120 KB) and deleted it - resulting in a dirty shutdown and an -1811 error from Exchange which prevents mounting the Store.
The person who installed it had excluded the catalogs containing the .EDB files but had forgotten to exclude the catalog where the log files resides - so when you configure this remember that the Exchange Stores and their log files can be placed in many different directories and also to exclude the SRS folder.
To make things worse the Anti-Virus client was configured to delete files instead of quarantining them (so I weren't able to recover the file) and the customers last backup was more than 5 days old. So I had to do a full repair of the databases (Luckily there wasn't any serious corruptions - it was primarily inconsistencies due to dirty shutdown and the missing log file).
This time I used the dial tone restore method, which starts by creating a blank database so all the users got access to e-mail (Sending and receiving new mail, not old e-mail or public folders), while I had the time to repair the old Information Stores and mounting them in a RSG for testing. Afhter this I switched the Dial tone Mailbox Store and the now repaired Mailbox Store around between the Storage Groups and ran Exmerge (The purpose of switching databases is that you retain all outlook rules etc. and just has to Exmerge the content of the smaller Dial tone Store into the older/repaired Store).
Check this page for 4 security best practices for Exchange - including info and links to articles on configuration of filebased antivirus scanners and what to do when everything has gone wrong.

Fun dept. - Customized Windows XP boot bitmap

Check the /BOOTLOGO BOOT.INI switch at the excellent Sysinternals site.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

MOM 2005 resource kit - updated

Microsofts Operations Manager 2005 Toolkit is now available for download. It contains several nifty tools like webparts for SharePoint integration, Troubleshooting tools, MOM product connectors, best practice guides etc. check out more information about the tool here

Windows Server 2003 SP1 delayed

Expect it to appear in first half of 2005. RC is due by the end of 2004.

Sorry, but we’ll have to wait for the Security Configuration Wizard a little longer…

Monday, October 18, 2004

Ever wanted to test Microsoft's newest software in a sandbox environment?

Wouldn't it be great to be able to test new servers immediately, without formatting hard drives, using Virtual Something or dedicating one or more computers to the project? Now you can, with the TechNet Virtual Lab

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Registry tweaks for services on Windows Server 2003

Microsoft has a reference at MSDN. But I know for sure, that it is not complete. Anyway, it is a good starting point.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Thanks, Linux

(Being a little out of focus of this blog, I decided to include it anyway.)

Is Linus Torvalds secretly working for Microsoft? That sounds crazy until you consider that lately, the free operating system he created, Linux, has been helping Microsoft close deals.
Read the rest of this
article. Beware of the annoying ads.

Virtual PC and hiberation

If you need to play around with hibernation on a Virtual PC client, you have to uninstall the Virtual PC Additions. Read more here

TechNet WebCast: Welcome to Hosted Exchange 2003

Interesting WebCast for those of you new to Hosted Exchange 2003 and/or those of you who have already created your own hosting solution based on Exchange 200x -

This Support WebCast discusses Windows-based Hosting, including Hosted Exchange 2003 ... Hosted Exchange 2003 enables service providers to offer flexible and scalable rich e-mail, messaging, and collaboration services to consumers, and to both small and medium businesses. Hosted Exchange is a tested, pre-engineered solution that is based on standard Microsoft server products ... The Support WebCast also reviews the important components of the solution and addresses common challenges in the hosting world. This includes multi-tenancy (address isolation between customers), automation and provisioning (creating new customers by using automation and without the RUS), client auto-configuration for Outlook by using RPC over HTTP, active user reporting, three-year CALs versus Service Provider Licensing Agreement, multiple services per hosted organization, and user namespace per organization.

SMTP and NNTP security issues ..

Microsooft has just released two hotfixes for SMTP and NNTP that are of interest to hosters and enterprise customers. Both the exploits could lead to Remote Code Execution and should, according to Microsoft, be implemented as soon as possible.

Scriptaholic - Get the current site of a computer

Just use this function:

function GetSite
dim objInfo
set objInfo = CreateObject("ADSystemInfo")
GetSite = objInfo.SiteName
end function

Want more information about

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

msNPAllowDialin, script and mixed-mode domains

As you may know (kb252398 and KB257341) you cannot grant dial-in access to a user simply by setting the msNPAllowDialin property on the user object in Active Directory. For some reason this attribute must be synchronized with information in the userParameters blob – sic!

Instead of chasing a way to make this happen, simply ask your Windows Server 2003 IAS server to ignore the dial-in attribute and stick to group membership or whatever you feel like. This is done by setting Ignore-User-Dialin-Properties on the remote access policy. For more information click here and read the section called Ignoring the dial-in properties of user accounts.

SMS 2003 OSD Feature Pack RC and SP1

The SMS 2003 OS Deployment feature pack that provides the capabilibity of distributing new OS'es through SMS 2003 has now been released to the web in a Release candidate version. Furthermore SP1 for SMS 2003 has also been released in German and Japanes versions - checkout the new capabilities of SP1 here.

Intelligent Messaging Filtering, Outlook and SCL tips - updated

If you've been using or looking at Intelligent Messaging Filtering for Exchange 2003 you've probably heard about SCL (Spam Confidence Level). SCL is a basically a "rating system" that on a scale from -1 (only used for authenticated users) to 10 will tell Outlook or OWA whether or not the e-mail should be moved to the Junk E-mail folder (Depending on the users settings) - the problem is that the SCL isn't viewable from Outlook, which is very interesting for you as an administrator when evaluating how to set your thresholds in IMF. Paul Bowden from Microsoft has created a Outlook Configuration file that will do the job of exposing SCL in Outlook 2003 and it's posted by James Webster here. If you're planning on implementing IMF (Which in my experience is very easy) I would also recommend that you look at the updated readme file that includes important known issues and updates to the IMF deployment guide. Furthermore if you plan on using the archiving features of IMF I would recommend that you take a look at the IMF Archive Manager that will enable you to easily view, delete and resubmit the archived e-mails. IMF Archive Mangager is posted at gotdotnet as a shared source tool (Written in C#).

Saturday, October 09, 2004

ASP.Net Vulnerability alert update

Microsoft has created a temporary fix for the ASP.Net vulnerability (Until a security update has been developed). It is a ASP.Net module that protects all ASP.Net applications on a web server from canonicalization problems, you can find more info on the HTTP module here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

ASP.Net Vulnerability alert ...

Microsoft is currently investigating reports of a security vulnerability in ASP.NET that could be a potential issue for hosters and other users of ASP.NET.

... Our initial investigation has revealed that the vulnerability could allow an attacker to bypass authentication on a Web site running ASP.NET applications on Windows 2000, Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional by sending a malicious request to a Web server. This could allow an attacker to make changes to the content of a Web site, but would not allow the attacker to control the computer or run software on it.

... Microsoft is providing this prescriptive guidance in order to inform customers as quickly as possible about the vulnerability and information on how to prevent an attack. Microsoft is actively investigating the issue and plans to release additional guidance

Ultrasound - Monitoring and Troubleshooting of FRS

If you've been working with FRS and Sysvol and/or DFS replication then you've probably also been looking for a way to troubleshoot and monitor the FRS replication beyond the rudimentary dfscmd and the usn related tools and registry settings for FRS. Microsoft has a not so well known tool on the web called Ultrasound that should be a part of all AD/Server administrators toolkit - check it out here

ADModify.NET is here!

Cool new tool from Microsoft – spotted at You Had Me At EHLO...

ADModify is a tool that was (and is still) developed and maintaned out of our Support Services (aka PSS) team, and was created to make it easier to modify / import / export objects in Active Directory in bulk .... ADModify.NET (v2.0) was written from the ground up using Visual C# .NET 2003. When benchmarked against its predecessor, it made the same modifications in less than half the time. Its new feature set allows administrators to bulk modify any AD attribute from any AD partition with almost limitless flexibility.

Active Directory Data Store Tools and Settings

A quick overview of the tools, registry entries, Group Policy settings, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes, and network ports that are associated with the data store.

Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool ...

Microsoft released their Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer tool to the web. The tool in different versions has been used for quite some time by PSS and is now subject to general availability. I can only recommend that you Download and start using the tool today on your own systems (its agentless) – it analyses more than thousand different parameters also including Active Directory and Exchange clustering. Check out the blog at You had me at EHLO… for more information on this exciting “new” tool.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

SMS 2003 Software Updates to Support Uninstall (KB885438 and KB885266)

After getting used to SUS with less than optimal reporting capabilities it was a relief to see that some of the issues with SUS was solved with the Software Update management capabilities of SMS 2003 (Making it applicable for enterprise customers). With Windows Installer 3.0 technology then came the possibility of completely uninstalling patches and now there's an update out there to support uninstalling patches deployed with SMS 2003. Of course at most times this shouldn't be necessary with the right amount of testing - but one newer knows what kinds of ravage a innocent looking hotfix can do to older production systems (Not speaking from experience of course ;-)


Welcome to my blog on the topics that I find interesting in my work life. The topics centers mainly around Microsoft infrastructure related technologies like Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange and most of my time is spent working with large-scale enterprise customers or hosters (Hosted Exchange) so my blog subjects will be primarily centered around the learnings I get and the issues that I face in my daily life.