Monday, September 29, 2008

Restarting Windows XP from a startup script is not easy

Yes, they are still out there running the big businesses!

Today, I was messing with a startup script, that should restart the PC - but WMI did not do it and shutdown.exe just returned device is not ready. This should have been fixed in SP2 - at least some KBs claims that - but that is clearly not the case.

Eventually, I found a way around: Create an AT-job to do the restart. That worked. But it was too slow as AT-jobs needs to be postponed at least a minute.

Finally, good old Sysinternals came to the rescue - this time in the shape of psexec. Sysinternals have saved the day many times and back in the late nineties you could simply not lock down and figure out where to relax security on an NT 4 without regmon and filemon. Anyway, back to today. This was how I solved my present problem -

psexec -accepteula -sd shutdown -r -t 5


-sd tells it to start the process in system context (the s) and detached (d) as I did not want to wait for the command - I wanted my script to finish as long as it had time to do so.

Presence the WPF way

Last time I described how to embed the presence controls onto a WPF form via the WindowsFormsHost control. Since some great things has happened. George Durzi at Clarity Consulting has released the presence controls for WPF. Its now more simple to implement presence in WPF. A persona list can be implemented like this.

<Window x:Class="NewUCControls.Window1"

Title="Window1" Height="300" Width="300">
<presence:PersonaList Name="personaList1" Loaded="personaList1_Loaded" ShowDisplayName="True" ShowToolTip="True" ShowDetailedToolTipText="True" ShowContextMenu="True" ShowAvailability="True" />

Loading personaslist is also easily done by:

List<string> sipURIs = new List<string>()

personaList1.SipUris = sipURIs;

and the result will look something like this


Direct SIP with IP-PBX in OCS 2007

The OCS team has now posted more information on Direct SIP integration with third-party PBX’s and the RFC 3966 “changes” made to accomplish this that I started to discuss in my post Cisco is now a qualified IP PBX for Direct SIP with OCS 2007. Here’s a snippet -

With the hotfixes released in August 2008, Microsoft is significantly improving the capability for Office Communications Server 2007 to exchange calls with SIP-based IP-PBX, in particular from Cisco. As a consequence, Microsoft now supports OCS deployments in Direct SIP with IP-PBX between Office Communications Server and specific versions of Cisco Call Manager.

This change gives administrators the possibility to set up Office Communications Server so that it can directly interoperate with IP-PBX using E.164 globally routable telephone numbers without RFC3966’s mandated “+” prefix. Additionally, Office Communications Server will now be able to interoperate with IP-PBX within a private dialing plan, exchanging locally routable private numbers.

The post continues to discuss these changes in details and is certainly a recommended read. Find it here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Backing up remote eventlogs using WMIC

This week, I was out on an oil rig in the North Sea helping out in some fail-over testing. After the test, I had to collect eventlogs from all the computers involved and as I'm an scripting guy, I definitely did not want to do that manually. Now, this is a Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP environment. Furthermore, it is a highly restricted environment so I could not install PowerShell or plug in and use my own PC; I had to look elsewhere. First, I looked at Sysinternals's psloglist, but that could not do the job. It could either dump the eventlogs as text - I wanted binary - or it could dump as binary and empty the logs at the same time. I only wanted a backup. Next, I googled and live searched, but did not really find anything useful, when my old fried WMIC resurfaced in my mind. Wasn't there some method call in WMI, that could do the job?

Using my own PC, I could easily find the method. It was just a matter of writing gwmi win32_nt, pressing tab (as I naturally use PowerTab), selecting win32_NTEventlogFile and piping it into Get-Member -

gwmi win32_nteventlogfile | gm

And the method BackupEventlog showed up. I started wbemtest on a Windows XP PC and checked that the method also existed on Windows XP. After this, I started to figure out the WMIC command line - which quite often is hard to get right. I ended up with -


wmic /node:"server" nteventlog where "logfilename='system'" call backupeventlog "c:\system.evt"

Note, that the backup file specification is local to the remote node. I tried saving it back on the local PC with \\currentpc, but got access denied and I did not want to create a share for this. Also note that the WMIC alias for Win32_NTEventlogfile is NTEVENTLOG

Finally, I ended up with this backup.bat file. All.txt contains a list of the computers, I needed to get the logs from. Note that I delete the evt-files first as backupeventlog will not overwrite an existing file (if I needed to re-run the script)

set targetdir=%temp%\logs
for /f %%I in (all.txt) do del \\%%I\c$\*.evt
for /f %%I in (all.txt) do wmic /NODE:"%%I" nteventlog where "logfilename='system'" call backupeventlog "c:\system.evt"
for /f %%I in (all.txt) do wmic /NODE:"%%I" nteventlog where "logfilename='security'" call backupeventlog "c:\security.evt"
for /f %%I in (all.txt) do wmic /NODE:"%%I" nteventlog where "logfilename='application'" call backupeventlog "c:\application.evt"
for /f %%I in (all.txt) do robocopy \\%%I\c$ %targetdir%\%%I *.evt /z /njs /njh
for /f %%I in (all.txt) do del \\%%I\c$\*.evt

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Cisco is now a qualified IP PBX for Direct SIP with OCS 2007

The following versions of Cisco Unified Communications Manager has been qualified for Direct SIP integration with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 (It has been working with some restrictions for quite a while, but is now a tested and “qualified” solution)-

4.2[3]sr3a, & and not least

Note that interoperability requires the August 2008 Update Package for OCS 2007 as described in KB952780 and also KB952783 although the latter it is not listed on the UC OIP page. KB957280 is for the Mediation Server role and KB952783 are for all the other roles (Automatically delivered through Microsoft Update). Also the Office Communicator 2007 client update KB954439 is required according to KB957285 (This upgrade currently has to be requested directly through PSS).

The fixes (that we have been waiting for quite a while) allows you to select to break some of OCS 2007 RFC 3966 compliant use of E.164 numbers for interoperability with “certain” PBXs (Read Cisco but it may also apply to other vendors) that do not correctly use or understand the + sign in a E.164 number.

Following are the changes as explained in KB92785 “Outgoing calls from Communications Server 2007 Mediation Server may not be routed correctly” -

By default, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Mediation Server uses a plus sign (+) to prefix E.164 numbers in the Request Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) for outgoing calls. However, certain private branch exchanges (PBXs) do not accept numbers that are prefixed by using a plus sign (+). Therefore, an outgoing call may not be routed correctly. Additionally, the "From" headers for incoming calls from certain PBXs do not comply with Requests for Comments (RFC) 3966, "The tel URI for Telephone Numbers." In this case, Office Communicator does not resolve the number to the correct user.

To make sure that Mediation Server operates correctly together with PBXs, update 952780 adds a new Mediation Server configuration file setting for Communications Server 2007. This configuration file is called RemovePlusFromRequestURI, and it contains one of two settings, YES or NO. If your PBX does not accept numbers that are prefixed by using a plus sign (+), the setting in the configuration file should be YES. The YES setting causes Mediation Server to remove the plus sign (+) from a Request URI for outgoing calls. It also removes the plus sign (+) from the "To" header and the "From" header. If the configuration file setting is set to NO, Mediation Server will not change the Request URI, the "To" header, or the "From" header.

Note that you will have to manually force the Mediation Server to strip of the + sign using the intelligently named configuration file “RemovePlusFromRequestURI”.

Update 952783 introduces functionality for Communications Server 2007 to remove the plus sign (+) from the "From" header when it is not E.164-compliant. If this action does not create an E.164-compliant number, Communications Server 2007 introduces a "P-Asserted-ID" header that has a phone-context value of "enterprise." This header enables the user lookup functionality in Communicator 2007. Additionally, Communications Server 2007 bypasses the server normalization logic if the header contains a phone-context value of "enterprise."

It’s good to see the list of Qualified PBXs expanding; now we can only hope that the Dual Forking scenarios will follow troop with Cisco and all the other vendors who has promised to deliver Interop (E.g. Alcatel, Avaya, Ericsson, Mitel, NEC and Siemens).

OCS Patches for Nortel CS1000 rel 5.5 with MCM 3.5 integration

I recently updated our lab environment and it is now running Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V. During that process we finally updated our test CS100o to rel 5.5 and that required some updates that are different from the ones listed on the MS UC OIP site (Which are also outdated both 943083 and 943085 has been superseeded) and the ones listed in the Nortel documentation for rel. 5.5 .

In the following I have listed the "Required" patches according to Nortel's documentation and the "Actual" based on the current version of the hotfixes

OCS 2007 Front End
Required - Standard Edition RTM version 6362.0 plus hotfix KB 942872
Actual – Standard Edition RTM version 6362 plus hotfix 945055 (Includes Apiem.dll and Sipstack.dll in version 3.0.6362.17, which 942872 introduces)

Office Communication Server 2007, Mediation Server
Required - December 17, 2007, Version 3.0.6362.36 plus hotfix KB943086 and KB944285
Actual - December 17, 2007, Version 3.0.6362.36 plus hotfix KB943086 and KB944285

OCS Application Proxy Server
Required - OCS 2007 – Standard Edition RTM version 6362.0 plus hotfix KB 942872
Actual – Standard Edition RTM version 6362 plus hotfix 945055 (Includes Apiem.dll and Sipstack.dll in version 3.0.6362.17, which 942872 introduces)

Office Communicator 2007 Client
Required - December 17, 2007, Version 2.0.6362.36 plus hotfix KB 943083
Actual - December 17, 2007, Version 2.0.6362.64 including hotfix KB 951662 that supersedes 943083 (And replaces all files in 6362.65 version)

Monday, September 01, 2008

OCS 2007 R2 will be 64 bit

So it is official now. Office Communications Server 2007 R2 (Wave 13) will support 64 bit OS as the only Operating System (So no 32 bit support).

Within the MVP community there has been a lot of discussion about the good/bad in this design decision, but personally I think that most of our customers are 64-bit ready due to Exchange 2007 and in general won't see this a big issue. Yes, it will mean that we will have to migrate our servers, but as a consultant I would (almost) never suggest using in-place upgrades anyway.

What is your opinion about this ?

Read more here Next release of OCS to support 64 Bit OS (x64).