Archive for the ‘Troubleshooting’ Category

Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference

Sign up for the first ever Microsoft online Virtual conference.  Two days of free sessions. 
http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualconference.aspx 

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  • · World-class free online conference that features technical content presented by Americas’ region MVPs that is open to the public
  • · More technical content (Level 200, 300, 400), less marketing
  • · 5 tracks: IT Pro English, Dev English, Consumer English, Mixed Spanish, Mixed Portuguese
  • · Event will be broadcast via Lync using L+ which enhances the conferencing capabilities of Lync
  • · Two full days of sessions with simultaneous webcasts running across all 5 tracks
  • · Thursday May 14th and Friday, May 15th
  • · Start at 8am PT and running until 6pm PT (Pacific)
  • · Day 1: 45 sessions + Keynote, Day 2: 50 sessions
  • · Keynote on Day 1 to be delivered by Steve ‘Guggs’ Guggenheimer, Corporate VP of DX
  • · On Demand content available via Channel9
  • · This event is not just for MVPs, it’s for everyone!
  • #MVPvConf   #MVPBuzz

Conference Promo Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9mnBYT3xro

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Virtual Machine Management Service failure

I recently came across a Hyper-V host which after a power outage and a dirty shut  down, due the absence of a UPS, could not connect to the Virtual Machine Management Service.  When opening the Hyper-v console the VMs were not listed, and selecting “Connect to Server” resulted in the following error message; “An error occurred while attempting to connect to server ‘ServerName’.  Check that the Virtual Machine Service is running and that you are authorized to connect to the server.”

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The Hyper-V services displayed running in the Services management console, and permissions had not changed, however when checking for dependencies for the Hyper-V Virtual Management Service it show no dependencies.  Comparing this to another Hyper-V host reveals the service depends on the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) and Windows Management Instrumentation service. Both of these were running as well.

When services and system information is not present in various consoles, and the WMI service is running, it can often be a result of missing or corrupt WMI files.  You can confirm this by running msinfo32.exe (System Information).  If so, you will receive a message “Can’t collect Information.  Cannot access the Windows Management Instrumentation software.  Windows Management files may be moved or missing.”

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If this is the case there is an easy fix:

  • Always have a full backup of your system before making any changes!
  • Note:  Microsoft recommends troubleshooting, and restoring the WMI files rather than deleting them as I describe here.  Deleting the files can affect 3rd party software which may require reinstalling.  For more information see the links at the end of this article.  In this case the WMI checks showed no inconsistencies and a reset failed, so rebuilding was the best option.
  • Stop the Windows Management Instrumentation service, which will warn you that it will also stop the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management and other services, verifying the link between the two.
  • Rename the WMI information file folder to something such as .old  C:\Windows\System32\wbem\Repository.old
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  • Restart the host.   Upon reboot it will recreate the Repository folder and its contents.  You may find the first logon hangs for a few minutes and also it may be slow for a while as it rebuilds the files.
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Additional information regarding troubleshooting WMI:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2009/04/13/wmi-rebuilding-the-wmi-repository.aspx

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff404265.aspx

Office 365 authentication did not succeed

I have had a few questions regarding a message “Office 365 authentication did not succeed” suddenly appearing both in the daily reports and the Alert Viewer of Server Essentials.  The alert viewer suggests changing the admin account (or refresh it) in the Office 365 tab of the Essentials Dashboard, however doing so fails with a message stating you are using the wrong account or password.

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In most cases if you log into the Office 365 site using the domain’s admin e-mail account you will find the password has expired and you are asked to update it.  Do so and return to the Dashboard entering the new password which should now allow it to validate and eliminate the error.

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Disable WSUS on Managed Computers

The past 8 or more years most of us have managed PC updates using WSUS (Windows Server Update Service) and Group policy.  However, the structure of the modern office has changed to a large percentage of mobile employees who never ‘touch down’ at headquarters.   If these devices do not connect to the domain they do not have updates applied.

A client who has not returned to the office in 18 months, and likely will not for the life of their laptop, recently asked how they could update their machine manually.  Currently they were not able to do so as Windows Update showed “settings are managed by your system administrator”, in other words, by WSUS

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It is quite simple to disable WSUS management in the registry, however remember if the device is reconnected to the domain, the WSUS policies will be reapplied.  Therefore you may want to move the device to an OU not linked to the WSUS policy or remove the device in the policy under security filtering.

Disclaimer:  Be aware making incorrect registry changes can have disastrous effects to the health of the device.  Be sure to backup the registry before editing.  To do so see the following Microsoft article; “How to back up and restore the registry in Windows”  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756 

  • Open the registry editor, by entering Regedit in the Start / Run box, and browse to:  HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\
  • Locate the WindowsUpdate  Key and delete it
  • Reboot the PC (may take 2 reboots)
  • Now you can manually update and configure Windows updates to automatically check for and install updates directly from the Microsoft Update site

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You may want to consider using a newer service such as Windows Intune to manage your computers, especially mobile devices.  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-intune/

Java – page cannot be displayed

It seems the Java download site has been down for 24 hours.  Many internet posts by folk receiving “This page can’t be displayed” after clicking the download button.  The “See all Java downloads” page results in the same message.

A site test reveals it is down as well:  http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/javadl.sun.com

I did find the Oracle site worked without any problems: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jre7-downloads-1880261.html

WSUSLogCleaner failure 2147942402

There are many articles regarding how to locate and regain space consumed by many SBS services and log files, including one of my own; “Missing SBS 2008/2011 Drive Space“.   One of the most common issues is the WSUS admin logs located in C:\inetpub\logs\LogFiles\W3SVC_____  which can consume huge amounts of drive space.  With SBS 2011 and SBS 2008 (2008 if updates are applied) this particular folder should be looked after by a scheduled task which clears out log files older than 100 days.  In a few cases you may want to edit this and reduce it to a shorter period of time, as very nicely explained by Ronny Pot.

I was asked to look at an SBS server today which had ‘lost’ most of its system partition available space.  It was not really lost as it was found in a C:\inetpub\logs\LogFiles\W3SVC_____  folder.  However, this should have been looked after by the aforementioned scheduled task.  Upon review of the task history it seems the task’s script has been failing for several months resulting in “Action start failed” and “Action failed to start” messages with an Error Value of  2147942402.

Note: the task is located under Administrative Tools |  Task Scheduler | Task Scheduler Library | Microsoft | Windows |  Windows Small Business Server 20xx Standard |  WSUSLog Cleaner

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In this case the  time frame had been reduced to 30 days, but noticed when saving the changes, if not paying attention, the “arguments” for the script can get modified by Windows.  The changes can be made under the Actions tab as per the image below:

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However, in some but not all cases, when clicking OK to save  you may get a popup as below:

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Note the text.  If you select yes it changes the Program/Script field to C:\Program, and the Argument field to Files\Windows Small Business Server\Bin\WSUSLogCleaner.vbs 30.  The entire path needs to be in the Program/Scripts field and only 30 in the argument.   It seems someone in a hurry clicked yes, as one would assume when approving changes, and did not double check after the fact.  It seems the popup only occurs if there are no existing quotes around  “C:\Program,Files\Windows Small Business Server\Bin\WSUSLogCleaner.vbs” in the Program/Scripts field.

Quickbooks Only xxMB of memory

I tried installing Intuit’s Quickbooks 2013 today on a Windows 2012 server and received a message advising; “your system has only xxxMB of memory. Quickbooks requires at least 1GB of memory.”  

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There was most definitely lots of RAM, so fortunately a quick Google turned up the following Intuit site which indicated Quickbooks does not always detect the proper amount of RAM available on 64 bit systems, and proposed the solution below:

http://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/support/articles/SLN41834

However I will elaborate slightly…

Rather than install from a CD copy the installation files to a location on the computer, then locate the following the file;  …..\QBooks\Framework.xml   For safety sake make a copy of this file, then review the properties of the file, and remove the read only attribute, if present.

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Next open Framework.xml with Notepad and locate the memory requirements under <MinRequirements> within the following text.

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Change the specification from 1000MB to 0MB, save the file, and re-try your installation.

Remote Site Monitoring Alert

On occasion there may be a need to be notified if a remote server is off-line due to an Internet outage, router issue, power outage, or server down.  There are many excellent services that will monitor and alert you, but most are intended for multi-site and/or multi-server configurations and require a monthly fee.  You might just want to monitor a single site and be notified if it fails.

I had this situation and therefore decided to write a simple script to accomplish the task.  I am not a programmer so I am sure this could be improved upon, but it works.  Feel free to add suggestions or alternatives in the comments section, I am sure we would all be interested.

Basically there is a batch file that makes use of a free little utility called http-ping by www.CoreTechnologies.com which runs every ‘X’ minutes using a scheduled task and verifies if the site is accessible.  If not, a simple VBS script sends an e-mail alert.

Http-ping does need to be able to access an http or https server, which could be a web server, Exchange (OWA), a router management page, or one of many other possibilities.

To configure simply create a folder such as C:\SiteMonitor and place in it; the batch and VBS script below, and http-ping .  You will have to download http-ping from http://www.coretechnologies.com/products/http-ping/

Batch file:

@echo off
:: Enter the directory location (e.g. C:\SiteMonitor\)
Set Directory=C:\SiteMonitor
:: Enter the address of the site to ping (e.e. 123.123.123.123/Exchange:443 or server.domain.com/Exchange:443)
:: (The first example should be used if you need to know if the public IP has changed)
Set Site=123.123.123.123/Exchange:443
::
If Exist %Directory%\PingResult.txt Del %Directory%\PingResult.txt
%Directory%\http-ping.exe %Site% >> %Directory%\PingResult.txt
findstr /M "Reply" %Directory%\PingResult.txt
If %errorlevel%==1 GoTo EMAIL
GoTo END
:EMAIL
cscript %Directory%\SendAlert.vbs
:END

VBS script:

' VBS script to send an alert via e-mail
Dim SMTPserver, Sender, Recipient, Subject
' Set client specific variables
SMTPserver = "smtp.ISPname.abc"
Sender = "alert@SomeDomain.abc"
Recipient = "me@MyDomain.abc"
Subject = "Alert off-line"
Message = "An automated script has determined the server at is currently off-line."
' Send E-mail
       set objMessage = CreateObject("CDO.Message")
       objMessage.Subject = Subject
       objMessage.Sender = Sender
       objMessage.To = Recipient
       objMessage.TextBody = Message
       objMessage.Configuration.Fields("http://schemas.microsoft.com/cdo/configuration/smtpserver") = SMTPserver
       objMessage.Configuration.Fields("http://schemas.microsoft.com/cdo/configuration/sendusing") = 2
       objMessage.Configuration.Fields.Update
       objMessage.Send
       set objMessage = Nothing

Customize scripts:

When complete save the batch file as something similar to SiteMonitor.bat.  In the batch file you need to set two variables; the “Directory” where you saved the files, and the “Site” htpp-ping is to test.  The site can be a FQDN or an IP, and needs to point to a server  or router.  In some cases you need to add the port number. Some examples include:

http://www.mysite.abc
remote.domain.abc:443
router1.DDNSservice.abc:8080  (router)
remote.domain.abc/OWA   (Exchange port 80)
123.123.123.123/Exchange:443

In my case the site I wanted to monitor had a dynamic IP.  I needed to be alerted if the public IP changed due to a service used by the site that would not work with a DDNS service.  Therefore I used the last example above.

The VBS script needs to be saved as SendAlert.vbs or change the name used within the batch file to match.  In the VBS script you need to set the following 5 variables as per the examples in the script; SMTPserver, Sender, Recipient, Subject, Message.

Schedule:

Finally, you need to schedule a task to run the batch file every half hour (or your time frame).   The following is an example as to how to do so with Vista/Server 2008 and newer.  Similar can be done under Control Panel, Scheduled Task in XP/Server 2003 and earlier.

Open the Task scheduler under Control Panel / Administrative tools, click on Task Schedule Library, and on the right select Create a Basic Task.  Assign the task a name and you can enter a description if you like.  Make sure you also select “Run whether the user is logged on or not”.

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Configure the “Trigger” options as per the following image:

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In the “Actions” pane choose to start a program, and point to your batch file:

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You can then complete the wizard accepting defaults.  Your monitoring service should now be complete.  If you want to test, change the “Site” variable in the batch file to a non existent IP or FQDN, and you should get an alert the next time it runs.  Note if troubleshooting the results of the last http-ping are recorder in the directory you created as a text file named PingResult.txt

Locate default Computer or User OU

In troubleshooting an issue with the SBS user creation wizard, I wanted to know what was set as the default Organizational Unit in which users would be placed.   Though the following works with any server version which is domain functional level Server 2003 or newer, SBS defaults to placing users in the MyBusiness\Users\SBSUsers OU and I wanted to verify this was set appropriately.  There are 100 articles explaining how to change the default users OU using the command “Redirusr”, or “Redircmp” for computers, but it was difficult to find a link explaining how to locate the current defaults.  There are a few links explaining where the information is stored, which is in the “wellKnownObjects” attribute of the properties of the domain, in Active Directory Users and Computers.

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However when you click on “View”, to inspect the settings for that attribute, you get a popup warning; “There is no editor to handle this attribute”, and the same happens when using ADSI Edit.

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Thanks to a tip by Alex Verboon, using Microsoft’s (Sysinternal’s) Active  Directory Explorer will allow you to see the settings of this attribute.  Download AD Explorer, run the app, on a single domain server you can live all fields blank and click OK.

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Click on your domain, then in the right hand window right click on wellKnownObjects”, and choose properties.

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In the resulting window you can review the current settings for the default OU’s for Computers and Users

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Sharepoint update KB2596911 on SBS

I just installed “Security Update for Windows Services 3.0 x 64 KB2596911” on a clients SBS 2008 server, as 1 of 6 updates, only to have it fail.  Upon reboot neither Sharepoint website or the WSUS console were functioning.  In addition the Application Event Log was full of Event ID 5084, Source MSSQL$MICROSOFT##SSEE informational events.  A quick Google showed many folk have encountered similar issues, for example:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sharepointadmin/thread/e8391454-a5b2-418f-8dab-324c430ce219

In my case after the reboot I was able to resolve by downloading the single update from the link below, right clicking and choosing run as administrator, and wait, and wait, and wait!  Be patient, the update though small took about 45 minutes to complete but it was successful, and all services restarted.  Though it did not prompt for a reboot I felt it was best to do so and everything still functioned properly.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30274

For the record, there is no mention of it in the KB article, but during the install it advises that you need volume licensing to use the update.  I choose to accept the notification and continue, working on the assumption the licensing referred to the base product.  In my case this was being installed on Small Business Server where Sharepoint is an integrated component.

This may not be a solution in all cases, but it was a simple, though tedious, repair for this server.

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