Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
When you are deploying a new SBS 2011 Standard network, your server will need a number of patches. In amongst them are two key patches that you SHOULD deploy first and foremost before adding clients to the network. These patches are listed below.
These two patches give the ability for SBS 2011 Standard to properly support Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 machines. The first patch ensures that the http://connect wizard works for Windows 8 clients. The second patch ensures that WSUS on SBS 2011 Standard can correctly support both Windows 8 clients and Windows Server 2012 clients.
Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Our team is migrating around 2x SBS 2003 servers as week right now over to SBS 2011 Standard. We’ve gotten pretty darned good at it but every now and then something stops you dead in your tracks. Today one of the guys was onsite doing part of the preflight check on a migration. As part of that we need to revert the server from a 2 NIC configuration with ISA as the firewall to a single NIC configuration. He did this and rebooted the server as planned. However after the reboot we found that there were issues. Users could not do DNS, they could not get an IP via DHCP or anything like that at all. After scratching our heads for a bit we finally remembered something we long forgot now… the Scalable Network Pack that Microsoft deployed as part of Windows Server 2003 SP2 was the problem. It’s been at least 5 years since I’ve seen an issue caused by this and for some reason the patch that Microsoft released to disable these features on SBS was not applied to this server. The patch I’m talking about is this one http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948496. After we applied this and rebooted – everything was fine.
I’ve got to say though… it’s been a while since I’ve seen this issue. You can bet that a check for this patch is now part of our server build/migration documentation for sure!
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
SBS 2011 maybe oh so yesterday and all, but the reality is, you can still sell, install and support the product for a while yet. With that in mind, getting your certification on the 70-169 exam is also very relevant indeed. Let’s make it easier for you to do that by having a giveaway competition.
Everyone loves free stuff, so here’s your chance to get a free copy of the PacktPub SBS 2011 Configuring Certification Guide (70-169). Check out the review I’ve done of the guide here firstly to make sure this is something you WANT to win. I’ve been given two copies of the eBook to give away, so I figure I’ll make it a very simple competition. Simply submit your entry via the comments on this blog post and I’ll judge the winner. Entries will close on 1 week from today (Wednesday 14th August, with winner to be announced shortly thereafter here on the site.
To win is simple give me one good reason why this book deserves to be in your eBook collection. Best two entries win. You’ll need to leave your real name and email address (which only I can see) so I can let you know if you’ve won or not.
Once I’ve decided the winners, I’ll send the details to Packt Publishing and they will organise to get a copy of the eBook to you! Good luck!
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
This book came to me via one of the authors initially. Fellow Australian SMB IT Pro members, Robert Crane and Drew Hills combined their talents to write this guide on everything you need to know to pass the 70-169 Microsoft certification exam. The ebook comes in at over 200 pages and if packed full of good stuff that you’ll need to help you pass the 70-169 exam. Robert and Drew have paid particular attention to detail to ensure that they can be as accurate as possible with every aspect of the book.
The book starts off with an overview of SBS from the beginning through to the 2011 Standard Edition and also includes a brief overview of the SBSC community. The rest of the book is laid out with the information you need on a chapter by chapter basis along with some test questions that are similar to those you will see in the exam itself. All in all, this is a pretty well put together guide on how to pass the 70-169 exam. I’d recommend it if you don’t do SBS on a regular basis and want to ensure that you are well equipped to sit the 70-169 exam. Heck – it’s even good if you don’t plan to sit the exam as it exposes a few hard earned real world points of experience as well.
You can buy the book direct from Packt Publishing here
Well done to Robert and Drew on this achievement – writing a book is no easy feat.
Monday, April 16th, 2012
By default when the VPN configuration for SBS 2008 and SBS 2011 Standard allows only 5 users to VPN at once. This is often not enough for the larger network environments. The question that comes is “How can I increase VPN to allow more than 5 users”. Fortunately it’s pretty simple.
First up, start with configuring VPN via the SBS console. To do that, go to the Network Tab and select the Connectivity sub tab. Then run the “Configure a Virtual Private Network” wizard from the task pane on the right.
Select “Allow users to connect to the server by using a VPN” and the VPN wizard will run.
It will configure the Routing and Remote Access services to provide the VPN functionality and if your router has uPnP allowed, it will also configure port 1723 to pass through the router to the SBS server itself.
Now that you’ve configured the VPN, you may feel free to test it from outside your network so that you know it works right now.
In order to increase the number of available ports for your remote access / VPN users, you need to open the Routing and Remote Access console. It’s under the Administrative Tools menu on the Start > Program menu
If you select the Ports node from the menu above, you will see it display that it’s already allocated the 5 ports that is the default for the SBS VPN wizard as you can see below.
Right select on the Ports node and then select Properties. You should get the screen below showing you the number of ports defined for the various protocols.
Select the WAN Miniport (PPTP) entry and then select the Configure button at the bottom.
You can then change the number of ports to the maximum number of VPN users you will expect. In the screen below, I’ve changed it to 20
Select OK on this screen and then OK again to take you back to the main Routing and Remote Access console. You should see the number of ports has increased as the screen below shows.
Voila – you’ve done it – nothing more to do except sit back and enjoy the 20 users remotely accessing your network now.
Oh – one final word, if you even run the SBS VPN wizard again to disable and then enable VPN, it will reset the ports back to 5.
Friday, April 13th, 2012
This is one I’ve heard a lot before and it’s easy to solve.
When you add Desktop or Notebook computers to SBS 2008 and SBS 2011 via the http://connect wizard, they get added in and put by default into the Client Computers OU inside Active Directory. The SBS 2008 and SBS 2011 Standard console displays any computers in that OU under the Client Computers section on the console itself. The screenshot below show you how this looks.
When you add servers to the SBS 2008 or SBS 2011 Standard network, there is no wizard to follow. As such you add them to the domain in the normal manner.
SBS is configured by default to add any new computer to the domain in the SBSComputers OU as you can see below.
The solution is therefore quite simple. Once you add your Server to the SBS 2008 or SBS 2011 Standard domain, you need to move them into the SBSServers OU using Active Directory Users and Computers. Run ADUC from the Administrative tools group. Select the computers you wish to move and drag them into the SBSServers OU as you can see I’m doing below. You will get a warning also as below – select Yes to continue.
Once they are moved it will look like this.
If you refresh the SBS console then it will all appear like it should as you can see below.
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
I was working on a client site recently and could not figure out why their OWA was not working on one of their Exchange 2010 servers. Furthermore I found that the Exchange Management Shell (powershell for Exchange) would not work as it could not connect to the Exchange server itself. During my investigation, I found a cool utility that allowed me to look at the Default Website on the server in question and diagnose why the EMS would not work. In the end, the issue I had was a simple one – the HP PowerManager software had taken over port 80 on the server as the clients tech did not configure it correctly to use an alternate port number. But I figured it worthwhile to post about the Exchange Management Troubleshooter tool anyway in case it helps others. You can download the tool here
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Microsoft a few months back now, released Exchange 2010 SP2 and it can of course be applied to SBS 2011 Standard servers. You first need to obtain the download here and save it to your server.
Make sure you have logged onto your server using your Network Administrator or Domain Admin account first.
I always do a quick backup of the server before I continue – that way I can be sure that I’ve got a server to return to if the upgrade fails for whatever reason.
Run the download and extract it to the location that you want to run it from and then run the Setup.exe file.
Select Install Microsoft Exchange Server Upgrade
This launches the Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2 installation process.
Accept the license agreement and Next ton continue.
If does a number of system checks including disk space. Lucky for me as I didn’t realise that my disk space was so low on this server and it gave me a chance to clean it up a bit.
Once I cleared up my disk space, i was able to proceed with the upgrade.
The entire process (aside from cleaning up disk space) took 23 minutes to do and was the most painless process I’ve done in a long time.
My system did not need a reboot, but as a matter of principle, I performed one. Once the server was back up again, I then tested Exchange, OWA, ActiveSync to ensure all was working before re-enabling my backups.
I hope your upgrade process is as simple as mine was.
Friday, February 24th, 2012
I was investigating a fault today for a client – their new SBS 2011 server had stopped working with WSUS. As my investigation went on I found that this issue would also affect the SBS Client Connect as well as other web based applications on this server.
The SBS console was reporting “An error occured while retrieving updates information.” as the screen below shows.
I did some digging and found that the WSUS console was broken too.
The event logs showed the error below.
Event ID: 2274
ISAPI Filter ‘C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\\aspnet_filter.dll’ could not be loaded due to a configuration problem. The current configuration only supports loading images built for a AMD64 processor architecture. The data field contains the error number. To learn more about this issue, including how to troubleshooting this kind of processor architecture mismatch error, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=29349.
Look closely and you will notice above that there’s a double \\ in the path name.
Once I’ve modified it to remove the double \\ and done an IISRESEt – it’s all working just fine. The picture below shows the problem line AFTER I’ve modified it.
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
The Best Practice Analyzer is designed to review your server for any known issues that the Microsoft Support Team are aware of and to show you how to resolve those issues. This FAQ shows you how to install and run the BPA for the first time.
The information in this FAQ pertains to Small Business Server 2011 Standard, Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.
1. Download the Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer 2.0 first from Microsoft here
2. Install it onto your server directly. No reboot is needed.
3. Download the Windows Server Solutions Best Practices Analyzer 1.0 from Microsoft here
6. Click on the icon to download and install the update install the update
7. Once you’ve installed the update, you will need to restart the BPA in order for it to run.
8. Select the option to scan your computer
9.Review the report
10. Select one of the options to expand the warning and it will show you what you need to do to resolve that issue.
All in all – it’s a very simple tool to run and will help you quickly evaluate common issues on these servers.
UPDATE: 24th Feb 2012 – it’s come to light that there may be an issue with the BPA with the that causes Client Alert notifications. See this post for more information