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By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:21:41 AM
HD Moore's Metasploit is an invaluable free tool that's used by many to perform penetration testing of their systems.  Recently, HD blogged about buying an iPhone and beginning the process of porting pieces of the Metasploit platform to the iPhone.  What does this mean?  It means a portable handheld pentesting platform!  Perhaps HD should get a copyright on iSploit now

Read the entire blog entry here.  Good times ahead!
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:12:49 AM
Michael Burke has posted part 3 of 4 in his series on troubleshooting Terminal Server licensing.  This entire series is a great read and reference to hang on to.

This topic is on:
  • Corrupt license databases
  • Activation issues
  • Problems adding CALs
Read the full article here.
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9:59:49 AM
Since server hangs is an often reported issue on Terminal Server environments due to high resource depletion, I thought it would be best to post this blog entry under the SBC blog even though it largely applies to all Windows Server environments.  The Windows Server Performance Team blogged about methods to troubleshoot server hangs today and it boils down to these steps:Is this a hard or soft hang?  If this is a hard hang, then the odds are that there is an underlying hardware issue, so contact your hardware vendor. Check the Event logs for any events in the System Log at the time of the hang.  In the case of Pool Depletion, you will see Event ID's 2019 or 2020 with the Event Source being SRV Launch Performance Monitor and check the starting value for Free System PTE's under the Memory object.  If a system is booting up with fewer Free System PTE's than is normal (around 15,000 or fewer), then that is not a good sign.  That means that...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9:54:22 AM
Michel Roth has written a nice article about tuning file server performance.  The Windows Performance Team has recently blogged about settings that can be tuned for Windows Explorer to reduce the amount of SMB traffic generated.  These would be great settings to apply to a Terminal Server environment since you have a lot of instances of Windows Explorer or File Open/Save dialogs running that could create a lot of SMB traffic.Some of the suggested optimizations would disable the following Windows Explorer behaviors:Searches for Desktop.ini files used for folder customization Periodic refreshes of folder contents Searches for supporting library (.dll) files Individual file details and attributes pulled for each file Thumbnail extractionAnd the settings to accomplish these changes are as follows:Windows...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:25:12 AM
From an entry on John Howard's blog, I've learned that Server 2008 RC0 with Vridian just hit MSDN last night.  I'm off to download it now.  BTW, John also posted a nice entry on the steps required to install Vridian (no server core option just yet).
By Shawn Bass on Saturday, September 22, 2007 10:58:12 AM
I recently had a need to convert a few SoftGrid-related VMs from VMware Server 1.02 VMs to one of my ESX 3.x hosts.  I needed to do this because VMware Server only allows for a single snapshot/revert path.  While sequencing/testing applications in SoftGrid, it's ideal to have multiple VM snapshots to be able to revert back to a variety of timelines.  I have explained many different methods of converting VMs and have detailed a few of the processes (complete with screeshots).  I hope this helps someone out there who may need to do the same thing.  Read the full article here.

By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 11:08:15 PM
Microsoft has definitely embraced blogging as a means of providing feedback to their partners and customers alike.  It's often difficult to know whether or not a particular team within Microsoft has an official blog or not.  Brandon LeBlanc over at The Windows Experience Blog has created a list of the known official Microsoft team blogs.  Check out the list here.
By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 9:43:54 PM
Skywing's debugging/reverse engineering blog is one of many RSS feeds that I keep try to keep current on.  He posted an entry a few days ago titled "Never, ever, EVER wake a computer from suspend without user consent" regarding a situation where the Windows Update service woke his PC from standby at 3:00am on a Patch Tuesday.  While waking a PC to apply patches isn't a horrible situation, it definitely becomes one when your laptop is zipped up inside a backpack or laptop carrying case.  I personally have had this happen to me only once, but it wasn't related to Windows Updates.  It was related to a failed standby that I didn't notice for an hour or two (when I finally pulled it out of the bag, the laptop was ready for egg frying).  Anyway, the fact is this is a legitimate issue that should be handled by the operating system. ...
By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 9:47:46 AM
Charles Aunger pointed me to a recently published KB article on Citrix's website that relates to best practices in profiling and delivering applications using their Streaming Server technology.  While much of the info in this article is common sense, it's a nice refresher.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:38:54 PM
In a previous blog entry I linked to a blog entry from Helge Klein where he tested the bandwidth impact of enabling ClearType over RDP.  At the time, it appeared that ClearType was responsible for a double in bandwidth requirements.  In conducting further testing, it appears that 32-bit color depth with font smoothing enabled causes the greatest increase in bandwidth consumption (a factor of 6).  Read the updated article here.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:25:25 PM
While Citrix stated they were moving away from Feature Packs, they've released Feature Pack 1 for Presentation Server 4.5.  Michel Roth of Thincomputing.net has a nice review of the primary features included.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:22:28 PM
I came across a blog post from Dave Caddick referencing an article from Channel Register that seemed to indicate that Microsoft's Viridian hypervisor is under 1MB footprint???  There's been a lot of conversation around VMware's introduction of the ESX3i Embedded virtualization platform that boots off flash memory in less than 32 MB, but 1MB? that's pretty insane.  According to the article, it came from Mike Neil (Microsoft) who should be a trusted resource on the matter.  I'm a little unsure on Mike/Microsoft's lack of value seen in an embedded virtualization platform as their reasoning for not wanting to do it is that you still have to store your virtual images somewhere....duh! of course you do, but that's what SAN disk is for.  However, the question still remains as to whether it's more...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:06:59 PM
The Terminal Services Team Blog has a great blog entry published recently where they describe the support that has been added for dynamic virtual channel drivers within RDP.  Most of us are aware that virtual channels exist within Terminal Services and Citrix ICA to allow for the exchange of information between server and client such as clipboard contents, file transfer, etc.  Those virtual channels are statically defined by the protocol and are moderately difficult to implement.  The blog entry posted illustrates the process for creating a dynamic virtual channel driver that is implemented as a plugin server side that allows to a content menu to be added to send a file to the TS Client's Desktop.  Personally I think this feature would be HUGE as file transfer to the client network is one of the biggest complaints from a useability perspective.  Hopefully Citrix will get on the bandwagon and create similar functionality...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, September 03, 2007 12:12:42 PM
Wilco van Bragt has a fantastic whitepaper on his website that details the steps necessary to utilize Citrix Presentation Server within an Ardence OS Streaming environment.  I personally have not used Ardence at any customer sites, but it's definitely something in the queue of things to get up to speed on.  I highly recommend reading this whitepaper.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, September 03, 2007 9:52:57 AM
PowerShell 1.0 was released in November 2006 and has already received over a million downloads.  I recently came across an article published a few days ago where SearchWinIT.com interviewed Jeffrey Snover (creator/architect of PowerShell) where Jeffrey has confirmed that PowerShell 2.0 will have support for remoting.  One of the primary limitations with PowerShell...
By Shawn Bass on Sunday, September 02, 2007 10:51:32 PM
vonagelogo.gif        So, I'm a huge fan of Vonage VoIP service.  I'm also a huge home theater PC (HTPC) freak.  So I had an idea that much like peanut butter and chocolate, these two technologies must merge!  So a while back I created a plugin for Meedio that allows me to dial telephone numbers in my phone book from the comfort of my couch.  Ok, so it is completely the laziest thing in the world, but someone had to do it, eh?  Anyway, this update to the DialMee plugin was simply to fix a bug that was causing an error beep on exit of Meedio.  I described in my previous post what Meedio...
By Shawn Bass on Sunday, September 02, 2007 4:29:11 PM
Ok so I'm way behind on the home theater blog, but I uploaded a new stable release of my Meedio plugin for EvilLyrics integration a few weeks back.  The plugin update contains the fixes for the new release build from EvilLyrics as well as a fix that was causing an error beep when the plugin was shutdown.  What is this plugin?  It's a fulltime plugin for the HTPC frontend called Meedio (which I run on all of my HTPC systems connected to every TV in my house...yes my wife loves me dearly to tolerate this crap).  The EvilLyics plugin receives messages from the music player and passes the Artist/Song info to the EvilLyrics COM object, which then performs a web request...