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Author: Created: Thursday, March 15, 2007 8:10:03 AM RssIcon
Anything related to administering a network, including tips/tricks on networking gear, server hardware, Windows systems administration, etc.
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 1:17:14 PM
A client of mine recently rolled out their upgrade from McAfee 8.0 Enterprise to 8.7 Enterprise.  On the Citrix server environment we had two major application failures that were the result of the McAfee upgrade uninstalling the MS XML 4.0 Parser on the servers.  There were two applications on the production Citrix environment that required the MS XML 4.0 Parser and they both stopped working following the upgrade.  Unfortunately, the issue was not caught in Lab/UAT testing and was only found after McAfee went out to production.  To make matters worse, something went wrong with the deployment mechanism and the McAfee upgrade went to all servers in one blast whereas the server team usually pushes in 2-3 separate sets of server groups.  All of that combined = FAIL

So McAfee is responsible for the outage, right?  WRONG!

What the Mcafee installer was doing was proper behavior.  It had incremented the shared component registry entry for MSXML4.dll when it was installed on the servers.  The shared DLL component...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:12:43 PM
I was recently running some Windows Update patches on one of my client's Server 2003 boxes (they aren't using a patch management solution) when I ran into a strange error that stated the Windows Update site could not be accessed and the error message listed was 0x80070020.  This message did not appear while trying to install the updates, it appeared right after the selection for Express vs Custom.  I chose Custom and it's supposed to query the available patches for the server, but instead I was greeted with error 0x80070020.  In doing some reason on this error I found that it's related to a file locking issue.  Some people on various forums reported issues with BitDefender AntiVirus on Windows XP and Vista as the source of the issue.  While they're not running BitDefender on their server (they run eTrust), it was worth looking into.  I also found KB883825 which also lists Anti-Virus as a potential source of issues for Windows Update.  So I temporarily...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, June 02, 2008 8:52:24 AM

Al Solorzano recently posted a nice article on Group Policy Preferences over here.  If you're not familiar with Group Policy Preferences, it's the technology that Microsoft acquired from Desktop Standard.  GPP is a nice way of extending management reach to registry settings that were previously not able to be managed by Group Policy (at least not without those PITA Administrative Templates anyway).  There's also some powerful capabilities for filtering that are largely lacking from Group Policy.  While out at Citrix Synergy a little over a week ago, I had the pleasure of some great conversation with Al at a group dinner outing.  Al is extremely knowledgable about a variety of technologies and I highly recommend following his blog (if you don't already).  Al's blog can be found here.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 2:47:44 PM

Microsoft has officially re-released Windows XP Service Pack 3 today.  Get the full download here.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, February 14, 2008 9:06:51 AM
Citrix has recently announced a new product called Workflow Studio that is a tool for putting together a visual workflow for completing repetitive tasks.  This workflow would then leverage PowerShell scripts to complete the individual tasks.  What's interesting about this tool is that Citrix has mentioned that it came from an unmentioned technology acquistion/partnership.  From my perspective, it sounds an awful lot like FullArmor's Workflow Studio product that was announced in July 2007.  It's also got the PowerShell community wondering the same thing.  Folks like Karl Prosser of the amazing PowerShell Analyzer and PowerShell Plus products questions the same thing in a blog entry on his site. ...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, February 11, 2008 6:11:11 PM
A ton of things have been happening in the Exchange world that I've not been keeping up with very well, but I did come across two items that were of particular interest to me that I thought I'd share.

First, the MS Exchange Team has put up a blog item discussion a feature of Exchange that's been around a long time (Single Instance Storage).  SIS is a technology that was introduced in Exchange 4.0 that allows for an email to only exist once in the Information Store for multiple different users (if those users are on the same system).  So if an email (especially an email that contains attachments) is sent out to 10 different users, the Exchange server will only keep one copy of the email and all users will reference that copy.  There are some changes with SIS in Exchange 2007 namely that it only performs Single Instance Storage of message attachments, not of message bodies.  This makes perfect sense when you think about it considering that most of the storage that you'll consume on your Exchange server is...
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 Monday, July 02, 2007 7:37:23 PM
NetMon 3.1 is released and available on the Microsoft Connect site (the final release on the MS Download site will be posted in a few weeks).  Here's a rundown of the new features:Wireless (802.11) capturing and monitor mode on Vista – With supported hardware, (Native WIFI), you can now trace wireless management packets. You can scan all channels or a subset of the ones your wireless NIC supports. You can also focus in on one specific channel. We now show the wireless metadata for normal wireless frames. This is really cool for t-shooting wireless problems. See signal strength and transfer speed as you walk around your house! RAS tracing support on Vista – Now you can trace your RAS connections so you can see the traffic inside your VPN tunnel. Previously this was only available with XP. Right click add to filter – Now there's an easier way to discover how to create filters. Right click in the frame details data element or a column field in the frame...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 3:04:00 PM
If you haven't had a chance to test 2003 SP2 AND you're configured to automatic updates, you may be interested in knowing that Microsoft has a fix that will allow your servers to bypass the forced install of 2003 SP2 that will begin on June 12th, 2007.  If you're interested in using this opt-out, visit Microsoft's download site here for the download and instructions.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 2:29:56 PM
I've always known that you're not supposed to use PST files across the network (LAN or WAN), but up until recently I did not have the specific proof as to the magnitude of problems it can cause (outside of corruption in the PST).  I was recently looking for this information to pass to a client of mine, and I came across a great blog article from the Server Performance Team at Microsoft.  Turns out there's all sorts of issues from I/O deadlocking to paged pool depletion, etc.  Head over their blog and view the article.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:04:41 AM
MSDN has a great review up on IIS 7.0.Some of the highlights of the new IIS 7.0:Lean server core component (similar to server core in Longhorn).  Additional components can be enabled on an as-needed basis.  This of course helps to reduce the attack surface of the server.No more metabase (finally!).  All settings for IIS are now in an XML-based config file (much like the asp.net .config files)IIS Manager has been completely redone.  I personally think this is a huge improvement over the old admin tool.Improved diagnostics and tracing facilities for quickly locating problems in your web server or application pools.Improved performance through caching (ASP sites are dynamic which unfortunately leads to performance issues if the content has to be generated dynamically all the time.  IIS 7.0 has features that allow for output caching to reduce the amount of database calls, etc.Lots of other things...follow the link above for more info.Thanks...