Archive

Author Archive

How to turn off Google Search history on Google Apps

March 7th, 2012 No comments

There seems to be a bit of concern that Google is recording search history. Now that Google is changing their privacy terms, this is becoming a new topic despite the fact that they’ve offered search history for some time.

It’s been my experience setting up Google Apps for Business that this service is turned off by default, but I suppose that could vary. My personal preference is to leave it on, as I find it useful for later research.

Anyway, it’s quite simple to turn this off for your Google Apps domain. Go into your domain management menu. Lately, this can be the biggest challenge as they’ve moved this around. It’s in the SECOND gear icon.

ManageDomain screenshot

Then go to Organization & users, and finally the Services tab.

Scroll down, and you’ll see the Web History where you can turn it off, or on.

GoogleAppsWebHistory

BTW, if you want to see what your Google Search history has been, visit https://www.google.com/history/

Categories: Cincinnerdi Tech Stuff Tags:

Microsoft links to Adobe Reader fix

March 7th, 2012 No comments

MS links to adobe reader fix 1

How often have we seen one of these: The “Send Error Report” option after a program crash?

This one after a clear case of a bug in a newly installed XP instance with a newly installed Adobe Reader X. After attempting to print, instead of the Print dialog popping up we got the standard Microsoft Windows popup:

Adobe Reader has encountered a problem and needs to close. … Please tell Microsoft about this problem.

 

But instead of getting nothing, we got the prized “Click here” to find out more and, voila, we were provided with an ACTUAL SOLUTION! The MS page linked to an Adobe page with a patch for Reader X –  AdobeReaderPatch10.1.2_cpsid_92870.exe

MS links to adobe reader fix 2

See the patch here: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/928/cpsid_92870.html

After a restart, all was well. Thanks Microsoft!

MS links to adobe reader fix 3

Can’t access Dell DRAC after update?

March 7th, 2012 No comments

Image

I have to admit that I’ve stumbled into this problem at least twice before – and forgot what caused issue. The problem is that you attempt to access the web interface on the Dell DRAC (Dell Remote Access Card) and you cannot. It appears the DRAC disconnects.

Easy enough to solve: Simply clear your browser cache or use a different browser temporarily.  By pointer the web browser to same IP – the browser tries to pull the content from cache, but it doesn’t jive with the actual content from the updated firmware.

Categories: Cincinnerdi Tech Stuff Tags: ,

We still need floppies? Seriously, Microsoft?!

March 7th, 2012 No comments
Only one installation issue The end of a long marathon, migrating to SBS 2008

Running SBS 2008 migration on a virtual server takes us on a detour down memory lane

Working on a migration of Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 to SBS 2008, I had jumped thru the previous 283 migration hoops (I exaggerate, but just a little) and was ready to boot the 2008 installer DVD with my handy SBSAnswerFile which Microsoft wants me to put on “…the root of a USB drive, floppy disk or a partition on the destination server.” Hmmm….

– USB drive is a no-go on the ESX server.
– Let’s put it on a 2nd virtual hard disk. No, the migration installer didn’t “see” it.
– OK, let’s put it on a virtual CD drive. No. It didn’t see it again.
– Finally, I went to the extra hassle of putting it on a virtual floppy. Success!

The blow by blow follows:

In order to create a floppy on my 64 bit Windows 7 VM, I downloaded the excellent WinImage tool. I “injected” (their term) the SBSAnswerFile.xml into the floppy and saved it as answer.vfd.

WinImage makes short work of creating a virtual floppy

I then uploaded it to the datastore into a folder I named ISO using the datastore browser, upload facility.

VMware wants it’s floppy images to have the extension “.flp”, so I simply renamed it using the datastore browser to answer.flp.

The floppy image shown in the datastore browser.

I then added the floppy image in the virtual machine settings so that it connects at startup.

Now, after seeing it NOT work many times, when the installation DOES see the answer file, you see the following:

A pleasant site to seeOjala! The answer file was found and migration can begin!

On the other hand, if it DOESN’T see the answer file, you will see the dialog requesting information about the time zone. And the information input in the answer file for the time zone is, of course, not there.

If you see this BEFORE the “Start the migration…” dialog, the answer file was not found by the installer. Here, the screen follows the migration start dialog and the time zone is as entered in the answer file.

So, the SBS 2008 migration continues to be one of the champs in huge projects to be avoided. David Neale (Nerds On Site, London, England) prefers to bypass the migration approach and just install fresh and convert, saying, “I like the old fashioned approach.”

The following sites provided help on tools for this. Another case of “standing on the shoulders of giants.” THANKS!

– Scott Ledyard

Changing DRAC timeout

March 7th, 2012 No comments

If your DRAC looks like this, you really need to put it back in the server.
Am I alone in finding the DRAC timeout default to be way too short? It seems whenever I connect to a host using Dell’s Remote Access Controller (DRAC*) that it’s re-asking me for credentials way too often.

Not only that, but finding out where to change this default timeout proved illusive until recently when I stumbled upon it. It’s easy to change once you know where to look.

After logging into the DRAC, click on “Remote Access” in the left panel, then the “Configuration” tab, and on the “Services” header. The “Web Server” settings allow you to change the default of 300 seconds (5 minutes) up to 1,920 seconds (32 minutes).

The 3D click sequence, left panel, top tab, tap headerYour mileage may vary, every DRAC version comes with a complete GUI re-design.

* DRAC is the lights-out managment feature for a Dell PowerEdge Server. It is a “must have” option, allowing you to remotely access the server, access the monitor, notify you of errors, and even turn the server off and on.  It’s like having a computer in a computer.

Keywords: Dell, PowerEdge, Servers, DRAC, RAC, 2950, 2950III, 2900, timeout, lights-out, Scott Ledyard

No tool like an old tool

March 7th, 2012 No comments

Administration Tools Pack gets a refresh

and Server Administration Tools

Another eNerd called me yesterday wondering how to let a non-admin user at his client’s business have access to their virtualized server. The hope was to have the vSphere Client locked down in some way.

When I asked what the user needed to do, it was “Manage users and reset passwords and such.”  I realized then that this was not a VMware access issue at all, but a Windows Server rights issue.

In fact, this can readily be handled by the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) which can be installed on the user’s workstation – no need to give the user login to the Windows or VMware server at all.

This is not a new trick by any means, but is one worth remembering.

Also, I’ll add that there is now a version for Windows 7 (Win7) and Vista, in both 32 and 64 bit flavors. (Sorry, they don’t let this run on “Home” editions of Windows.)  The following give some details.

There are many places where you can get detailed help on using MMC such as this post: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb742442.aspx
Here’s just a bit then about getting started with the “new” version.

    1. In Windows 7, click on the start button, and type “mmc” (Win7 will find the MS Management Console) and press enter. It will create a blank console called Console1. Click on “File”, “Add/Remove Snap In…” and you’ll see NO snap-ins for AD user management. Close MMC and let’s go get that snap-in.
    2. Download and run the Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit) is at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7D2F6AD7-656B-4313-A005-4E344E43997D&displaylang=en
A help screen should open to give you further assistance.

  1. Basically, after installation, you access Programs and Features from the Control Panel, click on “Turn Windows features on or off”, and expand Remote Server Administration Tools to reveal all the tools.
  2. For the case mentioned, to obtain access to Active Directory Users and Computers (for password and other user information), I drilled down into Role Administration Tools until I found “AD DS Snap-ins and Command-line Tools”. Check it and click OK
  3. Back to Win7, click on the start button, and type “mmc” and press enter. It will create a blank console called Console1. Click on “File”, “Add/Remove Snap In…” and you’ll see one for Active Directory Users and Computers. Click Add-> and OK and you’ll have your Management Console well on it’s way.

See the TechNet article for additional steps such as linking it to the Domain Controller, Saving the Console, etc..

The 2nd 99% – tracking VMware snapshot removal progress

March 7th, 2012 1 comment

“The first 99% of the project flies by. But the 2nd 99%! Sheesh…” – anonymous

If you ever removed a snapshot in VMware ESX / ESXi, you’re presented with the ubiquitous progress meter. It chunks right along, increasing by 5% every so often. Encouraging.

And then it gets to the dreaded 99%. You’d think you’re almost home.

This would make you think you’re almost done. Wrong!

But you’re probably nowhere close.

This is really kind of dangerous. I’ve been tempted to assume that something is hung up. And that leads to thinking a hard reset of the host is required.

How CAN you see the progress? What follows is not an elegant solution, but you’ll at least be able to see what’s going on.

First, you’ll need to go to the ESXi command line (see other posts on the internet for accessing ESXi via SSH.) In this case, I used PuTTY ( http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html ) to get to the host IP and command line.

Go to the storage directory of the host, usually /vmfs/volumes, then the LUN directory and finally the VM directory.

Use the following linux command to list the files in time order, latest files last:

ls -ltr

This will show you what files have been most recently processed. Repeat this command over time (remember up-arrow to repeat bash commands) and you should notice a progression, disk files progress from lowest to highest, and within a disk, the delta files progress highest to lowes.

For example, if you have a VM called Server with 3 disks, they would be called

Server-flat.vmdk
Server_1-flat.vmdk
Server_2.flat.vmdk

And you’d see that they’d progress (latest file change time) in that order.  The delta files, created by snapshots, have 6 digit sequence numbers in their names that would progress in reverse order.

Server_1-000005-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000004-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000003-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000002-delta.vmdk
etc.

Not very exciting, true. But at least you can see some progress. I recently removed a snapshot that took 2:40 hrs. It was up to 99% in about :15 of that.

Westell UltraLine Series3 9100VM configuration tips

March 7th, 2012 No comments

StartWestellConfigWanting to make changes to the wifi and DNS settings of the new routers that Cincinnati Bell (CB) is routinely installing now, I went about researching and using trial and error. The goal was to implement WPA2 wifi security and OpenDNS at a router level, so as to help clients be a bit more secure.

Overview of high speed modem/router

Near as I can tell, Cincinnati Bell is using its installed fiber in urban locations to offer a high speed internet, combined with television channels via internet, so-called IPTV. Westell has long been a provider of equipment to our local phone company and this device is meant to offer “Advanced, dual-core processing power with Ethernet, MoCA, or VDSL2 WAN interface for fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-curb networks.” (link) These are hunka-chunka, white bricks and I’ll leave it to others to show us what’s actually inside them and perhaps explain their hugeness.

Getting access to advanced settings

As made clear on Westell’s web site their stuff is marketed to ISP’s, not thru retail / wholesale channels. As such, finding a manual is like pulling teeth. I must give credit to others’ posts on for helping me just figure out the interface and that you need to click on menus up top AND on the left.)

First: Set wifi to WPA2

Cincinnati Bell routinely sets up WEP, even though it’s known to be useless in the face of hacks. (To their credit, they used to always be setup as unsecured / open!) But, WEP lets customers use older equipment, especially gaming systems, so I suppose it cuts down on support calls.  Setup was pretty straightforward. Just point to the IP of the gateway (seems like CB or Westell has a tradition of making this 192.168.200.1) and input the default admin password of  (you guessed it) “admin” and “password”.    Using wireless button, wireless settings menu option (on left) set to WPA2, with PSK (Pre-Shared Key) and using AES encryption algorithm.

Westell conveniently locates all wifi setting in one spot.Westell conveniently locates all wifi setting in one spot.

On to OpenDNS

I won’t go into all the benefits of OpenDNS, but will just talk about configuring it on the UltraLine Series3 . Note that OpenDNS usually does a pretty good job of explaining this stuff at their site, but it didn’t have anything about this device when I last visited.

1.    OpenDNS
a.    OpenDNS setup with account (not described here)
b.    OpenDNS software (not described here)
c.    Westell Router settings:
i.    On top, My Network
ii.    On left, Network Connection
iii.    Click WAN VDSL, either the main link or the pencil
iv.    On left, click Settings
v.    Change DNS Server option
1.    From Obtain DNS Server Addresses Automatically
2.    To settings Use the following DNS server addresses
a.    207.68.222.222 and
b.    207.68.220.220
vi.    Test by resetting router (Advance menu and Reboot) and resetting computer’s network connection.
d.    Save Westell configuration
i.    At top, Advanced
ii.    Do you want to proceed? Yes
iii.    Configuration file option
iv.    At bottom, Save Configuration File
v.    Downloads a file called Wireless Broadband Configuration.conf. Put this someplace safe.

Here’s a pic of the Settings page:

DNSsettingschange

Level Platforms install does it all, but must add MWService to admin groups

March 7th, 2012 No comments

Summary:
While installing Level Platforms (LPI) Onsite Manager onto a Windows Server 2003 (a member server running on as and ESXi guest and added to a SBS 2003 domain) all went well, but one service would not start. Final, solution was that the MWService account did not have sufficient permissions. LPI tech support said to add that account to Administrators, Domain Administrators and Enterprise Administrators. This solved the problem.

Details:
After installation and during the registrationI entered my VAR domain and clicked Register, I received the message, “Unable to start Windows Service OMNetworkService.” When I ran services.msc and tried to start the OMNetworkService service, it attempted to, but then reported: “Could not start the OMNetworkService service on Local Computer. Error 1053 The service did not respond to start in a timely fashion.

Located the other LPI service, MWExpertSystem.  That service was running, but I restarted it and the started OMNetworkService. I still received the same error that it could not be started.

I consulted the LPI forums and found some suggestions that I make sure the MWService account be flagged as “Password never expires.” It already was.

I also checked the Local Security Policy and found that the MWService account WAS listed under the “Log on as a service” right.

I rebooted the Onsite Manager as a test and it came up with the message you’ve seen at server rebooting saying that some serices could not be started.

I attempted to use the OMTools – Stop OM Services + Start OM Services. Didn’t work.

I attempted stopping MWExpertSystem and starting OMNetworkService first. Didn’t work.

When I checked the Application log I found a .net error:

Event Type:    Error
Event Source:    .NET Runtime 2.0 Error Reporting
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    5000
Date:        12/17/2008
Time:        8:15:36 AM
User:        N/A
Computer:    MEMBER1
Description:
EventType clr20r3, P1 omnetworkservice.exe, P2 6.0.4.492, P3 48ca784e, P4 mscorlib, P5 2.0.0.0, P6 471ebc5b, P7 e4, P8 10, P9 system.security.security, P10 NIL.

An issue with .net. Considered working down that line, but eNerd Chris Polis, contacted LPI support.
LPI support tech Paul Savoie wrote:

Event ID 5000 is usually indicative of a rights issue with the account used for the services. Can you please have your tech confirm that the MWSERVICE account is a member of Domain Admin, Enterprise Admin, and Administrators groups.
A quick test to confirm this is the use the domain admin account for the service and see if it starts up correctly.

I did not try the latter, but made changes to the MWService account. Rebooted the server for good measure and the services fired right up.

Other comments from LPI (Jocelyn Sirois) regarding SBS setup:

Make sure the MWService account is added to the SBS group that is allowed access to the Internet. The LPI installation cannot do this. This is a default group created by the SBS default installation.
Verify that the logon credentials for the OMNetworkService  are the correct one.
If using ISA there are other considerations for some of the protocols.
The File and Print services on the SBS server must be enabled.

Seven rolling logs – vSphere log files

July 4th, 2011 No comments

Each time a VM is powered on, a new log file is created in the main directory of the VM. These files all have a ".log" extension and the active log file is named vmware.log (though this can be defined in the VMX configuration file.)

VMware records the key events affecting each VM in the log files.

At VM start, the  oldest log file is deleted, the vmware.log file is renamed by appending a "-##" sequence and a new vmware.log file is created. For example, here are some of the files in a VM before starting. Note the vmware.log file has a size of 487,490 bytes and is date stamped Jun 18.

ScreenClip(70)

The VM is started and you can see that the old vmware.log file is now called vmware-19.log. Also, vmware-13.log is gone.

ScreenClip(69)

If we restarte the VM, the same thing happens: vmware-14.log is gone and a new one is begun.

ScreenClip(68)

You can find more about VMware files that make up a VM at this link.

Categories: vsphere Tags: ,