Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Windows Server 2008 Folder permissions

I've noticed a few times in the past year or so, when reviewing folder permissions on some clients Windows Server 2008 servers, that the Administrators group will have Full permissions to folders in the root directory of a drive, but the sub-folders are missing the Administrators group.  This seemed rather strange... the only way to correct it seemed to be to manually add the Administrators group to the next sub-folder levels. 
However, I've found what caused it! 
  1. If you right click the drive that you need to provide permission to and select properties...
  2. Select the Security tab
  3. Click Advanced
  4. Click Change Permissions
  5. Select the group that needs to be changed (in this example, the administrators group)
  6. Click Edit
  7. Note the tick box at the bottom... 'Apply these permissions to objects and/or containers within this container only'.  Untick this option
  8. Click OK to save out of the various screens.  You may have to tick the box to 'Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object' so that the new permissions flow down to the sub-folders. 
So, another odd little problem solved!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Crapware 101: Quickbooks 2012, Windows 7 and the Google Desktop

I had a call earlier this week from my boss saying that his Windows 7 notebook was saying 'Please Wait...' when he booted it and it wouldn't get past that.  No Ctrl-Alt-Del screen or anything.
I could access the file shares via the network and could even RDP to it, where I was then presented with the same 'Please Wait...' screen.
My boss then said that he had installed Quickbooks 2012 the day before.  So, I had him login via safe-mode and configure msconfig.exe to boot a 'selective start-up' and we disabled all non-microsoft services.  This should have prevented an third party services from trying to start during Windows boot.
However, rebooting didn't resolve the issue.
After a heap of mucking around, I simply couldn't find the problem.  We were fairly sure it had something to do with Quickbooks, but it was a fairly straight forward install.  My boss decided he'd call Quicken the next day to see if they'd heard of the issue.
Turns out, that during the install of Quickbooks, it prompts to install the Google Desktop!  Crapware!  An expensive, well known application is installing Crapware!  My boss had, without even thinking, installed the Google Desktop.  The Quickbooks support team had checked and advised him to uninstall the Google Desktop via safe-mode and all was well!
So, this is another awesome reason for not ever allowing an application to install other software... also known as Crapware!  I'm really surprised that the Quickbooks installer even has this option, being as Quickbooks is such a well known and respected application.  I think they have definitely dropped the ball on this one.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

SQL Server updates not applying

I recently had a client call up saying that every night, Microsoft Update would try to apply Service Pack 4 to their SQL Server 2005 instance, however it would fail.  Unfortunately, the Windows Event Log didn't provide any useful information. 
So, I started digging and found the SQL update log in: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Hotfix\
This indicated that a failure was occurring, similar to this error... "Couldn't find local patch 'C:\WINDOWS\Installer\9be677.msp'. Looking for it at its source."
So, after a quick search, I came across this page at blogs.msdn.com:  http://bit.ly/jNPidS.  
Basically, the cause is that at some stage, the various Installer and Service Pack files that get backed up to "C:\WINDOWS\Installer\" when a product and its related service pack is installed, have been deleted.  The client confirmed that at some stage they had performed a cleanup of the disk space and removed some of the larger files from this directory.  Unfortunately, this included the installer files for SQL 2005 itself, SP2, SP3 and other Cumulative Updates in between.  
To resolve, we simply have to copy the .msi files from the SQL install source, and re-download and extract the patch files from the Microsoft Download site.  The difficult part is that the .msi and .msp files don't have nice, easy to understand filenames.  EG:  9be677.msp doesn't mean much to anyone, however, it means something to the Registry.  The article explains to search the registry for "Microsoft SQL Server 2005".  That is a good start.  Using the Patch Code and GUID from the error log is also key to finding the exact app and patch that needs to be re-applied.  
You should use the registry key as mentioned in the article to find the product details and confirm what patch to download...
You should also confirm the details of the patch file name in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\Patches\<patchcode>
The rest is fairly straight forward, download the relevant patch, extract it and copy the relevant .msp file to "C:\Windows\Installer"
Once the files are all downloaded, the Service Pack can be installed.  
NOTE:  SQL Server has multiple components that are upgraded, EG: Database Engine, Tools, Analysis Services, etc.  Each of these have their own msi and msp packages.  So, you may have to go through and try the upgrade of each item one by one if multiple packages are missing from the "C:\Windows\Installer" location.
I also don't see why this couldn't also apply to other applications such as Windows, other SQL Server products and other Microsoft applications.  

Hope this helps someone!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

ASP .NET 4.0 and IIS 6.0

While doing some work today that involved installing the .NET 4.0 Framework onto Windows Server 2003 then upgrading a web app to use the new framework, I ran into a problem where I would receive 404 Page Not Found errors when trying to load the updated webpages with a browser.  
What I found is that ASP.NET 4.0 doesn't get automatically approved for use within IIS 6.0.  So, to fix, follow the below to allow the ASP.NET v4.0.30319 web service extension

  1. Open Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager
  2. Expand ServerName on the left
  3. Click Web Service Extensions on the left
  4. Click ASP.NET v4.0.30319 on the right
  5. Click ‘Allow’

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blogger Custom Domain

I finally did it, but getting my own domain name to point to my new Blogger account was way harder than I thought it would be.  Blogger kept telling me that www.awesome.gen.nz was already redirected to another Blog with an error: Another blog is already hosted at this address!  Some of you may remember my old website that was hosted with Google Pages (later Google Sites) as part of the Google Apps suite of services... I didn't think it would matter, but turns out it does.  Blogger thought it was another Blog!
So, I spent a heap of time searching, and eventually came across this blog post http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2007/06/another-blog-is-already-hosted-at-this.html, specifically the part about the Service Recycle Procedure.  As the blogger, nitecuzr says, it seems illogical to disable/enable/disable/enable the same thing over and over again, but it turns out it is what was required to get my custom domain redirection working!
So now, I have my www address directed to my easy to use Blogger account, which in turn is linked to my Google Apps account, which means it's another thing to be consolidated and therefore less work to manage!  Yes!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's my Birthday!

And it's post number 3!  I think this is a new record!
As per usual, I figure that my birthday should be a day just for me, so I took the day off work.  Bec's and I went to pick out new door handles for the house so I'm getting closer to being able to take some photo's of the place!  Can't do the big 'reveal' too early!
Anyway, later on we went to check out Fast and Furious Five.  I was a little disappointed in that it felt like there weren't as many car racing scenes, rather the story line took centre stage.  Not that it was a bad movie... if you liked the other 4 prequels, then you'll definitely like this one.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How to non-destructively convert dynamic disks to basic disks

Scenario:  I finally got the chance to upgrade a server from a Windows 2003 Software based RAID 1 (mirror) to a Hardware based RAID array.  The problem that I didn't foresee, is that after breaking the software RAID,  cloning the original disk partitions to the new RAID array using Clonezilla, the Windows installation didn't like the fact that it was now presented with Basic Disks that were in fact still formatted as Dynamic Disks.  After looking for details on the Blue Screen I was receiving on boot, I finally realised what the problem was and this fairly quickly led to the discovery of this blog post...
This method uses a nice little piece of software called TestDisk.  I'm not exactly sure what it does to the partition tables, or what ever is being modified, but it works, and does it very quickly!  
Anyway, I hope that this gets spread around and eventually helps someone out.  

Yet another Blog attempt

So, here I go again, yet another attempt at Blogging.  Except this time, I'm a little motivated to put posts up about the little 'workarounds' etc that I find in my IT Support job.  Every now and then I find little gems that are a great help, so I'll do my best to link you to them.  

My first post is about one that I spent about 3 hours searching for a few weeks ago...