Archive for April, 2006
A default SBS 2003 installation is configured so that when a user enables “out of office replies” in Exchange, the replies are sent only to internal accounts. If you have Out Of Office enabled on your account and someone from outside your network sends you e-mail, the SBS Exchange configuration will not send an OOO reply to that external address. This configuration can be changed, but for my clients, Iâ€™ve always left it at defaults, mostly for security reasons.
Today, I ran across another reason to keep Out Of Office replies from going outside of the network.
Some lessons are learned once, some you learn over and over and over again. Case in point:
A client needed assistance installing an SBS 2003 server into an existing Windows 2003 domain. He had looked at the documentation in the Microsoft KB 884453 but decided he wanted my assistance with the process. So I get to the site and start going through the process.
There’s one key piece of information missing from the KB, however, when you use the SPS 2003 SP1 integrated installation media. When installing the server portion, the setup enables the Windows firewall on the NICs in the server so that no bad stuff can get in. This is a wonderful change from the original install media where you really had to disconnect the NICs from any live network when doing the install to make sure that the box didn’t get hammered by Blaster of Slammer or any other other threat that was protected against with SP1. But I overlooked it. So when I did the dcpromo, the box came up into the network correctly. When I installed DNS, it installed correctly. But I could not get the two DCs to replicate.
Fortunately my friend Wayne helped me find what should have been an obvious step in the process for me – can you ping both machines by FQDN from each other? I could ping the existing server from the new server, but the old server could not ping the new server. When I went in and disabled the Windows Firewall on the NIC in the new server, replication started happening immediately and the remainder of the installation process finished successfully.
So add this one to your hat – when you follow MS KB884453 and you’re using SBS 2003 SP1 integrated installation media, you need to turn off the Windows Firewall on the NICs to let replication complete.
The default settings for the built-in backup tools with SBS 2003 include a System State backup every time the backup process runs. The System State backup collects not only the files in the Windows system directories, but it also backs up the registry and the Active Directory database.
Jeff Middleton’s disaster recovery presentation at SMB Nation Amsterdam from last week makes a few references to the system state backup and how it can be used to get back from a real jam. But I was reminded this morning of another very important reason why system state backups are important.
While I was off galavanting around Amsterdam, several announcements came across that will cause a stir in the Mac community.
Apple released a tool called Boot Camp that will allow the new Intel-based Macs to install Windows directly onto the Mac and boot either into Windows or into Mac OS. This is currently a beta product, but it’s expected to be a free tool available to users of the new Macs. This will allow Macs to run Windows and Windows-based apps directly on the Intel chipset, bypassing any virtualization, which will increase the speed of the Windows side. Reports say that Windows XP on the Mac Intel hardware runs faster than on other Intel-based PCs. The downside is that you cannot run both OSes at the same time. If you boot into Windows, you will not be able to run Mac apps or possibly access the Mac data that’s on the drive.
Parallels has released a beta of their product, Parallels Workstation, which will run Windows on an Intel-based Mac in a virtual session. This will allow you to run both OS platforms at the same time, although neither OS will run quite as fast as if it were the only app running on the system (ala Boot Camp).
The Microsoft Virtual PC product for Mac currently will not run on the Intel-based Macs and I am unaware of any expected updates to the current product to allow that. Possibly in a future release, but with the Parallels Workstation price point of $49, it’ll be hard to beat.
Keep your ears open for more developments on this front…
I still do the occasional batch file solution for tasks, and sometimes I need to get the current date and time on the system for processing. Since I just had to research this again for another little project, I decided it was high time to blog it.
Batch files can use the system variables %DATE% and %TIME% to get the current date and time of the system. These variables return data in the following format: