Archive for December, 2009
Earlier this month an associate pinged me about an unusual situation. He had an SBS 2003 server that was shutting itself down periodically, claiming that it was doing so because there was another SBS server in the domain. Well, this is expected behavior if there is, in fact, another SBS server in the domain, but this particular network had only one server, the SBS sever, and not a single other server or history of another server in the network. Another unusual symptom of the behavior is that the server would remain up for a little over 24 hours before it would shut itself down because of the phantom SBS server. According to MS KB 925652 the SBS server will shut down every hour if it detects another SBS server in the domain, so clearly a different set of events were causing this behavior. The server was logging SBCore 1011 errors in the event logs, but only after the server had been online for about a day.
On a tip from a colleague at MS, we started to look for a possible memory leak in the system. I worked with my colleague to set up perfwiz and poolmon to try to identify the process (or processes) that were leaking. The theory was that a runaway leak could strip the server of valuable no-paged pool memory which could cause the SBCore check to fail and generate the errors and shutdown event. I must admit, perfwiz and poolmon never were my strong points, so even after we got some results back, the review didn’t come up with a smoking gun.
Then my associate found a tip that I’d not heard of before, even though I regularly modify settings where this tip was found. He opened the Task Manger on the server, selected the Processes tab, then opened Select Columns under the View menu. In here, he enabled the “Memory – Non-paged Pool” column and then sorted the Task Manager process list by that column. Sure enough, he not only quickly found the culprit, but also could sit and watch the Non-paged Pool count grow steadily right before his eyes. The service causing the problem? spoolsv.exe, the print spooler service.
A quick bit of Googling on his part ultimately led him to this post from Tek-Tips which helped him identify the root cause of the problem: HP Standard TCP/IP ports for printers on the sever. He changed the port types for the printers from HP Standard TCP/IP ports to Standard TCP/IP ports, and the server hasn’t shut down again since.
Turns out, there is a KB on this situation, too, MS KB 933999. And in going back and looking further, the server was logging the Srv 2019 errors in the event logs as well. Since we were sidetracked by the anomalous SBCore behavior, we did overlook the 2019 as a possible factor as well.
In the end, I learned two things from this. One, you can track non-paged pool memory usage in Task Manager (which really isn’t a *revelation* per se, just something that I wouldn’t have necessarily deliberately gone out and looked for), and two, memory leak issues can cause anomalous SBCore errors and the shutdown of an SBS server. The good news is that the server was shutting down “normally” because of the SBCore misfire instead of totally running out of non-paged pool memory and crashing, as MS KB 933999 points out can happen. Bottom line, customer happy, and tech support further educated!
One of the advantages of the activation process in newer versions of Windows is that you can install the OS in evaluation mode for 60 days without having to use a license key. Additionally, you can extend this evaluation for more than 60 days by following steps outlined in several public posts (I’m including this link to Sean Daniel’s post on this).
A critical step in this process, however, is the restart of the box AFTER the slmgr.vbs -rearm command has been run. If the system is NOT restarted after this process, some unusual behaviors can be observed. This post is to identify the specific errors that can result from this specific set of circumstances so that should someone run across this situation you can see what may be going on.
I recently ran into this issue with an SBS 2008 server. When signing into the server, the above error dialog appeared on the server. Closing the error allowed continued normal use of the server, both from an interactive login point of view as well as from a remote resource use point of view. Checking the state of the activation window using the slmgr.vbs script generated the error below:
The error appears quickly (unlike the normal response of the slmgr.vbs script) and the key element is the error code. The 0xC004D302 indicates that an slmgr.vbs -rearm has been run, but the server has not been restarted. In the case of this system, a normal restart of the system returned the box to normal operation without Activation errors and slmgr.vbs ran correctly.
NOTE: This does not cover ALL possible causes for the Windows Activation Errors tied in with slmgr.vbs script errors. It is possible that this behavior could indicate other issues. But if you can log in and use the system “normally” after seeing this error (other activation errors prevent you from completing the login process and you never get to a desktop), chances are you just need to restart the server to return to normal behavior.
With the release of Mac OS 10.6 (aka “Snow Leopard”), Apple has incorporated the ability to connect the Mail, iCal, and Address Book apps natively with Exchange 2007. Unfortunately, support for this is NOT available for Exchange 2003 servers. Here’s how to set up Apple Mail:
- Open the Mail app.
- From the Mail menu, select Preferences (or press Apple-; to open Preferences).
- Select the Accounts tab in the Preferences window.
- Click the Add button (the “+” button in the lower left corner of the Accounts window).
- Enter the Full Name, Email Address, and Password for the Exchange account (NOTE: the e-mail address needs to match the default e-mail address on the Exchange account. In other words, if your outbound e-mail shows your address as Jonathan.Dough@smallbizco.net, then enter it exactly that way. Entering it as firstname.lastname@example.org may cause problems) and click Continue.
- If your Exchange server is correct set up for Autodiscover, the server will be found and automatic configuration will be attempted. Also, if your mail server is using a private SSL certificate, you may see one or more prompts about not being able to identify the server. If you have concerns, contact the team responsible for your mail server. Otherwise, click Continue or Connect if you see these prompts, but understand that you may be putting some account information at risk by doing so.
- If your e-mail address does not match your login name (i.e., the address is Jonathan.Dough@smallbizco.net, but the login is jonathandough), you will be prompted to enter your login credentials. Change the username to match the username you use to sign into Outlook Web Access, then click Continue.
- Once the account setup has confirmed the connection to the server, you will be prompted to set up your Address Book contacts and iCal calendars. Uncheck these boxes if you do not want to synchronize your iCal calendars with your Exchange calendars or your Address Book contacts with your Exchange contacts. Click Create when finished.
- Close the Accounts window when complete.
Now you will see a set of mail folders for your Exchange account under the Mailboxes section of Apple Mail. It may take some time for the folders to synchronize if you have quite a bit of mail on the server.
NOTE 1: When setting up Apple Mail to communicate with your Exchange 2007 server in this way, you are working directly with the information that is on the server, NOT on a local copy that has been downloaded on your Mac. That means that if you delete an e-mail from Apple Mail, it is immediately deleted from the server and will NOT be available to any other mail clients you may be using to access the information on your Exchange server (i.e., Outlook on a PC or a mobild phone that has native Exchange connectivity).
NOTE 2: If you have done an in-place upgrade from a previous version of Mac OS 10 to 10.6, there is a change that iCal may not be able to synchronize with the Exchange server. I have run into this issue and have not yet been able to find a solution, but others have not encountered this problem, so it’s unclear what the exact cause is at this point.