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Restoring File Shares from Tape Backup April 17, 2013

Posted by General Zod in Backup, Microsoft, Tech.
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So last night I got a call from one of our SAN guys.  He had needed to upgrade the Volume Manager app on SERVER6, and proceeded to do what he needed to around 7pm.  After his upgrade, he noted that all of the File Shares had disappeared from SERVER6… so he called me looking for assistance.

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Remove Black Bar from Bottom of Videos in WMP September 11, 2010

Posted by General Zod in Microsoft, Tech.
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image One of my old work colleagues hit me up via IM today and asked me if I knew how to remove the “black bar” that appears beneath the videos he’s playing in Windows Media Player.  His videos were playing just fine for months, and then one day the bar appeared and he hasn’t been able to get rid of it since.  He said that it doesn’t really effect the functionality of the media player software, but it’s really annoying.

Well… I knew how to fix the issue (or, at least, how to fix it every time I’ve seen the issue in the past).  However, it struck me as curious that my friend would not have found the solution after a few internet searches.  (He’s usually very self-sufficient.)

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Setup a Windows Failover Cluster in vSphere August 10, 2010

Posted by General Zod in Microsoft, Tech, VMware.
3 comments

Recently, I was discussing VMware capabilities with a colleague; and the idea of using shared storage between virtual machines for Microsoft failover clustering came up.  I’d never thought to try to do this before, so I was intrigued by the idea.  I started to quietly do some research into the possibilities.

Then by sheer coincidence, just 4 days later, I was asked by my Supervisor if doing so was possible.  I told him it’d take me a couple days to research the topic and threw myself into it with even greater interest that before.

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How to Delete a Failed Domain Controller from Active Directory February 10, 2010

Posted by General Zod in Microsoft, Tech.
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We had a little drama this afternoon when one of our domain controller servers was to be demoted and retired.  Unfortunately, during the run of DCPROMO, the demotion failed.  I’m not entirely sure of what happened exactly as I wasn’t actually present to experience the malfunction.  After the other administrator had worked on it for a while, he got annoyed… and long story short, he just pulled it off the network and blew the hard disk away.  The other domain controllers are replicating OK, so the only thing for us to do now is to delete the failed DC from Active Directory as cleanly as possible.

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Purging Inactive Computer Accounts January 14, 2010

Posted by General Zod in Microsoft, Storytime, Tech.
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Here’s a story from one of my former jobs.

One day, my supervisor (Rudy) had received word from one of our nosier junior administrators (Brad) that… “Active Directory was loaded down with tons of useless computer accounts!”  I hadn’t been told this directly, but Brad sat in the cube right next to mine… and he mumbles what he’s typing to himself.  (Usually that’s a rather annoying trait, but I’d found it useful on this day.)

I wasn’t 100% sure of where he was looking to go with it, but knowing Brad as I did… I suspected that he was looking to make points with our supervisor at my expense.  I got the immediate impression that he wanted to demonstrate how he was more efficient and paid more attention to detail than I did.  This was a foolish act on Brad’s part.

It wasn’t foolish because he was “going up against me”… after all, we’re not in high school anymore.  It was foolish because he knew that I had Rudy’s ear… the two of us chatted casually about lots of things.  Had Brad brought the issue to me, then we could have fixed it together… and then I would have praised Brad’s “attention to detail” to Rudy.  Instead, Brad wanted to get out the rulers and have a measuring contest.

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How to move FSMO Roles between Domain Controllers January 4, 2010

Posted by General Zod in Advice, Microsoft, Tech.
10 comments

A long time time ago (back when a Windows 2000 domain was still considered relatively new tech), I was doing some freelance support for various organizations.  During this time, I was presented with the following message from a client:

I’ve been moved into the “Domain Administrator” job at my company.  I’ve been trying to learn as I go, but I have one task that I need to get done before the end of the week.  My manager has asked that I shutdown one of our domain controller servers.  He made a point of telling me to move the fizzmoe roles before I do so, but I have no idea what he’s talking about.  Can you assist me?

Greg C.
Round Hill, VA

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Free Server Imaging with WinPE Vista January 2, 2010

Posted by General Zod in Microsoft, Tech.
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From time to time, the warranty on my server hardware will expire and I need to migrate a server to a new hardware set.  I wrote a procedure for this migration a couple years ago, and have been leveraging it ever since.

Today, a buddy asked for a copy of the procedure so he could migrate one of his servers to new hardware.  So I decided to abridge the procedure and share with the world.

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How to Backup/Restore a Windows 2003 Domain Controller November 13, 2009

Posted by General Zod in Microsoft, Tech.
17 comments

A couple years back, I was working for a rather large company with hundreds of sites in about 50 different countries that were all linked by a single global network… except for 4 or 5 data center sites that were called “solution centers”.  I worked at one of these special sites.  The purpose of the solution centers was to house whatever services a customer company required us to while keeping it separate for our company’s global network.  As we were not part of the global network, we were considered the black sheep of the company… and I was the lone systems engineer responsible for keeping the servers at my site running.  No bother… I do my best work when I’m left to my own devices.

However, this did present many additional complications that others in my company did not have to contend with.  The largest challenge to overcome was our site’s disaster recovery plan.  We could not just assume to relocate to a new site because we would need to recover our own environment, which included our own domain.

Yes, I know… I could have just housed one of our domain controllers at another location and established a special VPN just for the communications between the DC’s.  That would be a valid solution, but just not good enough.  During a DR event, that would place me very dependent upon the IT staff at that other location… and call me crazy, but I want to be able to ensure that I would be able to perform the recovery 100% without the assistance of anyone else.

I spent a lot of time reading over Microsoft white papers and procedures written by various individuals, throwing ideas around with colleagues, and plucking away at ideas in an attempt to develop a procedure that would fulfill our needs.  Eventually, I developed the procedure that you’ll read below… and tested it successfully on several occasions.  Knowing that someone else out there is probably looking for the same thing, I figured it would be grand to share it with you.

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