Key Features of Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2003 reaches end of life on July 14 2015. We are suggesting all of our clients running Windows Server 2003 migrate to Windows Server 2012.  This list includes some of the key features provided by Windows Server 2012.

 IIS 8

 IIS 8 brings Internet Information Services up to feature parity with the rest of the world, and surpasses it in places. IIS 8 sports script pre-compilation, granular process throttling, SNI support and centralized certificate management

 

PowerShell

 PowerShell 3.0 is an evolution rather than a revolution. The 2012 line of products marks a revolution in Microsoft’s approach to server management.

 Every element of the operating system and virtually every other companion server, such as SQL, Exchange or Lync, are completely manageable through PowerShell. This is so ingrained that the GUIs are just buttons that call PowerShell scripts underneath.

 

DirectAccess

 DirectAccess was a neat idea but it was poorly implemented in previous versions of Windows. Server 2012 makes it easier to use, with SSL as the default configuration and IPSec as an option. The rigid dependence on IPv6 has also been removed.

 DirectAccess has evolved into a reasonable, reliable and easy-to-use replacement for virtual private networks.

 

Cluster Shared Volumes

 With Server 2012 Cluster Shared Volumes are officially supported for use beyond hosting virtual hard disks for Hyper-V. You may now roll your own highly available multi-node replicated storage cluster and do so with a proper fistful of best-practice documentation.

 

Deduplication

 For years now, storage demand has been growing faster than hard drive density. Meeting our voracious appetite for data storage has meant more and more spindles, and more controllers, chassis, power supplies, electricity and cooling to keep those spindles spinning.

Deduplication has moved from nice to have to absolute must in recent years and Microsoft has taken notice. Server 2012 supports deduplication on NTFS volumes – though tragically it does not work with CSV – and deeply integrates it with BranchCache to save on WAN bandwidth.

 

Hyper-V 3.0

 Server 2012 sees Hyper-V catch up with VMware’s mainstream. Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server – a free Windows Core version of Hyper-V – is feature complete. If you have a yen to dive into PowerShell then you can run a complete 64-node, 8,000 virtual machine Hyper-V cluster without paying Microsoft a dime.Microsoft is betting you will spend the money on System Center 2012 and it is probably right. System Center 2012 is amazing, even more so with the newly launched Service Pack 1.

 

Hyper-V Replica

 Hyper-V Replica is a storage technology designed to continuously replicate your virtual machines across to a backup cluster. It ensures that snapshots no more than 15 minutes old of your critical virtual machines are available over any network link, including the internet.

 It replicates the initial snapshot in full – after that it sends only change blocks – and it fully supports versioning of your virtual machines.

 

iSCSI

With Windows Storage Server 2008, Microsoft first made an iSCSI target available. It eventually became an optional download from Microsoft’s website for Server 2008 R2 and is now finally integrated into Server 2012 as a core component.

 

NFS 4.1

 Microsoft’s NFS 4.1 server is good code. Designed from the ground up it is is fast, stable and reliable. It makes a great storage system for heterogenous environments and a wonderful network storage point for VMware servers.

 

SMB 3.0

 SMB 3.0 is the crown jewel of Server 2012. It supports multiple simultaneous network interfaces – including the ability to hot-plug new interfaces on the fly to increase bandwidth for large or complex transfers – and supports MPIO, thin provisioning of volumes and deduplication (assuming the underlying storage is NTFS).

 SMB 3.0 also supports SMB Direct and remote direct memory access, the ability for appropriately kitted systems to move SMB data directly from one system’s memory to the other, bypassing the SMB stack. This has enabled Microsoft to hit 16GBps transfer rates for SMB 3.0, a weighty gauntlet for any potential challenger to raise.

 Source: Microsoft

 

FORFILES – use to delete files older than specific time

Great built-in Windows command line tool to use if you want to purge backup files older than… say one week.

Batch file I create to to delete .bak (backup files) older than one week:

forfiles /P “<Path to files>” /S /M *.bak /D -7 /C “cmd /c del @PATH” 

From here, I set up Windows ‘Scheduled Tasks’ to run this batch file every night. Works great!

More info on switches:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forfiles

Disable Flash in IE

To disable Flash completely, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the IE 10 window and then click Manage add-ons from the menu:
Addons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That opens the Manage Add-ons dialog box, shown below. Select the Shockwave Flash Object add-on and note that it is identified as a Microsoft Windows 3rd party Component. Also note the file date, which is a month before the relevant security fixes were available:

 Flash_addon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Click Disable, and then click Close. You are now safe from any exploits that rely on vulnerabilities in Flash. Any Flash-based code, legitimate or otherwise, will not run in Internet Explorer 10 when this add-on is disabled.

Hard Reset an Apple iPhone

WARNING: YOU WILL LOSE ALL YOUR PERSONAL SETTINGSTo perform a hard-reset on an Apple iPhone, switch the mute button on and off twice, then press the main button and the reset button simultaneously and hold them down for six seconds.

You have exceeded your profile space!

Came across an interesting issue today while cleaning a Malware infection from a client computer.  Once I had cleaned the system up enough to load Windows XP in normal mode, I noticed a strange icon in the system tray.  It was a large red circle with a white X, and when the mouse was hovered over the icon the message “Warning! You have exceeded your profile space by XXX KB” was displayed. Opening the program displayed a more detailed message:

34zeutj

Profile Storage Space
You have exceeded your profile storage space. Before you can log off, you need to move some items from your profile to network or local storage

This was on a computer that is not attached to a domain,  with no quotas enabled by the administrator.

It seems that the Malware infection implemented a local security policy on the PC restricting the users profile storage space.  Manually deleting unneeded files from My Documents to reduce the size of the profile had no affect.

Luckily I came across this registry modification that removed the quota and corrected the problem.

Take this code and paste it into notepad. Save the file as quotarem.reg (make sure to save as type All Files to avoid the .TXT extension) and then double click on it to merge the changes into your Windows registry.

Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem]
"EnableProfileQuota"=-
"ProfileQuotaMessage"=-
"MaxProfileSize"=-
"IncludeRegInProQuota"=-
"WarnUser"=-
"WarnUserTimeout"=-

Repairing Windows98 File Associations

The issue:
Unable to open a file directly on the desktop or in explorer using double-click or right-click->Open.

Quick fix:
For example, to repair Excel’s file extension (.xls) type the following in Start –> Run…
“C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOfficeExcel.exe” /Regserver

Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19)

A client of mine recently had 2 CDRom drives that weren’t showing in My Computer. In the device manager, they showed up with exclamation points. Double-clicking them told me that the driver was installed properly but:

“Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19)”

After some research, the solution I found was to remove the LowFilter and UpperFilter entries from this registry area:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlClass{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

Note that you may have several identical keys like this (4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318). The one you are looking for will list DVD/CD Rom Drives as the very first entry.

Reboot after making changes.

How to change product key on Office 2003

Regedit

Find

HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Office/11.0/Registration/<only-32-bit-ID>

-Change the value of key “ProductID” to “OldProductID”
-Delete the key DigitalProductId

Now start one of the office apps – it should ask you to re-enter the key, then activate normally.

Small Business Server 2003 Transition Pack

With SBS 2003 there is a ‘Transition Pack’ to grow out of the 75 user cap or move your servers (ie. Exchange or SQL Workgroup) to other dedicated servers. Here are links for the SBS Transition Pack. When installing the Transition Pack, make sure that the media is newer than the version you are upgrading to (ie. if the media is Transition Pack R2, then you must uninstall Windows Server 2003 SP2 before installing).

Microsoft Documentation – link

Moloy’s Blog on the Transition Pack – link

SBS page – link

DHCPLOC Utility – Detect Rogue DHCP Servers on your network

http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/8fa42e83-ec08-4a9b-9057-8909f7ed433e1033.mspx?mfr=true
This command-line tool displays the DHCP servers active on the subnet. If it detects any unauthorized DHCP servers, it beeps and sends out alert messages. It also displays packets that it detects from DHCP servers; you can specify whether to display packets from all DHCP servers or only those from unauthorized servers.

You can also use this tool to determine which DHCP servers are available to a DHCP client and to detect unauthorized DHCP servers on a subnet.

Here is the DHCPLOC syntax:

dhcploc /p /a:”AlertNameList” /i:AlertInterval ComputerIPAddress [ValidDHCPServerList]

/p suppresses display of detected packets from any of the authorized DHCP servers specified in ValidDHCPServerList. /a:”AlertNameList” sends alert messages to the names in AlertNameList if any unauthorized DHCP servers are found.

/i:AlertInterval specifies the alert frequency in seconds.

ComputerIPAddress specifies the IP address of the computer from which you are running DHCPLoc. If the computer has multiple adapters, you must specify the IP address of the adapter that is connected to the subnet you want to test.

ValidDHCPServerList specifies the IP addresses of any number of authorized DHCP servers. The tool does not send alerts when it detects packets from the servers in this list; however, it displays those packets unless you use the /p parameter.

Kazmarek Employees can find the utility on the KTS FTP server in the DownloadsMicrosoft Windows – ServerDHCPLoc location

Alternativily the utilty is available in the Support Tools directory on the Windows Server CD.