Friday, November 16, 2007

New Look

So I'm done with MCSE: Messaging exams and I figured it was time for a cleaner looking blog. I hope everyone likes the changes. I'll be posting about migrating my file servers from DFS to DFSr in the next few weeks. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Setting up SharePoint Server 2007 with remote-SQL isn't exactly easy. I found a web page that has a step-by-step here. You should begin this process from a fresh install of Windows Server as SharePoint tends to take over IIS. Make sure you run the install of SharePoint when logged-in as your SharePoint Administrative account. Double-check everything as you do it. It's really difficult to uninstall and re-install this product.

One last thing before we start, if you're installing SharePoint on one box and have no intention of using remote SQL or a server farm (multiple servers), just go ahead and run through the install like you would with a Microsoft Word, that is, "next, next next," it basically sets itself up.

Below are my comments that you should reference while going through the directions on the page linked above.

-Don't worry about Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation Runtime, I think this was just for the Beta.

-Create the Shared Services Provider (5) - Change "Description" to "SharePoint Services" and "Port" to "4000"
-Create the Shared Services Provider (9) - Change "Application pool name" to "SharePoint Services"
-You probably don't need to start the Windows SharePoint Services Web Application service as it's probably already started if it needs to be.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0

I know it's been almost two months, no excuses, let's get down to business with WSUS 3, the free tool to manage Microsoft Updates to Windows machines on a network. WSUS 3 requires MS SQL 2005 in one flavor or another and I wanted to use the full version (not Express, which is free here) to simplify backups since I use a dedicated SQL server. As such I had to make the upgrade from SQL 2000 to 2005 on that box, more about that in a later blog entry.

Any System Administrator that has to maintain more than 2 Windows servers or workstations who is not using WSUS, this blog entry is for you -- I'm about to make your life easier. If you're using WSUS 2.0 already, upgrading shouldn't be too hard, but that's not the subject of this blog entry -- take a look here *before* you upgrade. One more warning, it's going to be significantly harder to do this if you don't have an Active Directory infrastructure in place.

The install for this product is pretty easy (those who used WSUS 2.0 know what I mean). Make sure you install the prerequisites on the download page (IIS, .NET) and hold onto the Microsoft Report Viewer installer for your administrative workstation. After that you double-click the WSUS installer executable and almost the entire process is self-explanatory. I'll go through the post-install details that I didn't think were completely obvious rather than giving a step by step of "Next>", "Next>" etc. The only two installation details I can think of here are 1) make sure to use the WSUS dedicated site and 2) if you use a standalone sql server and are using the default instance to host your databases, you only need to put in the name of the sql server (as opposed to sql server\instance name).

You *need* to do a few things after running the installer. First you need to either issue or obtain a SSL certificate for the IIS server you are hosting WSUS on. Then you need to attach that SSL certificate to the two Web Sites that WSUS uses. That's right, it uses both the "Default Web Site" and the "WSUS Administration" website. Next, require SSL in the following places (*NOT* at the Web Sites themselves, just the sub directories):
-Default Website
-WSUS Administration
The above settings (which are more or less the SSL directories defined by Microsoft) imply that you need to open ports 8530, 8531 and 443 (all TCP - it's web traffic) on your firewall to any machines that you want to update with WSUS.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Mom Corner - #2

Here's a few quick Google Toolbar tips:

How do I disable search suggestions in Google Toolbar?

1. On the right-hand side of the Google Toolbar, there's a "Settings" button. Click it and select "Options..." from the drop-down context menu.
2. In the "Toolbar Options" window, on the "Features" tab, click on the "Search Box Settings..." button.
3. In the "Search Box Settings" window, uncheck the three boxes that begin with "Suggest" and click "OK".
4. Click "OK" again to close the "Toolbar Options" window.

How do I disable AutoFill in Google Toolbar?

1. On the right-hand side of the Google Toolbar, there's a "Settings" button. Click it and select "Options..." from the drop-down context menu.
2. In the "Toolbar Options" window on the "Features" tab, uncheck "AutoFill".
3. Click "OK" to close the "Toolbar Options" window.

These two points are interesting to me because I actually like search suggestions and autofill. Here are the reasons I can think of to disable them:
Insofar as search suggestions, if you are in an environment where others can see your computer screen, you may not want partial words (or whole words, for that matter) brining up your favorites (bookmarks) or suggested google searches. If I had to search for a serial number that started with two "X"'s for example. I know, that's a weak argument and I like search suggestions far too much to disable them based on that. The other other thing I can think of is if, like my mom, you don't like small "windows" appearing over your browser's displayed web page.
As far as autofill, this is simple for me. If you are using a public computer or a generic (more than one person knows it) login on your own computer, disable it. I can't stress that enough. Would you leave the information you type into an internet form printed out and taped next to the monitor? On the other hand, I have my own personal computer to which only I login with an account and password that no one else knows. In this case, when I got to pay my cable bill every month, they ask for some information and it's nice not to have to look it up or type it in each time. With autofill, I just click on the information I want in the box and it's filled-in for me.

One more thing -- Internet Explorer and Firefox both have built-in autofill functionality and by default Firefox has built-in search suggestions for the Google search box in the Navigation Toolbar. Not that I'm saying you *shouldn't* use Google toolbar, just that I get these two specific pieces of functionality without it when I use Firefox (which I'm saying you *should use*, with or without Google Toolbar).

Mom Corner - #1

Not to be confused with the similarly titled Ops Mgr, I've decided to post a few questions from my mom. Mom Corner will be end-user questions that I think anyone will be able to accomplish in a few quick steps, i.e. the posts labeled like this one are *not* geared toward IT pros.

How do I disable Hibernation on my Windows XP computer?

1. Click Start -> Run...
2. Type "powercfg.cpl"
3. In the "Power Options Properties" window, select the "Hibernate" folder-tab
4. Uncheck the box labeled "Enable hibernation" and click "OK"

And in case you're interested in further reading, here's a good article describing Power Management in Windows XP

Monday, May 14, 2007

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 Tip

Can't see your network card inside Virtual Server 2005 R2?

Today we ran into an issue where Virtual Server 2005 R2 wasn't seeing the correct NIC (there are 2) on a specific box. As it turns out, in the properties for any given NIC in Windows where Virtaul Server 2005 R2 is installed there is a check box for:

Virtual Machine Network Services

This happens to be what determines whether Virtual Server 2005 R2 can see a NIC or not.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Windows Vista and Kensington Expert Mouse

So you might've come up against a little bit of a brick wall trying to get information regarding your trusty Kensington Expert Mouse in relation to Windows Vista. Specifically I was irritated that the scroll-wheel wasn't working. Here's a quick fix that doesn't require installing MouseWorks (specifically because Kensington seems to be hinting that we shouldn't do that on our Vista machines):

1. Download the latest Win2K/XP version of MouseWorks (6.22) and unzip it to a folder (copy the path from the automatic unzipping utility *before* you unzip) and click "OK"
2. Open up Control Panel -> Mouse -> Hardware -> Properties and click "Change Settings"
3. On the Driver tab click "Update Driver..."
4. When it asks, click "Browse my computer for driver software"
5. Paste the path into the "Search for driver software in this location:" text box and ensure that "Include subfolders" is checked.
6. Next, etc. and you're done. Now use that scroll-wheel!

Note: This doesn't seem to help with buttons 3 and 4.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Okay, I'm posting the following as a work in progress, just to get it out there. Please let me know if you see anything obviously wrong. Also, (4) is just notes as to what else I'm going to put on here in the future, not part of the step-by-step. So at your own risk (and completely void of security)...

Installing MediaWiki on Windows Server 2003 (WIMP -- *Windows*IIS*MySQL*PHP*)

You need:
Windows Server 2003 (this includes IIS 6) -- I did this on version R2 SP2
MySQL 4.1.22 -- Next time I'll try using version 5, it's a windows 32-bit version of the zip
PHP 5.2.1 -- Or whatever is new, get the .msi file though
MedaiWiki 1.9.3 -- Again whatever is new, it's a .tar.gz file so you'll need something to extract it, like
7-Zip 4.42 -- Or whatever is new, for 32-bit it's an .exe

Note: Please don't download Beta versions when you're using dependent software like the above stack.
Note: MySQL Administrator is a dream for anyone who has love for the GUI.
Note: EditPlus is useful for looking at all that PHP and not going cross-eyed **SHAREWARE**.
Note: The following instructions assume that you've already installed Windows 2003 server on your system, though there's no reason you can't do this on a different version of Windows, say 2000, NT4 or XP which all have some flavor of IIS.
Note: Do installations of products as and administrator on the box.

1. Install IIS
-Start -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs
-Click on "Add/Remove Windows Components"
-Select "Application Server" (Don't check th box) and click "Details"
-Check to box next to "Internet Information Services (IIS)"
-Click "OK" a few times to let it install (you'll need your Windows 2k3 Install Source - like a CD)

2. Install PHP
-Download the installer from the link above
-Run the installer
-Default install location is good
-On the "Web Server Setup" screen, choose "IIS ISAPI Module"
-On the "Choose Items to Install" screen, expand "Extensions", scroll down to "MySQL", click on it and select "Will be installed on local hard drive", do the same with "GD2"


More things to do (I'll write these up as I have the time):
-Secure IIS with a SSL certificate
-Problem with HTTPS/Cookie/Session Data (hijacking)
Remove session hijacking protection test in /include/user.php
function matchEditToken( $val, $salt = '' ) {
return true;
-Restrict web access based on user authentication or IP (or both)
-Back up your configurations, files and databases
-Create your own theme (with gotchas)

Monday, March 26, 2007

More Wiki

I got everything working. I had some trouble though. *Never* install MySQL without a root password on Windows during the install, things get screwed up. Also, I uninstalled version 5 and deleted all the folders that hung around. I then installed version 4, which apparently gets along quite a bit better with MediaWiki. Instead of doing the manual cut-and-paste config on PHP, I downloaded the msi installer which worked like a charm. I couldn't be more pleased with that installer. Anyway, after all that, which was basically a complete re-install, everything is working. Step-by-step coming later this week.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Setting up MediaWiki on Windows 2003

Today my boss mentioned that it would be nice to have a Wiki for documentation purposes here at work. I figured I would spend some time and after about an hour I got the following error:

  • PHP 5.2.1 installed
  • Could not find a suitable database driver!
  • For MySQL, compile PHP using --with-mysql, or install the module

This is my first time attempting to install PHP on a Windows 2003 server. It's also the first time I'm attempting to install MySQL on a Windows 2003 server. I'll append a fix to this post as soon as I figure it out. Also I'll attempt a full tutorial after I get everything working correctly.