Schedule a Windows Server Restart

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There are many ways to do this, one of them is to simply use the built in shutwn command. However, if you want to schedule a reboot more than 10 minutes in the future, it will not suffice.

We can use the PsShutdown utility for more control…

Download and extract the psshutdown.exe file to any location on your system. Here is the command I use:
psshutdown.exe -r -f -c -t 22:00 /accepteula

This will do a forced restart at 10 PM, accepting the EULA and allowing a logged in user to cancel the shutdown if needed.

Checkout other Sysinternals PsTools for more useful utilities.

*Update: Download the PsShutdown util + a small batch file here. Just extract the folder anywhere on your machine and run the batch file to schedule a restart.

Remote Support Howto

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This document will give the client a walk-through on how to use our Remote Support tool.

Start a new remote support session

  1. Open a web browser (like Internet Explorer or Firefox) and go to http://support.oneboise.com.
  2. Look for a session that was created by your technician and click to “Select” it.
  3. Click the “Run Program” button.
  4. You will see a message appear while the application begins.
  5. A security warning dialog box will appear. Click “Run” on this window.
  6. You are now connected to the Remote Support Server. A technician can now control your computer to help resolve your issue.

Using Outlook via the Internet

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If you are using Microsoft® Office Outlook® 2003, you can connect to the computer running Windows® Small Business Server through the Internet using the feature called RPC over HTTP. This means you can remotely access your server e-mail account from the Internet when you are working outside your organization’s firewall. You do not need security-related hardware or software (such as smart cards or security tokens), and you do not have to establish a virtual private network (VPN) connection to the server.

Comparing RPC over HTTP and Outlook Web Access

When using RPC over HTTP to access your mailbox, you get the full functionality of Outlook 2003. For example, you can work offline, use Microsoft Office Word 2003 as your e-mail editor, and easily organize your mailbox.

Ensure that you have an Outlook profile configured for the server

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
    • If you are viewing Control Panel in the default Category view, switch to Classic view, and then double-click Mail.
    • If you are viewing Control Panel in Classic view, double-click Mail.
  2. In the Mail Setup dialog box, click Show Profiles. If your profile appears in the list, select your profile, click Properties, click E-mail Accounts, select View or change existing e-mail accounts, and then click Next. If your profile does not appear, open Outlook and follow the instructions to create a profile before proceeding.
    • If Microsoft Exchange Server does not appear in the list, the existing profile is not associated with a Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail account. Click Cancel, and then click Close. Continue with step 3 to add a profile.
    • If there is an existing Microsoft Exchange Server profile, continue with step 3 under Configure the computer for RPC over HTTP.
  3. Click Add. The New Profile dialog box appears.
  4. In the Profile Name box, type a name for the new profile, and then click OK. The E-mail Accounts dialog box appears.
  5. Under E-mail, select Add a new e-mail account, and then click Next. The Server Type dialog box appears.
  6. Click Microsoft Exchange Server, and then click Next.
  7. Continue with step 4 under Configure the computer for RPC over HTTP.

Configure the computer for RPC over HTTP

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
    • If you are viewing Control Panel in the default Category view, switch to Classic view, and then double-click Mail.
    • If you are viewing Control Panel in Classic view, double-click Mail.
  2. In the Mail Setup dialog box, click E-mail accounts, click View or change existing e-mail accounts, and then click Next.
  3. In the E-mail accounts dialog box, click Microsoft Exchange Server, and then click Change.
  4. In the Microsoft Exchange Server box, type the local name of the Exchange server:

exchange.atomicnetworks.local

  1. In the User Name box, type the user name that you use to log on to the Remote Web Workplace. Do not click Check Name.
  2. In the Exchange Server settings page, click More Settings.
  3. On the Connection tab, under Exchange over the Internet, select Connect to my Exchange mailbox using HTTP, and then click Exchange Proxy Settings. The Exchange Proxy Settings dialog box appears.
  4. Under Use this URL to connect to my proxy server for Exchange, type the following URL:

blue.atomnet.net

  1. Select Connect using SSL only, and then select Mutually authenticate the session when connecting with SSL.
  2. In the Principal name for proxy server box, type the following text:

msstd:blue.atomnet.net

  1. Select On slow networks, connect using HTTP first, then connect using TCP/IP.
  2. Under Proxy authentication settings, select Basic Authentication.
  3. Click OK, and then click OK again. Click Next, and then click Finish. Click Close.
  4. In the Mail dialog box, if Always use this profile is selected, choose the newly configured profile.
  5. Open Outlook and type your Windows Small Business Server user name (your full email address) and password. You can now work with your Outlook mailbox.

Sonicwall Port Translation (Virtual Port Forwarding)

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Quoted from the Sonicwall Documentation:

Inbound Port Address Translation via One-to-One NAT Policy

This type of NAT policy is useful when you want to conceal an internal server’s real listening port, but provide public access to the server on a different port. In the example below, you modify the NAT policy and rule created in the previous section to allow public users to connect to the private webserver on its public IP address, but via a different port (TCP 9000), instead of the standard HTTP port (TCP 80).

First, your need to create a custom service for the different port. Go to the Firewall > Custom Services page and select the Add button. When the pop-up screen appears, give your custom service a name such as “webserver_public_port”, enter in “9000″ as the starting and ending port, and choose “TCP(6)” as the protocol. When done, click on the OK button to save the custom service.

Next, you modify the NAT policy created in the previous section that allowed any public user to connect to the webserver on its public IP address. Go to the Network > NAT Policies menu and click on the Edit button next to this NAT policy. The Edit NAT Policy window is displayed for editing the policy. Edit the NAT policy so that it includes the following from the drop-down menus:

  • Original Source: Any
  • Translated Source: Original
  • Original Destination: webserver_public_ip
  • Translated Destination: webserver_private_ip
  • Original Service: webserver_public_port (or whatever you named it above)
  • Translated Service: HTTP
  • Inbound Interface: WAN
  • Outbound Interface: Any
  • Comment: Enter a short description
  • Enable NAT Policy: Checked
  • Create a reflective policy: Unchecked

Note: Make sure you chose Any as the destination interface, and not the interface that the server is on. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually the correct thing to do (if you try to specify the interface, you get an error).

When done, click on the OK button to add and activate the NAT Policy. With this policy in place, the SonicWALL security appliance translates the server’s public IP address to the private IP address when connection requests arrive from the WAN interface, and translates the requested protocol (TCP 9000) to the server’s actual listening port (TCP 80).

Finally, you’re going to modify the firewall access rule created in the previous section to allow any public user to connect to the webserver on the new port (TCP 9000) instead of the server’s actual listening port (TCP 80).

Note: With previous versions of firmware, it was necessary to write rules to the private IP address. This has been changed as of SonicOS Enhanced. If you write a rule to the private IP address, the rule does not work.

Go to the Firewall > Access Rules section and choose the policy for the WAN to Sales zone intersection (or, whatever zone you put your server in). Click on the Configure button to bring up the previously created policy. When the pop-up appears, edit in the following values:

  • Action: Allow
  • Service: webserver_public_port (or whatever you named it above)
  • Source: Any
  • Destination: webserver_public_ip
  • Users Allowed: All
  • Schedule: Always on
  • Logging: checked
  • Comment: (enter a short description)

When you’re done, attempt to access the webserver’s public IP address using a system located on the public Internet on the new custom port (example: http://67.115.118.70:9000). You should be able to successfully connect. If not, review this section, and the section before, and ensure that you have entered in all required settings correctly.

Save Your Exchange Password in Microsoft Outlook 2003

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You are prompted to enter your hosted Exchange account password each time you open Outlook 2003. If you are running on Windows XP it is possible to save your password in Outlook 2003.

NOTE: This process has been recommended by Microsoft; however it does not always work. We have it here as a recommendation.

To save your password:

1.     Find your Exchange Server name in your Outlook Profile.

2.     Open the Windows Key Manager:

  • a.     Click Start/Run
  • b.     Type control keymgr.dll Click OK
  • c.     Click Add
  • d.     Enter your Server Name from Step 1
  • f.      Enter your mailbox password

NOTE: If you do not have your password, please contact your account administrator

  • g.     Click OK
  • h.     Click Close

3.     Launch Outlook.

4.     When prompted for your password, click Remember Password.

5.     Close Outlook after login is complete.

6.     Repeat Steps 3-5.

7.     Launch Outlook – you should not be prompted for your password.

Repairing Windows XP in Eight Commands

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Below is quoted from the original article (Click here to read more):

Most of us have seen it at one time or another; perhaps on our own PC, the PC of a loved one, or perhaps a PC at your place of employment. The system spends weeks or months operating in a smooth fashion, taking you to the far reaches of the wide, wibbly web, and after one particularly late evening of browsing and gaming, you shut your PC off and go to bed. Millions of people across the globe do just this every night, but a few of us have turned our PCs on the next day not to the standard Windows XP loading screen, but instead this dreaded error:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

\\WINDOWS\\SYSTEM32\\CONFIG\\SYSTEM

Exchange 2003 Server on Domain Controller Causes Slow Shutdown and Restart

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Just about every Windows 2003 Small Business Server we have used has a very slow shutdown/restart time. This is explained in detail in the source article below. It is caused when Active Directory related services shutdown before Exchange has a chance to write to AD.

Resolution:
One option is to shorten the service shutdown delay, but it may cause issues with other services. I prefer the script that is mentioned in the article. It is a nice batch file that will shutdown the Exchange services properly BEFORE continuing with the OS shutdown/restart.

Source:
http://www.petri.co.il/slow_shutdown_of_exchange_2003_server_installed_on_dc.htm

Backup and Restore Windows XP Activation

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When you activate Windows XP, Microsoft stores the data in the Windows Product Activation database files wpa.dbl and wpa.bak in the folder %systemroot%\system32. If you change the motherboard or make significant hardware changes, XP will require you to reactive. But if you plan to reinstall XP on the same hardware, you can back up the activation status and then restore it after you reinstall and avoid the activation process. You can backup the Windows Product Activation database files to diskette. They are very small. A directory listing from my XP Pro workstation:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>dir wp*
Volume in drive C has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 8447-0571

Directory of C:\WINDOWS\system32

10/24/2001  08:28 PM            12,584 wpa.bak
01/14/2002  09:05 AM            12,642 wpa.dbl

After you reinstall XP, to restore the Windows Product Activation database files:

  • Start XP to Minimal Safe mode
  • Change directory to the \%systemroot%\system32 folder
  • Rename the newly created wpa.dbl to wpa.nonactivated and wpa.bak, if it exists, to wpabak.nonactivated.
  • Copy your backed up wpa.dbl and wpb.bak files to the system32 folder
  • Reboot

This should work if you want to avoid activating XP after a reinstall or restore on the same or very similar hardware. It will not work if the hardware is significantly different from that in place when the Windows Product Activation database files were created. This is not a hack to avoid activating installations.

Original Article: http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/WindowsTips/WindowsXP/UserTips/Miscellaneous/BackupRestoreXPActivation.html

After a Windows Update, programs like Quickbooks (and others that rely on the .NET framework) will not open

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This issue seems to have appeared in April, 2008. The .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 automatic update fails to install and breaks the original install. After this happens, any programs that rely on .NET will not open. In this case I have fixed three machines that were unable to open QuickBooks. It would simply begin to open and close with no errors. Trying to remove or repair the version on the PC will fail saying the  install source is unavailable. The .NET SP1 has been out for a long time now and I have seen it fail to install many times, but only recently have I seen it begin to break the original version.

Here is how to fix it…

1. Download and install the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301
http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/9/d/e9d80355-7ab4-45b8-80e8-983a48d5e1bd/msicuu2.exe

2. Look on the root of the Start Menu for “Windows Install Clean Up” and run it. You will see a list of installed programs. Simply highlight the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 application and click Remove.

3. Download the .NET Framework 2.0 Redistributable and install it
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=0856EACB-4362-4B0D-8EDD-AAB15C5E04F5&displaylang=en

4. Download the .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 1 and install it. Restart when prompted.
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=79BC3B77-E02C-4AD3-AACF-A7633F706BA5&displaylang=en

That’s it. You should now be able to use your .NET applications again!

Use a wireless router as an access point

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This works on most wireless routers I have tried. Linksys WRT54G(s) & D-Link DI-614+/524+. For some reason, wireless routers are cheaper than access points.

1. First, connect a PC to the new wireless router. Set the LAN IP of the router to an available IP on the network. Example: 192.168.1.2. Disable the DHCP service, as well. Leave the WAN settings alone.
2. Connect a LAN port of the new router to a LAN connection on the existing network.
The clients gets an IP assigned from the primary router and can communicate with other machines on the network. Routing and WAN capabilities are simply not used.

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