Thursday, 22 September 2011

Migrate 2003 DHCP Database to 2008 DHCP Database

Migrate WS2003 DHCP Database to WS2008 DHCP Database

Important Notes
A - Install the DHCP role on the WS08 server (do not authorise DHCP at this point)
B -  Stop the DHCP service on the WS03 server after export and before authorising the new DHCP server

1. Export DHCP database from the source WS03 server using cmd:
netsh dhcp server export C:\dhcpdatabase.dat all
2. On the WS08 server, copy the exported DHCP file to the C:\ directory
3. Run the below using an administrator cmd:
netsh dhcp server import c:\dhcpdatabase.dat all
4. Review all configurations to confirm everything has been imported correctly (see note B above)
5. Authorise the WS08 server DHCP service, a green arrow will appear when successful.
6. Test new DHCP server eg start up DHCP clients and confirm IP's are being provided.
7. After testing has been completed, on the WS03 DHCP server either disable the DHCP server service, uninstall the DHCP role or shutdown the server.

Choose the option which suits best, but remember you must never have two active DHCP servers on the same subnet.

A known issue sometimes occurs where the leased address data does not appear after the import has completed.  Fortunately this has been acknowledges by Microsoft and there is a solution which pretty much boils down stopping the DHCP service,  deleting the DHCP database and starting the DHCP service on the new WS08 server before the import (ie after step 2 above)

For more information on this workaround refer to this article-

* WS03 = Windows Server 2003
* WS08 = Windows Server 2008

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Powerchute Network Shutdown Version 3 Password Upgrade Issue

I use UPS's from APC because in my experience APC produce the most reliant and efficient products in the UPS business.  They have a few more competitors these days but I still think from an overall perspective they are difficult to beat.

APC have just released version 3 of their network shutdown software which communicates with their network management cards installed as an optional extra in their UPS (most popularly with the Smart-UPS models)

The biggest benefit of this new version is it's free!  My opinion is this software should have always came as apart of the Network Management Card pack but it originally cost approx £60 per licence.

During the process of upgrading servers to version 3 from 2.2.5 I discovered a bug were you cannot login into web portal after the upgrade has completed.  Thankfully this is easily fixed:

1. Stop the Powerchute Network Shutdown service
2. Edit the config.ini in the Program Files> Powerchute > Group 1 directory
3. In the first section [Network] add the below line
            password = YourPasswordHereYourPasswordHere being the password you want.
4. Start the service again and you will be able to login to the web portal as normal.  Part of this process also removes the above line in the config.ini which is important for security.

Note APC for some strange reason has decided to restrict the use of special characters in passwords for version 3 so don't include any when doing the above as you still won't be able to login.

Full details are available here.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Reset the Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) Administrator Account Password

It's very important you have a record of the Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) Administrator Account password for all your Domain Controllers.

You may be put in a situation were there is no such records such as starting a new job and you want to have these information recorded in case of an emergency.

I found myself in this situation and quickly went about standardising the DRSM password on all the DC's in the organisation.

This can be done quite quickly using the below steps and is valid for both Windows Server 2003 and server 2008:

1. Click Start> Run> enter ntdsutil.exe

2. Enter the command set dsrm password at the ntdsutil prompt:

3. Run the Reset Password command, passing the name of the server on which to change the password, or use the null argument to specify the local machine. For example, to reset the password on server DC1, enter the following argument at the Reset DSRM Administrator Password prompt:
Reset DSRM Administrator Password: reset password on server DC1

To reset the password on the local machine, specify null as the server name:
Reset DSRM Administrator Password: reset password on server null

5. You’ll be prompted twice to enter the new password. You’ll see the following messages:

Please type password for DS Restore Mode Administrator Account:
Please confirm new password:
Password has been set successfully

6. Exit the password-reset utility by typing “quit” at the following prompts:
Reset DSRM Administrator Password: quit
ntdsutil: quit

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Go away WMP Library- ahhh!

I use Windows Media Player (WMP) 12 as my main app to play music.  I've dabbled with various other media players such as Songbird and WinAmp but always found myself going back to the good old trusty WMP.

WinAmp even includes an app for Android (and iPhone as well) that allows you to control what music sync's with your phone over the wireless.  In my experience it worked quite well and was quite stable even though it was in beta at the time. 

But for outright simplicity I find WMP easiest to use.  For more advanced work with my music I use Virtual DJ, this provides all the stat's you could ever ask for.

Back to the point of my blog, WMP12 was giving me serious hassle trying to remove libraries that I'd removed.  I restarted the machine, added, removed again, restarted and so on.  All the songs from the libraries would simply not go away.

In the end I found a quick fix that re-builds your libraries (note if you have huge libraries like myself rebuilding may take time):

  1. Open WMP12
  2. Right click Library in the menu top left
  3. Choose Tools> Advance> and click Restore Media Library
  4. WMP12 will now close.
  5. Open WMP12 and the all media libraries will be rebuilt.
  6. And most importantly, if you deleted libraries the data associated with these will be gone :)
Simple solution to the problem thankfully.

Now back to the music.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Watchguard VPN using a Public Dynamic IP

So you have a small office with maybe only one to five users.  You want to connect this office with the corporate VPN but don't want to/ can't t pay the excess costs for public internet static IPs for your router and firewall (in my case a Watchguard XTM 2 Series).

Note one of the main reasons for multiple IPs in a situation such as the above is for connection reliability and to increase security slightly eg the internet facing router has a public static IP and the firewall will have it's own public static IP as well.

The solution for this is helped by a well known website (others are available).  You register an account and add these account details to the Watchguard in the DynDNS section.  From this point you will now be able to contact the device using the domain name you setup even when the ISP changes your public IP address (the Watchguard will send the update to DynDNS.

The WAN/ internet port on the Watchguard firewall will need configured with an IP address on the same subnet as a LAN port of the router.

A switch can then be connected to a trusted port on the firewall. Devices such as computers and laptops connect to the switch for their networking needs.

All other ports on the router and firewall should be disabled for security purposes.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

SP1 for Hyper-V Failover Cluster Upgrade

There are many posts on the internet which include screenshots of the SP1 for Hyper-V Failover Cluster upgrade process such as here.  I'd like to add some points to these from my experience of upgrading a 3 node Hyper-V Failover Cluster to SP1.

All in all my experience went quite smoothly although some hiccups were encountered along the way. Here is a quick overview of the upgrade process:

Upgrade Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 R2 to SP1
Update Hyper-V hosts VMM Agents

Wait 1/2 days and monitor
Upgrade first Hyper-V host to SP1
Wait 1/2 days and monitor

Upgrade second Hyper-V host to SP1
Repeat above steps as necessary...
Run Cluster Validation Wizard
Upgrade VM guests Integration Components

Now for the stuff that I recommend you take note for your plan:
- Have all media, software etc ready and at hand (VMM SP1, SP1 for WS08 R2, Latest Drivers and firmware for server)
- Update your hosts drivers and firmware- SP1 for WS08 R2 make some major changes to the OS so it's an ideal time to carryout this maintenance.  I used HP's Proliant Support Pack (PSP) to update all the drivers and the HP Smart Update Firmware DVD before installing SP1.
- I'm aware of issues with broadcom NIC's after installing SP1 for WS08 R2 requiring driver updates and then reconfiguring the NICs network settings.  Better to do this cleanly before the SP1 upgrade than post upgrade due to issues.

- SP1 for VMM 08 R2 upgrade- make sure you use the exact version of media (eg volume, retail etc) used to install VMM 2008 R2 that you plan to use when upgrading to SP1.  For some reason MSFT have not released a downloadable SP1 installer so you must obtain the full VMM 2008 R2 SP1 media to carryout the upgrade.
- Before making significant changes to a server, it's always advisable to restart the OS before commencing.