Category: TechBlog

Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2008 transition / migration to Server Standard 2008 R2

(First appeared here) This is an action plan from Microsoft tech support.  I’m going to be testing this in my Lab over the next week or so.  I’ll post any significant notes or corrections that I find. 1.       Run ADprep on SBS 2008 with the Windows 2008 R2 disk. ·         Insert the media for Windows Server 2008 R2 into the Small Business Server 2008 server. ·         Browse to the following folder: ·         <DVD drive >:SourcesAdprep> Adprep /forestprep ·         Press C, and then press ENTER. Wait for the process to complete. ·         <DVD drive >:SourcesAdprep>Adprep /domainPrep ·         when this step completes, you should receive a message: “Adprep successfully update the domain-wide Information”

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On Google Apps for Business

We’ve deployed Google Apps for dozens of businesses, large and small, and have encountered a lot if heartburn and headaches as well as sighs of relief. We decided this would be a great techblog post to shed light on some of the recurring issues that seem to arise when we move people to Google Apps. The key benefit to Google Apps is that it is 100% cloud-based (or, it is meant to be), eliminating the maintenance and configuration nightmares of on-site exchange servers. Back in the day, everyone had an SBS with Exchange, had to manage spam filtering, incoming and outgoing firewall configurations, SMTP relays, remote users connecting over HTTP, […]

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After system repair, Windows Activation Wizard won’t run

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/itproxpsp/thread/b991ce21-db5b-46eb-8c9b-f8d4aa14a35a?prof=required HERE’S THE FIX… Download Internet Explorer 8 and Hotfix KB946501, burn them to disc Hotfix KB946501 http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/946501 Internet Explorer 8 http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx Start your PC and repeatedly hit F8 to get the safe mode menu. Choose safe mode with command prompt only (if you are unable to enter safe mode otherwise) When the command prompt appears type “explorer” Should load the Windows GUI behind the cmd window Install the KB946501 hotfix from your disc (may not need if you’re not multicore) Install IE8 Reboot normally in to Windows, you should be able to activate as usual. Apparently the activation Window is dependant upon IE. Hope this works, let me know.

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New malware redirects all major search engine results to Gala search

If you are being redirected to galasearch every time you search for something it may be because this shitworm planted few manual hosts on the hosts file. First thing it does is hide the host file, so by going to C:WINDOWSSYSTEM32DRIVERSETC you will not see hosts at all. To show hosts, click on Tools from any open folder, and then go to Folder Options, switch to View tab and check “show hiden files and folders” and also uncheck “hide extension…” and ” hide protected operating system files”.

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Apple hard drive failure, teaches an important lesson

Recently we have had a slew of MacBooks come into the shop all having the same issue with hard drive failure. After taking their macs to the apple store, where they are told the drive has failed and there is nothing they can do.  The customers then approached Charm City Networks for their data recovery needs. After inspecting the hard drives and not hearing any physical issues with the drives, we were able to mount the drives on a local windows file system and access them. After copying a few files over during the recovery process, a few errors would pop up showing read/write errors not allowing all the files […]

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Norton Security Suite causing major networking issues

Over a period of about two weeks now. We have been experiencing a pattern of computers coming in with similar symptoms regarding “inability to browse the internet.” At first we assumed it was probably an improperly configured browser or even firewall/networking configuration issue. Quickly we realized that all installed, even newly installed, browsers were showing the same problems. Background network activity such as email, software and even anti-malware are blocked, and were not able to download needed updates. However basic networking such as ping commands and trace-routes are unaffected.  At this point we would assume this to be a sign of a virus or trojan program,  choking communications to service […]

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A Risky Fix for a Dead Thumb Drive

A client came to us with a dead thumb drive that had a whole semester’s worth of notes and school work on it. Windows gave the old “you need to format this disk” message when you inserted it. Also, for some reason, it would mount an 8MB partition (it was a 2GB thumb drive). Our onslaught of Data Recovery programs failed, and something just didn’t add up. There was a physical short somewhere on the teeny little circuit board, and little physical manipulation did the trick. After carefully flexing the board and giving ti another try, the original volume mounted without issue. We immediately pulled the data off and retired […]

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McAfee False Positive Brings Down XP Machines

We recently had a computer come into the shop with what appeared to be some pesky malware.  It wouldn’t let you drag icons, the taskbar was minimized and unresponsive, and it kept auto-initiating shutdowns due to DCOM errors and the RPC Service stopping unexpectedly. These services required svchost.exe (along with a hundred other things in Windows) to be usable and located in the system32 directory.  It was missing, and after replacing just that file with a copy of the good one, it would still disappear after a minute or so! After searching in vain for some rogue process that might be causing this, it became clear that this machine was […]

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Adventures in VoIP

We recently transitioned to a full VoIP phone system, meaning there are no longer any dedicated phone lines running around our office.  All voice traffic is sent via the network, both internally and externally.  While many of the larger, proprietary systems are out of reach for small businesses, we’ve been experimenting with open source technologies that bring the power of a VoIP PBX to those on a tight budget. The Status Quo Most small businesses will use regular household analog phones, or even “business phones” (analog phones with multiple lines, the ability to transfer calls, etc).  These require a normal phone jack to operate, and generally don’t come with many […]

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Neat Install for a Kitchen Computer

Naturally, I have a computer in just about every room of the house.  The one in my kitchen has created quite an eyesore with speaker wires, network cables, wires keyboard and mouse, wired webcam, and power infrastructure, so last weekend it was time to tidy things up a bit. Right now we have the CPU, the mess of wires, speakers, and a 20″ LCD monitor all taking up space on a granite breakfast bar that could be better put to use.  What we want to do is mount the LCD to a wall mounted boom, mount the CPU, speakers, power and network connections underneath the granite, where they are out […]

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