Exchange 2007 Server Builds

You know sometimes you need to like automate as much of an Exchange build as possible.  Well I came across this the other day.  This was a small hole that needed to be fixed in my build.

So we know that we need a few additional components for Exchange before you can install it.  I discovered the System Optional Component Manager aka sysocmgr and this allows you to add or remove windows components.

It uses an answer file that is dead easy to setup and with one command line you could install WWW, IIS Manager, IIS Common Files and COM+

So the answer file to add these components would look like this:

[components]
complusnetwork=on
iis_common=on
iis_www=on
iis_inetmer=on

so we if save this as answerfile.inf.  We can then install these components by running this:

sysocmgr /i:%windir%infsysoc.inf /u:c:tempanswerfile.inft’s that simple. 

This seems a full list of the components you can install or in fact remove using the same process

Windows Sysinternals updates

so 30th September saw some updates to some systinternals tools:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb545027.aspx

Contig v1.55
There are a number of NT disk defraggers on the market, including Winternals Defrag Manager. These tools are useful for performing a general defragmentation of disks, but while most files are defragmented on drives processed by these utilities, some files may not be. In addition, it is difficult to ensure that particular files that are frequently used are defragmented – they may remain fragmented for reasons that are specific to the defragmentation algorithms used by the defragging product that has been applied. Finally, even if all files have been defragmented, subsequent changes to critical files could cause them to become fragmented. Only by running an entire defrag operation can one hope that they might be defragmented again.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897428.aspx

Process Monitor v2.0
Process Monitor is an advanced monitoring tool for Windows that shows real-time file system, Registry and process/thread activity. It combines the features of two legacy Sysinternals utilities, Filemon and Regmon, and adds an extensive list of enhancements including rich and non-destructive filtering, comprehensive event properties such session IDs and user names, reliable process information, full thread stacks with integrated symbol support for each operation, simultaneous logging to a file, and much more. Its uniquely powerful features will make Process Monitor a core utility in your system troubleshooting and malware hunting toolkit.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.asp

Sigcheck v1.54
Verify that images are digitally signed and dump version information with this simple command-line utility.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897441.aspx

ZoomIt v2.11
ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image. I wrote ZoomIt to fit my specific needs and use it in all my presentations.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897434.aspx

Sorry about that

small service outage lastnight / this morning .. .My server Blue Screened, rebooted and was waiting at the good olde Windows Shutdown Event Tracker screen. So cleared that and then my blog vm has the same so sorted that two.

 Found this blog, so the damm screen doesn’t come back any more :-|

How to: Disable the Shutdown Event Tracker in Windows 2003
http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Disable-Shutdown-Event-Tracker-Windows-2003.html

Easy really ..

Open the Group Policy Object Editor Console. Go to Start > Run…, type gpedit.msc and press OK.

Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System and in the right hand pane, select the “Display Shutdown Event Tracker” setting. Set it to disabled!

 

Task Manager: Connect / Remote Control

Sarad showed me this and I have been using it ever since.

When we upgraded to Exchange 2007 to Service Pack 1, I RDPed to the server to perform the upgrade.  I knew it would take an age on an SCC mailbox cluster, and I didn’t want to wait around in the office for it to finish.

So I left and went home.  Once at home I RDPed to the server using a different account, started  up task manager, and selected the Users Tab.  I could see my new log on and my original one.  I then right clicked my original one, selected connect.  It asked me for my password, and then I was connected to my original session!

The other one, is that Sarad wanted me to watch his install.  So I done the same, RDPed to the server and started up task manager.  Selected the User Tabs, and right clicked on his user Account and selected Remote Control.  He was prompted that I wanted to remote control and then I could see his RDP session. 

How cool is that!

What is the Page File for anyway?

Every day is a school day, and this make some light reading for a Monday Morning.  Time to start up perfmon on my Exchange Mailbox Cluster


Source: http://blogs.technet.com/askperf/archive/2007/12/14/what-is-the-page-file-for-anyway.aspx

… So, in simplistic terms, the page file is used by Windows to hold temporary data which is swapped in and out of physical memory in order to provide a larger virtual memory set.

… However, now consider a system managed page file on a 64-bit server with 32GB of RAM.  The page file size would range from 32GB to 96GB!  This is why understanding the performance of your server is so important.  Although there are general recommendations about page file sizing that are based on the amount of physical RAM in a system, this is not 100% valid.  If you think about it, the more memory you have, the less likely you are to need to page data out.

The page file needs of an individual system will vary based on the role of the server, load etc.  There are some performance counters that you can use to monitor private committed memory usage on a systemwide or per-page-file basis.  There is no way to determine how much of a process’ private committed memory is resident and how much is paged out to paging files.

… So with this information in mind, what’s the best way to determine the correct page file size?  The first thing is to gather a baseline.  Set up a page file that is statically sized to 1.5GB of RAM.  Then monitor the server using Performance Monitor over a period of time.  Ensure that the peak usage times of the server are monitored as this is when the server will be under the most load (for example, month-end / year-end processing etc).  Using the information from the counters above and also examining the Peak Commit Charge number in Windows Task Manager (shown below) will give you an idea how much page file space would be needed if the system had to page out all private committed virtual memory.

Elonex eXentia & Vista Hotfixes

So Microsoft release two Vista hotfixes last week.

An update is available that improves the performance and reliability of Windows Vista http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=938979

An update is available that improves the compatibility and reliability of Windows Vista http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=938194

Well 938979 caused vista to restart as expected but no desktop or taskbar appeared!  All I saw was an explorer windows.

So I remove it and still no change.  I installed 938194 and no change.

So that is it .. had enough of vista on my eXentia … XP is reinstatlling as we speak!

Active Directory Explorer v1.0

Ohh this looks like a nice replacement for adsiedit


Source: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/adexplorer.mspx 

Active Directory Explorer (AD Explorer) is an advanced Active Directory (AD) viewer and editor. You can use AD Explorer to easily navigate an AD database, define favorite locations, view object properties and attributes without having to open dialog boxes, edit permissions, view an object’s schema, and execute sophisticated searches that you can save and re-execute.

AD Explorer also includes the ability to save snapshots of an AD database for off-line viewing and comparisons. When you load a saved snapshot, you can navigate and explorer it as you would a live database. If you have two snapshots of an AD database you can use AD Explorer’s comparison functionality to see what objects, attributes and security permissions changed between them.

AD Explorer works on Windows 2000 and higher.

 

Yet anOther Desktop Manager 3D

Jane bloged this last week (http://blogs.technet.com/janelewis/archive/2007/05/18/yet-another-desk-top-manager-3d-cool.aspx) it is a very sweet desktop manager and makes things look a bit more like OS X

You can download it from here (http://chsalmon.club.fr/index.php?en/Download

 

The cube thing is nice, but I especially like the fact that you can click on the icon in the notification area and jump to an app that is running.  sweet!