Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Windows, Linux and CPU architecture

Today I have been browing a bit and found a very interesting post on the MSDN blog talking about the Windows 2008 licensing model and how that connects to CPU models evolution during the last years. CPU terminology (Cores, NUMA nodes, Logical Processors) is so well explained I think you should really go and have a look. Also because most modern CPU’s, Intel new Nehalem’s and AMD’s veteran Opteron, are NUMA architectures whose characteristics are very well explained.

Here's the link to the MSDN blog post.

Other interesting posts I have been reading lately about this topic:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Disabling UAC part 2

I have recently posted about ways of of disabling User Account Control (UAC) in Windows 2008 (See here). What I did not say in that previous post, it is that it is luckily possible to disable UAC just for system administrators. Wonderful, isn't it? Because, frankly, if you are not in a sensitive security environment, or if your systems are well protected from outside access, then this UAC thing can be a real pain for your everyday sysadm activites....

So, here's how to partially disable UAC.
  • Run Registry Editor (RegEdit)
  • Locate the following REG_DWORD value: ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin
  • Change the value of ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin from 5 to 0.
  • Now Exit from Registry Editor
  • Restart the computer.
Simple and clean....

Background information: the default value for ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin is 5, which means that Windows prompts for consent for non-Windows binaries. Other possible values are:

0 = Elevate without prompting
1 = Prompt for credentials on the secure desktop
2 = Prompt for consent on the secure desktop
3 = Prompt for credentials
4 = Prompt for consent

STOP 0x000000FE error

I have just run into the issue described in Microsoft KB974410. I have a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 and when the computer enters or resumes from hibernation, it crashes. The Stop error message that comes up is this one:

STOP 0x000000FE

As far as I have understood, a Microsoft hotfix should be available for this problem. I haven't asked it yet. Instead, to solve my problem, I've just disabled the Selective Suspend feature in the USB composite class drive (Usbccgp.sys). This can be done this way:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The workstation driver is not installed.

Sometimes it happens that trying to map a UNC path [net use * \\servername\path] from a WSS or MOSS document library, you get an error “The workstation driver is not installed”.

The problem is often in the startup order of the Webclient service and of MRxDAV which is the redirector for Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV).

First a little technical explaination of how this stuff should normally work in Microsoft Windows.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Installing PERL on Windows 2003 and IIS

This is an how-to concerning the configuration of IIS 6.0 on a Windows 2003 Server to make it able to run PERL script.

First of all, you have to download ActivePerl 5.12, which is a free distribution of the language developed by ActiveState. You can find it here. Perl is not installed on Windows platforms, that's why you have to get yourself this distribution. The advantage of ActivePerl over other distributions is that it's a open source distribution and that it has regular releases that track the major Perl releases.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Extract bz2

Have you find a .tar.bz2 file on your system and don't know how to get its content? Here's what to do. It's very easy. First, to uncompress it go to here and get bzip2.

Then use:

bzip2 -d file.bz2 to decompress and delete the original file.

bzip2 -dk file.bz2 to decompress and keep the original file.

This command can be used in conjunction with tar, if the file is an archive:

tar xjf archive.tar.bz2 (to decompress the archive).

For more information on the BZIP2 algorithm, have a look here.


McAfee VSE 8.5 or 8.7

Here's some information about McAfee support for different Windows Operating Systems.

First thing to know is that VSE 8.0 is End of Life (EOL) March 31, 2010.

Also important to note is that there is no more support for Windows NT. It stopped with the End of Life (EOL) of Common Management Agent (CMA) 3.6.0 on March 31, 2010.
No more support for Microsoft Windows ME and all 9x versions.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Installing SEPM 11 step-by-step

In this post I will show the procedure to follow to install Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager 11, console, and embedded database on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition.

Symantec Endpoint is the new name for the successor of Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition. In a nutshell, Symantec Endpoint 11 (aka SEPM 11) adds handling of spyware, a firewall and support for endpoint security health verification, among other secondary features. The last published version of Symantec AntiVirus was version 10, and Endpoint Protection begins at version 11, so no wonder if you get a moment lost trying to understand why Symantec did not reset version numbering even if they changed the product name...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Limitations of SQL Server Express 2008

For those of you who need this information, the limitations of SQL Server Express 2008 are essentially the following ones:

  • 1 CPU (It is unable to scale to use multiple processors. So If a system has more than 1 SQL Express 2008 will still run but limit itself to 1 CPU.)
  • 1 GB of RAM (More RAM can be installed, but again SQL Express 2008 will only make use of a maximum 1 GB.)
  • 4Gb maximum for each database (not global storage)
  • Unlimited users
  • No SQL Server Agent service
  • No SQL profiler
  • Still has support for procedures, triggers & functions
  • Need Management Studio Express or higher to manage the instance (SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE). This is downloadable as a standalone tool or integrated with a SQL Server Express edition at no charge.
If you’re able to cope with these limitations, SQL Server 2008 Express may be the best choice for you.

Otherwise, a great improvement comes with SQL Server Express 2008 R2 which is still free and where the maximum database size limit has been raised from 4 GB to 10 GB.

Another option to consider for database developers is the Developer Edition. Unlike Express Edition, Developer Edition has no limitations on database size, performance characteristics or functionality. However, it’s only licensed for use by a single developer in a non-production development environment.

Microsoft October Security Bulletin

Microsoft has just issued a Security Bulletin Advance Notification telling that in their October release there will be sixteen bulletins. This will be the biggest Patch Tuesday ever, with a total of 49 vulnerabilities set to be fixed.

Four bulletins will have the severity rating of critical and will be for Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. They will concern flaws that could allow malicious remote code execution.

Ten bulletins will have the severity rating of important and will be for Microsoft Server Software, Windows, and Office.

Two bulletins will have the severity rating of moderate and will be for Microsoft Windows.

Windows sysadmins, get ready. On October 13, 2010, Jerry Bryant, group manager at Microsoft, and special guest Jonathan Ness, principle security SDE lead, from the Security Research & Defense team, will make a public webcast where they will go into details about the bulletins, and answer questions live on the air.

If you want to attend this webcast, register in advance:

Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Time: 11:00 a.m. PDT (UTC -7)

Friday, October 8, 2010

DHCP Jet Writer retryable error

During an incremental backup done with TSM client version 5 on Windows 2003 I encountered a VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_FREEZE error message. This caused the TSM scheduled backup to stop immediately.

This is what I could find in dsmerror.log located under c:\program files\tivoli\tsm\baclient:

10/08/2010 10:26:19 VssRequestor::checkWriterStatus: VssRequestor::checkWriterStatus failed with hr=VSS_E_WRITERERROR_RETRYABLE
10/08/2010 10:26:19 ANS5268W The Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services writer 'Dhcp Jet Writer' current state (VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_FREEZE) is not valid for the current operation.
10/08/2010 10:27:49 ANS5271E A Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services writer is in an invalid state before snapshot initialization.
10/08/2010 10:27:49 ANS1327W The snapshot operation for 'server\SystemState\NULL\System State\SystemState' failed with error code: 4353.
10/08/2010 10:27:49 ANS1228E Sending of object 'server\SystemState\NULL\System State\SystemState' failed
10/08/2010 10:27:49 ANS5258E An error occurred initializing a VSS request. For more information, see the TSM client error log.
10/08/2010 10:27:49 ANS1375E The snapshot operation failed.

As you may know...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Disabling UAC

There are to easy ways to disable the secure but annoying UAC (User Account Control) in Windows 2008 (R2 or not) or Windows Vista.

The simpler one is to use reg.exe at the command prompt. Just run the following command at the DOS prompt on one line:


This is the linux syntax to find some files and add them to an archive:

find . -name '*.cfg' -type f -newer flagfile -exec tar uf backup_it.tar {} \;

'{}' is a placeholder for the name of the file that has been found.

As we want the shell to ignore the semicolon and pass it verbatim to find we have to escape it with '\;'.

An explaination for other special characters can be found here.

Windows 2008 space issue and WinSxS growing fast

Are you asking yourself what the WinSxS folder is and why it is so big and growing?
In a few words, we can say that this is the folder that keeps Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 2008 OS components and it is therefore very touchy.

SxS means Side-by-side technology and it is a solution integrated in recent Windows versions by Microsoft in a attempt to reduce DLL hell. The problem with this solution is that the system keeps all versions of installed components in order to be able to serve them to asking application. As a downside, you will notice that this folder grows up very quickly and this can quickly became a very serious issue for your production servers.
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