Mar 262016
 

An issue that’s been making me rip my hair apart for some time… And a fix for you experiencing the same.

 

Equipment:

HP Proliant DL360 G6 Server (with a P800 Controller) running Server 2012 R2 and Backup Exec 2014

HP MSL-2024 Tape Library with a single HP SAS LTO-6 Tape Drive

 

Symptoms:

-After a clean restart, a backup job completes successfully. Subsequent jobs fail until server or services restarted.

-While the initial backup does complete, errors/warnings can be seen in the adamm.log and the Event Viewer even when successful.

-Subsequent backups failing report that the device is offline. The Windows Device Manager reports everything is fine.

-Windows Server itself does not report any device errors whatsoever.

 

Observations:

[5648] 03/05/16 07:50:46 Adamm Mover Error: DeviceIo: 03:07:00:00 – Device error 1167 on “\\.\Tape0”, SCSI cmd 0a, 1 total errors
[5648] 03/05/16 07:55:46 Adamm Mover Error: DeviceIo: 03:07:00:00 – Refresh handle on “\\.\Tape0”, SCSI cmd 00, new handle 214, error 0
[5648] 03/05/16 07:55:46 Adamm Mover Error: DeviceIo: 00:00:00:00 – Retry Logic: Retry logic was engaged on device: HP       Ultrium 6-SCSI
[5648] 03/05/16 07:55:46 Adamm Mover Error: DeviceIo: 00:00:00:00 – Retry Logic: Original settings restored on device: HP       Ultrium 6-SCSI

Event ID 58053
Backup Exec Alert: Storage Error
(Server: “WhatsMySRVRname”) The device state has been set to offline because the device attached to the computer is not responding.

Ensure that the drive hardware is turned on and is properly cabled. After you correct the problem, right-click the device, and then click Offline to clear the check mark and bring the device online.

[09968] 03/05/16 01:42:08.426 DeviceIo: 03:07:00:00 – Refresh handle on “\\.\Tape0”, SCSI cmd 17, new handle ffffffff, error 32
[09968] 03/05/16 01:42:08.426 DeviceIo: 03:07:00:00 – Refresh handle on “\\.\Tape0”, SCSI cmd 1a, new handle ffffffff, error 32
[09968] 03/05/16 01:22:07.867 PvlSession::DismountMedia( 0, 0, 0 )
Job = {JOBHEXNUMBERZZZZZZ} “ServerBackup-Full”
Changer    = {CHANGERZZZZ} “Robotic library 0001”
Drive      = {MYBACKUPDRVXZZZZZ} “Tape drive 0001”
Slot       = 13
Media      = {MEDIAZIDZZZZ} “BARCODEID”
ERROR = 0xE0008114 (E_PVL_CHANGER_NOT_AVAILABLE)

[19812] 03/05/16 01:42:12.613 DeviceIo: 03:07:00:00 – Refresh handle on “\\.\Tape0”, SCSI cmd 1a, new handle ffffffff, error 32
[19812] 03/05/16 01:42:13.129 DeviceIo: 03:07:00:00 – Refresh handle on “\\.\Tape0”, SCSI cmd 00, new handle ffffffff, error 32
[19812] 03/05/16 01:42:13.645 PvlDrive::DisableAccess() – ReserveDevice failed, offline device
Drive = 1007 “Tape drive 0001”
ERROR = 0x0000001F (ERROR_GEN_FAILURE)

[19812] 03/05/16 01:42:13.645 PvlDrive::UpdateOnlineState()
Drive = 1007 “Tape drive 0001”
ERROR = The device is offline!

[19812] 03/05/16 01:42:12.613 DeviceIo: 03:07:00:00 – Refresh handle on “\\.\Tape0”, SCSI cmd 1a, new handle ffffffff, error 32
[19812] 03/05/16 01:42:13.129 DeviceIo: 03:07:00:00 – Refresh handle on “\\.\Tape0”, SCSI cmd 00, new handle ffffffff, error 32
[19812] 03/05/16 01:42:13.645 PvlDrive::DisableAccess() – ReserveDevice failed, offline device
Drive = 1007 “Tape drive 0001”
ERROR = 0x0000001F (ERROR_GEN_FAILURE)

[19812] 03/05/16 01:42:13.645 PvlDrive::UpdateOnlineState()
Drive = 1007 “Tape drive 0001”
ERROR = The device is offline!

Event ID 1000
Faulting application name: wmiprvse.exe, version: 6.3.9600.17415, time stamp: 0x54505614
Faulting module name: MSVCR110.dll, version: 11.0.51106.1, time stamp: 0x5098826e

 

Research:

I spent a ton of time researching this… Old support threads were pointing me in all different directions, most of the threads being old, mentioning drivers, etc… Initially I thought it was hardware related, until through testing I got the gut feeling it was software related. There was absolutely no articles covering Backup Exec 2014 running on Windows Server 2012 R2 with this specific issue.

Tried a bunch of stuff, including swapping the P800 controller, for another HP P212. While it didn’t fix the issue, I gained some backup speed! 🙂

Updating the HP software (agents, providers, HP SMH, WBEM) had no effect.

Disabling the HP providers, and disabling the HP Monitoring, Insight, Management services had no effect whatsoever. Tried different firmware versions, also tried different drivers for the Library and Tape drive, no effect. Tried factory resets, no effect. Tried Library and Tape tools, all tests passed.

Disabled other monitoring software we have in place to monitor software/hardware on clients servers, no effect.

 

Resolution:

-Uninstalled the HP WBEM Providers and Agents.

-Added a “BusyRetryCount” 32-bit DWORD value of 250 (decimal) to the “Storport” key under “Device Parameters” in all the Tape Library and Tape Drive Registry entries. Example:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\SCSI\Changer&Ven_HP&Prod_MSL_G3_Series\5&334e8424&0&000500\Device Parameters\Storport]
“BusyRetryCount”=dword:000000fa

This needs to be added to ONLY and ALL the tape device entries (under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\SCSI\) for the Tape Library and Tape Drives. You probably will have to create “Storport” key under the devices “Device Parameters” key.

After doing this, the backups run consecutively with absolutely no issues. The event log is CLEAN, and Adamm.log is clean, and the “Faulting application name: wmiprvse.exe” errors in the event log no longer occur.

Fixed!

 

Additional Notes:

-Both “fixes” were applied at the same time. I believe the WBEM providers/agent caused the Event ID 1000 errors on WMIPRVSE.exe. While the registry keys alone may have possibly resolved the backup issues, I believe there still would have been an underlying issue with WMIPRVSE.exe faulting that could have other consequences.

-I do not believe the original installation of the HP WBEM providers caused the issue, I have a feeling a subsequent Windows Update, Backup Exec update, other module update, or an update to the HP software may have caused the issue to occur at a later time than original install. I do remember we didn’t have an issue with the backups for months, until one day it started occurring.

-I will be re-installing the HP providers and agents at a later time. I will be uninstalling all of them, and re-installing from scratch the latest versions. I will post an update with my results.

-There is a chance the registry key is needed for the HP software to co-exist with Backup Exec backups for this configuration.

-There is a chance that the registry key isn’t needed if you never load the HP software.

Mar 052016
 

Just wanted to write about a couple issues that I’ve seen occur after migrating customers from Microsoft Small Business Server to Microsoft Server 2012 R2 (with Essentials Experience role), with Microsoft Exchange 2013 On-Premise.

Migration documents that were available were used at the time of migration. We still observed these issues after following. Please note that since these issues occurred, migration documents may have been updated.

Windows SBS Company Web Connector ServerName

After the migration was complete we started seeing event logs pertaining to a “Windows SBS Company Web Connector ComputerName”, often mentioning it’s referencing an object in the Deleted Items container, also referencing the connector is not being activated due to no routes available.

Event ID: 5016

Microsoft Exchange could not discover any route to connector CN=Windows SBS Company Web Connector SERVERNAME,CN=Connections,CN=Exchange Routing Group (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX),CN=Routing Groups,CN=Exchange Administrative Group (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX),CN=Administrative Groups,CN=First Organization,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=domainname,DC=local in the routing tables with the timestamp 3/5/2016 1:55:34 PM. This connector will not be used.  Total source server count: 1; unknown source server count: 1; unrouted source server count: 0; non-active source server count: 0.

What is happening is that a “Foreign Connector” is still present in the Active Directory and Exchange Configuration for the SBS environments SharePoint e-mail to web feature. In my client’s environments SharePoint is no longer used, so it is safe for us to delete this connector. Only delete this connector if you know you’re not using it (it is used for SharePoint e-mail to web feature).

To list and get information on the orphaned connector, open Exchange Powershell and run:

Get-ForeignConnector | Format-List

To delete the orphaned connector, enter the following command in Exchange Powershell and update the connector name to match the name shown in the command above:

Remove-ForeignConnector “Windows SBS Company Web Connector SERVERNAME”

This will remove the orphaned connector and clean up these errors from occurring. You can also remove the connector using ADSIEDIT, however I prefer to use ADSIEDIT as a last resort, and find this method not only easier, but cleaner.

 

SMTP rejected a (P1) mail from ‘HealthMailboxHEXHEXHEXHEX@domain.local’

Initially post-migration we started observing this event on the server. Mail flow was not affected and everything was functioning properly.

Event ID: 1025

SMTP rejected a (P1) mail from ‘HealthMailboxXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX@DOMAIN.local’ with ‘Client Proxy EXCHSRVR’ connector and the user authenticated as ‘HealthMailboxXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX’. The Active Directory lookup for the sender address returned validation errors. Microsoft.Exchange.Data.ProviderError

 

Additionally, on our corporate firewall (that provides anti-spam), we would observe numerous undeliverable bouncebacks on outgoing messages to the e-mail address “inboundproxy@contoso.com” with the subject “Inbound proxy probe”. These messages occur on exact 5 minute intervals continuously.

Using Exchange powershell to view the active Health Mailboxes, we see that each of these bounce backs are being stored on a particular health mailbox. Essentially the mailbox will continue to grow. Due to the growth, this issue needs to be resolved so the mailbox doesn’t continue to grow in size.

Numerous things can cause this, however in our case looking at transport logs, it is seen that a HealthMailbox is sending e-mail to another HealthMailbox but using an incorrect e-mail address. The Health Mailboxes on the Exchange server have “domain.com” e-mail addresses, while according to the transport logs, the e-mails are being sent to “domain.local”.

Something got mixed up, either with provisioning the Exchange E-Mail address policies, or the domain configured as “default domain”. Either way, Exchange is configured and running, so I wanted to correct this in a manor that would have minimal consequences or changes to the system.

To correct this issue, we need to go in to ADSI edit and modify the “ProxyAddresses” value for the HealthMailbox. Note that any type of mailbox can have numerous aliases and a single default alias. Inside of ADSIEdit for “ProxyAddresses” the value/format is case-sensitive, and uppercase SMTP configures default e-mail address, while lowercase smtp configures alternative aliases. An example value: “SMTP:alias@domain.com” for default, or “smtp:alternative@domain.com” for an alternative alias.

Identifying the account from the event log (note the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX in the example), we found the account in the Monitoring Mailboxes container inside of ADSIEdit. We right-clicked on the specific HealthMailbox account, went to properties, and found the “ProxyAddresses” value. We then proceeded to create a new alias by clicking edit, using lowercase smtp and created “smtp:HealthMailboxXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX@DOMAIN.local” and added it to the list, we did not modify or delete any existing values. All we did is create an alternative alias.

So now the Health Mailbox is receiving e-mail for both “@domain.com”, and “@domain.local”. Immediately the bounce-backs stopped, and event logs disappeared.

PLEASE NOTE: For this fix to work, you MUST confirm that the issue is due to the domain .com and .local mismatch. I’m not quite sure, but this issue may also occur after changing the default domain, or default e-mail address policies, in which case you still could use this technique to resolve the issue.

Hope this helps some of you, cheers!

Feb 272016
 

I was one of the lucky few who were able to pre-order a Microsoft Lumia 950XL when orders were first available. I received it late 2015, and absolutely love it. I’ve been a Microsoft Insider (on the Fast Insider Build track), and I’ve been keeping up to date with testing new firmware, software, etc…

Today, I’m writing to talk about a new platform called “Continuum”. Microsoft developed this as part of the Windows 10 landscape for mobile devices. To describe Continuum in one simple short sentence: Continuum provides a desktop like Windows experience with your phone.

No, the desktop experience does not render on the phone screen itself, but when connecting to a Microsoft Display dock, or Miricast wireless projection device, Continuum provides you with a full screen “Windows-like” environment where you can run Windows 10 universal apps, Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, etc…

Desktop and Start Menu on Continuum

Desktop and Start Menu on Continuum

This essentially turns your phone in to a fully functional computer, allowing you to connect peripherals such as keyboards, mice, USB drives, printers, the list goes on… This is the ultimate tool for the road warrior, you can hook up to any display (or TV), keyboard and mouse (or use the phone screen as a track pad), and edit word documents on the fly, surf the internet with a full screen browser, or Remote Desktop (RDP) in to your corporate computer. Another awesome capability is to use the Microsoft Wireless Display adapter on a projector for presentations to wireless stream PowerPoint presentations from your phone to the projector.

Word New Document on Continuum

 

Word on Continuum

Word on Continuum

 

Excel on Continuum

Excel on Continuum

 

Now here is where things get interesting! I always hear about new technologies, and while most are gimmicks, I find that Continuum is something that can very much be used regularly in real world scenarios, benefiting those who use it.

For most corporate mobile users, they often rely on their mobile laptops to check e-mail (Outlook), work on documents (Word, Excel) while most of their other work is actually performed through Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Services, some other terminal services based remote access solution, or even PCoIP access to virtualized desktops. These remote solutions enable access to a companies LoB (Line of Business) applications, which could be for sales, inventory management, CRM, ERP, SAP, you name it!

In order to access a Terminal Services Server (Remote Desktop Server), or a Virtualized Desktop, you need a basic device that can connect to these services.

Here comes Continuum to save the day. No longer is a laptop required, or the licensing that comes along with it. You now have the entire Microsoft Office suite, an LTE hotspot, VPN client, and a fully functional Remote desktop client in your pocket that you can access anytime.

Server list on Continuum

Server list on Continuum

Active RDP session using Continuum

Active RDP session using Continuum

I loaded up the “Remote Desktop (Preview)” app on my phone to test it out. Right now we are using the Preview as it fully supports Windows 10 for mobile both on the phone display, and inside of Continuum. I’m able to connect to my corporate VPN remotely (using the phone’s VPN client), and initialize a Remote Desktop connection to my work computer. I am now completely using my work computer remotely, using any application, and even routing sounds back to my display on Continuum. The uses for this are endless.

I have to say I’m very impressed. With this technology just being released, it performs surprisingly well. Believe it or not, I’m actually writing this blog post using Microsoft Edge on Continuum using my Microsoft Lumia 950XL. All while the phone is still available and can be used separately, as long as the Continuum link remains open.

I think there is going to be some interesting times ahead, and I’m hoping that companies like VMWare develop a VMWare View client for Windows 10 as Continuum could be a perfect PCoIP client for a virtualized desktop.

I’ve attached some extra screenshots below, and a few links providing information on Microsoft Continuum and the Microsoft Lumia 950XL running Windows 10 for Mobile.

 

Screenshots of actual use:

 

Pictures of Devices:

 

Informational Links:

Continuum
https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/Continuum

Microsoft, on Continuum for phone
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows-10/getstarted-continuum-mobile

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
https://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/phone/lumia950-xl-dual-sim/

Microsoft Display Dock
https://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/accessory/hd-500/

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter
https://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-ca/p/wireless-display-adapter

Windows Continuum for Phones (Provided by Youtube: Windows)

Universal Remote Desktop App (Provided by Youtube: Microsoft Lumia US)

Nov 262015
 

Well, I received my new Microsoft Lumia 950 XL Windows Phone yesterday. Played with it all night (mostly setting it up). I have to say I’m very impressed with both the device, and the Windows 10 mobile operating system on mobile devices.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve actually had Windows 10 loaded up on my Lumia 1020 for the past week and a half (after hearing that the latest insider build is the same build that was shipping on the new Windows 10 devices). Jumping to Windows 10 absolutely rocked. The new operating system is a major step in moving forward in a mobile operating system for phones. I’ll get in to this later on in the article.

Unboxing:

WP_20151125_15_31_48_Pro WP_20151125_15_31_59_Pro WP_20151125_15_32_15_Pro WP_20151125_15_32_51_Pro WP_20151125_15_33_35_Pro

As you can see, they shipped me the Dual SIM variant of the device which was a nice surprise.

Opening the box, it was a very simplistic and nicely organized layout inside. One thing that I immediately noticed was no headphones/headset (which is somewhat surprising as Microsoft is really pushing their Groove Music service, along with Xbox Music Pass). Either way, I can probably use my Lumia 1020’s headphones. I’m sure there’s a ton of headsets available on the Microsoft Store as well.

First, the device feels absolutely lovely in your hands. I ordered the black, and it’s very sleek. The device has a massive screen, and a simple “Microsoft” logo at the top of it. The back has the Microsoft Logo, along with the PureView Zeiss markings, and of course the camera.

Back cover pops off (this took me a while as I didn’t want to break or damage any clips). I’m not sure how easy these break, but I would advise to take your time opening it to install the SIM as well as Micro SD card. One thing I noticed that was interesting, is how the buttons are mounted on the back of the case that pops off. The design shows promise in that if anything is broken, it should be easy to replace the back cover. It would be nice if Microsoft made these parts available for purchase for people who remove/replace these on a regular basis. I’m sure the buttons become a casualty. Under the cover you’ll find the Micro SD slot, 2 X SIM slots, and a replaceable battery (replaceable battery is a nice touch).

 

Plugging in the device, you go through the usual Windows Phone setup which has now been updated to Windows 10. You’ll notice the menu’s and interfaces are beautifully animated in simplistic ways that are pleasant for the user. I elected NOT to restore a backup, as I wanted to start from scratch (especially since my last backup was completed on a Insider Fast build). Give’s me a chance to start from scratch, chose the apps I want (discard ones I don’t use any longer), and setup new personalizations.

You’ll notice once completing the configuration wizard, the display is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The display features a massive screen, with a high resolution that you can enable a view of more tiles if required (note, if you enable the “View more tiles” feature, the text size remains the same and may limit visibility of text displayed inside of tiles. This is not a problem, rather an observation).

 

Immediate Observations:

-Beautifully animated interface for OS

-Massive screen, easy to read

-Easy to hold phone, feels comfortable in hand/hands.

-Microsoft nailed Windows 10 on mobile devices… Literally, nailed it!

-Texting/typing is super easy and pleasant now for people with big hands. I’ve been hating texting up to this point simply because I find it so hard to type on smaller screens. The 950XL screen size is perfect.

-Text messaging layout is amazing

-Skype video calls work beautifully

-Lots of new UI enhancements moving to Windows 10

-Continuum (desktop experience powered by the phone when connected to video/keyboard/mouse) sounds promising. I have not tested this.

-The Camera takes beautiful pictures, also a nice surprise was 60fps 1080p video recording, also 2160p video recording at 30fps.

-Iris scanner built in for logging on to phone (no more PIN codes). I’ve been using this and absolutely love it!

-Bluetooth pairing extremely reliable

-Service/Cell reception is better than my penta-band Lumia 1020!

-Major improvements to Microsoft Outlook, and now have the entire Microsoft Office suite on the device itself.

 

After spending a night and morning with it, this is my new favorite toy. I’ve so far had absolutely zero deal breaking issues with it, I will report back later on how battery life is.

 

There are 3 major things I want to discuss with this device:

Windows 10 for Mobile Device

This truly is the next step not only for the desktop based operating system, but for mobile devices as well. Numerous improvements can be seen in this OS both on the desktop and mobile platform. What’s really interesting is how Microsoft is converging these platforms and almost essentially merging them both in to one thing, while identifying and maintaining the actual usages for the device that is running the OS, Windows 10.

Going specifically in to phone devices, Microsoft has truly has taken it’s own path in to what it believes the most user friendly mobile platform should be. In my opinion, I think they have hit it dead on. The operating system focuses both on ease of use, and the usual simple little dumb apps that are used for simple tasks in ones personal life, but at the same time is a very powerful tool for both business usage, along with keeping one connected, integrated, and in touch with things that are important for both business and life.

Cortana is a move with Windows 10 to provide an assistant of which most think it compares/competes with Siri on Apple’s iPhone, but while it does compete, she’s actually a total different gal! Cortana integrates all of ones Windows 10 devices, providing an assistant to life, as well as with the integration among devices. This provides someone with an interface to all their data, devices, and technologies behind each of the devices, to any outlet/device that runs Cortana. We are slowly seeing these technologies being introduced and enabled, I think it’s just the beginning of something great!

Microsoft is pushing for developers of Windows 10 apps, to provide design that allows the app to run fluidly among both desktop and mobile platforms. This allows a single app to be installed and ran on both platforms, allowing users to have a converged experience on both their desktop and mobile devices. This means your apps, data, and uses are seamless in changing devices. This essentially allows you to do whatever you need to do, on any of your devices.

Ultimately, you’ve got more than “just a phone” in your hand! You have a device that can do whatever you want, whenever you want! You could say Windows 10 is your window to the world! I know it’s cheesy, but it came to mind and holds true.

 

Iris Scan for Log on/Authentication

One thing I wasn’t aware of getting with this device, was the Iris scanner. While setting up the phone, it prompted to configure this and I thought, “There’s no way this phone has an Iris scanner”… Well, it does! Configured, and did about 20 scans of my Iris to improve the authentication mechanism. It works great, and is very comfortable and quick to use when signing in to your phone! I’m curious to know exactly how accurate this is, also where the Iris data is being stored.

Traditionally I’ve always used a PIN, and set up time-outs for authentication appropriately, but have still had issues with friends getting their hands on my device in between the security time out. With this new Iris scanning authentication, I’ve prompted to require it every time the device is used.

Great technology! I’ve been using fingerprint scanners on my Lenovo laptops for some time, and love the feature. However, Iris authentication is taking it a whole step further. Question is, where can I buy an Iris scanner for my desktop?

Make sure you do tons of scans in different lighting, different angles, and make sure you’re looking in different directions so it can fully map your Iris. This will make signing in to the device that much easier.

 

App availability for Windows 10 (or Windows Phone in general)

With all this power, flexibility, and technology, the only disappointment is that more 3rd party developers aren’t developing their applications for the Windows 10 platform. While the phone has everything I need built in for business, I do use quite a few apps for personal uses. The kicker is, is that most of the apps are not developed by the actual company, but by 3rd parties (one example being 6tag for Instagram access). It would be nice for 3rd party companies to take notice to the Windows platform and embrace it, especially with what it has to offer.

I’ve said this before many times, Microsoft hasn’t marketed any of their Windows Phones well, going back all the way to Windows Mobile days. There has been more adoption in the United States due to events, marketing promo’s, etc… However in Canada I feel there is still a lack of marketing being done.

Essentially, I believe there needs to be 3 separate initiatives. One for business apps, one for personal/consumer, and finally app development.

Microsoft needs to partner with more partners, hold more events, and really work on their relationships with phone providers. It also wouldn’t hurt to provide funding to some 3rd party companies to push Windows app development (this has been done in the past by Nokia and Microsoft as far as I know, however a lot of apps that were created from this haven’t been updated in some time).

Now that there is a new flagship Lumia (The Lumia 950 XL), it will be getting out in the hands of the people, but we need apps!

 

Final Note:

This device is kick ass. I’d totally recommend it!

Nov 172015
 

Decided to whip up a post about an issue that I have been running in to more and more as of late.

Typically, situation goes as follows: Customer has an environment where there are industrial machines running Windows CE Embedded computers as controllers. These systems typically are configured to either host files, or grab files off a network. These systems are typically dated, and IT staff is unable to get the Windows CE based machines to connect to network shares on Windows Servers running SMB version 2 or later (ie. Windows Server 2008 and later).

 

This issue is due to authentication issues with protocols and incompatibles. Over the years, Windows File Sharing has come a long way (SMB to be precise). Numerous security enhancements have been made, authentication mechanisms, etc…

In all cases, I’ve noticed companies usually either give up, or hire someone who is able to resolve it, but the resolution is never documented.

 

The solution I have come to could be considered somewhat controversial (due to the fact that Windows XP has reached it’s EOF), but I’ve found a way.

To provide file sharing solutions, in my experiences I have been able to accomplish this by implementing a Windows XP based “proxy” machine (calling it a proxy by name, not by actual usage). Configuring a Windows XP machine, enabling the “guest” account on it, and configuring file shares, will allow users on the network to dump files on these “proxy” network shares, in turn which will be browsable and accessible to the Windows CE machine. This Windows XP machine can be joined to the domain, to allow seamless authentication with other network users/computers, and also contains it’s own local user database.

The guest account needs to be enabled as the Windows CE machines typically browse and do initial file sharing handshakes as “guest”. You’ll also need a local user account configured on the Windows XP machine, which is the account that the actual Windows CE machine will use to connect/authenticate against the share and it’s access.

Please note, you may also have to go in to the “Local Security” policy, and allow guest access to file shares and browsing on the Windows XP machine.

 

As always, since Windows XP has reached it’s end of life, no more security updates are available. You want to make sure you have other security measures in place to mitigate any security concerns that could arise from having an active XP OS running on the network. If anyone else has a better solution or can comment further on this, please do! I’ve had to deal with this issue multiple times for CNC machines with older CE based controllers, as well as handheld Windows CE devices that require network share access.

Nov 162015
 

After upgrading to Windows 10, I immediately noticed that my 3 display setup no longer worked. It was powered by two NVidia graphics cards (GeForce GT 640, and a GeForce GTX 550 Ti).

For some time, I couldn’t find anything on the internet explaining as to why I lost my dual display setup. Finally I came across a forum that pointed to this NVidia Support KB article: http://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3707/~/windows-10-will-not-load-the-nvidia-display-driver-for-my-older-graphics-card

Essentially Fermi based GPUs utilize WDDM 1.3 mode, whereas the newer architectures of Maxwell and Kepler support WDDM 2.0. In Windows 10, it is not able to load multiple display drivers using different WDDM versions.

For a really long time I waited and no updates enabled the functionality until September when I performed an update, and out of nowhere they started to work. I assumed they fixed the issue permanently, however after updating once again, I lost the capabilities. In this case I reverted to the last driver.

I’m not sure if they updated the Fermi driver to support WDDM 2.0, but I just know it started working. And then after a short while, with another driver update stopped working again. Again, the driver rollback fixed the issue.

 

I recently upgraded to the latest build of Windows 10, and completely lost the ability once again, and lost the ability to rollback drivers.

It was time to find out exactly what driver version WORKS with both Kepler, Fermi, and Maxwell architectures.

After playing around, I found the WORKING NVidia driver version to be: 358.50

Load this version up, and you’ll be good to go! Hope it saves you some time!

Feb 062015
 
Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band

 

Well, with this big work out mission I’ve been on lately, and with general love in technology, I finally decided to try and secure one of the Microsoft Band Watches.

These little devices are not only smart watches, but also fitness tracking devices.

Unfortunately I had to purchase mine at a premium on eBay since I’m in Canada, but I have to say it was worth it. I’ve been wearing the devices for two days and love it!

 

Here’s some of my impressions:

-Fits great (I got the large size). Originally I was concerned that I’d have issues with fitting (due to the general bulkiness look of the device as seen on online pictures). Also, I was concerned due to complaints from other users. The first time I put it on I could feel it, but since then I don’t even know I’m wearing it.

-Great information on life stats (heart rate, steps, calories burned, etc…).

-Looks stylish

-Battery life is superb

-Yes, it’s great for a normal watch

-Notifications are SLICK!!!! Calls, e-mails, texts. I don’t even need to whip my phone out to see who is calling me (this is a huge benefit to me)

-You can wear it screen out or screen in

-Forgetting the fitness aspects, there is totally a justified use in having this for the “smart” features alone.

 

Smart (non-fitness features):

-Easy to read texts, emails, etc… Keep in mind this is to give you an idea as to IF you need to pull out your phone, not to actually use it to read/respond to texts.

-Cortana works great! I talk to my watch, and my watch texts people (totally bad-ass).

-Calendar notifications on your watch.

-It tells time (I’m not joking, haha)

-All Windows Phone notifications appear on this device. This is great if you use 3rd party messaging apps, news apps, pretty much any type of app that creates Windows Phone notifications.

 

Fitness features:

-Workout tracking

-Running tracking

-Sleep tracking

-General life stat tracking

-Guided workouts (I doubt I’ll use this, but may end up trying it one day)

 

Things I’ve noticed:

-Since I’m in Canada, I had to set the region on my phone to the United States to install the Microsoft Health app. After installing you can set your region back and the app will stay. Don’t worry, you can choose your measurements so you can use English or Metric.

-I used it yesterday during my weightlifting workout. The stats provided mentioned I barely burned any calories and didn’t do much when in all reality I did A LOT. The readings were definitely incorrect. I believe this is due to my inner wrist and the device not being in contact with skin (under flexing, tendons pop out). I will test further by having the watch reversed on my next work out (screen on the inside vs outside).

-Step tracking is accurate

-Sleep tracking seems accurate. I’m a horrible sleeper and I noticed it did record 8 minutes of me sleeping when in fact I was awake, however for the most part it’s accurate.

-Will be trying the running tracker feature in a few hours. I’m REALLY looking forward to testing this out. Will be updating later.

 

Overall:

-Buy it

-Use it

-Enjoy it

Sep 302014
 

Recently, a new type of error I haven’t seen showed up on one of the servers I maintain and manage.

 

Event ID: 513

Source: CAPI2

Event:

Cryptographic Services failed while processing the OnIdentity() call in the System Writer Object.

Details:
AddLegacyDriverFiles: Unable to back up image of binary EraserUtilRebootDrv.

System Error:
The system cannot find the file specified.
.

 

Also, after further investigation I also noticed that when Windows Server Backup was running, sometimes snapshots on the C: volume wouldn’t “grow in time” so were automatically deleting.

It was difficult to find anything on the internet regarding this as in my case it was reporting “The system cannot find the file specified”, whereas all other cases were due to security permissions. On the bright side, I was able to identify the software that this file belonged to: Symantec Endpoint Protection.

Ultimately I found a fix. PLEASE ONLY attempt this, if you are receiving the “The system cannot find the file specified”. If you are seeing any “Access Denied” messages under System Error, your issue is related to something else.

 

To fix:

1) Uninstall Symantec Endpoint protection.

2) Restart Server

3) Disable VSS snapshots for C: volume (NOTE: This will delete all existing snapshots for the drive.).

4) Re-install Symantec Endpoint protection.

5) Re-enable VSS snapshots for C: volume.

 

When this issue occurred, I was seeing the event many times every hour. It’s been 4 days since I applied this fix and it has completely disappeared, back to a 100% clean event log!

Aug 142014
 

So I purchased a Surface Pro 3 today from the new Microsoft Store that opened up in Calgary, Alberta today. I purchased the 512GB – i7 version with 8GB of RAM.

The unit is slick, beautiful, and totally has a purpose, however there is one major problem I encountered: overheating!

 

First it sync’ed my apps from my Microsoft Account, upon installing 20 (Metro) apps, the unit overheated and I was presented with the black background screen with a circle and a thermometer icon. The unit had to cool down for a while before it allowed me to power on. I wasn’t even using the device, except 20 “apps” were installing in the background.

 

I put the unit in my server room (air conditioned to 18 degrees), and then proceeded to configure the Surface, install applications, and install all the Windows Updates and firmware updates. Since installing the firmware updates the unit has not overheated, however it’s burning my hand from just ONLY running Microsoft Outlook.

Here is a screenshot of the temperatures when running only Microsoft Outlook.

SurfacePro3-Overheat

This specific unit is too hot to use for me. It’s too hot for me to even hold to just read e-mails, and the sound of the fan racing non-stop (even when idling) is driving me absolutely insane. I’ve decided to return the unit for a refund until it sounds like these issues get resolved.

Is anyone else noticing overheating issues with their i7 version of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3?

UPDATE: I found this thread on Microsoft’s “Answers” forum – http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfusingpro/excessively-loud-fan-constant-overheating-during/1efa253a-f7f2-486b-a891-5633738b8532

Nov 142013
 

So you’re running SBS 2011, and recently you notice (or an end user reports) that when trying to log in to your SBS 2011 Remote Web Workplace (RWW) you receive:

404 – File or directory not found.

The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

Screenshot below:

File or directory not found SBS 2011 Remote Web Workplace

File or directory not found SBS 2011 Remote Web Workplace

 

You check your server, all is good. You test internally, and all is good. Absolutely no errors! What’s going on?

Well, as Microsoft pushes out updates to it’s Internet Explorer web browser (and with users upgrading to Windows 8, or Windows 8.1), the compatibility with the Remote Web Workplace is broken and/or lost.

To fix this, you need to add your RWW site to your Internet Explorer Compatibility list:

1)    Open Internet Explorer, and go to your Remote Web Workplace login page. (DO NOT LOG IN YET)
2)    Press the “Alt” button which brings up the internet explorer menus
3)    Drop down “Tools” and then go to “Compatibility View Settings”.
4)    Your internet domain should be in the “Add this website” box, just press the “Add” button, then hit Close.
5)    Close out of Internet Explorer, and then go back in and try getting on remotely.

Note: If you clear your internet history, you will lose the above settings and have to re set them!

And BAM! It should now work without any problems whatsoever!