What’s New in ShadowProtect 4.2.0

StorageCraft logoStorageCraft has recently announced ShadowProtect version 4.2.0. There are some important points worth mentioning.

INSTALLERS
There are now only 2 installers (instead of Std, SBS, Desktop, etc.)

  • ShadowProtectSetup_4.2.0.exe (Standard)
  • ShadowProtectSetup_MSP_4.2.0.exe (MSP version)

UPGRADES

  • < 4.0.1 Installed
    If the current version of ShadowProtect installed is older than 4.0.1, you must deactivate it, uninstall it, reboot, then install 4.2.0, setup your jobs again. etc.
  • >=4.0.1 Installed
    If the current version of ShadowProtect installed is 4.0.1 or newer, you can install over top of the existing bits and your settings will be preserved. Just make sure that you’re using the right installer (MSP installer for the MSP version, Standard installer for everything else).

LICENSE KEYS

  • Desktop Edition keys – can only be used on non-server OS platforms.
  • SBS Edition keys – can only be used on SBS or Foundation Server.
  • Virtual keys – can only be used on virtual machines.
  • Server Edition keys – can be used on Server, SBS or Foundation Server.
  • MSP keys – works on any supported platform.

LANGUAGES SUPPORTED

  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Turkish
  • Chinese (Traditional and Simplified)

RECOVERY ENVIRONMENT

  • Now called Recommended Recovery Environment (RRE)
  • Based on 32-bit x86 Win7/2008R2, now comes on its own .ISO
  • Requires 768 MB physical RAM to function properly
  • Storage drivers need to be 32-bit Win7 or 2008R2 in the REE
  • Legacy Environment is gone (available as a separate download)
  • Fixed a bug that prevented keyboard-only navigation in the backup and restore wizards. (yay!)
  • Experimental support for iSCSI (select iSCSI from the Tools menu).

VIRTUAL BOOT

  • Now supports VirtualBox versions 3.1.0 – 4.1.6 for VirtualBoot

TRIAL VERSIONS

Source: ShadowProtect 4.2.0 change log

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GFI MAX Doesn’t Detect ShadowProtect MSP

I ran into an interesting issue where our monitoring software (GFI MAX) wasn’t detecting the installation / existence of our backup software (ShadowProtect MSP Edition).

THE SOFTWARE

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 installation (brand new install)
  • Current GFI MAX monitoring agent (v 8.8.2)
  • ShadowProtect MSP Edition (v 4.15.10.125)

As you can see from the screen shot below, ShadowProtect is actually installed and showing up in the registry, but the Agent is still failing to detect it.

GFI MAX agent insists that ShadowProtect isn't installed

THE SUPPORT

Per a phone call with the good folks at GFI, the GFI Agent is looking for some specific registry keys to determine the existence of ShadowProtect. The keys are in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\StorageCraft:

  • ShadowProtect SBS
  • ShadowProtect Server
  • ShadowProtect Desktop

THE CRUX

The new ShadowProtect MSP version installs itself as “ShadowProtect”, so the missing “SBS / Server / Desktop” bit at the end causes the Agent to fail.

The FIX

I added a new registry key…

Adding a new registry key for ShadowProtect MSP version

…called “ShadowProtect Server”…

image

…and it passed.

GFI MAX agent now detects ShadowProtect MSP Edition

IMPORTANT: I did NOT modify the existing ShadowProtect registry key – I just added a new one. DON’T rename the existing key.

I called the key “ShadowProtect Server” because this is Server 2008 R2. If this was SBS 2008 or 2011 I’d call the new key “ShadowProtect SBS”.

WHY WE DIDN’T RUN INTO THIS ISSUE BEFORE

As we’ve been converting from the old ShadowProtect MSP version to the new one, that old registry key still existed (even after uninstallation).

SIDE NOTE

The two events the monitoring agent is looking for in regards to ShadowProtect in the Application Log are:

  • ID 1120 – ShadowProtectSvc – Success
  • ID 1121 – ShadowProtectSvc – Failure

Also, GFI MAX will not monitor for the following:

  • ShadowProtect IT Edition
  • ShadowProtect Granular Recovery for Exchange
  • ShadowProtect ImageManager Enterprise
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Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials in MAPS

Microsoft Partners who subscribe to the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) can now download Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials (formerly codenamed “Breckenridge”).

Title: Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials
File names: 
SW_DVD9_Win_Storage_Server_Essentials_2008_R2_English_Install_X17-30240.IMG &
SW_CD_Win_Storage_Server_Essentials_2008_R2_English_Clt_Restore_X17-30259.IMG
Date Available: 05/16/2011
Language: English
File size: 4,572 MB
Download URL: Click here

Note: A Microsoft Partner Network login and subscription to MAPS is required to access this download.

Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials is available for download through MAPS

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Processor: 1.3 GHz
RAM: 750 MB
Hard Disk Space: 1.2 GB

Props: Thanks to Susan Bradley for the heads-up.

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Tip – Showing Thumbnails in SBS 2008 / SBS 2011

Each month when we do test restores of client servers, we pick a few files to demonstrate and verify that the files are valid. And typically the files we choose are JPGs because you can ‘see’ that there is content in them, not just some hollow Word or Excel doc that ‘looks’ OK.

Using JPGs works great for SBS 2003. However, Server 2008 doesn’t show thumbnails by default, even if you select the Icon view, like this…

The Large Icons view shows icons, not thumbnails

…you don’t get thumbnails. You get little pointless icons.

But it’s easy to turn those icons into real thumbnails:

In Windows Explorer click Tools | Folder Options | View | uncheck the box that says Always show icons, never thumbnails | click OK.

In Folder Options, uncheck Always show icons, never thumbnails

Now you see thumbnails, even though the menu says ‘Icons’:

Look ma, thumbnails!

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KYSBSUG Show Notes – Hard Drive Recovery

Data go 'bye-bye' sometimesThe Kentucky Small Business Server User Group (KYSBSUG) meeting #74 last week on Hard Drive Recovery had a fantastic turnout! I’d like to thank all who attended and a special thanks to Craig Mayfield for a killer presentation!

Here are the links for the resources mentioned in the presentation:

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How To Create a Bootable ShadowProtect USB Drive

ShadowProtect I really hate carrying around physical CDs/DVDs for programs I use a lot. Normally I just convert all my discs into ISOs with the free ImgBurn program (which totally rocks) and then throw the ISOs onto my Toshiba 320 GB portable USB drive. Then when I’m on-site if I need a CD, I just mount the ISO with Virtual CloneDrive (also free, and also rocks) and launch the program.

That said, sometimes you still need a bootable CD/DVD. For instance, when you want to image a workstation or server with StorageCraft ShadowProtect and backup the entire machine to an external USB drive.  Unfortunately, that means carrying the disc with you in your tech toolkit, or carrying the ISO and burning a disc.

Here’s a better idea – Use one of those old 1 GB USB flash drives gathering dust in your drawer, and turn it into a bootable USB drive.

Now, before you say “not BartPE and the HP Boot Flash Utility again”, we’re not using those old school tools. This is as modern as modern gets – using a Windows 7 64-bit ultimate machine and no physical CDs.

Note: These instructions are assuming you have already purchased a licensed copy of ShadowProtect from StorageCraft, and are simply looking to turn a boot CD into a boot USB flash drive.

What You’ll Need

  • ISO image of ShadowProtect or a ShadowProtect boot CD (471 MB)
  • 1 GB or larger USB flash drive
  • PeToUSB_3.0.0.7.zip (100KB)
  • Windows 7 workstation (I used a 64-bit Ultimate box, but YMMV)

Step-by-Step Instructions to Create the Bootable USB Drive

  1. Extract the downloaded PeToUSB_3.0.0.7.zip file into a folder on your desktop. You will see 3 files in there, but you only need  PeToUSB.exe
    Cool PeToUSB program
  2. Insert the physical ShadowProtect CD into your drive, or if you’re using an ISO, mount the ISO using Virtual CloneDrive (or some other ISO program).
    Mount the ISO or insert a ShadowProtect DVD
  3. Insert your USB flash drive.
    Insert the flash drive 
  4. Right-click the PeToUSB program, and choose RunAs Administrator.
    Make sure you RunAs administrator
  5. Select your flash drive from the pull-down menu.
    If this box is blank, you probably didn't use RunAs Administrator
  6. Check Enable Disk Format and check Quick Format boxes.
    Format and label 
  7. Browse to the ShadowProtect CD location.
    Find the physical CD or mounted ISO
  8. Click the Enable File Copy checkbox.
    image 

    Your settings should look similar to this:
    Double-check everything

  9. Click Start. On the Continue screen click Yes.
    Go baby, go.
  10. On the Are You Sure You Want To Continue screen, confirm that the correct flash drive is about to be formatted, and click Yes.
    Are you really sure?
  11. The drive will be automatically formatted and the files will start copying.
    PeToUSB is setting up the USB drive.
  12. When the format and copy are complete click OK.
    All done! 
  13. Safely Remove the drive, you’re done!

Now you can boot a workstation off the USB, plug in a USB drive large enough to hold the backup images, and create a backup of that target machine. Or, for some P2V action, you can use the free VMware Player (89.9 MB) to spin up that SPF as a virtual machine.

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R2 or Not R2

SBS 2003 R2The 2006 SBS Partner Tour that rolled through town last week really sparked a lot of dialog.  For example, I got a call from an SBSer today asking for clarification on SBS R2.  They wanted to know if they need to upgrade a client to SBS R2 just to increase the Exchange store limit.  In a word – no. 

Exchange Service Pack 2 is included in SBS R2, but SP2 is also available as a free download (109 MB). SBS 2003 R2 does offer enhanced functionality that Paul and the gang worked hard on. But if all the client needs at this point is larger mailboxes (and not SQL 2005, integrated patch management or FSRM) Exchange SP2 should fit the bill nicely.

CAUTION:  Before you make the jump to Exchange SP2, you need to take some steps first:

Also, doing a test deployment of SP2 in a virtual server environment is always a good idea because; a) there is no ‘undo’ for this service pack, and b) and breaking a production Exchange server could result in an RGE (Resume Generating Event).

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SBS Backup failing with error referencing VSS and MSDE

This info comes courtesy of Andrew Delozey at Interprom

The Issue:
Nightly backup was repeatedly failing within one minute of starting.

The Error: 
Volume shadow copy creation: Attempt 1.
“MSDEWriter” has reported an error 0x800423f4. This is part of System State. The backup cannot continue.

Error returned while creating the volume shadow copy:800423f4
Aborting Backup.

The Details:
Initially when this was entered into Google SBS 2003 groups and general Google web searching there were many results returned referencing Simple Recovery Mode on SQL database installs.  After speaking with Microsoft Support they clarified that the problem was more specific to Volume Shadow Copy services needing a hotfix (891957)applied so that they are readable by the backup wizard in SBS 2003. 

The problem was actually how the SBS backup wizard was seeing VSS.  Oddly enough the backup would start if you just ran NT backup but failed when starting the backup with the SBS Backup wizard.

The Fix:
There is a hotfix for KB891957 that once installed requires a reboot.  SP1 was installed on this box but I’m not certain it’s a prereq. 

Once the hotfix was applied and the server rebooted we ran a test backup using the SBS Backup Wizard.  The backup started successfully which it had not done prior to the hotfix being installed.  That night the backup ran all the way through successfully, the problem was solved.

Thanks for the heads-up Andrew!

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