MSNBC Web Parts Discontinued

I’ve been ‘rolling my own’ web parts for a while now like the Daily Dilbert, Local Radar, Bert&Ernie Terror Alert, Traffic Cam web parts, etc.  So it’s sad for me to see the default MSNBC Web Parts that are baked in to http://companyweb get the pink slip.  It’s kind of like watching Clippit die, but at least these web parts were useful.

On January 25, 2007, the following MSNBC Web Parts will no longer be offered through the online Web Part gallery for Windows SharePoint Services:

  • MSNBC Business News
  • MSNBC Entertainment News
  • MSNBC News
  • MSNBC Sports News
  • MSNBC Stock News
  • MSNBC Stock Quotes
  • MSNBC Technology News
  • MSNBC Weather

Personally, I think it’s bad form for Microsoft to nuke those and not replace them with something else that is just as easy to deploy.  MS suggests using RSS feeds instead.  But displaying RSS inside SharePoint 2.0 isn’t a cake walk for your average SBSer.  I’ve seen more than a few installs of Smiling Goat tank.   

Obviously the MSNBC parts aren’t ‘specific’ to SBS, but they are in the Online Gallery of every SBS 2003 install.  That’s a LOT of broken links.  Millions.

There’s currently an open thread on SharePoint University asking for alternative web parts.  So, you might want to check that thread periodically or just go ahead and delete web parts from your SBS installs before they timebomb.

Source:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929197

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SBS 2008

I saw my first mention of the verbaige “SBS 2008” on the web today – on Sean Daniel’s blog to be exact.   It’s nothing official by any means, but I just had to mark this moment down for posterity. 🙂

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Windows SharePoint Services 3 Available

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is now available for Windows Server 2003 in x86 and x64 versions.

Links:

*Note, per the WSS 3.0 & SBS whitepaper above:

“Some of the differences between Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 break the integration between Windows SBS and Windows SharePoint Services. For this reason, if you want to install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on a Windows SBS network, you must install it side-by-side with Windows SharePoint Services 2.0. This leaves your existing http://companyweb Web site intact, and it also creates a new Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Web site.”

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Will That Work With SBS?

Has a customer ever asked you if CRM 1.2 will run on SBS 2003 R2? 

What about Small Business Accounting 2006 on a pre-SP1 SBS box? 

Is Vista RC 1 supported in an SBS environment, or is Office 97 supported by WSUS?

The answers to these and many other SBS-related questions can be found on several handy charts you should bookmark today (and Microsoft says that these charts will be kept updated):

The charts have easy-to-understand red, yellow & green symbols to indicate compatibility: 

Green check = The product is an integrated component of Windows SBS, or it is known to be compatible with Windows SBS. The product was tested and you can obtain support for this configuration.

Shield Mark = The product has not been fully tested on Windows SBS and support for this configuration is not available from the Windows SBS product support team. Other groups may offer support for this configuration; contact the appropriate group for information. Some product features may not be fully functional in a Windows SBS environment.

X Mark = Not compatible. The product is known not to work and you should not install the product in a Windows SBS environment.

Each entry also has a notes section with hyperlinks to more information where applicable.

Source:  The Official SBS Blog

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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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Coffee Talk With TS2

Image stolen from Mike Hall's blog - thanks Mike!

Want to build your business?  Charles Van Heusen and the TS2 team think you do, and they want to help. 

Join them every Wednesday morning 9:00 – 10:00 Eastern for the new “Small Business Server Practice Builder” webcast series.

Upcoming topics include:

  • 2-Aug – What’s next for the Small Business Specialist Program?
  • 9-Aug – Licensing Configurator Tools
  • 16-Aug – Engaging with Microsoft
  • 23-Aug – Technology Assesment Toolkit

Registration is easy too – just click on the iCal link and a recurring appointment will be dropped into Outlook. 

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Koolaid Tastes Good

I recently took a break from the Mac ‘apple juice’ and just got back from spending 3 days in sunny Tulsa Oklahoma with one of my buds from Microsoft.  Over the course of a few days we installed a 64-bit SBS server and network, played with some new technology, and got to put Window Vista Ultimate (build 5472) through its paces on a really nice HP machine. 

If you haven’t seen Vista since Beta 2 back in the Spring, it’s come a LONG way.  The July CTP is much more stable and looks absolutely fantastic on a top-knotch PC with a huge flatscreen TV.  There are still some bugs with the DVD burning, some network cards say there is no connection (when they really are connected) and there’s no decent driver for the Haupauge video card yet.  Driver issues are par for the course and to be expected in a beta.  Driver issues aside, I can say after years of waiting for Vista it’s really getting close folks!

Admittedly, the SMB community is flustered over the SBS R2 delay (which I won’t beat into the ground).  But with SBM Nation in Redmond and the Microsoft SBS Parter Tour in Louisville showcasing SBS R2, Vista and Office 2007, September is gonna rock! 

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