Top Support Solutions for SBS 2011 Standard

Microsoft recently (18 Feb 2014) posted a very detailed list of top Microsoft Support solutions to the most common issues experienced using Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard (updated quarterly).

Note: Some content that applies to earlier versions of Windows Server is listed, because it can be helpful with SBS 2011 Standard issues also.

The blog post contains solutions related to:

  • Active Directory and Directory Services
  • Client Computers issues
  • Internet Information Services (IIS)
  • Licensing
  • Mail flow issues
  • Network and Web Connectivity
  • Reliability and Performance
  • Small Business Server (SBS) Components
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Installation and Migration

Link:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/sbs/archive/2014/02/18/top-support-solutions-for-windows-small-business-server-2011-standard.aspx 

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Download – Outlook Configuration Analyzer 2.0

Microsoft Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool 2.0

Title: Microsoft Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool 2.0
File name: OCAT.zip
Date Published: 06/25/2012
Language: English
File size: 6.5 MB
Version: 2.0
Download:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=28806

Description

The Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool 2.0 provides a detailed report of your current Outlook profile and mailbox. This report includes many parameters about your profile, and it highlights any known problems that are found in your profile or mailbox.

For any problems that are listed in the report, you are provided a link to a Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article that describes a possible fix for the problem.

If you are a Help Desk professional, you can also export the report to a file. Then, the report can be viewed in the Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool on another client computer where the tool is installed.

The Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool 2.0 also includes a command-line version that can be used to collect an OCAT scan without user intervention.

System Requirements

Supported operating systems:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 2
  • Windows XP Service Pack 3

This download works with the following Microsoft Office programs:

  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 (Offline Scans only)
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010 (32-bit or 64-bit)

The following minimum version of the Microsoft .NET Framework is required:

  • Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0
  • The .NET Programmability Support feature included with Office must also be installed.
VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Support for Win 2000 / XP SP2 Expired July 13, 2010

Buh-bye, Windows 2000Ding dong, the witch is dead…

Support for Windows XP Service Pack 2 ended on July 13, 2010. Customers need to be on at least Service Pack 3 now.
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifean31

Likewise, Extended Support for Windows 2000 Professional is also over.
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifean35

If you need more guidance on support scenarios regarding these operating systems, check Eric Ligman’s blog post from June 16, 2010 here.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Download – Windows Mobile 6.5 Emulator

Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional Emulator Want to get your hands on Windows Mobile 6.5? Wait no longer!

Title: Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit
Version: 6.5
Date Published: 06/03/2009
Download size:
– WM6.5 Professional (USA) 225.0 MB
– WM6.5 Standard (USA) 71.4 MB
File type: MSI
System Requirements: XPSP3, Vista, Server 2003 SP2 
Download URL: Click here

Description:

The Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit adds documentation, sample code, gesture APIs, header and library files, emulator images and tools to Visual Studio that let you build applications for Windows Mobile 6.5.

Even if you’re not a WM developer, if you support Windows Mobile devices, you should download these emulator images.

Emulator Images Included:

  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional Square Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional QVGA Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional WQVGA Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional VGA Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional WVGA Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard Square Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard QVGA Emulator

Hint: You don’t need Visual Studio to use these emulator images. But if you want to these emulators to be able to communicate across the network and access the web, you’ll probably want to download and install Virtual PC 2007 (30.4 MB) if you haven’t done so already. The reason being; We just need the virtual network adapter, which is installed automatically when you install VPC 2007 – after that, we don’t need VPC 2007 anymore for the WM6.5 emulators.

Configuring the Windows Mobile 6.5 emulator to connect to the Internet

Once you’ve gotten the emulators downloaded and installed, here’s how you connect one to the network:

  1. Make sure Virtual PC 2007 is already installed (see box above).
  2. Open the emulator from the Windows Start Menu.
    Start Menu location of WM6.5 emulators
    The emulator should show a splash screen…
    WM 6.5 - Splash screen
    …and then drop you into the WM6.5 operating system.
  3. In the emulator choose File / Configure
    WM 6.5 - Configuration
  4. On the Network tab, check the Enable NE2000 PCMCIA network adapter to bind to, choose your network card, and click OK.
    WM 6.5 - Choosing a network card
  5. In the emulator, click on Start, then click on Settings
    WM6.5 - Start / Settings
  6. Click on Connections
    WM6.5 - Connections
  7. Click on Connections again
    WM6.5 - Connections again
  8. Click on the Advanced tab at the bottom, and choose Select Networks
    WM6.5 - Advanced / Select Networks
  9. Set both selections to My Work Network, and click OK twice.
    WM6.5 - My Work Network for both
  10. Once you’re back at the Today screen, click Start and then click Internet Explorer
    WM6.5 - Start / Internet Explorer
  11. On the Internet Explorer Mobile page, try searching on something to test your internet connectivity.
    WM6.5 - Search Page
  12. If you’ve done everything properly (including installing Virtual PC 2007 in the box above) you should be connected to the Internet.
    WM6.5 - Search Results 
  13. When you’re done using the emulator, you can choose File / Save State and Exit and the next time you launch the emulator (Step 2 above), you’ll pick up right back where you left off – already connected to the Internet.
    WM 6.5 - Saving State
    If you get prompted to enable the network card the next time you launch the emulator, just choose Yes.
    WM6.5 - Enable network card

Props: Thanks Chris Rue’s blog for the heads-up on the WM6.5 download.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Greetings from Issaquah

sbs_2008_logo_small For five days this week I’m in Issaquah, Washington (southeast of Seattle) at the Microsoft Sammamish campus for the special SBS 2008 training that Microsoft arranged for the SBS-MVPs. So far the training has been absolutely fantastic. This is, by far, the most in-depth and valuable software training I’ve ever received, and I am tremendously thankful for the opportunity to be here! I just can’t thank Kevin Beares and his team enough for putting this event together, and our instructor, John Bay, knows this product with a depth I’ve never seen first-hand before. I’ve been using SBS since version 4.0, and it’s awesome to be able to turn the new 2008 version inside out and see what makes it tick.

In addition to the phenomenal training, another huge benefit of being here in person is the opportunity to network with the Microsoft SBS product team and other SBS-MVPs from around the world. It’s impossible to articulate just how much experience and passion these folks have for the SBS product and the community that uses and supports it. At every opportunity you’ll see folks sharing information, discussing best practices, giving feedback, and debating (sometimes fervently) the issues in the community and the product itself.

On Tuesday night Kevin Beares took the MVPs and some Microsoft folks out to dinner at Pogacha (a restaurant I *highly* recommend). As always, I feel like the least qualified person to be in the same room, but I’m thrilled at the opportunity to be there and share ideas and experiences.  Unfortunately, not everyone could make it to the training event, for various reasons. But for those of you have had a question answered in the SBS newsgroups, this picture of the dinner attendees should help you put a name with the face.

mvp_training_2008

(Click for a larger picture)

  1. Drew Spencer – Microsoft Dev Manager
  2. Mitch Garvis – MVP – Montreal, Canada
  3. Ryan “Fuzzy” Spillane – Sydney, Australia
  4. Kevin Weilbacher – MVP – Florida, USA
  5. Cal McLennan – MVP – Ontario, Canada
  6. Kerry Brown – MVP – Squamish, BC, Canada
  7. Stuart Applegate – MVP – Australia
  8. Tim Barrett – MVP – Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  9. Marina – Germany
  10. Jeff Middleton – MVP – New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  11. Dave Nickason – MVP – New York, USA
  12. Mark Claggett – Microsoft MVP Lead
  13. Abhinay Kampasi – SBS Developer (backup)
  14. Mehmet Demir – SBS Developer (system health, anti-malware)
  15. Kevin Royalty – MVP – Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  16. Marina Roos – MVP – Rotterdam, Netherlands
  17. Eriq “Q” Neale – MVP – Denton, Texas, USA
  18. Dean Calvert – MVP – Adelaide, Australia
  19. Wayne Small – MVP – Sydney, Australia
  20. Susan “Bitzie” Bradley – MVP – Fresno, California, USA
  21. Charlie Russel – MVP – Canada
  22. David Belanger – SBS Developer (setup)
  23. Oliver “Ollie” Sommer – MVP – Germany
  24. Jeff Loucks – MVP – Ontario, Canada
  25. Henry Craven – MVP – Melbourne, Australia
  26. Steven Banks – MVP – Seattle, Washington USA
  27. Kevin Beares – Microsoft Community Lead – WSSG
  28. Jon Bay – Microsoft Product Support (our trainer)
  29. Marie “Mom” McFadden – Microsoft Community Program Manager

    Also here, but not pictured…

  30. Dana Epp – MVP – Canada
  31. Frank McCallister – MVP – Helena, Alabama, USA
  32. Larry Struckmeyer – MVP – Florida, USA
  33. Tobias Redelberger – MVP – Germany
  34. Steven Lai – MVP – San Jose, California, USA
  35. Les Connor – MVP – Canada
  36. Vlad Mazek – MVP – Orlando, Florida, USA
  37. David “ShackDaddy” Shackelford – MVP – Seattle, Washington, USA

To all those with missing info, I’ll fill it in as soon as I can confirm info – I’m horrible with remembering names 🙂 If you know any of the missing info above, please feel free to post it in the comments. And if I missed anyone who’s here, please comment that too.

Thanks Microsoft for a truly awesome and valuable event!

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Changes to SBS Phone Support

Demotivator - ChangeWe’ve all been there. It’s 4:50 PM on a Friday afternoon (or a holiday weekend) and you get the call from a client, “Our server just went down.”  In times like that it’s nice to know that you’re not working without a net – you can always call Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS).

Well, before you pick up your keys and phone and start dialing, be aware that starting August 1, 2008, PSS is moving to a call-back support model for SBS. So, when you dial for help, be prepared to leave your critical information and then wait for someone to call you back.

This wrinkle will definitely introduce some logistical and billing issues – especially if the client is paying for your technician to be on-site waiting for a call, or if you’ve got a server room where you can’t get a cell signal. This isn’t a huge issue in the Managed Service / Remote Support scenario because the tech isn’t on-site burning double-time. But for cases where you absolutely have to be on-site, customers need to know that when the IT fire department rolls up, there may be no PSS water in the hoses just yet.  Check your SLAs folks!

At any rate, there are two ways to submit a ticket to request a PSS call-back:

  • Online ticket submission: https://support.microsoft.com/oas
    (only available during business hours – details below)
  • Phone ticket submission: (800) 936-4900
    (available 24×7)

Support hours & fees:

  • Business hours (9AM – 9PM Eastern Monday – Friday) $259 USD
    Tickets can be submitted via phone or business hours URL:
    https://support.microsoft.com/oas
  • After hours (outside hours listed above, including weekends) $515 USD
    Tickets can be submitted via phone ONLY

The Business-Critical After-Hours Support Site also states that “hours of operation are not impacted by holidays” – good to know on days like today.

There’s also email support available for $99 USD (with a 24-hour response time). But the email support doesn’t cover ‘advanced support’ so you’re better off hitting the newsgroups or just searching Susan’s blog.

Note: The above information is accurate as of July 4, 2008. Be sure to check the SBS Team Blog for any updates to these phone numbers or policies: http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2008/07/02/announcement-call-back-support-for-small-business-server-products.aspx

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

OWA Is Horked – Missing Graphics

From the Help Desk file…

Reported Issue: Users report Outlook Web Access (OWA) ‘looks funny’ or ‘messed up’ and is missing the graphics.  The main body says “Loading…”.

There is also no screen color, just a bunch of hyperlinked boxes with red X’s.

System: Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2

Details: Here is a screen shot of the error condition

OWA is horked

Dead Ends:

  • Outlook Mobile Access is working fine
  • Event logs aren’t throwing any errors
  • ASP version is good
  • Restarting application pool didn’t help
  • Restarting IIS didn’t fix it either

Diagnosis: This was a permission issue. SSL wasn’t enabled on OWA

Resolution:

  1. Open IIS Manager
  2. Navigate to Server Name / Web Sites / Default Web Site / right-click Exchange / choose Properties.
     
    image
     
  3. Click on Directory Security, and in the Secure communications box, click Edit.
     
    image
     
  4. In the Secure Communications window, make sure Require secure channel (SSL) and Require 128-bit encryption are checked.
     
    image
     
  5. Hit OK, OK and Restart IIS

If those boxes are already checked, take a look at the NTFS permissions on the hard drive for the IIS folder.  And if you do have to eventually reinstall Outlook Web Access, be sure to check out Henrik Walther’s article, “Fixing a Damaged or Incorrectly Configured OWA 2003 Installation

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

KYSBSUG Feb 2008 – Windows Mobile Hands-On Lab

windows_mobile_palm_treo Are you interested in setting up a Windows Mobile device with SBS, but just haven’t gotten around to doing it?

If so, you’re not alone.  Next to Windows SharePoint Services, Windows Mobile devices are the most under-used killer technology in SBS.

This month our topic for the KYSBSUG meeting is a free hands-on lab / boot camp to get IT Pros and network administrators comfortable with testing, rolling out, and supporting Windows Mobile devices with SBS.

In addition to offering training on Windows Mobile 5 & 6, we’ll also provide resources for connecting Palm mobile devices (such as the new Palm Centro) and Apple iPhones with SBS. 

If you’re shy and have never used Windows Mobile devices before, this event is for you! We’ll take you from a-to-sync. 🙂  Or, if you’re already are a Windows Mobile pro, you’re still invited to attend, compare notes on local wireless carriers, help users with the labs, and be registered for the door prizes.

You are invited to register and attend in person!
Cost:  FREE

Event: KYSBSUG February 2008 Meeting (#47)
Topic: Windows Mobile Hands-On Lab / Boot Camp
Date: Wed Feb 20, 2008
Time: 6:30 PM Eastern – 9:00 PM Eastern
Location: Money Concepts
Address: 323 Townepark Circle
City St Zip: Louisville, KY 40243
Registration Required?: Yes
Invitees: IT Pros, Network Administrators, KYSBSUG Members & Geeks
Registration URL: http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=125230

Below is a list of what you’ll need to complete the lab.

Note: If you’re missing any of the pieces below to complete the lab, don’t worry. You’re still invited to attend to receive a copy of the simulator software and to see what pieces you need to put in place to properly configure a Windows Mobile device on your (or your customer’s) network. Just be sure to bring a flash drive.

IMPORTANT – You DO NOT need to have a Pocket PC or SmartPhone to complete this lab. We will provide attendees with a Windows Mobile emulator that runs on your PC. (We also have a Palm emulator as well).

To complete the lab you will need:

  • Laptop PC (Vista or XP) with WiFi
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 1-1.5 GB available hard drive space
  • Remote access to an SBS server with RWW properly configured (CEICW already run & ports open in your firewall)
  • An ‘A’ record pointing to your RWW site (such as remote.domain.com or server.domain.com)
  • Administrator credentials for your SBS server
  • AC powerstrip / surge protector or extension cord
  • 1 GB or larger USB flash drive

OPTIONAL – If you DO decide to bring a SmartPhone or Pocket PC, please also bring:

  • Your Windows Mobile device
  • The charger / AC adapter
  • The data cable / cradle
  • Any software (CDs) that came with the phone
  • An SD / Mini SD / Micro SD card (whatever your device takes)
  • A card reader or adapter to read the SD card on your PC

There is already a lot of interest in this topic and seating is limited, so please register early to guarantee a seat.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Message is Larger Than the Current System Limit

From the Help Desk file…

A client running SBS is having problems with large attachments bouncing.  They are using SMTP, not POP3:

  • Each month they get a a particular inbound email from an external sender w/ a sizeable attachment
  • Last month the attachment was 7,403 KB and it was delivered just fine
  • This month the attachment was 7,562 KB and it was rejected

Error Message:

“The following recipient(s) could not be reached: This message is larger than the current system limit or the recipient’s mailbox is full. Create a shorter message body or remove attachments and try sending it again.”

Gut Reaction:

The ultimate computer troubleshooting question – “What changed?” 

The attachment is bigger (but not much).  And it’s likely that the users mailbox has grown in the last month, right?  Well, not so fast.

Server Settings:

  • Mailbox Store Storage Limits:  Warn @ 175 MB / Prohibit @ 200 MB
  • Client mailbox size:  22 MB
  • Default SMTP Virtual Server Properties: Limit message to size (KB) is unchecked
  • Exchange Delivery Defaults:  10,240 KB send / 10,240 KB receive
  • User Delivery Defaults:  10,240 KB send / 10,240 KB receive

So the attachment is well below the 10 MB limit, and the user has plenty of storage space.  What gives?

The Smoking Gun:

I did some research and found the following KB Article:

“How to set size limits for messages in Exchange Server”
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322679

Note The size of SMTP messages that are sent between routing groups and to the Internet increase by about 30 percent if they contain binary attachments or other 8-bit data.”

Yeah – you read that right, 30% overhead for SMTP email attachments. 

Let’s do the math – a 7,562 KB attachment with a 30% increase (7,562 / 0.7) = 10,802 KB.  And that’s larger than 10,240 KB folks!  I talked to Vlad for validation, and after the obligatory mocking session, he confirmed that’s about right for the overhead.  He also said something about an 8-bit attachment going through a 7-bit system, but that’s over my head.

Resolution:

I bumped the limits up to 15,360 KB, so they should be able to receive a 10,752 KB attachment (a true 10 MB), sent another test email, and it worked!

So here’s a rough conversion chart of what your settings need to be to get ‘true’ attachment sizes through the server:

Physical Attachment / Actual Height Needed

  • 5 MB / 7,200 KB
  • 6 MB / 8,600 KB
  • 7 MB / 10,00 KB
  • 8 MB / 11,400 KB
  • 9 MB /12,900 KB
  • 10 MB /14,300 KB
  • 11 MB /15,700 KB
  • 12 MB /17,100 KB
  • 13 MB /18,600 KB
  • 14 MB /20,000 KB
  • 15 MB /21,400 KB

To plug in that setting, just navigate to:

Server Management / Advanced Management /  Exchange / Global Setting / Message Delivery / Properties / Defaults tab:

I hope that helps somebody.  And thanks Vlad, my favorite Exchange MVP 🙂

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Craziest Event ID Ever – Event ID #34

I see far-out error messages and event IDs all the time (like the recent AVG “Something bad has happened in the application” messages this week).  But this one takes the cake…

PROBLEM REPORTED
Client’s computer was locking up randomly.  After it locked up, the three-finger-salute wouldn’t bring it back, only killing the power would do the trick.  Once the reboot was complete, the machine would work fine for minutes or hours sometimes, then randomly freeze again.  (And in case you’re wondering, the system was free of spyware and virus infections).  We checked the event logs and found one single red X error message:

ERROR:
Event Type:  Error
Event Source:  i8042prt
Event Category:  None
Event ID:  34
Date:  6/13/2007
Time:  11:43:14 AM
User:  N/A
Computer:  {snip}

DESCRIPTION:
“An error occurred while trying to determine the number of mouse buttons.”

Umm… yeah.

The MS Help and Support Center link wasn’t much help in this instance.  And I’ve never seen a mouse take out a computer like this, but we decided to troubleshoot the only clue we’d been given.

RESOLUTION
We powered the computer down, unplugged the old school roller PS2 mouse and installed a USB optical mouse, and hit the juice. 

RESULT:
This computer has been working fine ever since swapping the mouse.  No runs, no drips, no errors.

ADDITIONAL INFO:  I wanted to see if anyone else has seen this one before, and EventID.net has a post that says the mouse port might be damaged – and that’s probably what happened here.  If you ever run across this, here’s the link to the EventID.net post.

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)