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# Friday, September 08, 2006

    If you do anything with computers then you probably get this all the time.  It seems like once people get a computer, even though they come to depend on it, they exert very little effort to maintain it, leaving it open to viruses and spyware.  I always get asked to take a look at these computers and a significant part of the time this requires the use of the original Windows CD which the owner never seems to be able to find.  After being stuck at a computer this past Monday with no way to get it booted and a corrupt dll that needed to be replaced, I decided that I should start putting together a "tool kit" that I could have ready to be more prepared for these free service calls. 
    The first item I have added to my toolkit is BartPE.  Run, BartPE, point it at a set of Windows install files and it creates and burns an ISO to either CD/DVD.  This CD is then a bootable version of Windows that can be placed into any computer and booted to.  You then have access to a functional OS with explorer access to the problem computer's original Windows partition.  BartPE allows you to include many other programs on your bootable OS such as a virus scanner and Adware which can come it handy when someone hasn't been taking care of their computer.  I checked several reviews of BartPE and most people gave it five out of five stars.  I think BartPE is one of the best things I've come across lately and I plan to make it the first and permanent addition to my "toolbox".  Feel free to post a comment with anything else you think would make a good addition.

Friday, September 08, 2006 5:00:00 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] - Trackback - Save to del.icio.us - Digg This! - Follow me on Twitter
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# Monday, August 07, 2006

I've begun to notice that several people are unaware of a very important feature of terminal services that can come in handy.  When a server is setup for remote administration mode Microsoft allows two remote administration sessions.  There are at least two issues with this  The first one is that there are only two, so if you have three different administrators trying to remotely log into the same server then the third administrator who tries is going to receive a message informing them that they cannot log in.  The other issue is that some applications output their messages to the console, so if you are logged in remotely you may not be able to view a critical message.
    So what's the solution to this?  Well what few people seem to be aware of is that you can remotely connect to the console session.  This allows you to view any error messages that may get outputted directly to the console, and this also gives you one more remote session to utilize.
    In order to access the console session by way of terminal services you'll need to invoke mstsc from the run prompt using the /console parameter, enter in your address as usual, then log into the remote system.
    It is extremely simple, yet can come in very handy, especially when s few administrators need access to the same server.  This trick could save you a long walk to the server room.  Just remember if you're logged into the console session remotely that means no one can log in directly at the keyboard.  If someone has the console locked when you try to log in remotely to it you will be prompted if you want to continue and end their session.  This will work on servers in application mode, but you must be an administrator on the server to be able to log into the console session.

Monday, August 07, 2006 5:00:00 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] - Trackback - Save to del.icio.us - Digg This! - Follow me on Twitter
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# Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Well, I recently passed the Microsoft 70-290 exam, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment and the primary book I used for studying was a book published by Que titled MCSA/MCSE Training Guide: Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment.  The book was an easy read, but I don't feel it was enough alone to pass the test even though I did manage to do so on the first try.  I do consider the book a good introduction for someone who is not very familiar with Windows server environments.  It goes over all the basics of the features of 2003, but I don't feel the details were covered enough to allow someone to successfully pass the test.  My suggestion would be to go over plenty of practice tests and have hands on experience with Server 2003.  You can download a free six month evaluation period version so you should have sufficient time to go through all the examples in the book and try setting up your own functioning server environment.  The test has a handful of simulation questions so someone with hands on experience should feel more comfortable on these questions.  The book assumes previous knowledge of activity directory and domains so you should consider it a good idea to pick up a book on these topics before beginning this book.   

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 6:00:00 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] - Trackback - Save to del.icio.us - Digg This! - Follow me on Twitter
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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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David A. Osborn
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