Thursday, October 15, 2009

Identify RAM in ESX

I recently had to call VMWare support to see if they could help me identify the denominations of RAM in my ESX server without having to open it up. Their support is better than most.

I am running ESX 3.5 Update 3

SSH to your ESX server as root

Run dmidecode from the shell

Look for the entries that start with:

DMI type 17, 23 bytes.
Memory Device
Array Handle: 0x1000
Error Information Handle: Not Provided
Total Width: 72 bits
Data Width: 64 bits
Size: 1024 MB
Form Factor:
Set: 1
Locator: DIMM 1A
Bank Locator: Not Specified
Type Detail: Synchronous
Speed: 667 MHz (1.5 ns)

This contains the details of each of the RAM chips in each individual slot.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blackberry Storm Battery Drain

I recently upgraded my phone to After doing so, I noticed that my Storm's battery would be drained by noon with little or no use. It appears I inadvertently turned something on or the upgrade turned something on that was draining the battery. I already had blue tooth turned off. I found an option on the phone called "Location Aiding" that was turned on. This apparently enhances the GPS on your phone. I noticed nothing different with this feature so I turned it off. Voila, my battery was back to normal.

Turn off location aiding
Depending on your wireless service provider and wireless network, this feature might not be supported. By default, location aiding is turned on to improve the performance of GPS technology. When location aiding is turned on, your BlackBerry® device connects to a central server periodically, which can increase your data service charges. To avoid these charges, you can turn off location aiding, but it might take longer for your device to get your GPS location. For more information, contact your wireless service provider.

1. On the Home screen, click the Options icon.
2. Click Advanced Options.
3. Click GPS.
4. Change the Location Aiding field to Disabled.
5. Press the Menu key.
6. Click Save.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to Remove FullAccess from ALL Exchange Mailboxes

The following is the Exchange 2007 Management Shell script to remove FullAccess off all mailboxes for a specific username:

get-mailbox | Add-MailboxPermission -User 'domain\user' -Deny -AccessRights FullAccess

The -User 'domain\user' is the user account you want to remove FullAccess for.

For additional information:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Backup Exec Error 0xe00084f4

I am running Backup Exec 12.5 rev 2213. My Exchange backups stopped working all of a sudden, for no reason. The backup was failing on a Windows 2008 Server with Exchange 2007 SP1 update 8.

The error I was getting was this:

Completed status: Failed Final error: 0xe00084f4 - An unknown error has occurred. Final error category: System Errors For additional information regarding this error refer to link V-79-57344-34036

Backup- computername
An unknown error occurred on device "HP 1". V-79-57344-34036 - An unknown error has occurred.

I tried creating a new job, backing up one item at a time and about 100 other things. Nothing worked including Symantec's escalated "support." Strange thing was my Information Store backups would still work, but none of my system state, C drive etc...

I mistakenly created a new job but didn't pick the media set I usually use for my exchange jobs. Viola, the backup worked.

I simply created a new media set and changed it in the backup job. Job runs perfectly again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

0xe0008516 Veritas BackupExec Error with Exchange 2007

I started getting the following error on my Exchange 2007 backup using Veritas 12.5:

Completed status: Failed Final error: 0xe0008516 - Resources specified for snapshot do not have any valid data on them. Check if files were deleted or renamed.

Here are the steps I tried:
  1. Reinstalled backup exec agent on mail server.
  2. Isolated the information store into its own backup, separate of the system state, c drive etc.
  3. Removed the Exchange license, rebooted media server and re-added it.
  4. Rebooted the media server.
None of those steps worked. Then, I remembered I created new storage groups on the Exchange server. They did not have anything in them. I made them and was going to move mailbox databases into them but never got around to doing it. As soon as I unchecked the unused storage groups, the backup completed successfully.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Office Communicator Server 2007 Client Problems

All my OCS clients today were receiving a message that they "Cannot Synchronize Address Book." This is denoted by a red exclamation point in the OCS client, or the yellow mark on the OCS client in the taskbar.

There are a number of reasons this might happen. In my case, it was because the service accounts I created for the OCS server passwords expired. I went into AD and reset the passwords and then checked to have them never expire. When I rebooted the server, the same problem was there. I also noticed in my security event log, that I was being hammered with Security Event 537 failures.

After some digging around, I found that there was one more place I needed to reset the password. In IIS, expand Application Pools. You'll notice that your LSGroupExpAppPool is stopped. Right click on the pool and go to properties, then to the identity tab. Make sure you reset the password here and then start the pool.

You can then either have your clients reboot and the issue will be resolved, or have them exit out of the application and go back in. At first, my users were presented with the login screen and of course that threw them off. However, some users just waited 10 minutes and their clients automatically logged back in.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lack of DFSR Locking Mechanism

An excellent article published by MS on an issue that has impacted a number of users.

Word 2003 and 2007 Documents Lost Formatting

We recently ran into an issue where hundreds of documents had all of a sudden lost formatting. Bullet and numbered lists would appear simply as paragraphs with strange indents. The files were likely created in an older version of Office but we're not sure.

The files didn't look right in Word 2007 or Word 2003. However, when I opened the files in Word 2000 and OpenOffice, the files looked correct. Strange behavior. Re saving the files in OpenOffice seemed to have fixed the issue, however when some users would go to edit the documents further, the formatting would get lost again. We had to call PSS.

A case with Microsoft was opened and the following hot fixes were provided that solved our issue.

Word 2003;EN-US;957706

Word 2007;EN-US;962872

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Very Slow Backups of DFS Shares with BackupExec

There are couple known issues when backing up DFS shares with Symantec's BackupExec software. These issues have been around since version 11.

  1. If you simply select the folders where your data resides, it will appear your backups are running correctly. The first time you go to restore data your heart will stop when you realize all the folders are empty.
  2. If you backup the folders the way Symantec wants you to, prepare for very very slow backups.
  3. If you utilize the Shadow Copy features that Symantec wants you to use, you'll notice that the folder will go back into initialization mode. This is particularly troublesome because this folder will not participate in replication until it is complete. It will also move existing data into the preexisting folder and really screw up your replication.
To get around these issues, I have been using a "legacy" feature of the software and it has been working great for quite awhile.
By default, the software will not let you select the shares to backup. This is the feature we need. To enable it, go to Tools - Options and then go to the Network and Security section. The first check box "Enable selection of user shares" needs to be checked. Now, go look at the remote servers and you'll see your shares for selection. Be sure to test your restores to make sure you have everything else working correctly.

I am currently running BackupExec 12.5.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Increase the Size of a VMWare Guest Boot/System Drive

Have you ever created a VMWare guest server (Windows) and made the C drive too small only to realize later that you're unable to resize it?

Be sure to backup your VMDK prior to trying these steps.

Here is a way to do it on ESX 3.5 update 2:
(This also works on vSphere 4.1 Update 1)
  1. Shut down the problem server.
  2. Edit the settings of the server and note the location of the VMDK file you want to change.
  3. You can extend the drive using the GUI or using steps 4 and 5.
  4. SSH to your ESX server and navigate to the data store you noted in step 2.
  5. Run vmkfstools -X 40G nameofthedisk.vmdk. 40G is the total size of the disk you want to change it to, not the the amount you want to increase it by. (/vmfs/volumes/.....)
  6. Mount the drive that you want to expand on a Windows 2008 Server.
  7. Extend the volume from Disk Management by right clicking on it and selecting extend.
  8. Shut down the 2008 server and remove the disk from the settings.
  9. Boot up the old problem server.
  10. It will likely ask you for a reboot after the OS detects what it thinks is a new drive.
  11. Reboot, and Voila! Your C drive is now bigger!
NOTE: I have found on a 2008 R2 server you will sometimes get the 0xc000000e error unless you follow this: specifically #7 in the resolution section.

NOTE: You must have contiguious space where the original C drive exists for this to work.