Category Archives: Featured

Featured Category for Metro Theme

PowerBiz Solutions gains Microsoft Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency


PowerBiz Solutions today announced that it has successfully achieved the Microsoft silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency. Partners demonstrating professional and proficient capability in assisting small and medium sized businesses moving to the Cloud can attain this certification upon satisfying established performance criteria and providing customer references.

The competency demonstrations the continued dedication and commitment to excellence in enabling businesses to use technology as a business advantage to achieve their targets and objectives. PowerBiz Solutions continues to provide high quality technical expertise to enable small and medium business to be efficient and effective in the use of Microsoft on-premises and cloud technologies based on Windows Server, Windows 10, Office 365 and Azure.



An Administrator’s Guide to Windows Server 2012 Essentials

I’ve written a book.

The full details of the book are featured here –

You can download a sample of the book here –

It has been a drawn out process, and I now appreciate the effort it takes to write. I’d like to reiterate the acknowledgements to the people who have made this book possible.


I want to acknowledge God as my inspiration and to give Him the glory for His creation and my reason for existence in this point in time in the universe. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.

I want to thank my wife of 25 years, Hwee Ling, for her patience in putting up with my techno babble, and long hours immersed in work/IT/computers. I look also to my two daughters, Kristen and Karyn, for their joy in life and passion for discovery and knowledge. I want to specifically thank Karyn for her tireless work in helping me design, complete, proof read, format, and edit this manuscript.

Thank you, Jeff Middleton, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Windows Server (SBS/Essentials), who found time to glance through the book and write the foreword. You have been a good friend and valuable resource through IT Pro Experts and

For the photos of old SBS boxes, my appreciation goes out to my SBS-MVP family in Dave Nickason, Handy Andy Goodman and Jason Miller. Who would have thought you guys were hoarding the last remaining remnants of SBS history!

To Glen Scales (Exchange-MVP), and Susan Bradley (SBS-MVP), thank you for your contributions to the list of resources for small business. I know that readers will benefit greatly from your extensive knowledgebase.

To the rest of the SBS and WHS MVP community, I thank you for your passion, drive, ideas, and help in making the product workable in the real world. Truly, you guys and gals bring meaning to the slogan “Independent Experts, Real World Answers”

To the Microsoft® Small Business Server/Windows Server® 2012 Essentials Product Group Team, I thank you for your invaluable help in working through the issues and listening to the community and for making this the excellent product it is for the small business community.


Hyper-V Replica for Small Business

This post serves as a starting point for my series of posts on the new feature called Hyper-V Replica.

Windows Server 2012 HyperV Replica Scenarios for Small Business

In this post, I examine the various scenarios where a small business could use this technology.


How to set up Hyper-V Replica for Small Businesses

In this post, we look at how to configure and set up Hyper-V Replica.

The post continues on to a follow up session, “Disaster Recovery with Hyper-V Replica for Small Business on a Budget, which looks are a cheaper alternative in deploying this feature.


Monitoring and Managing Hyper-V Replica

We also look at how to monitor and manage the Hyper-V Replica and steps to take in case the replica is needed in a DR situation.


Supplementary Resources

There are a number of other posts that are referred to or provide further information related to the subject matter.

Windows Server 2012 is released – Supports in place upgrade!

Don’t let the unassuming simple look and feel of the start up fool you. Windows Server 2012 is a robust, full featured server platform capable of powering the world’s largest datacentres and also small business single server organizations.

Read about the full specifications and the myriad of features from the Microsoft website here –

An interesting development in this version is the ability to perform an in place upgrade from a previous version. I tested this feature on my test server running Windows Server 2008 R2 with the HyperV role. The process took about half an hour with several server reboots. When it was done, I was presented with the server log in screen. I typed in the password, and was presented with the Windows Server 2012 version of my server. The management tool I had running on the server promptly checked in and announced that the server was online.

A minor detail was observed when all the virtual machines showed up on the system in a critical state and would not start up. This was easily remidied by removing the virtual machines from the HyperV Manager, and importing the virtual machines back. This is probably due to the fact that my virtual machine home folder was not as expected, and was relocated to a different area previously.

All up, it was a relatively painless process and it was a plesant surprise and bonus to see the in place upgrade feature available.

Windows 8 has arrived

In case you have not heard, Windows 8 has been released on MSDN and Technet. Volume License users will be able to download and deploy Windows 8 today. Expect a bunch of OEM vendors to release their offerings in the coming few weeks.

For all the information on Windows 8 feature set, visit the Release Preview site here – Or download the product guide here –

I have been using this OS for the past few months and it is a solid product. My wish is that third party vendors will get on the bandwagon and upgrade their applications sooner than later. For those using Windows XP, this is the time to update your 10 year old operating system.

Expect Windows Server 2012 to be released on MSDN and Technet in the next few days.




Fixing the Black Screen of Death (KSOD) on SBS 2011

This weekend, an IT reseller contacted me with a problem they had. After the RAID controlled failed on a SBS2011 Standard, they receovered the server from the SBS Backup using the Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) process. After the server was restored, they booted the system and encountered the Black Screen of Death (KSOD). This is a condition where the system boots up and nothing comes up on the screen except a black screen with a mouse pointer. Nothing else can be done to the server, and no amount of waiting will get this server to carry forward in the boot process.

It turns out that there is a known condition that causes this severe problem. In the migration process from SBS2003, the reseller installed the NTBackup Restore Utility for WIndows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 utility. This utility allows a user to read and restore a backup set created by the NTBACKUP utility in Windows Server 2003 on a 2008 R2 server. The problem occurs when the user does not uninstall this utility after they have finished restoring the backups. In this condition, all server 2008 R2 backups (yes, including those done in SBS 2011, or any backup that uses the WBEM engine) will be corrupt, and will cause this condition when performing a BMR restore.

The reason for this is that a specific folder is ommitted from the backups – c:\Windows\Registration – if this condition exists.

This condition is now noted in Update Rollup 3 for SBS 2011 –

The simple fix for this is as follows:

  1. Copy the contents of C:\Windows\Registration from a working SBS2011 server
  2. Boot into the Windows Repair/Recovery mode using SBS2011 Disc 1
  3. Open up a command prompt and browse to C:\Windows\Registration
  4. Copy the files (from a USB drive or something) over to the server

The server should now boot up.


Windows Server 2012 Essentials – First Looks Part 1

Here is a brief look at the new Windows Server 2012 Essentials Release Candidate. Note that while this is a Release Candidate version, some items may change before the final release. The server is running as a virtual machine in Windows Server 2012 RC on an ASUS laptop.

The boot up proess is similar to Windows Server 2012, as it is based on the same underlying operating system.

The login prompts are also similar to Windows Server 2012, and have the Metro interface.

After pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL
The initial Start experience is Metro with icons to common Server administrative tools. The Dashboad app is conspicously missing from this view, and hopefully it will be added in the final release.
Dropping down to the desktop reveals that missing Dashboard shortcut. Functionality is the same as with Windows Server 2012.
Opening the Dashboard reveals a new look Metro interface with similar functionality to Small Business Server 2011 Essentials.

We’ll have a look at the new Dashboard in the next post. Stay tuned.


Goodbye SBS!

Microsoft announced today the next release of their Windows Server operating systems, and thus ended the branding and name Small Business Server. Read the announcement here – Also check out the new line up for Windows Server 2012 here –

Here is a brief history of SBS. Google “Small Business Server” for more information on this.

  • 22 Oct 1997. BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0 is introduced, based on Windows NT Server 4.0 SP3. Allowed 25 client licenses.
  • 24 May 1999. BackOffice Small Business Server 4.5 is released, based on Windows NT Server 4.0 SP4. Allowed 50 client licenses.
  • 21 Feb 2001. Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 is released, based on Windows 2000 Server. Allowed 50 client licenses.
  • 9 Oct 2003. Windows Small Business Server 2003 is released, based on Windows Server 2003. Allowed 75 client licenses.
  • 29 July 2006. Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 is released, based on Windows Server 2003. The main updates here included the introduction of Windows Server Update Services and expansion of the 18GB Exchange database limit to 75GB.
  • 21 Aug 2008. Windows Small Business Server 2008 is released, based on Windows Server 2008. Allowed 75 client licenses, and introduced a new Console for administration and management.
  • 13 Dec 2010. Windows Small Business Server 2011 is released, based on Windows Server 2008 R2. The product was split into a Standard and Essentials version, where the standard version carried forward the 75 client license limit as seen in past releases. The new Essentials version was introduced from the Windows Home Server codebase and included 25 client licenses built in.
  • late 2012/early 2013 (estimate). Windows Server 2012 Essentials will be released, based on Windows Server 2012. Includes 25 client licenses.

With the introduction of Windows Server 2012 Essentials, the Small Business Server brand name will be lost. Here are some screenshots of the administration console as it developed in SBS2000, SBS2003, SBS2008, SBS2011 Standard and Essentials.

For more information on Small Business Server features, go to SBS2011 is available right now. This is your last chance to get a fully integrated server for small business which integrates on premise Email, collaboration, update services, remote web access gateway, and much more.