With the New Year comes a new class of malicious attack that can impact IT systems. This time, the attack is hardware based, affecting mostly Intel based systems, and to some extent, AMD systems as well.
Here is a list of resources that highlight what it is all about and how to mitigate against this new threat. In the words of Microsoft, “Don’t panic.”
One of the most popular posts on this blog has been the blog on setting up an Internal SMTP Service for SMBs that need to send server reports and support emailing from Internal devices that have move to cloud based email services.
One of the issues with this service is that is occasionally stops. There does not appear to be any reason why it stops, but it does. Restarting the SMTPSVS service does not restart the service, because it is based on IIS6.
Good news! You can use powershell to script the restart of this service.
Open an Administrative PowerShell window.
To Start the SMTP Virtual Server, type the following:
Microsoft has just released version 3 of their Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC). This is a standalone tool that will covert virtual machines, hosts and physical machines to Hyper-V.
The new features of MVMC 3.0 include:
Converts virtual disks that are attached to a VMware virtual machine to virtual hard disks (VHDs) that can be uploaded to Microsoft Azure.
Provides native Windows PowerShell capability that enables scripting and integration into IT automation workflows.
Note The command-line interface (CLI) in MVMC 1.0 has been replaced by Windows PowerShell in MVMC 2.0.
Supports conversion and provisioning of Linux-based guest operating systems from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts.
Supports conversion of offline virtual machines.
Supports the new virtual hard disk format (VHDX) when converting and provisioning in Hyper-V in Windows Server® 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.1, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts Hyper-V virtual machines.
Supports Windows Server® 2012 R2, Windows Server® 2012, and Windows® 8 as guest operating systems that you can select for conversion.
Converts and deploys virtual machines from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts on any of the following operating systems:
-Windows Server® 2012 R2
-Windows Server® 2012
-Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
Converts VMware virtual machines, virtual disks, and configurations for memory, virtual processor, and other virtual computing resources from the source to Hyper-V.
Adds virtual network interface cards (NICs) to the converted virtual machine on Hyper-V.
Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.0, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts to Hyper-V.
Has a wizard-driven GUI, which simplifies performing virtual machine conversions.
Uninstalls VMware Tools before online conversion (online only) to provide a clean way to migrate VMware-based virtual machines to Hyper-V.
Important MVMC takes a snapshot of the virtual machine that you are converting before you uninstall VMware Tools, and then shuts down the source machine to preserve state during conversion. The virtual machine is restored to its previous state after the source disks that are attached to the virtual machine are successfully copied to the machine where the conversion process is run. At that point, the source machine in VMware can be turned on, if required.
Important MVMC does not uninstall VMware Tools in an offline conversion. Instead, it disables VMware services, drivers, and programs only for Windows Server guest operating systems. For file conversions with Linux guest operating systems, VMware Tools are not disabled or uninstalled. We highly recommend that you manually uninstall VMware Tools when you convert an offline virtual machine.
Supports Windows Server and Linux guest operating system conversion. For more details, see the section “Supported Configurations for Virtual Machine Conversion” in this guide.
Includes Windows PowerShell capability for offline conversions of VMware-based virtual hard disks (VMDK) to a Hyper-V–based virtual hard disk file format (.vhd file).
If you have DVD media or and ISO of your Operating System, you can quickly and easily create a sysprepped VHD or VHDX image. With this Virtual Hard Disk file, you can set up a Virtual Machine and boot it directly to the Out of Box Experience, thus saving about half an hour to an hour of installation time.
The process for doing this and PowerShell script called Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 is documented in the Technet Script Repository here – http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Convert-WindowsImageps1-0fe23a8f
Note: This latest release (v6.3) now supports the creation on Generation 2 VMs.
If you use Remote Desktop Services to connect to your Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Host, one of the best practices tasks that you can do is to turn off printer redirection. Printer Redirection is the feature that allows a local printer to be mapped on a remote machine, and allows printing across the network or Internet. Sometimes, badly written drivers can cause issues on the remote host when redirection is permitted, causing major issues on the server, and potentially causing downtime.
Therefore, it is best to turn off this redirection as a precaution. This process can be performed on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
Open an Administrative Command Prompt, and Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).
In the Console, navigate to Add/Remove Snap-in
Select and add the Group Policy Object snap-in.
Click Finish to apply the Snap-in to the Local Computer.
Click OK, to close the Snap-In window.
Expand the Snap-in to Console Root/Local Computer Policy/Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Remote Desktop Services/Remote Desktop Session Host/Printer Redirection
Double Click on “Do not allow client printer redirection” and Enable the setting. Click Apply, then OK.
It appears that Microsoft are now moving towards a new way of deploying service packs. KB 2775511 is a hotfix rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. This hotfix rollup contains 90 hotfixes that were released since service pack 1 and are noted to greatly improve performance and system reliability.
The main areas of improvement are in the Remote File System and Networking components, namely Offline Files, Folder Redirection, SMB and TCP Protocol services.
Windows 8 was released today on MSDN and Technet. It will soon be released publically. With that comes the many GBs of downloads for the ISOs. Many may have newer Ultrabooks, which do not feature DVD drives anymore. Rather than burning the ISO to a DVD disc, why not put it on a bootable USB stick? There are many ways to do this, and I have found that the best way to do this is to use a command tool called DISKPART. The commands are fairly easy.
Open an elevated Command Prompt and type DISKPART. You will open up the Diskpart tool, as evidenced by the DISKPART> prompt.
DISKPART>LIST DISK <- This will give you a listing of the disks on your system. It is very important to identify the USB disk, as you really do not want to format your system drive.
DISKPART>SELECT DISK n <- this will make select the USB disk n, as identified in step 2
DISKPART>CLEAN <- This effectively does a quick format/wipe of the USB disk
DISKPART>CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY <- This will create a primary partition on the disk
DISKPART>SELECT PARTITION 1 <- Since there is only one partition, this will select it.
DISKPART>ACTIVE <- This makes the partition active
DISKPART>FORMAT FS=FAT32 <- This formats the disk and sets it up as a FAT32 formatted drive. This will take a while to complete
DISKPART>ASSIGN <- This assigns the next drive letter to the drive
DISKPART>EXIT <- To exit the utility
Once the USB drive has been prepared, you can now use a utility like 7-Zip to extract the ISO directly to the drive.
BTW. This process will also work when creating bootable USB disks of other Windows ISOs – Windows Server 2012, Windows Small Business Server 2011, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and even Vista.
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 www.microsoft.com/sbs. 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.