Thursday, June 30, 2005

Another SharePoint Customization Site

So today, our valued Intern, Yue, suggested that people could customize their sharepoint websites to suite their business needs. He brought up the SharePoint Customization website, put on by the FrontPage team here at Microsoft.

If you've got a copy of Front Page 2003, and a test box to figure out how to do this, you can get some pretty cool templates based completely on vertical business such as Finance, Human Resources, Sales, Sports, etc.

Leave me a comment if you've used these and what your thoughts are on them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Getting Easy Access to SBS Documentation


I have to give Kudos to the SBS writing team, a team of 4 people, who just pump out the documentation to help you guys out. Although, sometimes, I find when you go to the Small Business Server Product Documentation site, it's hard to find exactly what you're looking for.

I find Browsing By Task to be the easiest view of all the documentation.

Why did I post this today? Because I still get asked Can I use SharePoint as an Extranet? or How do I move the WMSDE databases under SharePoint?, or Where do I put my personal website on SBS?.

I thought I'd share the hard work of our writing team as a result. :o)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Help Kill Spyware...

Geez people, if you've still got SpyWare on your PCs, please help to remove it. Install the Microsoft Antispyware tool. Sure it's currently in beta, but I run it on all 4 of my machines, and so far, am spyware free! Now if only it was integrated into the security center...

Friday, June 24, 2005

FAT32... I can't believe it's still around!

Hrm, can you remember the last time you used a floppy disk? I honestly can't. I've had my SanDisk 1 gb Cruzer Mini, and that was it. Floppies were a thing of the past.

Along with that I thought FAT32 disappeared too. FAT32, for those of you who don't know, is the Win98 version of the filesystem, it's the 32 bit version of FAT16, which is probably most definately obsolete.

Anyways, I suppose it's not. FAT32 is pretty generic, and can be read by MAC OS, Linux, and Windows. As a result of it's versatility, USB disks ship pre-formatted with FAT32.

Seems reasonable right? Except if you're using it as a backup volume for your Small Business Server. What they don't seem to mention is the maximum filesize that a single file can be on a FAT32 drive.

That maximum filesize is 4 gb! So while backing up your Small Business Server 2003 to a FAT32 drive, you'll get the error: End of Media encountered while backing up to non-removable media.

Ugh, so now what?

You need to convert it (or format it). Since I'm pretty sure most people know how to right-click a drive and choose format, then change the file system to NTFS, but what if you don't want to loose the data?

There is a nifty little tool called convert which is a command prompt too. Simply type in the command convert {drive}: /fs:NTFS. Then just follow the instructions on the screen.

You could also hit this with Media Center Edition, if you're recording long movies ...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I love hidden shell "features"...


For a while now, I've believed Dr. Alfred Lanning from the movie i, Robot (staring Will Smith). Dr. Lanning said that there were "ghosts in the machine that would make the machine behave abnormally time to time". He wanted to leverage these ghosts to build a special type of Artificial Intelligence that could think more like a human.

I was believing this primarily based on the My Music folder. On occation in thumbnail view, the folder names would just disappear (like so):


I spent hours in the View menu, searched Google, everything. I couldn't come up with why it was happening. It was a Ghost! A.I on my Media Center Edition!

Then I got to thinking, I'm not a little boy anymore, and I don't believe in Ghosts. Furthermore, I work for the company that built the shell! What luck! I took advantage of some contacts and asked some folks in the Shell team what was going on. Just like the software, I was in Ghost Town. No one seemed to know until recently I happened to be reading up on some mail about photography, and my question was finally answered!

If you switch from a non-Thumbnail view to the Thumbnail view and hold down the shift-key, this will toggle if you get the foldernames or not. I'm not sure I call it a feature, but that's how it works.

So, in one email, I went from a believer in software ghosts giving us the ability to create human-like articifical intelligence, to realizing that I just have a stuck shift-key and in fact, need a new keyboard.

What a let down. :o)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Don't forget, you have a hosts file


I was playing around in my office today, and one of our very smart interns was working on setting up Remote Web Workplace such that he can do some testing. Unfortunatley, he didn't want to register a domain with his server, but still wanted to get the domain experience...

Using some old-school Windows technology, we figured it out. Simply by adding the server's IP address to the c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file, we were able to make the server www.usa.gov, without actually getting the domain name.

Sure, it's brute force, and impossible to manage, but hey, it got the job done for a test environment when DNS needed to resolve the server name.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

GoDaddy has a sale on SSL certificates!

Looks like GoDaddy is finally getting it. From what I understand, they are handing out $20 SSL certificates (for low bandwidth sites). But if you have customers, or you yourself wants a signed certificate to make your life a lot easier. That's a pretty decent price

Check out the GoDaddy Secure SSL Certificate Services

Update: for SBS 2008, I have Provided Steps on how to install the GoDaddy Certificate.

SBSfaq seems to be back online!


Our very own MVP, Wayne Small, has finally brought his FAQ website back online.
The SBSfaq site

Wayne is an Australian MVP that is very active in the SBS community. He had his SBSfaq.com website up and running on SBS 2000, and recently had time to port it to running on top of Windows SharePoint Services, on Small Business Server 2003. Although you wouldn't know it to look at it, the site is actually a SharePoint site.

Enjoy the extra knowledge you can find on this site. I've linked it on the side link bar for your convenience also.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

ISA 2004 isn't caching my internet traffic


In the community today, it came up that ISA 2004, when installed in a clean install, doesn't cache internet traffic. This is by design.

ISA Server 2004 Web Caching in Windows SBS

By default, Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004 does not configure Web caching during installation. The Windows SBS team decided to not enable Web caching during installation for these reasons:

  • Web caching is most beneficial in an enterprise environment, which can have thousands of requests to the same sites. An enterprise can potentially save time and bandwidth by caching these sites locally and refreshing them periodically. Web caching is not as beneficial to a small business because of the lower number of duplicate requests. In fact, Web caching can cause a small business to use more bandwidth because it periodically refreshes the cached sites.

  • Configuring the cache rules for ISA Server 2004 requires additional administrative overhead from the small business. To operate at maximum efficiency, the cache rules need to be configured by an experienced administrator who is familiar with the network traffic patterns of the particular site.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Troubleshooting DNS

We all have our tips and tricks for troubleshooting. I certainly have a little bag full of fun toys that I can use to figure out what's going on when something isn't behaving correctly.

One of the tools I found was DNS Report. This site will take a DNS name, resolve it and check potential things that could go wrong with a domain name. Although this is a good site to use if you want to make sure you're setup correctly.

Microsoft provides another tool called DNSLint. This tool is a windows utility that outputs an HTML file to help you diagnose common DNS name resolution issues.

With both of these tools under your belt, you're setup for a successful DNS setup!

Friday, June 10, 2005

ISA in SBS ... Yes it's secure


It's not every day you come across a great informational site. Last night I was pointed to the ISA in SBS - Yes, it's secure blog. Specific information on running ISA 2004 on SBS 2003.

Great site Amy's Harbor Computer Services!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Living in the Stone Ages?

It's almost impossible to still be running Windows 9x, but sometimes you need to (perhaps someone hasn't written a new driver for your old printer?). Well, what happens when you need to boot onto a floppy to format the drive?

Simply go to BootDisk.com for all your boot disk needs.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What's Up? -- Instantly

I'm not a big fan of services, primarily because they have a recurring cost. I'm all about an upfront cost, with free use over time. But some services are just too cool to do without. Now if that service is free, it's a whole other story!

I wanted to share with you a service that I use, and it's totally free!
MSN Alerts


I use Alerts to get the deal of the day from Buy.com, you can get your sports scores from Fox Sports, virus alerts from McAfee, Traffic jams (which I believe is U.S. only :( ), stock alerts, news alerts, and my favourite XBOX LIVE alerts.

You can have them emailed to you, sent to your MSN Messenger client, or even your mobile phone as an SMS/Text message. I have the most important things (like my xbox alerts) sent to my mobile phone, so I never miss a match. :o)

Monday, June 06, 2005

ISA 2004 firewall client


So by now you should have your Windows Small Business Server Service Pack 1 CDs, and if you're a Premium customer, that means you have your ISA 2004 installation CD!

I know if you're running Premium, you probably don't need incentive to upgrade from ISA 2000 to ISA 2004, but heck, I'm going to give you one anyways!

The ISA 2004 client makes networking so easy! Let me tell you why. I have been running the ISA 2000 firewall client since I started my job at Microsoft. Frustrated by not being able to use my "connected" internet connectivity at my house until I disabled the firewall client, then getting back in the office and having exactly the same problem until I enabled the darn thing.

What a Pain!

Lucky for me, without even asking the ISA team to do this, the new ISA 2004 firewall client now is able to detect the network your on and let data through when the ISA 2004 cannot connect to the firewall. No more searching for that icon in my system tray to turn it on or off! Yeah!