Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wiki your way to Small Business Server knowledge & Best practices

The Home and Small Business Server team has posted a forum post with links to the separate Wiki articles they are maintaining to help you get the most out of your server platform.  The Forum post with all the links (looks like it’s being updated over time too!) is here.

What appears to be currently missing from this article is the Router Wiki links

Other items are copied below for your ease of browsing (note this might be outdated, check the actual link for an up-to-date version)

Server Deployment and Platform Configurations

  1. Troubleshoot Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, Windows Home Server 2011, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials Installation Issues (June 2011) - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/3342.aspx
  2. How to repair certificate issues in Windows Small Business Server 2011, Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials (July 2011)
    - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/3940.aspx
  3. Default input language is set to English on the Spanish versions of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, Windows Home Server 2011, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2639424
  4. How to Change the Password Policy in Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/6829.how-to-change-the-password-policy-in-windows-small-business-server-2011-essentials.aspx

Client Deployment

  1. Troubleshooting Client Deployment Issues when using Windows Small Business Server 2011, Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials (July 2011)

Remote Web Access

  1. Manually install existing SSL certificate into Small Business Server 2011 Essentials
  2. Remote Web Access Deployment Guidance - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/remote-web-access-deployment-guide.aspx

Media and Workgroup (Windows Server Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials and WHS 2011 only)

  1. Media streaming known issue and workaround with Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials (August 2011)
  2. How to change workgroup name on Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Storage Server 2011 R2 Essentials (August 2011)

Data Protection (Server and Client Backup)

  1. Server Backup FAQ (August 2011) -
  2. The "Recover your server wizard" crashes in Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essential, Windows Home Server 2011 or Windows Storage Server 2011 Essential
    - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2639956
  3. How to fix the Server Backup Service exception "One or more services are not running” for SBS 2011 Essentials, WHS 2011 and WSS 2008 R2 Essentials -

Office 365 integration

  1. Error message when an SBS 2011 Essentials user signs in to Office 365 after they change the password for their user account: "Microsoft Online Services ID or password is incorrect" - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2652040
  2. The Office 365 Integration Module for SBS 2011 Essentials does not work as expected - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2652021


  1. How to list your applications on Microsoft Pinpoint? How to make your applications discoverable - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/6886.listing-your-applications-for-discovery-in-microsoft-pinpoint-for-small-business-server-windows-home-server-and-windows-storage-server-2008-r2-essentials.aspx (Posted here last week)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Developers! How to List your Small Business Server and Windows home Server Apps on Microsoft Pinpoint

Are you a developer or developer firm that’s built an application for SBS 2011 Essentials, SBS 2011 Premium Add-on, Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, and Windows Home Server 2011? Then you should list your application in Microsoft Pinpoint. Listing here will give you greater awareness of your application to your target audience.

For example, these links are inside the product:

Over on the Small Business Server Wiki, there is a how-to guide on how to go about doing this.  You can find that link here.

Before you can begin listing your applications:
  1. You must join the Microsoft Partner Network. Before you can begin listing your applications on Pinpoint, you must create an account with the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) and create a descriptive overview for your company. It can take up to five business days for your new account to activate in Pinpoint after establishing your membership in the Microsoft Partner Network.
  2. Already a member? If so, then you can proceed to create your profile in Pinpoint. If you are already a partner but are not listed on Pinpoint and believe you should be, contact the Pinpoint team.

Microsoft Pinpoint

  • Sign-in using your MPN LiveID
  • Click on the Dashboard in the upper right hand corner
  • Click on Add or Edit Profiles in the nav bar
  • Click on the Apps + Services tab
  • Click the New button
  • Follow the rest of the wizard to create your listing
  • Wait for the application to be published in the marketplace

What are you waiting for? The complete guide is here, and you can jump to Pinpoint here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I protest the protect IP act

Many websites are blacked out today to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). From personal blogs to Wikipedia, sites all over the web — including this one — are asking you to help stop this dangerous legislation from being passed. Please click the link below to learn how this legislation will affect internet freedom.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Enable Auto-Logon for your Server

WARNING: This Post reduces the physical security of your server, leaving the server open for anyone for a brief period of time after reboot.

So, you are still reading after the warning above.  Excellent.  Unless you are physically controlling access to your server, and aren’t worried in the least about theft or any other loss of server, or access to server, then please continue reading.

Last year, I wrote a post about using my Home Server for more than just storage, backup and remote access.  This is not condoned by Microsoft or supported for Windows Home Server, as Windows Home Server licensing doesn’t enable you to run Line of Business Applications on your server, just security type applications.  This also depends on your EULA you’ve entered with your hardware OEM as well as Microsoft, so be careful you’re not voiding a warranty or locking yourself out of support here.  That might be more important to you than this little hack.  You should also see if your application can be run as a service, either by contacting the app provider, or by testing with the SRVANY.EXE command you can find from here. This wouldn’t reduce the security of your server, but still get you the end result.

Now that we’re through all the warnings, let’s get started.

I have some end-user applications that I want to run (as the different, non-admin user), that aren’t services.  This means that if the box reboots for patches, or a power-outage, the apps don’t start until I connect into the server and kick them off.  Naturally I put all the apps that need to start in the start-up group, this includes my iOS printing app, among others.  So ultimately I just need to log-in, and then I’m good to go. 

But… I can automate the logon with the System Internals (sysinternals). 

STEP 1: I simply download the AutoLogon tool.  When I launch it, I elevate it to the administrator account (ie UAC), and then accept the EULA.  I’m then presented with the simple UI:

Autologon - Sysinternals

I simply enter the username, domain and password I want to auto-login as, and hit enable. To disable this in the future, run the tool again and hit disable.image

STEP 2: This is the most important step, to secure things again.  It’s super simple, you simply enable the screensaver (I chose the “Blank” screen saver), and On resume, display logon screen is checked, and the screen saver will come on after 1 minute.

This of course will get irritating if you’re working on the server.  So in those cases I change the wait time up to 15 minutes, and then back down to 1 minute when I’m finished working.  I never turn off the screensaver, because if I forget to turn it back on, then the server will be indefinitely unlocked, which is bad of course. 

That’s all there is to it.  Use this wisely and only if needed.  You’d also be wise to see if your application can be turned into a service.  Microsoft has a tool for that too, it’s called SRVANY.EXE.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sean’s Top 10 Recommended iOS apps for Productivity

Before the slew of Windows 8 tablets come out, most folks have an iPad or iPad 2. If you go online looking for popular apps, you’ll either get a list of games or a list of apps without a description of what they do.. I’ve spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to use my iPad, and not just for games.. Below is my list of non-game apps and why I like them.
  1. iTap RDPiTAP RDP allows me to get to Windows clients via RDP.  Sure there are free ones like iRDesktop, but this was the only one that did TSGateway so I can get to clients behind a proxy from outside the network.  I also think that with the different mouse modes and special keys that come up on this app, this is the most functional. 
    1. You could compare this to CloudOn, which allows you to get to your MS Office apps, which uses DropBox to get to your documents.  Pretty good solution, if you trust DropBox.
    2. There is also OnLive, which let’s you RDP to a hosted version of Windows 7, but using a web browser to upload and download files seems hoaky to me.  Plus with it being free, how are they making money? what are they selling?
  2. mWOLMocha WOL is a free app in the iTunes store.  It isn’t anything other than a Wake-On-LAN client, I picked it over the other ones because it’s free.  The end.  My laptops have an aggressive sleep schedule to keep power consumption down.  My Home Server is the always on PC.  Unfortunately this won’t wake up my clients if I’m out of my home.
  3. Buzz PlayerBuzz Player is a Media player and media copier.  I like it because all of that media that I have sitting on my Home Server, this app can stream it to me when I’m in my home.  That’s 2TB of videos and music that I can just use anywhere on my LAN.
  4. Lync Mobile Lync Mobile is Microsoft’s Lync IM client, on the iPad.  Given that these days I don’t take my laptop to the couch for after hours surfing, this client allows me to stay in touch with co-workers that are world-wide.  I can answer a quick question from Shanghai.
  5. OneNote – Microsoft OneNote is another essential Microsoft app.  If you use OneNote on your PC, and I do extensively, then this gives you access to any notes stored on your SkyDrive.  This has revolutionized how I manage my soccer teams.  I simply create the notes on my PC, and then update them on the phone or iPad
  6. Grocery IQGrocery IQ is really only useful if you also have the app on your phone.  My wife and I sit down with the iPad and make our grocery list and what we’re going to eat for the week.  Then, because we have the same Grocery IQ account, when we hit the grocery store, the list is just in our pocket on our phone.
  7. FeedlerFeedler is a less popular RSS reader that syncs with Google Reader. As far as I can tell, Reeder is the most popular app for this, and certainly is more beautiful looking; but it’s missing a key feature: mark older than X days read.  I get to my RSS feeds as often as possible, and for the most part, I read them in entirty, although trying to catch up on Mashable, or Engadget, after being away for a week is next to impossible, but I do want to read a few days worth.  Hence Feedler is my preference over Reeder for RSS reading
  8. Kindle – The Kindle app is handy because it means on business trips, I only need the one device, and long plane waits etc, I can just continue on my book.
  9. SkypeSkype I am only looking forward to.  Sure I can use it on my iPad 1 for text chatting, but without a camera it kind of sucks.  I sure do love it on my phone though, and can’t wait for this communication powerhouse to become fully operational once I get an updated iPad 3!
  10. BlogPressBlogPress is my mobile blogging app.  Blogging from the PC is my preferred method, and I actually use the combination of the first two apps in this list to do 90% of my blogging, but if I’m travelling, it’s a secondary way for me to get the data out to the web, without having to wait.
Those are my top 10 favorite, non-game, iPad applications to boost your productivity and enjoyment of the iPad aside from a $700+ gaming tablet.

Update: I just recently discovered Office 2 HD for the iPad, which I had to add to this list.  It's a little spendy at $8, but allows you to do more with Word, Excel and PowerPoint than you can do with the Apple apps (like Pages).  For example, I'm able to comment on documents and send them back via email now.  They support a variety of cloud services, like SkyDrive and DropBox or even just Box (and more)!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Restoring Files from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008/2011

I thought I had blogged about this prior, but it has been brought to my attention that I haven’t to date.  So I wanted to make sure it was covered.NTBackup Restore Utility

As you recall, Small Business Server 2003 used Windows NT Backup (or NTBackup for short).  With the introduction of Server 2008 (and hence SBS 2008), NTBackup was removed from the product (with good reason! Trust me!).  With this came the introduction of the Server Backup, built by the same team as the Data Protection team.

This server backup and restore utility doesn’t know what to do with NTBackup (.bkp) files.  So instead, you can download the Windows NT Backup and Restore Utility for Windows 7 (KB 974674).  Be sure to choose the version you need based on what operating system you’re running on.

Another IMPORTANT note to realize, is if you use it on your server, and then attempt a bare metal restore of the server using the Windows Server Backup, the box gets stuck at a black window and doesn’t boot properly.

So the correct steps are

  1. Install the NT Backup and restore utility
  2. Restore desired set of file(s)
  3. Un-install the NT Backup and restore utility

Happy Restoring from Old backups!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

How to use your Home Server as an AirPrint server for only $10

As I move more and more of my computing and data to the Cloud with services like SkyDrive.  I am reducing the amount of computing power I have in my house.  I have an iPad (v1), a Laptop, and of course my Windows Home Server.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m looking for more ways to take advantage of my low-powered Home Server to do more for me as an *always* on device.

Over the holiday’s we had a few visitors, which of course means printing boarding passes prior to leaving for the airport.  It was frustrating to have to take out the laptop when the iPad is just right there.  But without a compatible AirPrint printer, you can’t print from the iPad….

Or can’t you?FingerPrint

I found an application for Windows (and Mac OS) that installs on your computer that shares almost any printer connected to the computer, to the AirPrint service. 

There was an old version that doesn’t work with iOS5 that is free.  But obviously, I have iOS5 on all my devices, so that wasn’t an option.  I’m also not a big fan of Jail-Breaking (I guess I know too much about security to allow a hacker full access to my device).

This application, called FingerPrint by Collobos Software, will share out any connected printer, as well as DropBox locations to the AirPrint service.  I started with the trial to make sure it worked first.

To get it set up, I downloaded the FingerPrint installer, copied it to the desktop of my Home Server and installed it. Then of course ran FingerPrint on the server.  I also had to add my network printer to a printer on my Home Server, just by going to Control Panel and adding a printer as I normally would on any Windows machine.

However, it didn’t initially work.  I had to make two changes to the configuration for it to work, probably specific to my network.  I’ll share them here incase you have the same problems.

Enabling Multicast on my router

First, I discovered that my DLink DIR-655 router wasn’t allowing Apple’s discovery service, Bonjour.  This is not always the case with routers.  But I discovered that I can enable MultiCast, on the router, which seemed to allow it.  I did this on the DIR-655 by going to Advanced, then Advanced Network, and at the bottom, selecting to Enable Multicast Streams:

MultiCast Streams

This required a router reboot, which took down my network for 30 seconds, and then it took another approximately 5 minutes for my iPad to discover the services running.

This enabled me to see the list of printers connect to my Home Server

Opening an Additional Port on the server

Per Collobos support page, I had to manually open the port 6631 on my Home Server to allow AirPrint to send the document to FingerPrint.  To do this I simply:

  1. Logged into the Home Server
  2. Clicked Start, then Run, and ran the wf.msc firewall configuration utility
  3. I clicked on New Rule
  4. In the wizard that opened, I selected Port, and clicked Next.
  5. The port is a TCP port which was the default, and I typed in the specific port of 6631
  6. I also chose to Allow the connection even if it’s unsecure (this might not be available in SBS 2011, in which case you’d also need to make a group policy change)
  7. On where does this rule apply, I ensured that it only apply to Private networks, meaning that I unchecked Domain (which doesn’t apply to WHS anyways) and Public. (Note for SBS 2011, you’d have to select Domain)
  8. Finally, I gave it a friendly name.  I used FingerPrint Port 6631 so I could easily find it in the list again if I ever wanted to remove FingerPrint, and clicked Finish.

At this point, the printing just started! woo hoo!  Of course I can play around with this for 7 days on trial, then I’ll have to get a license key for FingerPrint.

Additional Bonus!

As an additional bonus, you can manage all the documents printing from the Home Server’s print queue.  So I think it’s worth the $10 to be able to print directly from the iPad.  Plus Collobos has support if you ever get stuck.

As a final note, I have noticed that you don’t want your iPad to go to sleep before the print has happened, and it’s not exactly the fastest thing/

[Note: This is untested on Small Business Server 2011, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, changes are noted above, leave a comment if you try and have modifications]