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VMWare Convert IDE Disk to SCSI Disk

File this under ‘things that should have been easier’. Long story short, I had a Windows XP VM running from an IDE hard drive. You can find reasons why SCSI is better for a virtual machine all over the internet – but suffice to say, I was unable to backup and restore IDE hard disks with Veeam, so we needed to make the change.

Fire up the Google machine, immediately found this VMWare Knowledge Base article (1016192) and I thought all my problems were solved. Besides, who doesn’t love to have a little fun with vi every couple of months?

Followed all the steps and my vm would. not. boot. I just stared at a blank cursor. No OS, no errors, just a white cursor. I checked all the BIOS settings I could – nothing.

Knowing it was something wrong with the vdmk itself, i went back to the internets for a solution when I finally stumbled upon this article from Symantec of all places: How to Convert Vmware Windows XP IDE Disk to LSILogic SCSI.

Low and behold there was one critical piece VMWare left out of their article – disk geometry!

I replaced:

ddb.adapterType = "ide"
ddb.geometry.sectors = "63"
ddb.geometry.heads = "16"
ddb.geometry.cylinders = "16383"

with this:

ddb.geometry.cylinders = "1305"
ddb.geometry.heads = "255"
ddb.geometry.sectors = "63"
ddb.adapterType = "lsilogic"

and BOOM! Boot up with no problem.

Anyone else experience this issue? Let me know if this solution works for you!

 

 

 

Easy Fix: Veeam – Unable to mount vPower NFS volume

Ran into a problem where I continued to receive an error from Veeam: “Unable to mount vPower NFS volume”.

Full Veeam troubleshooting steps can be found here.

Being that I could also not connect to the NFS share directly from the vSphere Host, I figured there was something wrong with the Windows NFS/Veeam vPower mount.

There was! I realized on this (dev) server, I was already playing around with NFS – and that was listening on the Ports that should have been given to Veeam! Uninstalled NFS and we’re good to go!

Veeam connected and ran Instant Recovery with no problem. Way to go!

Guest Printer Access – The Easy Way

Problem: Guest on ‘Guest’ wireless network needs to print.

Solution: Meraki firewall setup to the rescue. Simply open port 9100 (JetDirect TCP printer port) for the single printer IP address, problem solved!

Choosing WPA2 over 802.1x (…For Now)

Part of managing a small business network involves picking your battles. There’s a constant balancing act between ‘Best Practice’ and ‘getting the job done’.

With our recent rollout of some beautiful Meraki Access Points, we had to decide how we were going to handle authentication and authorization on both our ‘Secure’ corporate network, and on the ‘Guest’ network. We settled no WPA2 – and here’s why.

Benefits of 802.1x Wireless

Initially, I was impressed with the security benefits in using WPA2-Enterprise security:

  • Access is controlled through Active Directory
  • Access policies are easily pushed out and updated through Group Policy
  • No Pre-shared Key (PSK) to hand to every. single. employee. that needs access

So I went ahead and set it all up: Windows Server 2008 Network Access Policies, Group Policy settings, SQL Auditing, ect. After figuring out a few bumps in the road (including having separate NAP for Machines and Users), it worked flawlessly with the test equipment! I was just about ready to roll it out to the rest of the network devices…

and then I disabled it. All of it.  

Let’s Be Realistic

Our users are used to pre-shared keys. They expect it. There’s a password at their house, at the coffee shop down the street, at the hotel they’re staying at –  all WPA2-PSK (hopefully!). So when I get the call that the “wireless won’t connect” – I realized that explaining or diagnosing all the communication steps to granting access just wasn’t going to cut it.

So while my 802.1x setup was wonderfully secure and centrally , it quite honestly only increased the number of ways that things could go wrong.

Simplicity FTW

As I re-evaluated our wireless needs, something occurred to me – a lot of our wireless clients are junk. They’re either employee iPhones/iPads or guests, with no reason to need access to the corporate network – all connected having the pre-shared key passed around for years. The actual company-owned devices always pass through the IT Department’s hands during setup, thereby controlling PSK access to the secure network. (Meraki’s cloud-based management also has some fantastic tools that make auditing access much easier.)

So where is 802.1x right? Well, I think when you’re reaching an upwards of 50-75 devices, it’s time to implement a better solution. If only for the ‘disgruntled employee’ situation, to keep you from having to change the password on 50 devices after a single incident. Thankfully, we have happy employees and a very low turn-over rate.

Until then, we’re going to stick with WPA2 – “It Just Works”.

SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 – Error Locating Server/Instance Specified

This problem was driving me crazy! Trying to work on a project in Visual Studio 2012, with my SQL Connections pointed at “(localdb)\Projects”. I would be working, refresh and the page would come to a complete halt – could not find instance.

Then I stumbled upon this helpful comment from Ward Beattie:

By default, a LocalDB instance will terminate after 5 minutes with no connections. This can be changed, as follows:

1. Connect to the instance as sysadmin.

2. Run the following batch to show advanced options:

exec sp_configure ‘show advanced options’,1

reconfigure

exec sp_configure

go

3 Run the following batch to change the timeout to 65535. This value is in seconds, but 65535 is the magic number meaning infinite:

exec sp_configure ‘user instance timeout’,65535

reconfigure

exec sp_configure ‘user instance timeout’

go

Once this is done, you will need to shut down the instance using SqlLocalDB.exe, or by connecting and using the T-SQL shutdown command. The instance will also shut down if the user that started it (and owns it) logs off.

 

Sure enough, I extended the timeout and it seems to build and run correctly again!

Tech-Tip Friday: Nudgemail

Nudgemail

Nudgemail redelivers mail when you need it – no sign-up or software needed. 

Have you ever sat there reading an email and think, “I’d like to follow up with this in a couple days!” – but you don’t want to forget!? Try Nudgemail.
I’ve been using Nudgemail for about a year. Simply, it’s an email reminder service – that’s insanely easy to use.

All you have to do forward an email, or send a new one, to an address that corresponds with the time you’d like to get it back, for example, “tomorrow@nudgemail.com“, “1045am@nudgemail.com“, or “oct10@nudgemail.com“.
Then, on that day/time, you’ll get the email you sent back to you! (There’s even a ‘snooze’ option)

NOTE: Be mindful of the emails you are sending to Nudgemail. Never send anything with attachments or confidential data. It’s best just to send a blank email with the reminder, instead of forwarding the entire email.

It’s currently in ‘beta’, a test project, that may add cost or limit use in the future. But for now it’s completely free!

Read the rest of this entry »

Just Another Day in Suburbia

An interesting infographic on suburban trends.

The Burbs – more at ArchDaily.com

Tech-Tip Friday: What Time Is It?

Not end of the workday yet! Sorry!

Ever find yourself wondering what time it is right now in a different city? (Is it 1 hour ahead? Or was it 2 hours behind?) By the time you’re 4 hours into your work day, all this time talk just gets confusing!

Let Google do the heavy lifting for you. Head over to google.com and type in “time <location>”:

 

There you go!

One More Option

Need a more visual way to see a different timezone around the world? This site makes it dead simple: Every Time Zone (http://everytimezone.com/). Type in the easy-to-remember web address and you’re presented with a slider with sample cities in timezones around the world.

Good night to Mumbai! Have a great weekend!

Crystal Reports Runtime 64-bit: Error 1606

Driving myself crazy trying to move our ASP.NET Application from an old IIS6 server to IIS7, I ran into a problem deploying the 64-bit version of the CR redistributable.

Building off a fresh install of Windows Server 2008 R2, I thought, ‘no problem’. Installed IIS7.5, ASP.NET, .NET, ect.

As soon as I went to deploy the runtime, I was greeted with this lovely message:

Error 1606: Could not access network location \ASP.NETClientFiles\.

While it took me a long time to figure out what was the problem (mostly because I assumed that a fresh image would have no issues), the solution was quite simple. It turned out to be a privileges issue. Incorrectly, I had ruled this out because I had been working on the system with a Local Administrator account. Regardless, continued to have problems.

I didn’t research why exactly there was no additional ‘run elevated’ option from the executable, and instead I opened a fresh command prompt with elevated privileges. After navigating to my CRRuntime_64bit_13_0.msi file, everything installed without a hitch.

Deploying Adobe Flash Player

Admin Arsenal has posted an excellent walk-through to Customize and Deploy Adobe Flash Player – something I’ve been struggling to develop a consistent policy for. I haven’t tested this yet, but I intend to, as well as add an outline to the policy I’d be using.