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Saturday 28 December 2013

Windows Failed to Connect to Group Policy Client

On every boot on a freshly built Windows 7 x64 machine, I encountered a pop up telling me that the connection to the group policy client had failed. On checked the event log, it appeared that the service was timing out.

To fix this I followed the steps below;

1. Open regedit and take a backup of your registry!
2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services. This path should contain gpsvc key. I found that the key contained all the appropriate information so left it alone.
3.  Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SVCHOST. Make sure the keys/values below are included;
  • There must be Multi-String value called GPSvcGroup. My PC was missing it. Create a multi-string value named GPSvcGroup and assign it value GPSvc.
  • Create a key in SVCHOST and name it GPSvcGroup
  • Open the newly-created GPSvcGroup folder and create 2 DWORD values- AuthenticationCapabilities with a value of 0x00003020 (or 12320 in decimal)- CoInitializeSecurityParam with a value of 1
4. Reboot and log back in. The problem should now be resolved.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Display Public Folders In Outlook 2013

By default, Outlook 2013 does not display the public folders. Getting them to display quickly is simple - with Outlook 2013 as the active window, press CTRL and 6.

Alternatively, click the 3 dots following Tasks at the bottom of the Outlook window and choose Navigation Options. Change the number of visible items and the order in which they are displayed to suit your purposes.

Exchange 2010 Server Running Out Of Disk Space

We encountered an issue with Exchange 2010 where we were constantly running out of disk space. After investigation we found this was due to the log files rapidly filling as we had more people connecting in via mobile devices.

In order to fix this, you can either enable circular logging via the method below or, preferably, by using an Exchange aware backup tool. Veeam Backup and Replication includes Exchange awareness in the standard licence and is quick to set up. This method is also detailed below;

Enable Circular Logging

Circular logging only allows the transactional log database to grow to 1MB in size. After that limit is reached, earlier logs are deleted in order to make room for new ones. As such this can cause issues when trying to troubleshoot. Microsoft do not recommend using this method.

If you want to go ahead anyway as a stop-gap whilst sourcing an Exchange aware backup tool follow the steps below;

1. Open Exchange Management Console and browse to Organization Configuration > Mailbox
2. Under the Database Management tab, right click your mailbox store and choose Properties
3. Under the Maintenance tab select the check box for Enable Circular Logging
4. You will need to dismount and remount the database for this change to take effect.

To disable circular logging, simply remove the tick from the check box and dismount and remount the database.

Using Veeam Backup and Replication to clear Exchange logs

1. If you do not currently use Veeam to backup your Exchange server, create a new backup job. In order for the logs to be truncated you do not need to backup the entire machine, just the drive containing the mailbox database.
2. When you reach the Guest Processing options, click the Advanced button. Add your Exchange server if it does not appear in the Advanced Options, select the server and click Edit.
3. Under the Transaction Logs section, choose to Truncate logs on successful backup only

Monday 29 July 2013

Windows 7 - User Logging In With Temporary Profile

A user was trying to log in to their computer but was getting a message saying that they were being logged in with a temporary profile. Deleting the users profile did not make any difference.

In order to fix the problem, a change had to be made to the registry.

1. Login as admin and backup the users profile in C:\Users\Username
2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > Windows NT > Current Version > Profile List
3. Find the SID.bak for the user's profile (click on the "folder" and the path to the profile should be listed)
4. Delete the SID.bak
5. Login as the user to recreate the profile. Log off and back in as admin and copy their backed up files across

Friday 12 July 2013

Veeam B&R - Hot Add Is Not Supported For This Disk

When backing up a VM using Veeam Backup and Replication, I kept seeing the message;
Hot add is not supported for this disk, failing over to network mode...
This was occurring because the LUN that my Veeam proxy server was running on was formatted in VMFS-3, whilst the server I was trying to back up was on a LUN running VMFS-5 and had a different block size.

After upgrading the proxy LUN to VMFS-5, disks began hot-adding successfully.

Exchange 2010 - Set As Primary SMTP Address

After migrating to Exchange 2010 from 2003, I found that Microsoft had removed the "Set As Primary" button from the E-mail Addresses tab in Active Directory. In order to change the primary address I had to follow the steps below;

1. Login to the new Exchange server and open Exchange Management Console
2. Browse to Microsoft Exchange On-Premises > Recipient Configuration > Mailbox and find the user's mailbox you wish to change.
3. Under the E-mail Addresses tab, uncheck the Automatically update e-mail addresses based on e-mail address policy checkbox.
4. Add the new SMTP address, or right click the address you want as primary and choose Set As Reply.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Problems Deleting Email On A Terminal Server - Exchange 2010, Outlook 2003

When attempting to delete email in the setup below, users received a popup stating "Unknown Error" and could not delete the mail. Selecting the mail and trying to delete again sometimes allowed the deletion to occur.

Users were on a Terminal Server running Windows Server 2003 R2 (SP2) and were using Outlook 2003 (SP3). The Exchange server had recently been migrated to Exchange 2010 (SP1).

The problem was resolved by updating Exchange 2010 to SP3.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

View And Delete Nexenta Snapshots From Command Line

It is possible to list all snapshots on a Nexenta device, as well as remove them via the command line. To do this, follow the commands below;

1. SSH as ADMIN onto the device you are replicating to.
2. SU to root permissions, but don't enter nmc. Your path should read something like root@devicename:/export/home/admin#
3. Run the command;

zfs list -t snapshot
This will list all snapshots on the device. The more snaps you have, the longer this will take so go make a cup of tea while it is running.
4. Find the name of the snap you wish to remove and run the command;
zfs destroy snapname
You can also remove snapshots through the Nexenta GUI by navigating to Data Management > Data Sets > Snapshots

Nexenta Auto-Sync Limit

When trying to set up a new Auto-Sync service I was encountering an error telling me that there was not enough space to replicate the LUN, despite there being 50% free space on the device.

After looking at the free space, it appears that each folder on a Nexenta device has a hard size limit of 5TB.

I created a new folder and attempted to recreate the auto-sync and the service created and ran successfully.

To view the current space used in a folder follow the instructions below;

1. SSH as ADMIN onto the device you are replicating to.
2. SU to root permissions, but don't enter nmc. Your path should read something like root@devicename:/export/home/admin#
3. Run the command;
zfs list -ro space
This will display the AVAIL and USED sizes for each folder. 

Wednesday 19 June 2013

ESXi 5.1 VM Stuck At 95% When Restarted

When trying to open a console to a VM, I encountered the message;
Unable to connect to the MKS
I tried forcing a reset but this got stuck at 95% and I wasn't allowed to force a power off through the GUI as the reset process was still ongoing.

To get round this I followed the steps below;

1. SSH onto the host running the VM.
2. Run the command;
ps | grep "VMName" 
The name is case sensitive so make sure you type it exactly as shown in vSphere. You will get a list of  information as below;
2106831 2097959 vmx-mks:VDP01        /bin/vmx
The second number (in this case 2097959) is the process ID (PID).
3. Kill the process by running the command;
kill -9 PID
4. cd to /vmfs/volumes/DataStoreName/VMName 
5. Delete the swap file by using the command below;
rm -r swapfilename.vswp
6. In vSphere Client you should see the machine has powered off. Right click it and remove it from the inventory.
7. Browse the datastore, open the VM folder, right click the .vmx file and choose "Add to Inventory".
8. Power on the VM. You may be prompted to answer a question about whether you have moved or copied the VM so if the power on is stuck at 95%, check for a hidden popup.

VDP Not Backing Up Virtual Machine

On trying to backup a newly P2V converted Server 2003 machine, I found that VDP would allow me to create a backup job and initialise it, but wouldn't actually carry out any tasks and would flag up immediately as a failure.

To resolve this, I had to power off the VDP appliance, edit the settings and double the amount of memory VMware had published the machine at (increased memory from 4GB to 8GB).

Once this had been done, I powered the appliance back on and the new machine backed up successfully.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Finding Network Connection After Moving Ubuntu VM

After restoring a VM from backup the VM would not bring up it's network connection, despite all the correct information being in /etc/network/interfaces

Running ifconfig only showed the lo connection, no eth interfaces.

Running ifconfig -a lists all network interfaces, including those that are currently down. There was an eth3 interface, but no eth1 as specified in the /etc/network/interfaces file. I updated this file with the correct interface number and after reboot, the machine was live.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Hide "SSH Enabled" Warning Message On ESXi 5.1 Host

If you have enabled SSH access to a host you will constantly see a warning message informing you that SSH has been enabled. This message can be suppressed by following the steps below;

1. Connect to the Host via vSphere Client
2. Go to the Configuration tab and click on Advanced Settings under the Software section
3. Scroll down and select the UserVars option on the left
4. Find the UserVars.SuppressShellWarning option (should be at the bottom of the list) and set it to 1

Problems With vMotion To New Host

After building an ESXi 5.1 host and setting up the networking I found I was unable to vMotion any machines onto the new host once added to vCenter. Whilst I had correctly added a vMotion VMKernel port, on the new host I had created the Virtual Machine Port Groups with the label all in capitals (eg. SERVERS rather than Servers).

In order for vMotion to proceed, the label of the port group must match that on the old ESXi 4 hosts.

Track Nexenta Auto-Sync Progress From NMC

By running the command below in the Nexenta Management Console (NMC) you can view live data transfer progress of an auto-sync job to confirm it is running OK.

SSH to the Nexenta box running the auto-sync service you wish to monitor and su to root permissions.
At the NMC level, run the command
show auto-sync ;autosyncname stats -i 1

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Problem Installing ESXi 5.1 From CD - Installing From USB Instead

I was having problem getting my hosts to read a CD that I had written the ESXi 5.1 ISO to - it would not install from the directly attached CD drive, or an externally connected USB CD drive. In the end I used an app called UNetbootin to create a bootable USB drive with the ESXi ISO.

This can be downloaded from

Friday 24 May 2013

Creating A New Local Account On vCenter Server Appliance

To create a new local account in the vCenter Server Appliance, SSH onto the vCenter Server and run the following commands;
useradd -m accountname
passwd accountname
You will then be prompted to enter a new password 

Thursday 23 May 2013

vMotion Between Hosts With Differing CPU Versions

After setting up two new ESXi 5.1 hosts in a cluster I found that I was unable to vMotion between them as the CPUs, whilst both Intel Xeons, were different versions. The error I received was;
The virtual machine requires hardware features that are unsupported or disabled on the target host (SSE4.1)
To make this work I had to follow the steps below (as advised by VMware) and enable EVC on a Host Cluster;

1. Connect to the vCenter Server using the VMware Infrastructure (VI) Client or vSphere Client.
2. Create a new empty cluster which does not contain any ESX hosts.
3. Enable EVC on this new empty cluster. Choose the CPU type (Intel or AMD) and the chip generation.
4. Migrate all virtual machines off of one ESX host in the existing cluster.
5. Put the host into Maintenance Mode then drag and drop the ESX host into the EVC cluster. Exit Maintenance Mode.
6. Using the VI Client or vSphere Client, directly connect to the ESX host which is hosting the vCenter Server virtual machine.
7. Right-click the vCenter Server virtual machine and click Edit Settings. Click the Options tab then General Options.
8. Note the location and name of the virtual machine configuration file (.vmx) on the datastore.
9. Power off the vCenter Server virtual machine.
10. Right-click the vCenter Server virtual machine and click Remove from Inventory.
11. Using the vSphere Client, connect directly to the ESX host which is in the EVC cluster.
12. Browse the datastore which contains the virtual machine configuration file for the vCenter Server virtual machine (as noted in step 13 above). Right-click on the virtual machine configuration file and click Add to Inventory.
13. Power on the vCenter Server virtual machine.
14. Using the VI Client or vSphere Client, connect to the vCenter Server.
15. Right-click the ESX host not in the EVC cluster and click Disconnect to disconnect it from the vCenter Server Inventory.
16. Drag and drop the disconnected ESX host into the EVC cluster.
17. Right-click the ESX host and click Connect to connect it to the vCenter Server Inventory.
18. Repeat steps for each ESX host in turn until all ESX hosts are part of the EVC cluster.
19. To confirm vMotion is now working, try to vMotion again between hosts.

Monday 20 May 2013

DFS Namespaces and Windows Server 2008 R2

When trying to create a new DFS namespace in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, I was encountering the error;

\\Domain.local\Files: The namespace cannot be queried. The RPC server is unavailable

After searching online for this issue and following a number of other instructions from Microsoft I found that the error was due to a previous testing namespace I had created with the name I now wanted to use.

Choosing another name for the namespace (ie. Shared) allowed the namespace to be created and folders to be added to it.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Nexenta - Locked LUNs Making Servers Unreachable

If a LUN on Nexenta storage that is presented to VMware locks, all servers on that LUN will no longer be accessible. This is quick to fix although it may indicate an underlying problem.

1. Browse to the GUI of the device with the locked LUN.
2. Go to the "Data Management" tab and "SCSI Target Plus".
3. Select the mapping for the locked LUN then delete the mapping.
4. Recreate the mapping with the same settings. Once completed, this will allow access to the servers again.

Nexenta - Recovering From A Locked Auto-Sync Service

If replications via the Auto-Sync services are not working, the following is how our third-party support have told me to fix the issue.

1. Browse to the GUI for the device with the failed services.
2. Go to "Data Management" and "Auto Services" - this is a list of all the created Auto-Sync services.
3. Under "Auto-Sync Services" on the left hand side of the screen, click "Show".
4. This page will likely take a while to load so don't worry! Click the tick box next to "Instance" to select all the services, then click "Abort" to stop anything that thinks it is running. Once this has been done, select all the services again and click "Disable". Once again, both of these actions may take some time to complete.
5. Once the services are disabled, use Putty to connect to the device where the replications are being sent.
6. Type "nmc" and press enter to access the Nexenta Management Console.
7. Type the following commands to restart the services;
svcadm restart dbus
This will take quite some time to complete so leave it for 15 minutes to restart all the services
8. Type "svcs" to check the status of the services. If any are showing as offline or disabled, make a note of the service name and run the following command;
svcadm clear servicename
9. Run the following command to restart the rrsync service;
svcadm restart rrdaemon
10. Check the services again by typing "svcs". Once they are showing as online you can close Putty.
11. Back on the GUI for the device with the failed services, select all the Auto-Sync services that you had previously disabled and click "Enable". Once this is done, select them all and click "Start".
12. Click on one of the service names and click "Run Now" to start the sync. On the services screen, the bar that displays "Online" should change to "Task 1 of 1; 0.00 KB of x.xx". This may display as "Task 0 of 0" for a short while but should change quite quickly to Task 1 of 1. If this does not change there is still a problem with the replication. At this point a call will need to be logged with your third-party support.

Kayako Helpdesk Ticket Closure Report (Monthly)

Create a new report in Kayako Helpdesk with the following code to generate a report that will display the number of calls marked as "Resolved" within a calendar month. Change the bolded text to the month/year you wish to report on;
SELECT COUNT(*) AS Total FROM 'Tickets' WHERE 'Tickets.Is Resolved' = '1' AND 'Tickets.Resolved Date' = month(April 2013) GROUP BY X('Tickets.Resolved Date':Week), X('Tickets.Resolved Date':DayName), Y('Tickets.Department')

Updating Kayako Resolve Helpdesk To 4.50

Step-by-step process for upgrading the Kayako Resolve helpdesk to version 4.50. These steps only need to be taken if you are upgrading from 4.4x or earlier as there is a change in the file structure;

1. Took a snapshot of the existing virtual server for backup purposes.
2. Did a manual copy of the contents of my installation folder and stored them on the network.
3. Downloaded the 4.50 installation file and extracted the "upload" folder.
4. Deleted the contents of my installation folder from the server.
5. Copied the contents of "upload" from the downloaded 4.50 build into the now empty installation folder on the server.
6. Copied the "__swift/files" "__swift/geoip" and "__swift/config/config.php" from the backup into their new corresponding locations on the server.
7. Gave 777 permissions to "__apps" "__swift/files" "__swift/cache" "__swift/geoip" and "__swift/logs"
8. Upload your licence "key.php" into the installation folder.
9. Accessed setup page at http://your_supportdesk_url/setup/ and ran the upgrade process.
10. After upgrade had completed, deleted the "setup" folder from the installation folder on the server.
11. Logged into the Admin CP, rebuilt the cache (Diagnostics > Rebuild Cache) and restored the templates (Templates > Restore) and languages (Languages > Restore)

Finding An SMTP Address That Is Not A Primary Address

When you search Active Directory for an email address, you will only get a response if the address you are searching for is the Primary SMTP address.
To search for other addresses, whether they are attached to a user, contact or public folder, follow the steps below;

1. Login to the Exchange Server and open Active Directory Users and Computers
2. Right click on the domain and choose Find
3. In the find field, change the criteria to "Custom Search"
4. Click the Advanced tab so you can enter an LDAP query
5. Type 
6. Click find to search