Thursday, July 17, 2014

Server 2012 R2 Essentials shutting down from time to time

Sometimes I seem to forget to look at the INFORMATION event log entries as I’m looking for errors. Many times the unwanted reboots are intentional and don’t show as Warnings or errors. Like here:


I had mistaken and installed Server 2012 R2 Essentials as a Member server which is not allowed. It’s my Direct Access server so I meant it to be Standard but had used the wrong USB key for installation.  The pointed Event Log told it to me in plain English as soon as I remembered to look at the INFO events as well Winking smile


I just changed from GoDaddy to Bluehost. This link helps when deciding where to host:

On GoDaddy I was sharing the IP with thousands of websites and Bluehost with 16 Winking smile


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Uninstall MSI-packages in Safe Mode

I dug this up from a 10 year old course material I wrote but it’s still very usableSmile

One weird thing in Windows OS troubleshooting is that Microsoft wants software developers to use MSI as the installation method and at the same time says on their documentation that if you run into problems after installing some software you should boot into Safe Mode and uninstall it. The weird part is the fact that Safe Mode in Windows actually doesn’t allow the Windows Installer service to start thus preventing uninstallation of any software that was installed with an MSI!

You can get around this by tweaking the Safe Mode registry key with following command:

REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal\MSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /D "Service"

After this you can start the service with the following command or do it graphically with Services.msc:

NET START msiserver

Now you can uninstall any software that was installed by an MSI!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Why you need to manage your GPO’s from a Windows 8.1 and not with an RDP session to a Server 2012 r2

Inspired by Jeremy Moskowitz and his blog “RSAT is not Evil” I decided to give my 5 cents on this matter as well.

Most of my customers have adopted a style of administering their GPO’s from a central Server by establishing an RDP connection to it instead of using RSAT from a Windows 8.1 machine. This is not the case with just 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 but I’ll use them as an example. There are positive sides to using a server of course:

  1. A centralized location which always has the right ADMX-files even if no CentralStore has been created
  2. No need to install RSAT on workstations

But there are drawbacks as well which are the reasons why I on the other hand never do it but instead always use a management workstation for it:

  1. There are only 2 free RDP instances available on a server while infinite amount of RSAT’s can be used
  2. The most important: GPMC uses the underlying OS to gather settings you can administer even if you have a Central Store or the most up to date ADMX-files!

Let’s dig in to the second one a bit more with an example. Let’s say I have a scenario where my Boss asks me to:

  1. Change the startup type of WebClient service to Disabled to make connections to unknown UNC paths quicker
  2. Only allow the “Weather” Modern App on our Windows 8.1 machines

Here’s how the settings look from Windows Server 2012 R2 server:



And here’s what it looks like from GPMC installed on a Windows 8.1 machine:





Battery Life - Running with Hypervisor On or Off

I hear this conversation all the time about not running your Windows OS Hypervisor to save battery life. There’s instructions on building a different BCD Store entry so you can switch your Hypervisor OFF when your travelling and you don’t have need for running virtual machines. This does differ from hardware to another and especially from Workstation to Server. I don’t rely on  one advice but I test it on my hardware. Many good things come from Finland and one of them is a performance metering software called PCMark

Here are my result from my new Dell Precision M3800 “Ultrabook”. And as you can see I won’t be using two different boot options but I’ll just run with my Hypervisor ON all the time.

Hypervisor ON:


Hypervisor OFF: