Archive for Servers – Page 3

SBS and Essentials External Backup Drives Compatibility List

I recently encountered an issue with an external drive connected to a SBS 2011 server. The backup had errored and the issue was with the external drive.

Finally, I was reminded about the Technet blog post on Windows Small Business Server – External Backup Drives Compatibility List. The post has two parts:

  • Guidelines on proper formatting requirements of the external drive, with an explanation of why 512 Bytes sectors are required.
  • List of external drives for a variety of vendors, with a rating table that indicates if it works on the various versions of SBS and Essentials 2012/R2.

The post also documents a simple command that you can use to check the sector size of your external drive. Be sure to do it from an elevated command prompt. The command is:

fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo X:

Here’s an example of the results:


How to Configure a Custom Domain Suffix when Installing Windows 2012 R2 Essentials

For as long as I can remember, Microsoft’s Small Business Server (SBS) and Essentials Server would default to using .local for the internal domain suffix during installation. So, if your company name was Contoso, it would create Contoso.local as your internal domain.

And for me, using .local worked great all these years. The customer would still use .com (such as for their public web site and for their email address. Contoso.local was strictly for internal DNS purposes.

But SSL Certificate authorities have announced that they will not issue new UCC/SAN SSL certificates that contain non-public local Intranet domain suffixes (such as .local) or IP addresses.

See detail announcements from these vendors: GoDaddy   DigiCert  

So … the question was raised recently within my Microsoft MVP group: how does one install Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials with a custom internal domain suffix, since by default Essentials uses .local?

My good MVP friend, Robert Pearman, took the time to post a solution today on his blog site. He gives step by step instructions, along with screen shots:

Here is a quick summary of the steps:

  • Perform the pre-install of Essentials 2012 R2
  • When the Essentials Configuration Wizard (ECW) starts up, click CANCEL.
  • From System Properties, change the name of your server
  • Now add Active Directory Domain Services as a server role (Systems Manager > Manage > Add Roles and Features) and use all the defaults.
  • Then run the Post Deployment task and promote the server to a domain controller.
    • Select to create a new forest and enter your root domain name.
    • Note: many now suggest using a subdomain of your public domain name. So if your public domain is, you might use
    • After the pre-requisite check, use the defaults to complete the install of the server role.
    • After the server has rebooted, login as the domain admin, and the ECW will start up again.

Single stray .avhd Hyper-V snapshot file exists

I have a client with a Windows 2008R2 Hyper-V parent, and guest VMs. I was preparing to upgrade their Altaro Hyper-V software from version 4 to version 5, when I discovered that there was a single, stray snapshot file (.avhd) for one of the guest VMs. The strange thing is that the Hyper-V console was not showing that any snapshots exist or had been created for this VM.

I did some poking around, and buried in this Microsoft forum post was a response from Pablo which worked perfectly for me. His response is dated January 28, 2014.

Here are the steps he recommended and that I performed (again this was on a 2008 R2 Hyper-V server):

  • Shutdown the VM in question
  • On the right frame of the Hyper-V click on Snapshot and create a new snapshot. You can confirm this by going to the folder where the .avhd file exists, and you should now see a second .avhd file.
  • Return to the Hyper-V console, and from the middle frame, right click on the snapshot and select to delete the snapshot.
  • Over on the right frame you will see a message that a merge is in process.
  • Once the merge is completed, both .avhd files had been automatically removed from the folder location.

Backup fails in Windows Server 2012 Essentials

I have a customer running Windows 2012 R2 Essentials with Windows Server Backup scheduled to do twice daily backups. Recently it started reporting that the backup “Completed with warnings”.


I opened up Event Viewer, and under Application logs, I found this event 547 warning:

“The backup operation that started at {date & time) has encountered errors for the volumes ‘X:’. Log of files not successfully backed up at ‘C:\Windows\Logs\WindowsServerBackup\Backup_Error-{date & time}.log’


So, I go to the specified log folder, and open up the log file and it reports that it could not back up some files – Error [0x80070005] Access Denied.


With this information in hand, I check Microsoft ‘s Support website, and sure enough, I found KB 2747459 that identifies this exact problem and lists two workarounds:  Server backup process fails and “0x80070005” errors are logged in Windows Server 2012 Essentials

I chose to implement option 2 (Registry Edit). Please note that after editing the registry, you will need to reboot the server in order to implement the change.

Here are the steps as outlined in KB 2747459:

  1. In Registry Editor, locate the following registry subkey:


  2. Right-Click FilesNotToBackup, point to New, and then click Multi-String Value
  3. Type IgnoreNTFS, and then press Enter
  4. Right-click IgnoreNTFS, and then click Modify
  5. In the Value data box, type \$Extend\* /s
  6. Click OK, and then close Registry Editor.
  7. Restart the server.


Microsoft Announces New Support Policy for Repaired Exchange Databases

On May 1, 2015 Microsoft announced a new support policy for repaired Exchange databases. The details are in this blog post from the Exchange team.

Simply put — if the Exchange database has previously been repaired (repair count greater zero), then the contents of that database needs to be moved to a new Exchange database.

The question will be asked: how can I determine the repair count of an Exchange database?

The suggested way is to use the ESEUTIL utility with the MH option:
eseutil /mh <exchange_mailbox_filename.edb>

Running this command does not modify or update Exchange. It simply displays information about the Exchange database. But be sure to dismount your Exchange database before running the command.


Finally, for the record books: back in August, 2006 I wrote a blog post titled: Defragging Exchange in 4 Easy Steps. This was written in the Exchange 2003 era.

Disable Service Manager from Running at Startup on Windows 2012 R2

Not a big annoyance, but many times I’m asked to disable the Service Manager screen from starting up when you log into the Windows 2012 R2 Server.

The process is almost as easy as doing a three finger (Ctrl-Alt-Del) salute. After you log into the server, and the Server Manager starts up, do the following two steps:

  • Click on Manage –> Server Manager Properties
  • On the next window, click (to check) the “Do not start Server Manager automatically at logon” option

Next time you reboot and logon, voila, no server manager!

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Essentials Health Report Auto Start Services Not Running

If you are running Windows Server 2012 (or 2012 R2) Essentials, you may find the following warning in your Health Report:


This has been a known and reported issue for more than a year (per this forum thread).

The recommended workaround solution is to set the Shell Hardware Detection service to manual.


This will eliminate the red X alert from appearing in your daily health report for the server.


MVP Roadshow Tampa FL

The “Transform the Datacenter” MVP Roadshow was held at the Microsoft office in Tampa FL on Monday Sept 22, 2014. Many kudos to Adnan Cartwright. Due to an illness in the family with our first presenter (Telmo Sampaio), Adnan had to step in at the last minute to do both the first and second presentations.

Topics covered new features in Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V 4.0, migrating from  Windows 2003, public/private/hybrid clouds, Azure and more. More than half of the presentations were live demos, with lots of questions throughout. One comment from an attendee: “I can’t wait to get into Azure!”.

WP_20140922_002_cropped     WP_20140922_006-cropped

MVP Roadshow in Tampa

On Monday Sept. 22, 2014, Microsoft and Microsoft MVPs will be sponsoring a half day free seminar entitled “Transforming the Datacenter MVP Roadshow” at the Microsoft Office in Tampa Florida.

Transform the Datacenter MVP Roadshow

But don’t let the title dissuade you from attending. Topics for this session will include:

  • Migrating from Windows Server 2003
  • Comparing public, private and hybrid cloud approaches
  • New features in Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Understanding Microsoft Azure service offerings
  • Getting started with moving data, apps and services to the cloud
  • And much more!

We know that you have busy schedules, and so we have planned this morning’s event to be packed full of information. We will start with breakfast at 9am, with three sessions, followed by lunch during a final Q&A session. We plan to have things wrapped up by 1:15pm.

Register for the event now! and read more details on this free seminar.
Please note: when registering, you can skip the field labeled invitation referral code.

  • Date: Monday September 22, 2014
  • Time: 9am to 1:15pm
  • Location: Microsoft Office. 5426 Bay Center Dr, Suite 700, Tampa FL 33609

Windows Update Advisory

Last week Microsoft rolled out a large set of updates that cover both the Windows operating system and Microsoft Outlook. In my testing, the updates have installed fine. However, Microsoft has indicated that they have since removed some of the Windows OS updates from distribution on Friday – based on early feedback from users that they may cause a “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD) situation.

The most sever case is with MS14-045. For details on the updates in question, check out this ZDNet article.

For I.T. personnel, Ed Langley (Naked PowerShell) has written a  series of PowerShell scripts (click here) to determine if any of the relevant updates are installed on a system.

  1. If you, tend to periodically run Windows Updates on your own workstations, I would advise against doing so until I hear more from Microsoft.
  2. The Microsoft Office updates are not involved, and can be applied as desired.
  3. Finally, it’s because of situations like these that I recommend that servers are NOT configured to have updates automatically applied.

There is nothing you need to do as a response to this email. This is simply an advisory – unless of course you have encountered a workstation that has had a BSOD.