The current state of the world has caused some unique stresses on IT infrastructure. For IT departments servicing internal teams, remote access infrastructure in particular has felt the brunt of the blow. To that end, I spent a couple of weeks testing out enterprise VPN solutions.

In my line of work we often evaluate new ways to do things, specifically new platforms for server hosting, disaster recovery, backups, etc. One of the requests that often comes from vendors is “How big is your environment?” Microsoft has the rather excellent “MAP” tool however I find it to be a bit slow, somewhat […]

A colleague of mine recently solved one of the biggest pain points I have dealt with regarding Office365 – that is, Microsoft’s seemingly hit-or-miss modern authentication. Symptoms look like this: 1. Outlook client can’t connect and/or authenticate for end-users 2. Turning on Azure MFA for an end-user ruins their life (and yours) because all office […]

I won’t go into great detail here but in short, if VSSAdmin is not letting you delete shadow copies and is throwing this message: Error: Snapshots were found, but they were outside of your allowed context.  Try removing them with the backup application which created them. There is another (less safe…) program called DiskShadow which […]

After working with RDS (Remote Desktop Services, previously known as “Terminal Services”, also referred to “The biggest pain in the rear and the only way to get more than two remote desktop sessions on a server because Microsoft either hates admins, hates this product, or both”) I have come to the conclusion that Microsoft really […]

Several years ago Microsoft provided Windows 7 operating system ISO file downloads easily through a site called Digital River. Legitimate, clean copies of all versions of Windows 7. Then they stopped. Why is this a problem? I refurbish a lot of older desktops and laptops; often to give them away. Those systems usually have a […]

If you got a new computer system recently then it probably is using UEFI bios and it didn’t come with Windows installation media or a product license activation key. What gives? Manufacturers are now embedding the activation key in the UEFI BIOS. You can retrieve the key by running this command from within a Windows […]

This will (hopefully) be brief… Here is the Scenario: You have deployed Office365 You have an on-prem Domain Controller (hopefully more than one!) You are using Azure AD Connect 1.1 or greater, (which is installed on one of your domain controllers) You create or manage user accounts using your on-prem domain controllers Whenever you create […]

I regularly use the Microsoft Windows sysprep tool to create template Windows Server 2012 R2 systems for wider deploy using cloning. Sysprep is used to modify a pre-configured Windows system and create an image or “template” so that you can create unique copies of it for faster system deployment. Failure to use syprep before cloning […]

I am going to get right to it today. I really don’t like Microsoft Exchange. I think it is a bloated, convoluted, over-priced product. Welcome to being a Microsoft admin :). I was recently tasked with doing a bit of investigative work on an Exchange server and determining what all was using the box for […]

I will keep this short and sweet. We have servers in our environment that have multiple IP addresses assigned to a single NIC. That’s normally just fine. However on occasion I will have very strange issues occur where essentially all networking appears to be working and yet web browsing won’t work. I can ping my […]

I have been fiddling about with setting up a SQL Server 2012 Failover cluster using an Equallogic SAN. After a whole lot of digging about I found two different posts on two different sites which got me about 90% of the way there. However there were some key “gotcha’s” and other information that was missing […]

One of most difficult things to find (imho) is information about API and Service URL’s for just about any and all applications. Microsoft is better than some (Dell, I am looking at you…) but it can still require some metaphorical google search back flips to get to the right information. That said… I wanted to […]

The Event Viewer is a very useful tool however, like any log management solution, the biggest hurdle can be filtering out the noise and returning only the meaningful log data that you care about. This is a follow-up on a previous article which can be viewed here: Finding Human Logins in the Windows Event Viewer […]

This is a quick snippet for all of you working with RDS in Server 2012+… and bemoaning the fact that Microsoft took something relatively simple and made it horribly convoluted… In Powershell you can manually set a Session Host Server to use a specific licensing server and mode. To do so you run the following […]