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 will.

It’s built into windows server… and using it to get rid of pesky shadow copies that won’t otherwise goes away looks like this:

C:\DiskShadow
DISKSHADOW> Delete Shadows All

and away they go…

One of the best blog articles I came across that details both VSSADMIN and DiskShadow tool and why VSSAdmin sometimes falls short is here:
https://danblee.com/diskshadow-vssadmins-best-friend/

Cheers!

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 a windows machine can cause odd issues, especially in an enterprise environment with Active Directory.

Sysprep is a wonderful tool but it has a few quirks. One such quirk is that it routinely wipes out all of the mounted drive information other than the system drive. This means every time you create a clone from a sysprep’d system image you have to go through and re-assign drive letters. This is fine on a simple server with one extra data server. This is a hassle on a database server which might have five extra drives.

After dealing with this again recently I finally decided to do a google search and came across a simple solution: (more…)

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 default gateway, ping other systems in the same subnet, telnet out on port 80 and 443, etc, etc. But the network connectivity still behaves oddly. What’s the issue?

It all has to do with networking logic decisions made many years ago (I believe as far back as Windows Server 2000) by someone at Microsoft. (more…)

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 quickly document the right mix of URL’s that must be allowed in order for Windows OS license activation to work: (more…)

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 – Suppressing Everything Else

One of the most common requests is seeing who has been in and out of a box. To that end, I want to expand a bit more and talk about how to filter on the following three things… Username, Event ID, and Logon Type.
(more…)