Vol. 21, #22 - May 30, 2016 - Issue #1082

Catching up

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Ask Our Readers - Career advice on becoming a network admin (new question)
    • Ask Our Readers - Any good free server and infrastructure monitoring tools? (one reader's suggestion)
    • Ask Our Readers - Remote Connection attempts timing out (latest updates concerning the original problem)
    • Ask Our Readers - Remote Connection attempts timing out (forked issue)
    • From the Mailbag
    • Tools for diagnosing PC hardware
    • Disk encryption tools
    • Send us your feedback
    • Recommended for Learning
    • Microsoft Virtual Academy
    • Quote of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. This Week's Tips
    • Windows 10 - Blocking the Windows Store
    • SQL Server Reporting Services - Customization for branding purposes
    • Windows 10 - Add a Business Account to OneDrive
  4. Events Calendar
    • North America
    • Add Your Event
  5. Tech Briefing
    • AWS
    • Cloud computing
    • Exchange Server
    • Security
    • Windows Server
  6. Recommended TechGenix Articles
    • Recommended articles from websites in TechGenix Network
  7. Other Articles of Interest
    • Brushing up on your vRealize knowledge
    • Step-by-step guide to OpenStack installation
    • IT application delivery, meet Microsoft Azure RemoteApp
    • How to tackle your cloud security concerns
  8. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • Master R/C Helicopter Pilot
    • Backyard Inventor Colin Furze Builds Flying Hoverbike
    • Flyboard Air - A Real Hoverboard?
    • The Future Is Here - Personal Electric Helicopter - First Manned Flight
  9. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • Deep Packet Inspection for Quality of Experience Monitoring

 

 

Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter catches up with some of the volume of mail we've received from our readers over the last few weeks as Your Editor has been on vacation. I don't know about you, but factoring in regular downtime where I get lost on some desert island where I can totally disconnect from everything online is essential for my mental and emotional well-being. Do you agree?
Unfortunately the serene, rested state of complete tranquility that one achieves during a good vacation might not last very long once you return to work as Alice demonstrates in this Dilbert comic strip:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/xxx3mjjo/

And as I read the comments for that comic strip I found something insightful that qualified as the Quote of the Week for this week's issue of our newsletter - enjoy!

Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Ask Our Readers - Career advice on becoming a network admin (new question)

A reader named Doug sent us the following question and asked us to redirect it to our newsletter readers:

I've been a tech for 20 years now, and have always been interested in network administration. I've learned a lot from the net admins I've worked with, but not nearly enough to be able to do the job.  So my question for your readers - at almost 40 years old, with 20 years as a tech, is it still an option to get into the network admin business or should I just leave that to the younger group?  I don't want to be a tech for the rest of my career, but I also know that there's a lot I don't know.

What do our experienced IT readers say? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Ask Our Readers - Any good free server and infrastructure monitoring tools? (one reader's suggestion)

Issue #1081 Ask Our Readers: Encryption for shared resources included an Ask Our Readers request sent to us by Rodd, a Systems Administrator working for a regional government council in Australia:


Love the newsletter mate always informative, keep the great work.
I have a request…..:)
Wondering whether you have any info on free server and infrastructure monitoring tools that you have published in previous articles, comparisons or reader feedback.  There are some really good tools out there but only seem to do one aspect really well like snmp monitoring of switches and network infrastructure but fall a bit short on the Windows server monitoring.  A combined article showcasing some of the free tools with pros and cons would be awesome.
Hope you can help.

So far we've received only one response to Rodd's request which is from Erik, the IT Manager of a foundation based in New York City, USA:

I use SCCM for deploying updates and software.  I used to use System Center Essentials which was a stripped down version of Config Manager and Ops manager but is now discontinued.  The full Ops Manager is overkill for my environment, so I started using Spiceworks to fill in some of the gaps.  I mainly use it for keeping track of what software is on what computer and it gives me warnings when drivers are nearly full.  But it can do a lot more.  And it's free.  Also, the Spiceworks forums are great.

We've covered Spiceworks before in our newsletter:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/g7uz770r/  (main topic)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/9rr0w7un/ (mailbag)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rgll0jn1/ (mailbag)

If any readers want to suggest other good free server and infrastructure monitoring tools that Rodd might want to try out, you can email us at wsn@mtit.com.

Ask Our Readers - Remote Connection attempts timing out (latest updates concerning the original problem)

Way back in Issue #1076 Hot desking blues we included the following Ask Our Readers problem from a reader named Darby who is a Senior Consultant based in North San Diego County area of California, USA:


I am writing this email in hopes that one of your subscribers has run into this problem before as I have been searching every online source I can think of and have been working with MS support for weeks now without a solution.  Needless to say, my users are not very appreciative when this server decides to stop accepting new RDP connections.
A brief bit of history...this is a Windows Server 2008 R2 server (completely up to date with all MS Updates) that hosts a couple different back office solutions...one is delivered via RDP and the other is web based.  This server runs pretty well 24x7 and worked great from early December, when it was created, until about mid February when the first occurrence of this behavior appeared.  
When the issue arises, users attempting to initiate an RDP session are able to enter their login credentials no problem, but the session just hangs on the part where the RDP client says 'Initiating Remote Connection' and eventually just times out saying it cannot connect.  I have let this condition run overnight to see if it was temporary, but it did not appear to be.  Each time this occurs, I must force a reboot of the OS and when the system reboots everything is back to normal and new RDP connections are created just fine.  
What's even more perplexing is that the web based app and some scheduled tasks set up under the Windows Scheduler appear to continue to work fine even during the periods where the server will not create an RDP session from the client.
I don't believe the server itself is hung, as these other tasks work, and work the same as normal in terms of performance.  But whatever is preventing the establishment of the new RDP session(s) has so far always required a reboot.  We have been unable to find anything conclusive in the Terminal Services Event Logs.
Any advice is greatly appreciated at this point.

Two weeks later in Issue #1078 Disk encryption tools we published some reader suggestions concerning the problem Darby has been experiencing, and since then Darby has updated us several times on the status of his problem. We're including these status updates here so readers who experience similar problems with their Remote Desktop Services environments can benefit. First, here's an update from Darby dated May 9th:

Hi Mitch, I saw this in the issue last week and wanted to thank you for all the great ideas.  I also wanted to give you a quick update.  In drilling into this one more, it appears as though this may be related to the AV software I am using.  I eventually found this post after finally discovering a chronological association between the error 4005 in the Event Viewer and the login issue:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ldnonwye/

When I read this post, it was as if I had written much of it.  Only after reading the associated threads down to the bottom did I discover that there was some kind of issue potentially with the Webroot AV software.  I then contacted their support and received a special build of the client/agent to install and test. This was deployed last weekend and I am now waiting for, hopefully, no further occurrences.

Since I was seeing this event about once a week I believe I 'should' have some idea by this time next week whether this was the issue.  I will certainly let you know.

Again, I greatly appreciate your help and if at all possible I hope I can help someone else avoid the many hours of frustration and stress I've experienced with this one. Thank you again Mitch.

About a week later I asked Darby for another update and he replied as follows:

Latest update is that I have been escalated to Sr. Support at Webroot and have had them confirm that my anecdotal observation is correct in that there is a correlation between the number of users on the system (user sessions) and the frequency of the occurrence. 

Just this morning they sent me an older build to test to see if the issue 'goes away' and then if it does, they want to apply the next build and see if it reappears...you get the idea from there.

While it has been kind of painful in terms of having to check on these servers pretty frequently to try to stay ahead of the problem or at least catch and reboot it before it affects anyone, at least they are working on helping. 

The heck of it is, what do you do?  You can't just remove AV because that opens the possibility for far worse events...so I'll keep at it and keep my fingers crossed.

I'll keep you updated as this unfolds.

Thank you for checking back with me.  I just hope someone else can benefit from my experience as I am sure I have benefited from the experiences of others in the past whether knowingly or not.  :-)

If any readers have any further suggestions they'd like to offer concerning this issue, email us at wsn@mtit.com

Ask Our Readers - Remote Connection attempts timing out (forked issue)

One of the readers who commented on Darby's problem in Issue #1078 Disk encryption tools was Bill, the President of a software and consulting company in Illinois, USA who suggested:

Check server memory resources.  Specifically, the Paged Pool and the Non-Paged Pool.  My own Win2008 server has been leaking non-paged pool memory of late, and when it gets to around 650MB in size, some functions fail outright, requiring a reboot to fix it.  I've even written a nightly VBScript process that checks the non-paged pool size every night, and when it tops 450MB, it sends me an Email so that I can proactively reboot the server the next morning to avoid a mid-day outage.  Some day, I'll find the time to research the problem in more detail and figure it out, though I recently upgraded QuickBooks on that server, and the problem doesn't seem quite as bad right now....

Bill sent us an update a week later concerning his own problem where he said:

Update on NonPagedPool issue:  Turns out that VMWare VMTools was the culprit.  Had time to spend on this this past weekend.  I am now upgrading to vSphere 6.x in the hopes that this resolves the problem with the non-paged pool memory leak.  I hope to have this done in the next two days, and am looking forward to having this issue fixed for good.

I recently asked Bill if his vSphere upgrade had resolved the issue and he replied:

It did! Non paged pool hasn't run out since I upgraded VMware. Haven't needed to reboot the server since then, either.

We're including Bill's updates here in case other readers using Windows Server 2008 might be experiencing similar problems.

Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

From the Mailbag

Since this is a catch-up issue we're going to cover Mailbag items in separate below according to the previous newsletter issue the readers are referring to...

Tools for diagnosing PC hardware

Issue #1080 Tools for diagnosing PC hardware problems generated some feedback from our readers. Here's a short sampling. Ben who works for an architectural and engineering firm based in Wisconsin, USA said:

Love the newsletter.  I've gotta recommend Passmark's tools for hardware troubleshooting.  The software is really good.  I use it to do burn in test on used machines to make sure that they are perfectly stable.  Besides their standard software, they also sell a reasonably priced pre-loaded bootable USB drive.  It is AWESOME because then you can rule out Windows or a bad driver causing in instability.  They offer a bunch of loopback plugs for testing all of your ports.  AND just today, I see that they now offer a PCIe tester.  I may just have to pick one of those up too.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/cbgpvkr4/

http://www.wservernews.com/go/db3ihp25/

BTW, I think that all of those power supply testers are worthless in all but some rare cases.  None of them actually put a load on the power supply.  To be really useful, it would plug inline with the motherboard and monitor the voltage and beep or something when the voltage goes out of spec.

Keep up the good work!

Good point there about power supply testers, and along those lines Art who works at BellSouth offered the following technical advice:

The output from a power supply has an additional component to be checked for: ripple voltage.  Unless your power source is a battery, the AC component must be filtered out by the big capacitors in the power supply. This is accomplished with a digital volt meter on the lowest (2V) setting.  Ripple should be nil, ideally 1mV.  Picture a cross section of a body of water with waves on the top.  The depth of water from a calm, glass like surface to the bottom represents pure, clean DC.  If you have waves on the top they will be 120Hz, due to the rectification of the 60Hz source. This represents unfiltered AC on top of the DC.  In an audio device, like an amplifier, this is known as "motorboating" as the 120Hz sounds like a motorboat running through the speakers.  Thus DC voltages can check out OK but the ripple voltage can still be causing problems.  The best way to check DC and ripple on a power supply is with a common digital volt meter.

Keep up the good work.

Readers who still want to comment on tools for diagnosing PC hardware can send their suggestions to us at wsn@mtit.com.

Disk encryption tools

Issue #1078 Disk encryption tools examined some of the tools (free or otherwise) you can use for encrypting HDD and SSD drives. Several readers offered feedback concerning some of these tools. First here's Doug who works for a credit union in California, USA:

 Your article yesterday mentions Wave Systems for SSD management and I wanted to share some further info, in case it may help our readership. I've used Wave to manage corporate SSD drives for the last 4 years and have found it a good fit. Recently, Wave went bankrupt and EXO5 acquired them, with plans to continue development and support of the product. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find any published phone numbers on the EXO5 site (I prefer phone for tech support and sales). We tried EXO5's online tech support web form to open a case for a recent issue, but after a month, have gotten no response.
Unfortunately, there aren't many alternatives to the Wave system (at least for enterprise management of SSDs). I contacted Seagate and they provided the following list of SSD management vendors (includes Wave) that are compatible with Seagate SSDs:

•CREDANT Technologies
•Mobile Armor, Inc.
•SECUDE International
•Wave Systems Corp.
•WinMagic, Inc.

(generally, any OPAL-compliant drive should be compatible)
I just felt compelled to respond to the article, having had personal experience in the matter. Keep up the good work!

Next, Mark who is based in San Diego, California and runs for a company that provides custom software and IT services, offered these helpful comments:

BitLocker and self-encrypting drives (SEDs) do not have to be an either-or proposition.  Some SEDs function as "Encrypted Hard Drives for Windows" (eDrives) and can be managed directly by BitLocker without third-party software.  Information is scarce but here is a TechNet overview:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/netdn4c4/

When BitLocker uses hardware encryption mode, it doesn't ask you whether to encrypt the whole hard drive or just the data, because BitLocker isn't actually doing the encryption. Also, "manage-bde-status" shows that the Encryption Method is "Hardware Encryption."

Here is how I got it working on a small Lenovo server with a Samsung SSD:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kddxjkpn/

Finally, a reader named Robin who works as a consultant in Australia also offered this suggestion:

Suggest "Steganos PrIvacy Suite"  which includes a number of encryption tools plus other privacy tools.

If any other readers have comments or suggestions concerning disk encryption tools (especially for SSDs) please feel free to email us at wsn@mtit.com

Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Recommended for Learning

From the Microsoft Press Blog:

Free ebook: Microsoft Azure Essentials Migrating SQL Server Databases to Azure

Part of the "Microsoft Azure Essentials" series, this ebook helps SQL Server database users understand Microsoft's offering for SQL Server in Azure. Learn how SQL Server in Azure is similar to SQL Server in an on-premises environment, and how they are different. The author, a content lead for Azure.com, walks you through the steps of getting started with SQL Server in an Azure virtual machine and with Azure SQL Database. Follow the numerous screenshots to create a trial subscription, create SQL Server in an Azure virtual machine, create an Azure SQL Database, migrate an on-premises database to each Azure environment, create users, back up and restore data, and archive data.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/e3ze1m04/

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Building Infrastructure in Azure using Azure Resource Manager

Watch this course and get introduced to Azure Resource Manager (ARM).  Find out how you can build your infrastructure in Azure, using PowerShell and templates.  With your knowledge of Azure as an IaaS platform, and your experience deploying virtual machines, you'll discover the benefits of using ARM.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0glvh0p2/

 Quote of the Week

"Engineers never have vacations, just accumulated postponed work." - from a comment for this week's Dilbert comic strip

Until next week,
Mitch Tulloch

Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don't receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at wsn@mtit.com and we'll try to troubleshoot things from our end.

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

Get this free virtualization monitoring and reporting tool for VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, and XenServer environments:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/z7wf1q5x/

This project shows a working example of how to implement a tabbed web part zone in both SharePoint 2010 and 2013 using only a custom page layout and JQuery:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/cv45en97/

Taskbar Meters are incredibly simple meters that live in the Windows 7 task bar:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0krmnzst/


GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at wsn@mtit.com 

This Week's Tips

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Windows 10 - Blocking the Windows Store

Jeremy Moskowitz of GPAnswers.com pointed us to the following helpful post on his site that might be of help to some of our readers who manage smaller IT environments where Windows 10 Professional has been or will be deployed:

How to Block Windows Store in Windows 10 Pro with Group Policy

http://www.wservernews.com/go/r491w7sy/

SQL Server Reporting Services - Customization for branding purposes

Rod Trent's myITforum site has a helpful article by Garth Jones that explains how you can now add your company's name, logo and colors to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) starting with SQL Server 2016 RC1:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/b5j7el5q/

Windows 10 - Add a Business Account to OneDrive

This tip can be found on Paul Thurrott's site and describes how you can now use the OneDrive sync client in Windows 10 to access both consumer and business OneDrive accounts for double the fun:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/xbkdxdvt/

Events Calendar

North America

2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 10-14, 2016 in Toronto Canada

http://www.wservernews.com/go/s1hv2esa/

Ignite on September 26-30, 2016 in Atlanta USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3u3k3at3/

Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact michaelv@techgenix.com

Tech Briefing

AWS

AWS IoT (WindowsSecurity.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/dosaxaen/

Addressing RDP Failures for EC2 Virtual Machines (Part 1) (WindowsNetworking.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/a1icf2yx/

Cloud computing

Docker and Containers (Part 2) - Understanding Docker (VirtualizationAdmin.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3n0qeiee/

OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, Office 365, Google Drive: How Their Storage Compares (Windows Supersite)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ah8frpn4/

Exchange Server

Remote Domains in Exchange 2013 (Part 1) (MSExchange.org)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8khwvtx8/

Protecting Exchange with Azure Backup (Part 2) (MSExchange.org)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/9b83t2vc/

Security

Microsoft Cloud App Security is generally available (Microsoft Cyber Trust Blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rt3rnwo5/

Application Security Redux: It’s All about the Apps (Part 3) (WindowsSecurity.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/vdnqg4h4/

Windows Server

Getting Started with Containers (Part 3) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wtsft6vq/

Introducing Nested Virtualization in Windows Server 2016 (VirtualizationAdmin.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/mbvp50al/


Recommended TechGenix Articles

Exchange Server 2016 and Microsoft Cloud - Deployment Guide (Part 3)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/vlqq4p8b/

Taking Control of VM Spawl (Part 16)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/eybj29sr/

Using PowerShell DSC to deploy update packages

http://www.wservernews.com/go/v3btz19i/

Top 10 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Data Leakage

http://www.wservernews.com/go/jlix9i5y/

Other Articles of Interest

Brushing up on your vRealize knowledge

Last February, VMware showcased its new vRealize Suite 7—including 6 new updates/features to the powerful hybrid cloud platform.  However, before checking out the latest version, it's best to understand the vRealize Suite as a whole.  Brush up on your knowledge with these top 5 tips by our editors.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3z3ghzqj/

Step-by-step guide to OpenStack installation

OpenStack installation is harder than most IT professionals anticipate, and instructions given online leave plenty of room for error, and many pages left unturned.  Fill in the gaps with this step-by-step guide to installing OpenStack on Ubuntu.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/7zu7gza0/

IT application delivery, meet Microsoft Azure RemoteApp

The growing demand for IT to deliver apps individually has left many companies with few choices in doing so—one of which is Microsoft Azure Remote App which is extremely useful in delivering apps via the cloud.  Discover the ins and outs of the new platform, things to keep in mind when using/deploying it, and how you can best utilize it in your enterprise.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/399uvh4m/

How to tackle your cloud security concerns

The benefits of the cloud are very well documented, but many enterprises are still hesitant to make the transition due to constant security concerns. Here are some tips to sway even the biggest cloud security skeptics.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/39geuv7f/


WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Master R/C Helicopter Pilot

With incredible reflexes and coordination, R/C pilot Tareq Alsaadi can make his helicopter perform maneuvers that were previously considered impossible:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wlkfebpl/

Backyard Inventor Colin Furze Builds Flying Hoverbike

Inventor Colin Furze has built himself a flying hoverbike - similar to the Return of the Jedi's speeder bikes:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/zg0mr2el/

Flyboard Air - A Real Hoverboard?

French jet ski champion Franky Zapata hover 100 ft (30 m) above the ground on the revolutionary 'Flyboard Air.'  Is this real?

http://www.wservernews.com/go/tnfefgwd/

The Future Is Here - Personal Electric Helicopter - First Manned Flight

The future is here:  First manned flight of the Volocopter, a personal electric helicopter that could revolutionize personal transportation:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/xtrj803n/

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

 

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.