Saturday, November 11, 2006

Windows Mobile Network Analyzer

Troubleshooting network is not that easy on a Windows Mobile using built-in functionality. But with a new powertoy from Microsoft it's possible to perform two very basic network troubleshooting commands: PING and IPCONFIG!

Furthermore you can save a capture file (.cap) and use an external network analyzer tool so see what packets were received etc.

Check it out: Windows Mobile Network Analyzer PowerToy

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Download your virtual machines!

Microsoft really did a nice thing the other day, this is so kewl...

Microsoft released a few VHD files (Virtual Hard Discs) with some of their top products pre-installed! This means you can test the products and get some hands-on experience - no time wasted on installing etc.

All you need is the free Virtual Server 2005 software and then you can download the VHD files from here - fantastic!

These days VHD files are available for:
Exchange Server 2007
SQL Server 2005
Windows Server 2003 R2
ISA Server 2006

Taking a look at MS products was never this easy before... Enjoy!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Exchange 2003 in real trouble

Hi,

Just wanted to share an experience I had the other day at a customer's network (a small company with around 15 guys in the sales department and a few more in administration etc.).

The local IT responsible called me and asked me if I had an idea why their Internet connection was extremely slow that Monday - it had been so since around 10:40 the same morning... Hmm, I had no idea to begin with, so we had to do some troubleshooting over the phone.

First we did some ICMP echo requests against some remote servers and I could only agree, things didn't look good - so the question was: Is this because of the ISP or some local problem?

Well, the ISP had no problems in the area they said (but it seems they never have any problems - officially). So I set up some monitoring in their Sonicwall firewall and we quickly spotted heavy action from their Exchange 2003 server. He tried to restart the server and after half an hour it actually restarted - it was under heavy load! After the reboot the network performance went bad again, so I asked him to go into Exchange System Manager (ESM) and take a look at the queues...

The queue situation turned out to be pretty ugly and it looked like the server was an open relay, hit by some SPAM/hacker attack or whatever - even though I was pretty sure everything was setup correctly and in a secure manner when I installed the server. So I grabbed my jacket and went to the customer's location.

When I arrived I could see almost 1000 queues left in retry state, each with a single message of around 1 MB. The server was responding extremely slowly and every mouse click was like an eternity. When I took a closer look at the emails it seemed as though they were all sent from an internal user, let's call him Mr. Spammer! I feared some malware had entered his computer - even though I knew he was not a local admin, they had antivirus & -spyware running, XP built-in firewall activated etc.

I went to the users seat an unplugged his computer, looked in his Event Log, running processes/services and Outlook sent items - and there it was... At 10.40 this guy actually produced an email for a high number of external receivers, probably above one thousand... That should be OK, but the thing is, he attached a 1 MB picture - this changed the story completely. Exchange simply couldn't handle that amount of traffic.

So now I was sure this was not an attack or anything - I was pretty relieved I can tell you - it was now "just" a local user who acted like a SPAMMER... An internal attack you could say. Well, I never saw that one coming!

Now I had one problem - the queues didn't go away. Restart of SMTP service didn't work, the "Default SMTP Virtual Server" queue (and pickup) directory was empty so I was left with the manual approach of deleting every item in each queue.... Or using the AQADMCLI tool.

This tool is an admins friend in situations like mine. I downloaded the tool from another server, placed it on a floppy, copied to the (offline) Exchange server and executed the file. This gives you a Command Prompt, and all I had to do was to type:

setserver SERVERNAME
delmsg flags=all

This displayed a lot of entries about queues being flushed - or messages being deleted - and then all I had to do was to type in quit. Problem solved!

So todays blog is just a small tribute to AQADMCLI and it's authors - I hope this info will come in handy someday in your admin-life :)

You can read more about the tool here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Alt+C Vista Trick

This might be a very simple trick which is known to many people out there, but I'm gonna give it out for free no matter what you say :-)

I've read and heard people complaining about the new UAC popup we have in Windows Vista - personally I really don't mind at all - but this really seems to mess people up... Before this, the same people probably complained about the lack of security in Microsoft products, talking about how wonderful Mac and Linux is to use, hmm let me stop now before I get too angry.

Well, I just want to say, that whenever you see this:
 
All you have to do is press [Alt]+C !!! You DON'T have to click the "Continue" button with the mouse... Once you've learned this trick, maybe you won't get so annoyed with Vista UAC behavior anymore ;-)

Do you notice the difference?

Hi,

Just wanted to share this nice detail within Windows Vista Disk Management GUI... Just saw it a few minutes ago and I like it alot!

Do you notice the difference from 2000/XP/2003?

Well, now it doesn't just say "System" anymore (on the System partition/volume), now we have some great detail on the functions each partition/volume has on the computer... This would be "System" (the boot files), "Boot" (the Windows files), "Page Files" (we have the Page File on this partition), "Active" (the partition is used by the BIOS), "Crash Dump" (on system failure we use this drive to store the Kernel memory dump) and "Primary Partition" (the partition type, could be "Extended" etc.)...

Well, maybe I'm crazy - but I really like this detailed info right there in Disk Manager :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Am I command prompt admin?

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to know whether you are logged into a Windows Vista command promt as an administrator or a limited user?

Well, this is a small tip to let you SEE the difference :)

We have a registry key that gives us an option to autorun a specific BAT file whenever a command prompt is executed:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor\

All you need to do is to add a String value called "autorun" and point to the BAT file we will create in a few seconds... Use "quotes" in the path, like in my case: "C:\!MY AREA\admintest.bat"

The BAT file itself needs to include the following code:

@echo off
pushd %SystemRoot%\System32
set ADMINTEST=~_~_ThisGottaBeUnique_~_~
:START
MD %ADMINTEST% > NUL 2>&1
if exist %SystemRoot%\System32\%ADMINTEST% GOTO ADMIN
GOTO END
:ADMIN
color 5f
RD %ADMINTEST%
:END
set ADMINTEST=popd

Basically it tries to create a (hopefully) unique directory below "Systemroot\System32" and tests if it succeedes, as only admins can create directories at that location it is pretty simple to figure out.

The rest is just setting the COLOR of the CLI background.

This picture shows the elements needed to perform this little trick - two different CLI's, one as a limited user (black) and one as an admin (purple) - the last title bar still shows "Administrator: Command Prompt" which is the only 'hint' we have by default.

In the background you will see the registry setting as well as the BAT script... I hope you can use this IRL, if not... it's still pretty kewl :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Windows Vista beta - build 5744.16384

In case you didn't know, Microsoft just released Windows Vista build 5744.16384 - the release which is also called RC2 - on https://connect.microsoft.com, but this is only for beta testers right now.

According to different sources a more "public" release will arrive very soon - like MSDN, "second-wave beta testers" and perhaps others...

We still don't need new keys!

The ISO files you need are the following:
0x523B6D3A:
vista_5744.16384.061003-1945_x86fre_client-LRMCFRE_EN_DVD.iso

0x0F8131AB:
vista_5744.16384.061003-1945_x64fre_client-LRMCxFRE_EN_DVD.iso

Have a nice testing time - I'm downloading as I write, simply can't wait to check out this thing :)

EDIT:
The release is now available to the public - all you need is a key (or you will only have Vista in a trial period of 14 days I beleive), go here to download:
http://download.windowsvista.com/preview/rc2/en/download.htm

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Windows Vista beta - build 5728.16387

If you haven't already downloaded the latest Vista beta build (the first public version after build 5600 =RC1), then you have the option from these links:

x86 (approx. 2.6GB) - or - x64 (approx. 3.6GB)

 

Important information:
"This build (5728) has a number of improvements and updates from RC1, but has not been put through the same internal testing process as RC1 and therefore may be unstable in certain installations. We are making this release available for a limited time only (and only by download) in order to get broad distribution and testing in a variety of PC configurations. Please note: This build may not have the same level of support or servicing via Windows Update, and you may not be able to upgrade to the final version of Windows Vista."

Terminal Services Client v6 - RC1

Microsoft released v6 of the RDP client just the other day.

It looks a bit different than the former versions:

But it's not just the icon and some colors that has changed - let's take look at some changes... First of all the RC1 version is called 6.0.5600.16384 - to some extend indicating that this is from Vista build 5600 (=Vista RC1).

The first cool thing I notices was, that this version is installed like any other update to the OS - not like a separate application as it used to. This provides us with a new MSTSC.EXE file - so when launching the executable (without a path) we get the latest version (earlier it didn't replace the builtin version of MSTSC (v. 5.1.2600.2180) - I'll get back to this in a moment) - also it doesn't force an installation into "Accessories" either, both "features" that made some of us kinda frustrated).

I usually start the RDP client from a command prompt with some switches "MSTSC /v 192.168.170.100 /console" for instance brings me to the active session (console) of 192.168.170.100. Now this finally works without mistakenly launching an old version of the client (namely the builtin version placed in the Windows folders with a system environment path to it) - earlier version "upgrades" of the RDP client (like version 5.2.3790.1830 from the Windows Server 2003 R2 CD I believe) placed itself in "%programfiles%\remote desktop" instead of replacing the MSTSC.EXE file in the "%windir%\system32" folder). Well, now this works - great job!

Lets take a quick look at some differences between the versions:

This is version 5.1.2600.2180 (notice that there is no Security or Advanced tab):

This is version 5.2.3790.1830 (notice we now got a Security tab):

This is version 6.0.5600.16384 RC1 (now the Security tab is gone and the Advanced tab is introduced):

So what is the difference then? Well, the first 5 tabs - General, Display, Local Resources, Programs and Experience haven't changed since the builtin release... The Security tab (which might have been there in versions in between, I'm not sure) in version 5.2.3790.1830 brings us authentication of the remote system - see more detailed info right here! The tab looked like this:

Well, in the RDP v6 RC1 version the tab was renamed to Advanced and it now looks like this:

The top part is like the Security tab - but now we also have the "Connect from anywhere" section where we can configure Terminal Services Gateway settings.

Where can I get it? It's currently available on http://connect.microsoft.com for Vista/Longhorn BETA testers.

Enjoy :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vista RC1 productkeys available!

Vista productkeys should be available right here (you need to use your Passport):
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/PCTrialResults1.aspx?s=37&refer=%2Fwindowsvista%2Fgetready%2Fpreview.mspx

If the above doesn’t work – try this link:
http://www.laboratoire-microsoft.org/n/22215/ (the site looks kinda funny, but it works!)…

Remember that you can activate your product key up to 10 times!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Download Windows Vista Pre RC1 build 5536

Microsoft released Windows Vista Pre RC1 build 5536 to the public - but you need to act fast, only 100.000 downloads will be available...

http://download.windowsvista.com/preview/prerc1/en/download.html

Saturday, August 26, 2006

NETSHELL - Tip #1

The NETSH(ell) command is a very powerful tool included in the Windows 2K+ systems. The following article brings you a few tips on using this command - have a nice one!

A)
I have seen a problem a few times where Windows XP computers do not want to change their IP addresses after a move from one network to another. It's like some part of the computers IP stack is still attached to the old IP address - and this happens even though you use IPCONFIG /RELEASE & /RENEW!

Well, in this case the NETSH command is very useful, try this:

NETSH INT IP RESET C:\IPRESET.TXT

After executing the command you IP stack is rebuild in a few seconds.

B)
Some spyware and other awful software replaces parts of the Winsock Catalog for "sniffing" purposes - when this crap is removed (by anti-spyware apps for instance) you will sometimes find that your Internet connection is no longer up and running. In this case try the following command:

NETSH WINSOCK RESET

After executing the command you must restart your computer for the changes to take effect. When the system is back up and running you may have to reset the IP stack (tip 1A) - and you should be up and running again now.

C)
Within Help & Support you may have found the Network Diagnostics Tool which tests the computers network access in detail - it's actually pretty good, but seldom used I think. If you (like myself) are a command line junkie, you (or a user) can launch the tool by running the following command:

NETSH DIAG GUI

After executing the command a nice HTML interface (The Help & Support page) pops up and you can click "Scan your system" which will end up with a network report.

All for now - CYA!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Windows Live Writer (beta)

This is a test Windows Live Writer beta!

Please check out this great tool here:

http://windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/blog/

 

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Virtual Direct Push Setup (VDPS part 3)

The Virtual Direct Push Setup (VDPS part 3)
Please be sure to checkout part 1 & part 2 of the VDPS article also :)

This VDPS article covers functionality of the "Virtual Machine Network Driver" (VMND) and links to really nice external information.

Testing SMS and other phone stuff
You can use the VMND to test different phone features too. You could try to send an SMS message by doing the following on the mobile device:
- "Start" > "Messaging"
- click "Menu" > "Switch Accounts..."
- select "Text Messages" > click New
Send an SMS to phone# 0010001 with some message and click "Send".
Within no time you receive a message from 0010001 with the same message as you sent before.

You can test emergency calls - like: 911
A phone line that is allways Busy: 7272024
A phone line which is never answered: 7272773

More info here: http://blogs.msdn.com/barrybo/archive/2005/09/17/469702.aspx

More information needed!
Download or view this cool video which inspired me to create the VDPS articles:
http://msexchangeteam.com/videos/9/train/entry426996.aspx

Microsofts "Step-by-Step Guide to Deploying Windows Mobile-based Devices with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2":
Look here

What is next?
Next time I have a hard time sleeping I'll expand the VDPS articles with:
- "Remote Wipe" and the "ActiveSync Web Administration Tool"
- "Device security" settings (in ESM) and how they apply to the device
- Direct Push and encryption using HTTPS (SSL)
- The mentioned features from an ISA 2004/2006 admins point of view

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Virtual Direct Push Setup (VDPS part 2)

The Virtual Direct Push Setup (VDPS part 2)!

Be sure to check out VDPS part 1 http://heidelbergit.blogspot.com/2006/08/virtual-direct-push-setup-vdps-part-1.html first :)

Well, the virtual domain environment is up and running, now for the funny part.

On "DC" create a new user account called "mobile" and be sure to create a mailbox for the user also - make the password something relatively easy for testing purpose, like "Start123" (must be uppercase + lowercase + numbers by default). From now on just minimize the "DC" VM to save on performance - the rest of the time all we need it love... No, the Exchange server of course - Doh! If nothing else is stated, please use the "EXCH" VM from now on (maybe even in Full Screen mode for better performance.

On "EXCH": From the OWA (http://localhost/exchange - logged in as Administrator) send a test email to "mobile". Hopefully no error messages will return :)

Open Exchange System Manager (ESM) on "EXCH" - expand "Global Settings" > Right click "Mobile Services" and select Properties. On the "General" tab select "Enable user initiated synchronization" AND "Enable Direct Push over HTTP(s)". For now we will not set up any "Device Security" options - but we will test this out later on! For now just select "OK" and close down ESM. Exchange is now ready to handle Direct Push... See picture.

Now we get to the "Virtual Machine Network Driver for Microsoft Device Emulator". Copy the "netsvwrap.msi" file to "EXCH" (use the "drag and drop" feature in VPC) and execute the file (next, next, next etc.).

Now we need the "Standalone Device Emulator 1.0 with Windows Mobile OS Images"... First copy the downloaded Device Emulator files to "EXCH" - then extract the downloaded "V1Emulator.zip" file, and run: "standalone_emulator_V1.exe" (next, next, next etc.). Next execute the "efp.msi" file (next, next, next etc.). Now you are all set :)

Go to "Start" > "All programs" > "Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 MSFP Emulator Images" > click "PocketPC - Coldboot"... This is what you should see after some time (typically a few minutes).

- Note: MSFP (Messaging and Security Feature Pack) is required on the Windows Mobile 5.0 device - we are "lucky" that Microsoft provided a Mobile OS image with this Feature Pack on it. This image is a great part in making the VDPS possible...!

Now - within the "WM 5.0 MSFP" mobile device click "Start" > "Programs" > open "ActiveSync". In ActiveSync click "Menu" > "Add Server source", in the field "Server address" specify the (static) IP address of you virtual Exchange server and uncheck the "This server requires an encrypted (SSL) connection" checkbox. Say "OK" to the "Security Warning" that pops up - IRL you should of course use SSL, but this is just a first glance at Direct Push, so no need to get too complicated at this point. You should now see this.

Click "Next" - on the "Edit Server Settings" page specify "User name" (mobile), "Password" (Start123) and Domain (whatever you named your AD domain). Remember to enable/check the checkbox "Save password (required for automatic sync)". This is what you should see now. Let's just ignore the "Advanced" button for now and click "Next". Please also ignore the "Settings" button at the next screen and click "Finish". The mobile device will try to synchronize with our Exchange server - but fails...

It fails because no network connection have been established yet on the mobile device - so don't worry too much yet. The network driver we installed earlier sets up some functionality that I'm going to cover in detail later on (VDPS part 3)- but the most important thing to know right now is, that it creates the "Fake Network" which is used to communicate with the virtual Exchange server.

To establish the needed network connection, click the "antenna" icon at the top of the screen (still within the virtual mobile device). You will see a dialog like this. The dialog states "This network card connects me to: The Internet (or work via VPN)" (default choice) - let's just click "Connect"!

Next click "Sync" to manually initialize the first synchronization from the mobile device - hopefully your device will successfully contact the Exchange server and perform the sync nicely - like you see here - and when finished you should see something similar to this.

As you may claim, we haven't really performed a Direct Push of mail yet - but now it's time for the big test... On the mobile device close the "ActiveSync" application, the "Programs" folder and you should see the default startup view.

Now, on "EXCH" log on to OWA and send "mobile" another test email. A short moment after you click "Send" you should see the sync process starting on the mobile device. And after a few seconds a popup should be displayed (the "New E-mail Messages" popup). Click "Dismiss" and you should be "back where we started" - only now we have 2 unread e-mails!

Well - all for now - CYA!

Check out the VDPS part 3
http://heidelbergit.blogspot.com/2006/08/virtual-direct-push-setup-vdps-part-3.html

The Virtual Direct Push Setup (VDPS part 1)

The Virtual Direct Push Setup (VDPS part 1)!

Hello there... The following article will try to explain an easy way to setup a virtual environment for you to test out the Exchange 2003 SP2 & Windows Mobile 5.0 Feature Pack features... Without buying any hardware like servers, mobile phones/PDA's etc... Sounds nice, right?

You will have to be able to install several products and components your self (Virtual PC 2004, Windows Server 2003 + Exchange Server 2003 and a few other products)

What do I need to make it happen?
Well, you need a pretty good computer (laptop or stationary) with at least 1 GB memory - that is at least what I prefer as a minimum. The CPU should not be less that 2 GHz. You will also need some GB's on you hard drive - could be an external USB 2.0 drive without any problems.

The computer must have a version of Windows XP running - personally I'm running Windows XP SP2 on an IBM Thinkpad T43 with 2GB. I was only able to find the host operating system in a free trial for the 64 bit platforms: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/64bit/facts/trial.mspx (550 MB) - but if you haven't got XP running you must be a "Microsoft Hater" anyway, bye bye ;-)

What do I need to download - the basics?
"Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 SP1" it is completely free (thanx Microsoft): http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=6D58729D-DFA8-40BF-AFAF-20BCB7F01CD1&displaylang=en (18.2 MB)
- Note: the "better" product from Microsoft "Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise" is also available at no cost what so ever - but I haven't tested the network drivers on that platform so that's why I recommend VPC right now.

"Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP1 or R2" (32 bit) is available in a 180 day trial: Get the trial version here (
566 MB + 120 MB is you choose R2, but not necessary for the VDPS to run)

"Microsoft Exchange 2003 Standard or Enterprise Edition" is available in a 120 day trial edition: http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/evaluation/trial/default.mspx (120 MB)

"Service Pack 2 for Exchange Server 2003" must be downloaded and installed: Download available here (109.7 MB)

"The usual updates...." - well, just in case you didn't know - you should update your Windows platform and Exchange with the latest hotfixes/updates after installation.

What do I need to download - the cool stuff?
"Microsoft Exchange Server ActiveSync Web Administration Tool" is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e6851d23-d145-4dbf-a2cc-e0b4c6301453&DisplayLang=en (320 KB)

"Virtual Machine Network Driver for Microsoft Device Emulator" is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=DC8332D6-565F-4A57-BE8C-1D4718D3AF65&displaylang=en (336 KB)

"Standalone Device Emulator 1.0 with Windows Mobile OS Images" is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=C62D54A5-183A-4A1E-A7E2-CC500ED1F19A&displaylang=en (download "V1Emulator.zip" + "efp.msi" = 58 MB)

"Sysinternals NewSID" is available here: http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/NewSid.html (51 KB)

Please note that the above links may be subject to change, but I trust you ability to Google - please send me some info if/when a link is broken...

I'm ready - everything is downloaded now!
Nice job :)

Now, first you must install your host operating system on you computer if this is not already done... Hopefully you have a system up and running already. Then you should install Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 SP1 on top of your host OS.

I can't explain the way VPC works right here, sorry - but from here you must install the first Virtual Machine (VM) - min. 256 MB memory - this would be the Windows Server 2003 SP1. The two VM we will create here both use the "Local only" NIC - disable sound - and enable "Undo discs" whenever you get scared of messing up stuff :) Please remember to install the Virtual Machine Additions at this point for your own convenience.

Update the OS using "Windows Update" (or even better install "Microsoft Update" - with MU you will be able to update your Exchange installation when we get so far).

When you have a good VM server up and running close down the VM and make a backup of the Virtual hard drive - save this backup in a safe place :)

Now set up the virtual server as a Domain Controller (static IP, name like "DC", DNS server & DCPROMO - you could just use the "role" wizard) - when the DC is done we want to create the Exchange server. I prefer to have the Exchange server on it's own box (never on a DC) - not even in a test environment, hehe - that is why we create 2 VMs, if you want to try VDPS on a single box feel free to try it out on your own. Close down the DC while we prepare the Exchange server.

Copy the backup you created of the VMs hard drive and use this in a new VPC (min. 512 MB).

Before booting this new VM the first time edit the MAC address in the .VMC file (check the location of your VM) - find the MAC address in the line stating something like "ethernet_card_address" etc. and edit (using Notepad) the address to another random 12 digit HEX value.

Now boot the VM. When this OS is up and running you should run the NewSID tool from Sysinternals - choose to generate a new random SID and rename the computer to something like "EXCH" or whatever you like. Reboot as required. This tool is used instead of SYSPREP - NewSID is much faster and work great.

Well - when the server is up and running join it to the domain (remember to set static IP info first - DNS should point to the DC, which should be bootet of course). Reboot and logon as domain administrator - start the Exchange installation (including FORESTPREP, DOMAINPREP, restart etc.). Install Exchange SP2 when possible, update the server (you could use "Microsoft Update" as mentioned) and be sure to test the server functionality - easy by using Outlook Web Access (OWA).

When satisfied install Exchange Management Tools on the DC also.

You should now have the following virtual domain scenario:
1. A Windows Server 2003 SP1 DC running DNS and Active Directory (with Exchange tools installed)
2. An Exchange Server 2003 SP2 up and running nicely (with OWA)

We should now be ready to go to VDPS part 2 :)
Go to part 2: http://heidelbergit.blogspot.com/2006/08/virtual-direct-push-setup-vdps-part-2.html

Monday, July 17, 2006

The free virtual environment!

The free virtual environment!

Well, you have probably tried running a virtual operating system by now... If not, it's definitely about time!!!

The cool thing is it's pretty much free these days, except from operating system and application licenses of course. And I'm not just talking trial versions - I'm talking 100% free cool and perfectly working software!

What you get is a really good test environment (a sand box) where you can do almost anything to an operating system (or applications on it) and recover within a few second - without having to reinstall the operating system, applications etc. You can test upgrades, registry edits, group policies, domain environments, boot CDs (you can even mount ISO images), OS installation, virus, spyware & root kit behavior, hard disk and recovery tools etc. - in other words: you can do almost anything and it will without doubt make your life much easier :)

Just remember to turn on the "undo disks" feature - which clears any changes since last time you started the VM!

Virtual Machines (VMs) can be used for many different things - also running a pretty secure machine ('within' you normal machine) which can be recovered in no time (a reboot of the VM) to it's "original" state. You can run as many VMs on a host OS as you want - you just need lots of memory (I would recommend a minimum of 1 GB RAM), good processing capabilities and enough hard drive space.

VMs can be moved from one physical machine to another - without having to install any drivers etc. - in other words VMs are hardware independent! VMs created in Virtual PC 2004 can be launched on Virtual Server 2005 - just remember to update the virtual machine additions.

And let me tell you one thing - virtualization is the future ;-)

But both Microsoft and VMware have released applications that is capable of running virtual machines - and the last few months they have even started providing these wonderful tools for free!!!

Get more info and download here:
Free Virtual PC 2004 SP1
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/default.mspx

Free Virtual Server 2005 R2
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver

VMware Server 1.0
http://www.vmware.com/products/server/

A beginners guide to basic networking - 100% free!

A beginners guide to basic networking - 100% free!

This guide covers some of the essential parts when talking networking. The guide is intended for people who have not understood basic networking completely yet - MCP, Network+ or MCDST level I would say.

I have tried to keep it a bit fun to read... I hope you will enjoy it :-)

Get it here: http://www.heidelbergit.dk/Artikler/BasicNetworking.pdf

The subjects covers the following and some more:
The IP protocol (version 4 only)
IP address (what about those 32 bits?)
Subnet masks (what does 255.255.255.0 really mean?)
Default gateway (where to go?)
MAC (Media Access Control) or the physical address (what about those 48 bits?)
ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) and RARP (Reverse ARP) functions
Routers (what do they do?)
Network communication in general
Basic commands (GETMAC, ARP, IPCONFIG & PING)
Subnetting (hosts, classes, reserved & private ranges etc.)
NAT (Network Address Translation)
Troubleshooting (loopback/localhost etc.)
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA)
The Alternate Configuration in Windows XP
TCP = Transmission Control Protocol (connection-oriented)
UDP = User Datagram Protocol (connectionless)
TCP & UDP ports (well-known ports & registered ports)

Name resolution technologies like:
- DNS (Domain Name System)
- HOSTS & LMHOSTS files
- WINS
- FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs was recently released by Microsoft.

I have written an article about this operating system and the basic installation process.

NB! Due to some problems with the DOCX to PDF conversion in Word 2007 Beta 2 I have had to ZIP compress the PDF document (it simply behaves strangely if opened online in a browser).

Get the article here:
www.heidelbergit.dk/Artikler/WFLPC_StandardInstallation_min.zip (1.2 MB)
www.heidelbergit.dk/Artikler/WFLPC_StandardInstallation_std.zip (5.5 MB)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

This is my first post on this blog - and as many first posts on young blogs it's kinda full of nothing at all :)

This blog is created by Heidelberg IT (www.heidelbergit.dk) and will contain all sorts of tips and tricks for Microsoft software of all kinds, computerhardware, IT-security related topics - and other IT stuff :)

Please come back soon!

CYA
Jakob H. Heidelberg