88 High-Voltage Tips
Become the network master of all your domains. This ultimate guide spells out new, smart ways to upgrade systems, set up services, monitor traffic, install applications and more—better, faster, cheaper.
Create a “Virtual” Test Machine
Are you trying to simulate a client/server environment with a limited
number of physical machines? A few products let you run multiple operating
systems at the same time on the same machine. Both OSs will run at the
same time and, because they function independently, you can treat them
as different nodes on your network. For example, you can run RedHat Linux,
Windows 98 and Windows XP, all on the same machine, at the same time (if—and
this is a big
if—you have sufficient system resources). If this
sounds interesting, be sure to check out VMWare Workstation (www.vmware.com
or VirtualPC for Windows (www.connectix.com
These products are also great for QA departments that need to test on
multiple operating systems.
Upgrade a Single CPU Kernel to a Multi CPU Kernel
- Install the hardware, including any BIOS updates needed, and make
sure the BIOS sees the new CPUs.
- Boot up Windows 2000 with the new hardware installed.
- Go to the System Control Panel. Select the Hardware Tab. Click on
the Device Manager button.
- Double-click the Computer Icon. Right-click “MPS Uniprocessor PC”
and select “Properties.”
- Select the Driver Tab. Click the “Update Driver” button.
- The “Welcome to the Upgrade Device Driver Wizard” screen comes up.
- Select “Display a list of the known drivers for this device so that
I can choose a specific driver.” Click Next.
- Select “Show all hardware of this device class.” Under Manufacturers,
select “Standard Computers.” Then select “MPS Multiprocessor PC.” Click
Next. Then click Next again. It will copy the correct kernel and HAL
files. Click Finish.
- Close all windows and reboot.
- To switch back to a single CPU kernel, just reverse the process.
Show All Registered Devices
The Windows registry keeps track of all hardware devices installed on
your Win2K, XP, and .NET Server machine. The Device Manager only displays
the hardware devices currently connected to the machine. Hardware not
currently connected, such as a USB device or a FireWire hard disk, won’t
be shown. Over time, a lot of devices can be registered, particularly
if you connect the same device to different USB ports. By using an environment
variable, you can have the Device Manager display all the hardware installed
on the machine. Set “devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices” environment variable
to “1” using the System Properties dialog. Alternatively, just type “set
devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1” at a command prompt. Then, using Device
Manager, make sure the “Show hidden devices” option is set on the view
menu. Normally when “Show hidden devices” is set, only non-PnP devices
are shown. With the environment variable set, Device Manager also shows
disconnected hardware using a semi-transparent icon. You can then uninstall
the device and all the associated drivers.
Does That BIOS Support ACPI?
There might be a time when you need to upgrade your computer’s BIOS, but
are concerned about whether or not you have a BIOS that supports Advanced
Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI). A quick way to check is to run
the APMSTAT utility from the Support\Tools folder on the Win2K Professional
Moving from APM to ACPI
If you currently run a system that supports Advanced Power Management
(APM), but want to upgrade the BIOS to a version that supports ACPI, then
you’ll need to think before you dive in. If you upgrade the BIOS without
taking care of the existing OS, you’ll certainly see a blue screen at
the reboot. The problem is that the APM and ACPI HAL.dll are different
for Win2K. In order to get the correct HAL installed, you need to run
through the initial stages of the installation. At the beginning, when
it asks you to press F6 for a SCSI driver, press F5. This will allow you
to select the proper HAL for your newly upgraded ACPI BIOS.
Find Applications with Where
If you have multiple copies of the same executable or batch file
on a machine, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which one gets
launched. The Where utility in the Resource Kit follows each branch
of the path variable in the environment searching for a specified executable
or batch file and listing the result. Where can also work recursively,
starting from a particular folder and searching all branches below that
Compromising Look vs. Function in XP
You can keep the stylish new look of XP but still use the tools that you’re
familiar with. Simply right-click the taskbar, select “Properties” and
then click on the “Start Menu” tab. From here you can specify that the
Classic Start Menu will be used, and all your tools will be right where
you’re used to finding them. (Now, if only we had a choice for the “Windows
3.1 look,” some of you “old dogs” who don’t like to learn new tricks would
be happy too.)
Shift Between Command Prompt and GUI
I prefer working at a command prompt, but there are times when it’s handy
to use a graphical interface for displaying files. You can open Explorer
in a My Computer view from a command prompt using start. (note the “dot”
after start.) If you want to put the focus of Explorer on the parent folder,
enter start.. (with two dots after “start”). To get the reverse action,
to open a command prompt in a folder from Explorer, use a tool from Power
Toys called cmdnow. You can streamline this process even further by putting
an Address Bar in the taskbar. Do this by right-clicking in the background
of the taskbar and selecting Toolbars | Address from the flyout menu.
Create a SuperConsole
Recover from File Transfer Problems
With Windows NT 4.0 you had to go to individual administrative tools to
work on different facets, but now you can create your own personal management
consoles in Win2K that include all the tools you need (or want). This
is a great way to manage your administrative needs in a central location.
It’s not hard: Go to Start | Run then run MMC.exe, Add/Remove Snap-In
to get the tools you need.
Imagine this scenario: You’re copying thousands of user folders and files
between servers when a file that’s locked as “in use” causes the process
to fail. You correct the network issue and want to complete the file copy
operation with only the files or folders that have failed to copy. Here,
a “No to All” button would be priceless, as it would save you from having
to hit “No” thousands of times, just to prevent the re-copying of all of
the files and folders. Fortunately, there’s an undocumented way to give
this response: Just hold down the Shift key when you click No. This is interpreted
as a “No to All” response, and it can save you hours of frustration!
Create a Web-based Performance Dashboard
Many third-party vendors would have you believe that you need to spend
thousands of dollars to create a performance-monitoring dashboard for
the machines you manage. However, there’s a much cheaper way to get useful
results. In Win2K (and later), the familiar Performance Monitor tool is
now implemented as an ActiveX control. This means you can embed it in
a Web page. In fact, when you save the settings for a Performance chart,
it’s saved as an HTML file that can be opened in Internet Explorer. With
just a little imagination, you can create a simple Web page that includes
several different Performance Monitor charts.
(Click image to enlarge)
And, since you can monitor as many different machines and statistics
as you like, you can create a simple “dashboard” that allows you to monitor
performance for all of your critical machines in one place. Drop the page
on your intranet (with the necessary security, of course), and you’ve
got a homegrown monitoring solution that can be built in as little as
Tricks for Troubleshooting
Active Directory Replication
- Orphaned server objects. Usually caused by removing
a DC from the domain without demoting it first. The
solution is to use NTDSUtil to delete these objects.
- DC unavailable or Domain can’t be contacted. Caused
by physical failures, network failures or DNS misconfiguration
- Incomplete or incorrect replication topology, possibly
insufficient site links to perform replication to
all DCs, usually with event 1311 errors in the Directory
Service log. The solution is to analyze the topology
and make sure there are sufficient site links to replicate
among all sites and all subnets used are mapped to
a site. This could be caused by orphaned server objects
or a DC that was simply unplugged and not demoted
first. See Q214745
for resolution of this error.
- Misconfigured DNS. Ask yourself:
- Are the DC’s IP properties pointing to the correct
Windows 2000 DNS server that’s authoritative for that
- Are any delegations for child domains pointing
to the correct DNS servers?
- Are the DNS servers accessible and online?
- Does name resolution work? Can you ping the domain
name and the DC name?
- Are there duplicate connection objects in the Sites
and Services snap-in?
- Are DCs really domain controllers?
- The Net Share command from a command prompt should
show netlogon and SYSVOL. If not, DCPromo was not
- The Net Accounts command shows the Computer Role
of DCs as “Backup.”
- Go to the Users and Computers Snap-in and from
the View menu, enable “Advanced Features.” In the
tree, go to System, File Replication Service, Domain
System Volume. There should be a folder with the Computer
name if the machine is a DC.
- Check for network or domain errors in the output
logs of Netdiag.exe and Dcdiag.exe, and check the
Replication Monitor’s status report (in replication
monitor, add server, then right-click on it and select
generate report). Also check the Directory Services
log, the System Event log, and the DNS log.
- Use repadimin from Support Tools. On every DC,
execute the command, “repadmin /showreps.” This will
tell you if replication was successful and when it
- Use ReplMon from the Support Tools to get a summary
of all replication errors for all DCs in a domain.
In ReplMon, go to the Action menu in the task bar,
then to Domain and select the only option—”Search
Domain Controllers for Replication Errors.” On the
next screen, click the “Run Search” button at the
bottom. In the next screen, enter the FQDN of the
domain to search and click OK. It will return all
events from all DCs in the domain that relate to replication
- Error 1722: The RPC Server is unavailable. This
means the DC couldn’t be found for some reason. Check
DNS, physical connections, verify that the DC is really
a DC, and run Netdiag and DCdiag. Also check for firewall
- Error 1265. The attempt to establish a replication
link (then identify the partition) failed. Could be
a DNS Lookup Failure. Perhaps it couldn’t find the
DC for this domain. (Follow the steps for event 1722
above.) Perhaps the target account name is incorrect.
A possible solution is offered in Q281485:
“Name Collision in Active Directory Causes Replication
—Gary Olsen and Ann Lovell
Instant Remote Storage Services
Say you have a relatively expensive and fast RAID array with storage space
being pushed to its limit. RSS is a solution included with Win2K that
uses an intelligent method to calculate file usage based upon your configured
criteria and determine when files haven’t been accessed beyond your specified
limit. It can then move those files off to a library that will keep track
of where those files are. The RSS service uses reparse points to redirect
your users in the event they do try to access those files. Bottom line:
The files are still available but off your production RAID box.
View Network Packets
If you like to use Network Monitor for troubleshooting, you probably get
frustrated because it only reports traffic to and from the interface on
the server, not all traffic seen by the interface. SMS, on the other hand,
comes with a promiscuous mode version of Network Monitor that can report
all traffic it sees. The problem with the SMS version of Network Monitor
is that it lacks the most current parsers that show specific contents
of captured packets. You can get the best of both worlds by replacing
the entire Parsers folder for the SMS version of Network Monitor with
the Parsers folder from the .NET Server version of Network Monitor.
|(Click image to enlarge)
This will let you see detailed contents of LDAP queries, Kerberos authentications,
DNS transactions and other critical processes in a Win2K and .NET system.
Let Non-Admins Install Applications
You probably don’t want to give full local Administrator privileges
to the average user. However, it can be frustrating for users to wait
for a field technician to install applications that aren’t pushed out
to the desktop. For applications that use a Microsoft Installer (.MSI)
package to handle installation, a developer can set a flag in the .MSI
script to elevate the user’s privileges sufficiently to install the application.
Not all developers set the flag, though. You can set a group policy that
temporarily elevates the privileges in all cases when installing applications
that have an .MSI package. The policy is called Always Install With Elevated
Privileges and is located in User Configuration | Administrative Templates
| Windows Installer.
Launch MMC Tools from the Run Command
If you would rather avoid navigating the Start menu, you can use Run to
launch any of the MMC-based administration utilities. All you need to
know is the name of the .msc file corresponding to the tool. For example,
AD Users and Computers is dsa.msc, where dsa stands for Directory Service
Agent, an acronym denoting a server that hosts a replica of an LDAP directory
service. The AD Sites and Services console is dssite.msc and the AD Domains
and Trusts console is domain.msc. To get a full list of the MMC console
names, search the hard disk for files ending in .msc.