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Live 360 Conference Orlando November 18 - 22 Register now!
Live! 360 Day 1 and Day 2 Congratulations to ITCertPro’s Live! 360 Conference Pass Winner! TechMentor Las Vegas This Week The Care and Feeding of Bootable VHDs Live! 360 Pass Giveaway!

Live! 360 Day 1 and Day 2

Live! 360 activities unofficially started on Sunday, November 17th at Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Early registration opened and a group was formed for the Dine-A-Round event at Universal’s City Walk. The Dine Around began at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for appetizers and drinks. From there, groups split up based on interest. I joined […]

Congratulations to ITCertPro’s Live! 360 Conference Pass Winner!

Congratulations to our Live! 360 Conference Pass Winner, Jeff Collins. Jeff will get to enjoy 5 days and choose from over 200 sessions from 4 events: Visual Studio Live!, SharePoint Live!, SQL Server Live!, and Modern Apps Live!. Jeff’s first reaction to the news: Thank you very much!! I will be able to attend and […]

TechMentor Las Vegas This Week

TechMentor Las Vegas is this week, September 30th – October 4th. On Monday, Attendees enjoyed Pre-Conference sessions from Don Jones, Greg Shields, Mark Minasi, John O’Neil Sr., and Richard Taylor on topics including Power Shell, System Center & Private Cloud, SharePoint, and Office 365. Our contest winner, Lynn Carroll (@LynnCarroll) has been sending tweets from the […]

The Care and Feeding of Bootable VHDs

Like many ITCertPros that have been studying Microsoft technology, I have worked with virtual machines for studying the technology as well as supporting production servers. I have used Virtual PC, Virtual Server, and Hyper-V to create virtual environments to learn about software before I take a certification test. Having a computer that could boot multiple […]

Live! 360 Pass Giveaway!

As a Premier Social Media Partner, ITCertPro is giving away a conference pass ($2,195 value) to Live! 360 , to be held at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, November 18th – 22nd. The winner will be responsible for getting to Orlando and hotel arrangements, as travel and lodging are not included. Live! 360 is actually […]

Tech Ed 2009 Registration Begins!

I just received an email today announcing details for Tech Ed 2009, which will be held in Los Angeles on May 11-15. IT Pros and Developers will once again share a one week event (last year IT Pros and Developers had separate weeks). In addition, all attendees will receive a subscription to TechNet Plus! (a $349 value).

Now through December 31st, Microsoft is offering a $300 discount off the regular conference rate. Conference registration after the discount is $1,895.

To get more information, go to the Tech Ed website.

Live One Care Support to be Discontinued

eWeek, Redmond Magazine (and others) announced this week that Microsoft will be discontinuing support for Windows Live One Care. Although not used in the corporate setting, Live One Care is what I have been using it on my personal laptop for the past 15 months. Live One Care will be sold until June 30, 2009.

Microsoft is not out of the Antivirus business, though. By the end of 2009, Microsoft will release a free antivirus program, code named “Morro.” Yes, that is right, free.

My only concern is that my Live One Care subscription ends on August 2009. Will Morro be available? Will I be a sitting duck for viruses until Morro is released? Or will I have to buy antivirus from another vendor?

And The Award for the Most Helpful Event Viewer Message Goes to . . .

The Windows Event viewer can sometimes seem like a blessing and a curse. Sometimes the messages can really help you discover what might be going wrong with the operating system or an application. Then Microsoft began to include hyperlinks that would help us get more information on what the error message was trying to tell us. But most times when you clicked on that hyperlink, all that you get is something to the effect of "Sorry. We don’t know what it means either."

So, I have had my share of disappointments with messages from the event viewer.

However, recently, I got an error message in the event viewer that not only told me what had gone wrong (and in language that I could understand), the message actually told me how to fix the problem. And I did not have to go out to a web page either!

The problem that I had been trying to fix was that some computers on my network were not getting the Group Policy firewall settings that I had recently changed. Some computers were getting the settings, but others, even when using a forced GPUPDATE would still not update the firewall setting.

After weeks of searching, I found myself in the place I should have gone to in the beginning – the Windows Event Viewer of one of my Domain Controllers.

In the File Replication Service event viewer there was an error message related to replication of data between my two Domain Controllers. This would explain my situation. Since the two  domain controllers were out of sync, this domain controller had the older firewall settings. Some of my computers were getting their updates using the older settings from this domain controller.

Now normally I would then have to search the Microsoft Knowledge Base to figure out how to solve this. But read the details of this error message (isn’t it pure poetry?)

Event Type:    Error
Event Source:    NtFrs
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    13568
Date:        9/12/2008
Time:        3:13:07 AM
User:        N/A
Computer:    Domain Controller
Description:
The File Replication Service has detected that the replica set "DOMAIN SYSTEM VOLUME (SYSVOL SHARE)" is in JRNL_WRAP_ERROR.
Replica set name is    : "DOMAIN SYSTEM VOLUME (SYSVOL SHARE)"
Replica root path is   : "c:\windows\sysvol\domain"
Replica root volume is : "\\.\C:"
A Replica set hits JRNL_WRAP_ERROR when the record that it is trying to read from the NTFS USN journal is not found.  This can occur because of one of the following reasons.
[1] Volume "\\.\C:" has been formatted.
[2] The NTFS USN journal on volume "\\.\C:" has been deleted.
[3] The NTFS USN journal on volume "\\.\C:" has been truncated. Chkdsk can truncate the journal if it finds corrupt entries at the end of the journal.
[4] File Replication Service was not running on this computer for a long time.
[5] File Replication Service could not keep up with the rate of Disk IO activity on "\\.\C:".
 
Setting the "Enable Journal Wrap Automatic Restore" registry parameter to 1 will cause the following recovery steps to be taken to automatically recover from this error state.
[1] At the first poll, which will occur in 5 minutes, this computer will be deleted from the replica set. If you do not want to wait 5 minutes, then run "net stop ntfrs" followed by "net start ntfrs" to restart the File Replication Service.
[2] At the poll following the deletion this computer will be re-added to the replica set. The re-addition will trigger a full tree sync for the replica set.
WARNING: During the recovery process data in the replica tree may be unavailable. You should reset the registry parameter described above to 0 to prevent automatic recovery from making the data unexpectedly unavailable if this error condition occurs again.
To change this registry parameter, run regedit.
Click on Start, Run and type regedit.
Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
Click down the key path:
   "System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NtFrs\Parameters"
Double click on the value name
   "Enable Journal Wrap Automatic Restore"
and update the value.
If the value name is not present you may add it with the New->DWORD Value function under the Edit Menu item. Type the value name exactly as shown above.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

It’s just amazing! The solution is in the error message details!

After I performed the steps outlined in the error message, all of my clients now have the proper firewall settings.

This is error documentation at its best!

So, my recommendation from this experience is this. If you are having a problem with Group Policy settings not being applied to all of your clients, check the File Replication Service Event log on all of your domain controllers for any error messages.  Who knows, it may give you the solution to your problems.

Apache and Skype Conflict

Recently I was just trying to run XAMPP Lite on my Vista PC.  XAMPP is a cool little utility that lets you run Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl all from a USB drive and without installing anything to your windows computer. Although I could get MySQL to start, I could not get Apache to start up. I did not have IIS installed, which could have caused a conflict with Apache, since both are web servers.

I ran xampp-portcheck, the port check utility that was included with XAMPP. It showed that ports 80 and 443 were being used by SYSTEM (see below).

RESULT
——

Service              Port   Status
==================================
Apache (HTTP)          80   SYSTEM
Apache (WebDAV)        81   free
Apache (HTTPS)        443   SYSTEM

MySQL                3306   free

FileZilla (FTP)        21   free
FileZilla (Admin)   14147   free

Mercury (SMTP)         25   free
Mercury (POP3)        110   free
Mercury (IMAP)        143   free

I opened a browser and it reacted as if I had a web server on localhost. The page was blank.

I decided to view the HTML source code and found the following:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN”>
<HTML><HEAD>
<META http-equiv=Content-Type content=”text/html; charset=windows-1252″></HEAD>
<BODY></BODY>
<META content=FUGCLQURCL name=SKYPE_FRAMEID>
<META content=FUGCLQURCL name=SKYPE_FRAMEID></HTML>

I noticed that at the bottom of the source code in a META tag, there was a value of SKYPE_FRAMEID. I decided to stop Skype and sure enough Apache was able to start.

I then started Skype and both programs are able to run.

Skype is a smart program. Since most firewalls allow ports 80 and 443 for web traffic, Skype uses those ports if they are available. If 80 and 443 are in use, Skype will choose other ports to use.

I’m a PC

OK, no more of The Bill and Jerry Show.

The latest Microsoft commercial campaign is entitled "I’m a PC". Although Bill Gates does appear briefly, Jerry Seinfeld is not. <insert sigh_of_relief here>

The commercial is a mix of celebrity and real people and FINALLY a direct response to the Mac vs. PC ads.

And best of all, I know what the commercial is advertising. (as opposed to four and a half minutes of Seinfeld’s "nothing" which was entertaining, but not advertising)