This morning I read an article in USA Today that discussed a serious security vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Acrobat Reader. Hackers have been setting up Web sites containing “corrupt” adobe files. When these files are loaded, they allow a bot to be installed onto the victim’s computer. As of right now no fixes are available, but Adobe is trying to produce a fix by Friday.
Being that I write about a wide variety of technologies, I find myself constantly downloading files from TechNet and other sources. It isn’t often that I have to do bulk downloads, but when I do, I have always found it frustrating that Internet Explorer limits the number of simultanious downloads that you can perform.
In the past the solution to this problem was to modify the registry. By performing the following registry modifications, you can configure IE to allow up to ten simultaneous downloads:
Navigate through the Registry Editor to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings
Create a new DWORD named MaxConnectionsPerServer and assign it a value of 0000000a
Create a new DWORD named MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server and assign it a value of 0000000a
Keep in mind that editing the registry is dangerous, and that you can destroy Windows, Internet Explorer, or your other applications if you make a mistake. Therefore, you should create a full backup before you try that technique.
A better solution to the problem is to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8. Although I haven’t seen any official documentation, the simultaneous download limit seems to be gone. I decided to see how far I could push Internet Explorer this morning, and initiated 40 simultaneous downloads!
Lately, I have been really frustrated with what appears to be a bug in Hyper-V. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any references to it on the Internet, so I am beginning to wonder if this is really a bug, or if it is something related to my own unique environment.
What happens is that the registry routinely gets corrupted on virtual machines that are running Windows Server 2003 R2. I will be working on a VM with no signs of trouble, reboot the VM, and receive a message stating that the registry was corrupted. The crazy thing is that there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for the occurance. I have seen it happen to freshly installed copies of Windows as well as VMs that have been running for weeks. The interesting thing is that it is always the same registry key that becomes corrupted (HKLM\Software).
Over the last couple of months, this has started to become a major issue for me. I have lost dozens of hours of productivity to rebuilding lab VMs. I just wanted to put this out there and see if anyone else has experienced this problem.
Back in the 80’s, Microsoft made their fortune by creating products that used a graphical user interface. Today though, there seems to be a reversal of that thought process. Windows Server 2008 offers a mode called Server Core that doesn’t even have a GUI, and more and more of the utilities that are provided on TechNet seem to be command line only. A friend in Redmond told me that Microsoft really expects all Windows administrators to know how to work with PowerShell, a command line environment that has started to show up in a lot of Microsoft server products.
So what does all this mean? I really don’t know. It’s just an observation. I don’t think that the GUI is going to completely go away any time soon, but it does strike me as odd just how much of a comeback the command line is making.
It looks like Microsoft has finally made public their release date for Windows 7. Last night I received an E-mail message indicating that PCs that are preloaded with Windows 7 will start showing up on store shelves on October 22nd. As for the Release Candidate, you will be able to contine to download it until August 20th. After that time, you will still be able to install the Release Candidate, and you will still be able to acquire a product key, but you won’t be able to download the bits.
Today I ran across a utility that I had never seen before, and I just had to tell you about it. Before I do though, let me give you a little background.
I have a Windows 2008 server that is running Hyper-V. Right now that server is hosting a bunch of lab machines that I am using to produce a training video on Exchange 2007. To make a long story short, I had a power failure last night and it caused the registry on one of my Exchange servers to become corrupted.
I was able to repair Windows and get it to boot, but there was a problem with the .NET framework that caused my Exchange services to fail to start. Because of the damage that had occurred, I couldn’t uninstall the .NET framework, but I wasn’t able to reinstall a fresh copy either because the installer was convinced that a fully functional copy was already installed.
During my quest to manually uninstall the .NET Framework, I found a Windows utility called the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. This simple utility removes applications from the list of applications that are installed on a server. That way, if you have to remove something manually then the Windows Control Panel won’t keep showing the application even after you have removed it.
You can download this utility from: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301
I am flying to Orlando in the morning to speak at the TechMentor conference that I mentioned in my blog a few days ago. At the last minute, I decided that I wanted to do a demo in one of my presentations that shows how you can backup Hyper-V with Data Protection Manager 2007. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the agent to install on my Hyper-V server.
In the past when this has happened, the problem was related to DNS records being incorrect. This time all of my DNS entries were fine though. I spent four hours digging through error logs and searching the Web. I investigated everything from missing patches to missing group memberships to invalid WMI settings.
At around midnight I got frustrated and went for a walk. When I came back I just happened to glance at the clock on the Hyper-V server and noticed that it was out of sync with my domain controllers. As soon as I reset the clock, everything started working. It just goes to show that sometimes the simplest things can cause the biggest problems.
It seems that the spammers are getting to be a little bit slicker with their phishing scams. Most of the time phishing messages are pretty easy to spot. Today I got one that was a little bit trickier to figure out. The E-mail message claimed to be from Microsoft Customer Support [No-Reply@microsoft.com], and had a subject line that read Install Critical Update for Microsoft Outlook.
As a Microsoft geek, I know that Microsoft does not send out updates through E-mail. I was also not aware of any critical updates for Outlook that came out today. Even so, the message looked so authentic that it had me scratching my head.
If you receive such an E-mail message, my advice is to hover your mouse over the download link to reveal the download URL. Read the URL carefully. It is usually designed to look legitimate, but if you read the URL carefully you can tell that it isn’t. For example, the domain portion of the URL linked by this message was http://update.microsoft.com.iijliijl.com. If you only look at the first part of the domain name, it gives the illusion that the link really points to Microsoft update. The full domain string tells the truth though.
I want to take a break from my usual blog posts to let everyone know that I will be presenting three sessions on virtualization at the TechMentor conference in Orlando next week. My sessions will focus on Hyper-V and will center around gaining control of virtual machine sprawl, capacity planning, and disaster recovery as it relates to virtualization. You can read the session abstracts as well as get more details on the conference at: http://www.brienposey.com/Speaking.asp
If you happen to make it to the conference, please stop by and say hello. I really enjoy getting a chance to meet the people who read the stuff that I write.
I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on a couple of my more recent blog posts.
First, as you may recall, I tried disabling virtual memory on my Data Protection Manager server in an effort to eliminate paging and the problems with inconsistent replicas that paging seems to cause. Since that time, all of the replicas of my protected volumes have remained in a consistent state. The replicas for my Exchange storage groups became inconsistent after about a day, and my system state replicas became inconsistent about a day or two later.
Although I use multiple methods to back up my network, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. I ended up replacing the system board in my DPM server tonight, and upgraded from 2 GB of RAM to 4 GB. I will keep you posted on what happens.
The other issue that I wanted to talk about was the problems that I am having with Windows 7 and the wireless NIC that’s built into my lab laptop. After doing some more research, I have discovered that the issue may be hardware related. I found a technical article that said that there is a bug in my laptop’s firmware and that because of the bug, you have to flash the BIOS before you will be able to install Windows Vista SP2. According to the article, the bug was directly related to the wireless NIC.
I went ahead and flashed the BIOS, and for kicks I installed Windows Vista with SP2. Unfortunately, I am now having the same issue with Vista that I was having with Windows 7. One thing that may possibly be causing the problem though is buggy drivers. I’m not positive, but I may have been running the 32-bit version of Vista when everything was working correctly. I was using the 64-bit version of Windows 7, and am currently using the 64-bit version of Vista. Unfortunately, I am going to need the machine for a project that I am working on for the next two months, so it will be August before I will be able to blow Windows off of the machine and test my theory.
Until then, I want to say thank you to Glen at Microsoft for his helpful suggestions.