Windows 2000

Windows 958644 direct download locations.

I have spent all day patching servers, workstations and trying to find a direct download for the 958644 patch that got released last night. I was amazed when Microsoft even called us to join in a webconference for Microsoft partners about this patch – that is something new.
I was not so pleased when I called PSS to ask for a direct download to the patch as kb958644 does not have direct links, windows update services was timing out and the catalog website is badly broken. PSS informed me that as it was not a hotfix they could not provide me with the file and there was an 8-12 hour delay on callback from the server team. So instead I’ve been configuring wsus for servers (that were not already configured), approving patches and downloading by visiting windows updates – a VERY time consuming.
Anyway, without wasting more time – here are the download locations – I’d grab them before the server falls over too.

Thanks to Larry and Derek for the help in finding these.

Triple boot management

5 if you include the couple of Dell partitions! The Dell pc comes with two hidden partitions – one is the diagnostics partition and the other is the system restore partition so you can get back to factory image if you ever need to. After I had installed Vista on the machine I then attempted to install Windows2008 but the installation process wouldn’t let me proceed as it couldn’t make a new partition due to the limit of 4 primary partitions on a hard disk. I therefore booted back into XP, blew away the Vista partition, created a new extended partition and within that created two drives – one for Vista and one for 2008. A quick reboot off the dvd and Vista was soon installed, then a repeat of the process, this time with Windows2008 and that was installed quickly too – I think Windows 2008 took about 20 minutes.

This evening I was preparing for an adminstrator password change that I need to do tomorrow on a Windows 2000 box so to check everything worked ok I created a new virtual machine in 2008, loaded the Windows 2000 cd and 26 minutes later I had installed Windows 2000 in a vm, rebooted, changed the password using the Offline NT Password cd and rebooted back into Windows 2000 and was able to log back in again. I suspect on old hardware it will take that long just to boot the machine up and change the password and log back in again!

I also really wanted the ability to select the Operating System that the machine would boot into after it was rebooted. The default installation of any OS is going to prompt you for the installation but that isn’t much use when the reboot is happening remotely.  I remember some software I used back in the NT4/2000 days that would do this but couldn’t remember what it was called. That wouldn’t actually help though as the boot structure in Vista and Windows2008 is radically different requiring the use of BCDEdit……  Alternatively EasyBCD could be used to edit the boot configuration. This is well worth downloading as it makes editing the boot configuration much nicer. I was able to use this utility to remove the extra Vista configuration as a result of the dual installations of Vista. What is even better is their iReboot software. Install this on all the OS’s and then you can select which OS to boot with from a Task Notifier icon and restart the machine – just what I needed. (Note this does require .net framework so I had to install this on the new xp installation as it didn’t have it already! Also note that the first result for .net framework 2 comes up with a page can’t be found on Microsoft’s site and the second hit is for the beta version! Use this link instead and don’t forget to check Windows Updates afterwards)

Xp upgrade – cd issues

An upgrade to XP wasn’t working this morning with the pc giving various error messages – Setup was unable to verify drive C, Setup cannot copy the file: At this point it had damaged the w2k installation enough that the previous installation would not boot. A chkdsk from the recovery console would just reboot the pc. Booting to BartCD I was able to run defrag and a chkdsk with no problems found. I tried different installation media and still got the same problem. I searched for a BIOS upgrade but couldn’t find anything useful so I then swapped the cd drive itself and it is now working (or at least it is most of the way through the upgrade).

Using CNAME for server alias’s may not work as expected

If you are decomissioning an old server and moving the data to a new server, an easy way to let all the hosts still connect to the old server is to create a cname alias in dns such that oldserver points to newserver.domain This way, any software coded to use unc names will still find the share but on the new server.
Unfortunately, by default the new server does not expect to get requests for the oldname so it ignores them and the client receives an error message. This is apparently fixed by following the instructions in KB281308.

Computer assessment.

I had another interview with a recruiting company this morning and after the interview I was asked to complete two Windows2000 server tests. Both of them were on the setup and installation of Windows2000. The scores had been marked with an average of all the people across the consulting company who had taken the tests and I was suprised to see that the average was about 55% (I think – it could have been less). Although I found some of the questions hard, some of them were easy and quite a few of them were ambiguous – just like the Microsoft exams really. However I was pleased to get the results of 70 and 71% correct. I think if I had known I’d have been tested on these programs I would have swotted up a bit. I also think that some of the answers were incorrect.
One of the questions was “Which of the following servers can NOT be configured to use dhcp for a network address”. The answers were Dns server, dhcp server, AD controllers, print server, Wins server. I know for a fact (because I’ve done it in the past) that you can use dhcp for all of the above. Not necessarily recommended but it is possible. By setting a dhcp reservation for the mac address of a DNS, AD Controller and DHCP server , it is possible to have it use dhcp to get an address. The answer, according to MS, was that the last 2 were ok as dhcp servers….personally I beg to differ, but you just have to remember that there is the right way, the Microsoft way, the Real World way and the I can’t believe its not butter broken way.
Anyway, with those results, hopefully that will give the recruiter proof that I know what I’m talking about even if I don’t have the certifications to prove it. However the good thing is that they will have online training and also sponser the majority of the costs for accreditation once employed so I will be able to get my certs soon.

Windows Update Group Policies

Seeing as though its been a long time since i’ve done much work with Group Policies, it took me a long time to work out why the policy for disabling Windows Updates within IE and the start menu would not work, yet the settings for telling where the client should go to get its updates did work.
Eventually I read a website which tipped me off and is actually obvious when you think about it. I had created an OU and moved computers into it, but I hadn’t added the users to the OU. Therefore only the computer configs were amended but not the users.
Now that I’ve done it correctly, WUS seems to be working pretty well (apart from one machine that thinks it needs to download .net framework 1.0 patches when in actual fact it needs to download 1.1 patches.


First working day of the year and I’m already stressed out! Kristen’s car decided to start playing up – I managed to drive about 30 metres up the road when it just conked out. Various attempts at trying to start it failed,with the engine just not firing. Jump leads didn’t help at all so we’ve got to arrange a visit back to the garage (and it only passed it’s MOT less than a month ago.
Today we finished the last of the 98-W2K/XP upgrades. One of the machines the user was unable to connect to one of our domain controllers – all of the other domain controllers were fine apart from this one and other users on that machine were also fine. netdom was coming up with errors saying that the trusted channel didn’t exist (didn’t have time to get the exact error message) so I figured the machine account on the network was missing. Removing and adding back onto the domain didn’t make any difference.I had to remove from the domain, change the computer name and then add it back to the domain again.
The other machine works fine except it won’t change the scheme under display properties/appearance. Selecting a different scheme just switches back to the original one, you are unable to scroll through the list of schemes and the apply button is permanently greyed out. Again, logged on as a different user, the problem doesn’t exist. I can’t work out where the settings are being stored or how to fix it…..yet. Thankfully I have 2 more days before the user comes back to the office.
Oh and I’ve also spent the past four days with a REALLY sore/stiff neck for no obvious reason. I had to work from home in a still position three days ago as it was too painful to drive (and i couldn’t move my neck from side to side). It’s almost better now, still stiff though 🙁