Fixed – “The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect" when you add a hard drive to Windows 2008 R2 backup

Apparently, according to Microsoft KB Article 2009365 this issue occurs when a previously hard drive (or the only previously defined) hard drive has been removed from the server and a new drive is being attached. This is typically the case when setting up a new server and preconfiguring the backups to go to the second identical usb drive. Most people are just going to unplug the drive leaving the old power supply and usb cable attached to the server and power and plug in the new drive and then attempt to add it to the backup schedule. At this point the backup program will give the error “The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect” as the old drive is no longer attached. Microsoft have a couple of solutions, including adding the first drive back to the server, or removing the first drive. Neither of which are very helpful if you are just swapping the external drive itself. The final solution is to add the drives from an elevated command line using the following.

  1. Run the following command from an elevated command prompt to determine the Disk Identifier of the new disk:
    wbadmin get disks
  2. Based on the output, locate the disk that will be added to the scheduled backup. Make a note of the Disk Identifier. The output will resemble the following:
    Disk name: xxxxxxxxxxx
    Disk number: x
    Disk identifier: {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}
    Total space: xxx.xx GB
    Used space : xxx.xx GB
  3. Run the following command to add the new disk to the Scheduled backup. Use the Disk Identifier from the previous step as the "AddTarget" parameter.
    WBADMIN ENABLE BACKUP -addtarget:{xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}
  4. When you receive the following prompt, type Y for Yes.

"Do you want to enable scheduled backups with the above settings?"

5. You may be prompted to format the drive if it was previously used in another server or for another purpose.

The screenshot below shows the addition of a USB drive to my virtualised SBS server.


SBS server migration has to be run within 21 days from the day you initially run the wizard

I always knew you had 21 days to finish a migration for an SBS installation, but I always thought the countdown was triggered when you ran dcpromo on the second server, breaking the original license agreement by having two SBS servers on the network that both want to have all the roles. (On a side note it is interesting that Microsoft provide a tool to get around Windows licensing but if you attempt to run other third party applications to do the same thing it gets flagged as a virus or you fall foul of Windows Genuine Advantage)…

Apparently, running the initial SBS pre migration assistant starts the 21 day timer even if you don’t continue with the rest of the installation. Attempting to install SBS after 21 days will provide an error message stating “Source Server does not meet minimum requirements for migration” as per the screenshot below.


If this screen appears, pressing Shift F10 will open a command prompt, at which point the sbssetup log file can be read with

notepad "C:\Program Files\Windows Small Business Server\Logs\SBSSetup.log"

Towards the end of the log file will be the reason the migration stopped. In this case it was to do with the HKLM\ Software\ Microsoft\ SmallBusinessServer\ Migration\ MigrationReady containing an old date and LastCheckTime (value of 1) being set to a long time ago.

I’m not sure whether hacking these values out would allow you to continue on with the install but I’m going to rerun the migration wizard again. Unfortunately this requires another (pointless) reboot of the source server – something I am trying to avoid when setting this up in a parallel installation.

Fixed – Windows 2008 Server continually boots into safe mode.

We had a weird issue this morning after applying windows updates to a server and found that the server had rebooted into safe mode. We tried various methods of forcing the server back to normal mode through the F8 prompt, even attempting a Windows Repair from cd but nothing seemed to work.
In the end we ran “bcdedit /deletevalue safeboot” from the command prompt, rebooted the server and it came back up in normal mode. There was a long, very dramatic pause, whilst the server reverted changes to the windows updates but we were eventually able to log back into the server. We then took a snapshot and installed the windows updates 50% at a time – and of course, this time every patch installed successfully.
I suspected that the server was reading the bcd and booting into safe mode, but I’d have thought that pressing F8 and selecting normal mode would have overwritten this selection – obviously I was wrong.
I really long for the good old boot.ini days.
The Technet article “Restart the domain controller in Directory Services Restore Mode Remotely” gave us the bcdedit commands to run. It was amazing how many google hits there are for failing to restart a server in safe mode (oops – here’s another one), but not many on how to stop a Windows 2008 Server from starting in safe mode.

Fixed – Adobe Reader not opening in ie – turning off Open in browser.

Using Adobe Reader 9.04 on a Windows 2008r2 Remote Desktop server, I was finding that a lot of websites would fail to run when a pdf file was opened in the browser. Going to Edit/Preferences/Internet and unchecking the “Open pdf in browser” fixed the problem. The next problem was making this site wide and for every user on the terminal server.
Using procmon I was able to check the registry changes that occurred when this box was checked (although this does not help when the av software is constantly scanning the registry and files). By creating HKCU\ Software\ Adobe\ Acrobat Reader\ 9.0\ Original\ bBrowserIntegration as a dword and setting the value to 0, this option was checked for everyone. I did notice that the server initially checks HKLM for the same value, but in testing I found that adding this value under HKLM did not make the user interface change. I know Adobe checks other settings in the registry so I’m not sure if it was checking other locations to see if HKLM should also be set, but in that case, why check the HKLM value too?
Using the Group Policy Preferences I was able to create a new setting and now Adobe Reader works for everyone on the server.

Of course, once you know this key it’s easy to find lots of google articles mentioning bBrowserIntegration but I couldn’t find anything when I initially researched this problem. One solution that might make it easier is to download a Adobe Reader Group Policy template which you can then import (computer / Administrative Templates/ Right click and browse) to apply this and other settings. Note that I found the EULA supression did not work for me with Adobe Reader 9.04 on W2k8R2

Fixed – Printers missing in Windows 2008 r2 (and Windows 7)

As part of a client migration this week I had to install a whole load of new printers on a new Windows 2008r2 server. In particular, one copier printer had about 7 different printers setup pointing to the same device – this was to allow the user to select which tray they wanted to print to without having to change the printer settings each time.
By the time I got to my fifth printer I noticed that the devices window was only showing two printers. When I selected the details view in explorer it was only showing printer1 and printer4, pressing F5 to refresh the screen would only show printer2 and printer3. This was really disconcerting as I kept getting interrupted in what I was doing so it was hard to work out which printers had already been setup when they did not appear in the user interface. However they did appear in the list of printers when I went to print something from notepad.
Puzzled, I did some searching and eventually came across Network Steve’s post about bringing back printers in Windows 7. Following his instructions and creating a new Key under hklm \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion\ Explorer \ControlPanel \NameSpace called {2227a280-3aea-1069-a2de-08002b30309d} a new icon appeared in control panel called printers and I can now see all of the printers so Thanks Steve!
Incidentally, these printers were set up and shared on a print server and then accessed on a locked down terminal server. I haven’t been able to work out how to get the list of printers to show up for a locked down user within control panel. The printer icon is not a normal .cpl file so I can’t include that in the list of available icons in control panel for users to use. This is not a critical function but helps when testing and troubleshooting printer issues for users in the future.

Howto enable Group Policy event logging in Windows2008

There are many websites on the internet that talk about the previous method of enabling group policy logging by adding the UserEnvDebugLevel registry entry as per Microsoft kb article 221833. Unfortunately this does not work in Windows2008 and the kb article does not link to another article that does work.

However I found out that this was changed (in Vista I think) to a different registry entry and a new log file is created. Create a new Dword value called GpSvcDebugLevel under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Diagnostics and set the value to 100002 (in hex). This will then create a file called gpsvclog.log in the %windir%\debug directory.

It looks like the preferred method of debugging the logs is to read the events that are stored in Eventvwr under Applications and Services Logs\ Microsoft\ Windows\ GroupPolicy\ Operational

Fixed – “Manage Network Connections” is missing in network section of control panel of Windows 2008 R2

Occasionally you may see references to Manage Network Connections in the Microsoft Documentation. I came across this item when following a link in the Best Practise Analyzer for the dhcp server that complained that the binding order was incorrect on the server. Step 1 of the solution reads

Click Start, click Network, click Network and Sharing Center, and then click Manage Network Connections.

Unfortunately Manage Network Connections is actually called Change Adapter Settings. If you click this, the rest of the instructions make sense.

I’ve added a comment to the Technet article – hopefully it will get changed. The documentation is also incorrect in the BPA itself.  If anyone knows how to log a service request with microsoft to get the documentation changed then please let me know.

Small Business Specialist certification upgraded to 2008

I finally got around to taking 70-653 on Friday and passing it. It was an interesting experience as I had to take a survey before the exam that asked questions about my experience with the product and what I thought were my strengths and weaknesses. If I didn’t know the exams were downloaded overnight, it would make me very suspicious – if I answered that I didn’t know remote access very well, would I get lots of questions on vpn configuration or would Microsoft be kind and avoid that area? Although I passed it would have been nice to also get a comparison with my answers from the survey and my final test results. Funnily enough my weakest area was user management – I’m pretty sure that is because I’m so used to doing things in AD and I know to do things with the wizard but I don’t pay attention to EXACTLY what the wizard is called.
Now that I’ve passed I’ve got another Technical Specialist under my belt and this should also upgrade my SBSC to 2008 status (although the SBSC doesn’t appear on Microsoft transcripts as this certification is “awarded to companies rather than individuals” (which I think is a big mistake on Microsoft’s part))

Installing 32 bit printer driver on Windows200864 server

Tried to install a 32 bit driver for the Dell 2330dn printer but the software kept asking me “please provide path to windows media (x86 processor)’”. Pointing the dialog box to the x86 directory or the i386 directory that came with the print driver didn’t help. Neither did pointing the dialog to a copy of the i386 directory from an xp cd. A reply posting on Microsoft’s technet site gave me a hint to get this working. By first installing and sharing the 64bit driver, it is then possible to install the printer by using the following steps.
On a 32 bit (in my case XP) workstation, navigate to \\servername and then double click on the printer that was previously shared.
When it asks for the driver location provide the location to the i386 directory of the extracted driver.
Verify once installed that the driver is now successfully listed as an option on the printer by clicking on the sharing tab and then the additional drivers button.

BackupExec 12 fails to LiveUpdate on Windows 2008

When trying to run LiveUpdate from within BackupExec v12 running on Windows 2008 you may get the error message “To receive updates, Backup Exec must be registered with LiveUpdate. To automatically register now, Click Yes. If you choose not to register now, you will be prompted again when you click LiveUpdate.” The solution is to right click the BackupExec icon and run as Administrator. LiveUpdate will work.