Fixed – “an error has occurred while sending this report” when sending reports in SBS2011

One of the things we now do as part of an SBS2011 or SBS2008 migration is to add a report in the console purely for backup purposes. This gives us the ability to check the backups are running every day and can also be sent to the clients IT technical contact for reassurance. If you log on as the administrator and try to run a report to email, the server fails with “An error has occurred while sending this report. As a result, some of the recipients will not receive this report in email.”

The solution is simple. Log off from the administrator account and use the one that was setup for the migration – this seems to do the trick. The only thing left (for me) is to work out how to modify the report to send me the last 24 hours of backups – not just the last and the next backup job.  We backup 3 times a day but only find out the status of the last job with the existing reports.

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.

image

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 – Warning, an attempt to check your OpenID Provider login status returned an invalid SSL certificate error

Using firefox on my main computer at home this morning I started to get a message stating “openid provider login status returned an invalid ssl certificate” and it took me a couple of minutes to work out how to fix this.

Warning, an attempt to check your OpenID Provider login status returned an invalid SSL certificate error.

About 2 years ago, I installed the Verisign Labs PIP seatbelt extension for firefox. This enables me to sign in with an OpenID account and not have to pass my real credentials across the internet all the time. This works great for securely signing into my WordPress account without passing my credentials in cleartext when I am at a conference etc. However, Verisigns certificate expired a couple of days ago and they replaced it with a new one.

Unfortunately it seems that the seatbelt extension knows about the old certificate but does not trust the new one.

The solution is quick and easy, but not obvious from the error message. However thanks to Doug at TakeALeft from back in 2009, you just need to update the seatbelt extension.

In firefox go to Tools, Addons and scroll down until you get to the Seatbelt extension. Select Options and then click on the OpenID Providers tab.

OpenID Providers tab - select the provider and choose Update

Note that in my screenshot above, I have already updated mine, but select the Provider and then click Update.

You will then be prompted with “Your Primary OpenID provider has published a new configuration file. Say OK  to this message.

image

 

OK your way out of all the dialog boxes and the error message is no more.

Fixed – Archive options missing in Outlook 2007 and send/receive issues

We had a weird issue this morning where the Archive options were missing in Outlook 2007. This is apparently a known issue with the kb2412171 December 14, 2010 outlook update which allegedly improves stability. It is hard to see how removing functionality, breaking send and receive and reducing performance when you switch folders comes under the category of improving stability and increasing performance.
Thankfully the solution is simple, just remove 2412171 from add/remove programs and everything should go back to normal.
Further details on the patch are also available which includes the known issues when installing 2412171.
Needless to say, we have unapproved this patch on our WSUS servers.

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.

Fixed – wifi not resolving dns on laptop with Windows7

I had a strange case the other day at work when all of a sudden my laptop would fail to resolve dns queries for my wireless connection only – my wired card was not affected. Changing dns entries to another server did not fix the issue. Eventually I tried disabling the Microsoft Virtual Wifi Miniport Adapter (from device manager) and immediately I was able to resolve dns again. Once I discovered this fix I remembered something similar with this adapter. Looking back through my previous notes we had an issue with Shrewsoft’s vpn software – with the Microsoft Virtual Wifi Miniport Adapter enabled we were unable to get a vpn session working to a Cisco client.
So far, disabling this adapter does not seem to have caused any issues – apparently it’s purpose is to allow you to connect to more than one wireless connection at the same time – an unlikely requirement in most business situations.

Fixed – Right click option to scan files missing in Microsoft Security Essentials Beta

I’ve been doing a bit of work with the latest beta this morning and found that the option to right click on a folder or file and scan it was missing. According to the connect website, the “Item Scan with Microsoft Security Essentials is missing from right click menu because file shellext.dll is not registered in the OS (C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\shellext.dll). To resolve this issue, open a command prompt with administrator permissions, type regsvr32 “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\shellext.dll” and press ENTER.”
Sure enough this works. Thanks to 777Andrey777 for the solution on the connect website (login required).

The other issues that I have also encountered include the Windows Home Server connector monitor flags the fact that my av is out of date or turned off when the computer is rebooted – this lasts for about 20 to 30 seconds. The instructions to provide feedback are also missing on the connect website (which was not very helpful). However log files can be generated by running “mpcmdrun -getfiles” from the Microsoft Security Client\Antimalware directory within program files.

Fixed – Group Policy settings show “An error occurred while generating report: An unknown error occurred while the HTML report was being created.”

Whilst doing some troubleshooting work for a client’s group policy settings that were not being applied to a vista machine I launched the Group Policy Management Console (gpmc) and when I went to view the Resultant Set Of Policy (RSOP) of a client machine and when I tried to view the default domain policy I received the message “An error occurred while generating report: An unknown error occurred while the HTML report was being created.” All other group policies appeared fine – it was just the default domain policy – arguably the most important one and not an easy one to restore. My first step was to use a DC that did not have the gpmc installed to use the native group policy tools within the Active Directory Users and Computers snapin. Fortunately this tool worked and I could see the settings…..lots of them.
As I knew the group policy did not seem to be corrupt I then went back into gpmc and attempted a backup of the group policies. All but the default domain policy backed up successfully.
The error message almost looked similar to issues when trying to view web pages on a server with the enhanced ie security enabled but it didn’t really make sense that it was only affecting one group policy.

After a few minutes of digging I found an entry on tek-tips (a site I don’t like to use due to the popups and nag screens) but in this case the answer worked. From Roadki11’s posting on tek-tips.com:-

Cause:
Seems to be something with importing IE security settings.

Solution:
Edit install.ins inside: {GUID of Policy}\user\MICROSOFT\IEAK

[Security Imports] ImportSecZones=1

Set it back to “0”

Using gpmc I obtained the guid of the policy by right clicking the policy and choosing properties then I connected to c:\WINDOWS\SYSVOL\sysvol\domain\Policies\{guid}\user\Microsoft\ieak
First I made a backup and then edited install.ins, set ImportSecZones to 0 and was then able to edit the policy in gpmc.
Hopefully the background information and the instructions on how to connect to the correct file helps others.
Whilst you are in the gpmc make sure you go down to Group Policy Objects, right click, Backup All, select a location, enter the date and time stamp for the description and back those policies up. Document where the backups are stored so that if you need to restore them they are easily accessible – even on another computer.
I’ve now added the backup to our checkup and system documentation instructions so at a minimum we will have monthly backups of the group policies and a documented location for where this information is kept. In an ideal world, printing off the settings would also be a good way to document the information too.