Thursday, 16 August 2018

Using SQL Server with BitLocker - The operating system returned error 21 (The device is not ready.) to SQL Server during a read at offset….

When using Microsoft SQL Server on a computer protected by BitLocker you may see the error

The operating system returned error 21 (The device is not ready.) to SQL Server during a read at offset….

This error can be caused because BitLocker auto-unlocks the drive after SQL Server has already started.

You can either set the service to manual and start it after login (manually or with a login script) or try using the Automatic (Delayed Start) startup type on the SQL service.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Install VMware Tools on Windows Server 1803 (core operating system)

Windows Server 1803 the semi-annual version of Windows Server comes by default with no user interface.

This may be a bit of a confusion when you first install the server and want to install VMware tools.

Although there is no GUI you can still click to install the VMware tools, and swap to the CD-ROM drive by using D: or the appropriate drive letter.

You can then type setup and the installation GUI will proceed as normal.

If you are in a PowerShell window (rather than a standard command prompt) typing setup will display the following error

The Setup command may only be used inside a Describe block.
At C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\3.4.0\Functions\Describe.ps1:125 char:9
+         throw "The $CommandName command may only be used inside a Des ...
+         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : OperationStopped: (The Setup comma...Describe block.:String) [], RuntimeException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : The Setup command may only be used inside a Describe block.

Instead start the command with .\setup.exe

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Microsoft Exchange Documentation Script

As part of the version 10.1 update of our server documentation tool, XIA Configuration Server you can now document the configuration of your Exchange on-premises and Exchange Online configuration simply and quickly.

Click to view sample PDF output of a demonstration Exchange organization.

The system automatically gathers information on

  • Compliance Management
  • Mail Flow
  • Mobile
  • Organization
  • Permissions
  • Protection
  • Public Folders
  • Recipients
  • Servers Configuration
  • Unified Messaging

For more information see the Microsoft Exchange page of our web site.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Install and use Microsoft Edge Browser on Windows Server 2016

When trying to download Google Chrome on Windows Server 2016 today I got the following message

Microsoft Edge is the faster, safer browser on Windows 10 and it is already installed on your PC.

Which I'm not sure how Microsoft is allowed to guzzump my search by demanding I use their product especially as they've mis-recognised their own operating system.

To be clear you cannot use Microsoft Edge on Windows Server 2016.

If you need to know the reason see the requirements for Edge.

The Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) versions of Windows, including Windows Server 2016, don't include Microsoft Edge or many other Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. These apps and their services are frequently updated with new functionality, and can't be supported on systems running the LTSB operating systems. For customers who require the LTSB for specialized devices, we recommend using Internet Explorer 11.

This is quite annoying, more so if you run an RDP Session Host or Citrix Farm.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

VMware vCenter Appliance reports 503 Service Unavailable (Failed to connect to endpoint)

When using the VMware vCenter Appliance if you find that it reports the following error

503 Service Unavailable (Failed to connect to endpoint: [N7Vmacore4Http20NamedPipeServiceSpecE:0x00005583dec71890] _serverNamespace = / action = Allow _pipeName =/var/run/vmware/vpxd-webserver-pipe)

This can be due to trying to access the web interface before the services have started, even though the application virtual machine has started and the login screen displayed.

It's a real shame that VMware doesn't show a proper startup window on the console of the vCenter server so you can see the services starting rather than having to guess what is going on.

VMware vCenter server appliance shows as "Photon-Machine" and you cannot logon

When you setup VMware vCenter server application (which runs on a virtual machine) on VMware workstation deployed from the OVF file you may be presented firstly with the login prompt

And shortly afterwards the "final" login screen which prompts you to login to http://photon-machine.

The problem is when you deploy using the OVF file the system is still processing the configuration information, you cannot however see any progress.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

"The WS-Management service cannot process the request. The service is configured to not accept any remote shell requests."

When trying to use PowerShell remoting you may come across the following error

"The WS-Management service cannot process the request. The service is configured to not accept any remote shell requests."

Many people may be confused by this as they have run the Enable-PSRemoting command.

Unfortunately there is another setting called "Allow Remote Shell Access" which can be configured in group policy which prevents you from connecting to a remote machine.

You can see the effective setting by running the following PowerShell command locally
Get-Item WSMan:\localhost\Shell\AllowRemoteShellAccess

The setting can be located in the following group policy path
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Remote Shell > Allow Remote Shell Access

I think that this causes some confusion because people believe that Microsoft recommend disabling this setting (and therefore disabling PowerShell remoting) which isn't accurate. 

The recommendation is to review the setting, and if you don't need PowerShell remoting to disable it.

However the CIS recommendation is to just disable the setting, which I disagree with given the modern nature of PowerShell remoting I would rather have this enabled as the primary management method and firewall off older protocols such as WMI but you probably rely on WMI too much to do that.