Archive for April, 2007

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Fix Time Synchronization Errors

April 28, 2007

Andy Goodman (SBS-MVP) posted this article on his blog recently. If you are having time synchronization errors on your servers (they were working, now they are not), this post will help you greatly. I have a server that has been doing this and this mini script helped me.

If your servers are not able to time sync lately, check out the batch of commands below. This set of instructions is for servers that have been synching fine, and all of a sudden just stopped. (If your server has never been able to time sync, see the M&M’s article on synching time on SBS. )

Here are the commands;

w32tm /configure /manualpeerlist:time-a.nist.gov,0×8 /syncfromflags:MANUAL
net stop w32time
net start w32time
w32tm /resync
pause

Copy and paste those commands into notepad, save the file as timefix.cmd on the desktop of your server. Then just double-click it to run the batch of commands. Be sure to watch the last command and make sure it says the sync was successful.

Note: you may want to change the time source to one local to you (here is a list of time servers), but time-a.nist.gov works fine for me (GMT -5 Eastern USA).

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Setting up Direct Push for the first time

April 28, 2007

One of my last projects at my current place of employment is to deploy Direct Push technology with a Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone my boss just purchased from Verizon, the Treo 700wx.

I’ve never done this before. But I’ve got some great resources on where to start. It doesn’t seem that hard at all. You have to have a few things in place, obviously.

First thing I did was find a wonderful step-by-step guide on SearchExchange.com. This guide really explains the whole process very well. You should check this out if you’re a newbie to Direct Push technology.

One of the things I got mixed answers was on the whole self-signed cert or Trusted authority cert that needs to be in place on the SBS (in my case we’re using SBS 2003). But the way to do it with no headaches is to just purchase a third-party SSL certificate and IT WILL WORK. GoDaddy has a cheap certificate (only $19.99 a year) or there are some others out there, but the GoDaddy will be the cheapest and easiest way to go. Microsoft has a comparison on their partner page.

So this week I will hopefully have this in place. My boss is purchasing the certificate today so I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Does anyone else have any good step by step guides or good resources on setting up Direct Push on Exchange 2003 Sp2?

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Might not be blogging much for the next few weeks

April 28, 2007

Of course many of you know I’m currently in ‘packing stage’ for our move to Leominster, MA from Phoenix, AZ. My wife and I both have accepted some awesome jobs and we’re in midst of packing. My office that I am writing from right now is full of boxes and totes. It’s a war zone. Plus work has been pretty busy lately, so I haven’t had much time to blog. It will be back to normal in late May / early June though!

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Linux Fans Rejoice – The LiveCD List brings it all together!

April 26, 2007

I’m not a huge user of Linux. In fact, I hardly have used it. But I have used Knoppix before as well as a few others. But I thought I’d make note of this wonderful website, which lists 315+ Live CD’s (that is, bootable versions of the Linux OS).

There are links, download pages, wiki entries, etc. Everything you need to learn about and download Linux Distros.

If you are a user of Linux and/or a fan of system admin tools such as Knoppix, this is a must page for you to check out and bookmark.

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Try out Exchange 2007 for free!

April 23, 2007

I’ve been wanting to see Exchange 2007 in action for awhile now. And now I can. AND SO CAN YOU!

Microsoft and Unisys have teamed up and is offering free trial accounts to anyone who wants in. All you need to do is fill out some forms and BAM, you’re in!

I signed up for my trial account this morning and spent about a half hour with it. I sent myself some test messages, called into my temporary phone/extension and was able to access my temporary contacts, listen to emails over the phone, etc. All this unified messaging stuff really intrigues me. I’m happy to see Exchange have this capability, although the technology has been around for a while now.

You have nothing to lose, go try it out now.

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Windows Admin Script: Defrag Drives Based on Threshold

April 22, 2007

I’m going to start sharing some useful scripts that I use to automate many processes. Most of the ones I will share, I have gathered from the Internet and edited. Who knows just what I will share, but I can guarantee they can help you out with many system admin tasks!

The first one I will share is a Defragment script I have implemented to run every day on many of the XP workstations I manage. Defragmentation is a big problem if not taken care of every once in a while.

What is defragmentation? When a file is saved to the hard drive, it tries to keep everything in the same location (or cluster) Over the course of time files will be deleted, leaving blank areas between files. If you install another large program, the hard drive tries to fill the holes, thus breaking up the program storage block. This effects your system performance by as much as 200% since programs have to access more areas of the hard drive, just to run.

The script I will show below is based on a threshold of fragmentation. A drive will be defragmented only if it’s fragmentation percentage is determined to be equal to or greater than the FragThreshold value. You can edit to whatever you want.

REQUIREMENTS: The script has to be executed locally on only XP or Server 2003 systems and under account with permissions to defragment local fixed drives.

Defrag All Drives

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Reduce Firefox memory consumption

April 21, 2007

Thanks Zolved.com

Most of the time, Firefox doesn’t use abnormal amount of system memory, however it does sometimes due to other sources, like number of plug-ins, themes and extensions. It is also highly recommended that you have the latest version of Firefox as the memory usage is minimized. If you want to download the latest copy of Firefox, click here.

Follow these steps to check what is causing the abnormal memory usage:



1. Check your Extensions and Themes
:

If you have a number of Extensions and Themes installed on your Firefox, try to minimize them, remove those which are not in use or you don’g really need. You can check it by opening Firefox in safe mode. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Close your Firefox browser.
  2. From the desktop, click Start > Run.
  3. Key in, firefox -safe-mode.
  4. You’ll see a new window called “Firefox Safe Mode“.
    • Just select the options displayed and if you click “Make Changes and Restart“, Firefox applies changes and restarts in normal mode.
    • If you choose to select “Continue in Safe Mode” no settings will be applied.
    • If you choose to “Exit” the browser will just exit without saving any settings.


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2. Check the Plug-ins
:

Firefox Plug-ins consume memory when in use. It is always important to check and update your plug-ins to the latest version. It is also good to uninstall all those plug-ins that are not in use.

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3. Clear Download History
:

Keeping the Download History can cause extensive usage of memory and this can slow down or freeze Firefox.

  1. Delete the “downloads.rdf” file to clear the download history.
  2. You need to make a little change to the browser setting. Here’s what you do:
  3. Open Firefox browser.
  4. From the menu bar, click Tools -> Options.
  5. Click Privacy. Un-check the “Remember What I’ve downloaded” check box.


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4. Restart Firefox Periodically
:

There might be a constant increase in the memory usage if you are using Firefox for a long period of time or handling multiple sessions.

  1. Consider restarting your browser periodically so that it can maintain a constant memory usage.
  2. Download and Install Session Manager Extension, which would save the current text data, history and cookies. It allows you to maintain the opened web pages when Firefox is closed.

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5. Assign Memory Cache on Firefox:

Firefox doesn’t use memory cache and uses system memory by default, it is good to assign a fixed memory cache to reduce the usage of memory. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Key in about:config in the address bar.
  3. Key in browser.cache.memory.enable in the Filter field.
  4. Ensure the value of the above item is set it true, if not, double-click on it to set it to true.
  5. Right-click in the browser and select New -> Integer from the pop-up.
  6. Key in, browser.cache.memory.capacity, click OK.
  7. You need to enter a value here and that value depends upon the RAM your computer has.
  8. if you have:
    1. 256MB RAM – Enter “4096“.
    2. 512MB RAM – Enter “8192“.
  9. Note: If you have 128MB or less RAM then you need to upgrade your RAM. It is not very expensive.

Important: If you want to restore to default settings then change browser.cache.memory.capacity value to -1 (minus 1).

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6. Release Memory when Firefox is minimized

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Key about:config in the address bar.
  3. Right-click in the browser and select New -> Boolean from the pop-up.
  4. In the popup box enter config.trim_on_minimize. Click OK.
  5. Select True and then click OK.
  6. Restart Firefox.