Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

A new ransomware, using the same attack as WannaCry, is hitting the world hard today on Windows PC’s. Here’s some steps to prevent this from happening to you:
1. Don’t click on links inside emails that you aren’t 100% positive you know what they do.
2. Backup your important files so something disconnect from your computer like the cloud or USB drive you remove. crashplan.com is a great service to have.
3. Install Windows updates – this prevents this specific attack from taking hold
6. Have an antivirus program running. A free one is avast.com – been using it for many years.
5. If you’re still on XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 etc. now’s a good time to get upgraded to Windows 10

Here at CF Webtools we’ve been shifting towards Virtual Machines to replace our dedicated “iron” as Mark Kruger likes to say. Let me say for starters that I’m very impressed with the Dell PowerEdge VRTX Shared Infrastructure Platform. There is so much back-end power in that thing we’ve been able to move our entire set of staging platforms onto one M620 Server Node along with a RAID 6 shared PERC disk array. It handles it like a champ and each virtual server is extremely fast. After about a year of testing and no real issues we’ve been able to move some of our production servers onto another server node. We’re looking forward to adding a couple more server nodes as well. Each node runs VMware ESXi HyperVisor 6.0 via RAID 1 SD cards.

In addition we’re also migrating some workstation VM’s away from Hyper-V and onto a separate Dell Server that we’ve reclaimed.

vcenterconverter61But here’s the real reason I’m writing today:

FAILED: A file I/O error occurred while accessing ”.

I get this error when using “WMware vcenter Converter Standalone 6.0.0” to convert any powered-on Windows machines onto one of the ESXi instances. I don’t get this issue when converting power-on Linux machines. Very odd and Google results of forums haven’t been very helpful. Mostly just a lot of run chkdsk and check for fully qualified domain resolutions.

I’m not going to cover Linux conversions here since they work. But basically what a powered-on Windows conversion does is it installs a helper VM on the machine to be converted. It’s run as a service and you have the option to manually uninstall when finished or let it automatically uninstall.

Something, probably this helper service, then takes a snapshot of the source system. Then the helper VM does a block-level clone for each volume it finds.

Mine always failed after the snapshot and before the clone.

What I did was used the “Export logs…” link in the converter. The line I found interesting, reading the file vmware-converter-server-1.log, was:

error vmware-converter-server[01288] [Originator@6876 sub=Ufa.HTTPService] Failed to read request; stream: <io_obj p:0x03dc40ac, h:-1, <pipe ‘\\.\pipe\vmware-converter-server-soap’>, <pipe ‘\\.\pipe\vmware-converter-server-soap’>>, error: class Vmacore::TimeoutException(Operation timed out)

After some Google searching it dawned on me that I am using two IP subnets. One for the general network and one for management. My machine runs 10.0.0.* (general) and 10.1.1.* (management) subnets. The source system has 10.0.0.* assigned to it while the destination ESXi server has 10.1.1.* assigned to it.

Because my system can communicate with both networks, everything could communicate just fine with both the source and destination machines.

However once things get rolling, the process moves from my machine to communicating between the source and destination. My machine merely monitors the progress. Which makes sense. Keep out the middle man and you have efficient network data transfer.

So the fix here was to bind a temporary management subnet address (10.1.1.*) to the source machine’s NIC. Now the helper VM is able to communicate with the destination server over that management subnet. (more…)

Our normal web server consists of a OS and Program File drive (C:) and a data drive to hold website files (E:). This provides an extra layer of security, speed and helpful structure. Sometimes we will also add another data drive (F:) for clients with really large storage needs. For example all user uploaded photos goes onto a 2TB drive array.

So let’s say you have user upload photos dedicated to one drive. You may want to just place the data onto the root of the drive. Simple right?

Well here’s what you may run into: When migrating/copying that drive to a new drive/machine using Robocopy you’ll find a few issues: (robocopy \\OLD-SERVER\UserPhotos F:\Data\UserPhotos /e /copy:DT /MT:8)

  1. If you’re putting the data into a subfolder this time, that root subfolder will become a system-hidden folder. The reason is you are copying the root of a drive. Pretty annoying.
    1. You can fix this by running this after the copy starts: “attrib -H -S F:\Data”
  2. It will try copy “System Volume Information” and “Recycle Bin”. But you’ll find out that your process will just get stuck because it doesn’t have permissions to do so.
    1. You can fix this by not copying any system or hidden files/folders:
      “robocopy \\OLD-SERVER\UserPhotos F:\Data\UserPhotos /e /copy:DT /MT:8 /xd $Recycle.bin “System Volume Information”” FYI: I tried using “/xa:HS” instead of the /xd, but that didn’t work as expected.
    2. If you’ve already gone 8 hours into your copy operation just to find this out, speed things up by syncing things instead using: “robocopy \\OLD-SERVER\UserPhotos F:\Data\UserPhotos /mir /copy:DT /MT:8 /xd $Recycle.bin “System Volume Information” /xo /fft”

So my point is, don’t put your data folder/file structure in the drive root. It’ll get mixed up with hidden-system files and folders and one day throw you for a loop. Instead put that all in a subfolder such as “F:\data”. Another example might be “E:\websites”.

Side-note: There are other copy methods to avoid this situation, however Robocopy is going to be one of your fastest options.

After a Windows Update the lovely “Blue Screen of Death” appeared on one of our servers. Frantic to find a solution, “Boot to the last known working configuration” wasn’t working. A system restore was a last resort option.

Here’s what the error consisted of:

STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}
The registry cannot load the hive (file):
\Systemroot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE
or its log or alternate.
It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.

To resolve the issue I:

  1. Boot to the Windows 2008 Server Install DVD
  2. Click “Repair Computer” on the second screen
  3. Open a command prompt on the second or third prompt
  4. Change directory to C:\Windows\System32\Config\
  5. Rename “SOFTWARE” to “SOFTWARE.BAK”
  6. Copy “RegBack\SOFTWARE” to that directory
  7. Reboot

This restored the SOFTWARE registry to its previous state before the Windows Update. I then had a pending list of Windows Updates to install again. But I’ll leave that for another day for now to see if anyone else is having issues.

I have a new project that requires Blue Dragon 9.0 Alpha (.NET). I never used Blue Dragon before and it ended up taking me a few days to get up and running.

First of all there is no documentation and there is practically no discussion around it. So I’m writing this in hopes it helps someone out.

The files I’m using are located at ftp://ftp.newatlanta.com/public/bluedragon/9_0/ .

 

The first step is to install IIS and ASP.NET. You may need to have .NET Framework 3.5 turned on as well.

Windows_Features

 

The second step is to make sure you have .NET Framework v4.0 installed.

 

The third step is to make sure you have an IIS site setup and using the .NET Framework v4.0 in the Application pools.

Application_Pools

 

The fourth step is to run BlueDragon_NET_90_alpha.exe in administrator mode.

At that point in time you’ll find an error message when you run the site:

Example: “Access to the path ‘C:\inetpub\wwwroot\BD Test\App_Data\bluedragon\config’ is denied.”

You will need to create a directory structure underneath your website directory:

App_Data
-bluedragon
–config
—bluedragon.xml
–work
—cfchart
—cfcollection
—cfdocument
—cflog
—cfschedule
—temp

The bluedragon.xml file is the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<server>
</server>

 

After you create the directories and file, you will then get the following error:

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
ConfigurationErrorsException: Could not create NewAtlanta.BlueDragon.Diagnostics.LogTraceListener, NewAtlanta.BlueDragon, Version=9.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=7551335de9fc3c36.

To fix this, you will need to add the app pool’s user and grant is modify or full permissions.

When you add the user, use your machine’s location  (as opposed to the domain), then enter the object name “IIS AppPool\[app pool name]”. For example “IIS AppPool\BD Test”. Then click “Check Names”. This will resolve the name to the app pool name.

App_Pool_User

 

 

This should get you up and running with BlueDragon.NET 9.0 Alpha.

There are currently two patch files in the FTP site. If you run them, you may end up with an error “Could not load type ‘System.ServiceModel.Activation.HttpModule'”. To correct this run this to re-register ASP.NET:

c:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\aspnet_regiis.exe -iru