Windows Server activation via KMS

Nothing is more fun that finding out a production server has not been activating via KMS like it was supposed to be doing.  Imagine my surprise logging in and seeing a “Windows is not activated” message.  Re-entering the correct kms setup didn’t solve it; in fact, it didn’t even send a KMS message to the server.

It turns out the server was in MAK licensing mode.  I found that out by running the command “slmgr /dlv” in an elevated command prompt and seeing VOLUME_MAK in the description.

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Server 2003: Perflib event ID 2003 in Application Logs

I’ve been getting an error in my Event Log on one server and I may have finally found the cause and solution.  Installing SP2 on Server 2003 does not update the size and date of the Perfts.dll entries in the registry.  The fix is pretty simple: open a command prompt (as admin) and type lodctr /T:TermService — that’s it!

SQL Server: Backup compression in 2008! (not!)

I was really excited to see that Microsoft has finally implemented compression for database backups in SQL Server 2008. I’ve been hesitant to purchase and implement a third-party compression package as I didn’t want to potentially break or hinder disaster recovery. So if SQL 2008 includes native compression support, perfect!

I downloaded the MSDN iso and installed it to test the compression. After the install completed, I pulled up the Server Manager, chose “Backup” and checked the options; sure enough, there is a setting to compress the backups. So I grinned and started the backup process.

*screeching halt!* I got an error message: “Compression is only available on Enterprise and Developer versions.” Really? Are you serious? So people who can’t afford Enterprise are once again out of luck. I’d begun to believe that Microsoft had turned a corner when they included mirroring and log shipping in 2005 Standard; guess I was wrong.

Really, Microsoft, this is inexcusable! Backup compression and encryption should be standard in all versions of SQL Server, especially considering today’s strict laws about information theft.

Guess I’m back to looking for a third-party tool. I ran across an interesting one today called HyperBac — if they can deliver half of what they promise, it may be worth the money. And the cost of HyperBac will be an order of magnitude cheaper ($2k versus $22k) and HyperBac will also encrypt the backups for greater security.

While I’m happy I may have found a solution, I am very disappointed in Microsoft for their decision to disable compression in Standard.

Server 2008: Installing Bluetooth Stack

I recently bought a set of bluetooth-enabled wireless headphones for use at work, but they wouldn’t install on my Server 2008 workstation. Microsoft appears to have crippled the Bluetooth stack on servers, but I may have finally got it to work…

First, I found a page that had step-by-step instructions on how to manually install the missing drivers: Manual Instructions. These instructions were for Server 2008 x64 and not x86, but I think they could be modified for 32bit.

Further searching found pre-modified cab files for both 32bit and 64bit Server 2008 at a spaces.live.com website — it is not responding, so here’s the Google cache version: 32bit and 64bit cab files. All you have to do is copy the driver files from the cab file, select each Unknown Device, choose Update Driver and point it at the new driver files. You’ll get a “Unknown publisher” warning, but they’ll work if you’ll choose to install them.

Woot! They work! 🙂

Workstation 2008 – Installing Rhapsody

I have a Sansa MP3 player and I’m a Rhapsody subscriber; it’s nice to be able to listen to most of the new albums as they come out.

Unfortunately, Rhapsody will not install on Windows Server 2008; it will fail during the installation of the Windows Media system. There is a solution:

  1. Download the Windows Media 11 SDK at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsmedia/bb190309.aspx and install it.
  2. In the Redist folder where you expanded the files, install the WMFDist11-WindowsXP-X86-ENU.exe file (it says it’s for WinXP, but it installs on Server 2008)
  3. Download and install Rhapsody.

That’s it!

Workstation 2008 – Initial setup

Many people have reported online about how Windows Server 2008 can be configured as a workstation; it is claimed that this configuration is how Vista Enterprise should have been released.

I have installed this operating system and I have to agree; it seems much snappier than my Vista install.

Here’s how I installed it…

  1. Install Server 2008 from the dvd.
  2. Download the Workstation Configuration utility from http://converter.win2008workstation.com and use it to make the following changes:
    1. Set Owner/Organization if desired
    2. Enable Windows Audio
    3. Optimize CPU performance for programs
    4. Install .NET Framework 3.0
    5. Install Desktop Experience if desired
    6. Enable themes service if desired
    7. Install Vista Sidebar if desired
    8. Install windows vista aero cursors
    9. Disable ctrl+alt+del at Windows startup (only on personal machines)
    10. Disable Shutdown Event Tracker
  3. Increase the multimedia priority via regedit: change HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsNTCurrentVersionMultimediaSystemProfileSystemResponsiveness to dword:00000014
  4. Install other programs (Office, Visual Studio, antivirus, etc)

The only problems I’ve found is that some software will not install on server-class operating systems. Antivirus is a good example; I’m having to run McAfee at the moment.

But other than that, it is working beautifully. I’ve even been able to run most of my games, and oddly enough, they run better in 2008 than Vista.