Monthly Archives: August 2005

Deploying the Offline Address book (OAB) with SMS

I blogged about deploying Windows 2003 SP1 with SMS last week, and completely missed this document that went up on the TechNet site recently.  Fortunately Benjamin mailed me and reminded me that you can deploy the Exchange 2003 OAB using SMS.  Now this is a really useful document if you have problems with users all trying to download the OAB over a WAN.  It’s a good idea to have a look at OAB best practices and how the new version of the OAB works with SP2.

Thanks to Benjamin for the link –  I missed it completely…

Managing Data Protection Manager with MOM 2005 MP

Yes, there’s a management pack for DPM.

Data Protection Manager (DPM) is a server software application that enables disk-based data protection and recovery for file servers within an Active Directory domain. DPM performs replication, synchronization, and shadow copy creation to provide reliable protection and rapid recovery of data by both system administrators and end users.   By using the DPM Management Pack, an administrator can centrally monitor the state of data protection and recovery for multiple DPM servers, and the file servers that they protect, in Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 (MOM). The Management Pack also monitors key health and performance indicators on DPM servers.  For DPM servers, the DPM Management Pack monitors the state of DPM database and service health, server performance, and key indicators such as disk availability and configuration changes to volumes protected by DPM. For protected file servers, the DPM Management Pack monitors the state of connectivity with DPM, data recovery operations for protected volumes, and replicas and shadow copies that are stored on the DPM server. DPM can be downloaded here:

Watch the webcast

Download the beta of DPM:

How to Deploy Windows 2003 SP1 with SMS

There’s a document available to download showing how to deploy Windows Server 2003 SP1 using SMS.  Here’s the information from the download site.  

This document provides detailed steps on how to prepare Windows Server 2003 SP1 files for deployment, create queries to identify SMS clients ready for the Windows Server 2003 SP1 upgrade, deploy the Windows Server 2003 SP1 upgrade to your SMS clients, and verify that the SMS clients successfully upgraded from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2003 SP1.
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 provides convenient, comprehensive access to the latest updates, enhancements, and new features for Windows Server 2003. Each of these components allows customers to better leverage the enhanced security, reliability, and performance of Windows Server 2003.
Microsoft recommends that a corporate update management solution, such as Systems Management Server 2003 or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), is used as a best-practice approach for implementing a managed rollout of Windows Server 2003 SP1. This document details the steps necessary to test a deployment of Windows Server 2003 SP1 using SMS. While some procedures in this document focus specifically on SMS 2003 Advanced Clients, most procedures apply to both SMS 2003 Legacy Clients and SMS 2.0

However – if you’re using SMS SP1, then you’d better read Tims post on the potential impact of SMS SP1 and Windows 2003 SP1… just in case.

MSN messenger 7.5 – can you hear me?

So I’ve downloaded the latest version of MSN messenger 7.5  – full version not a beta (betta), and I want to play with some of the new features.  There’s the opportunity to talk by using Voice Clip.  These allow you to record your voice over IM and send it using the massenger interface to your buddy.  Who can then open it up and play it.  And then record their own voices and send to you.

So you can sort of chat in near real time – with a bit of a delay.  It seems to be like the long distance calls of old – that sounded a bit like simplex transmissions, and I’d be tempted to end each transmission with “Over!” 

But here’s my problem.  None of my buddies have upgraded yet – so I can’t chat to anyone.  I’m talking from one messenger acount to another (which is Boring) So why don’t you upgrade to 7.5?  and talk to me…..

Exchange SP2 public beta – the CTP

Even though Harold blogged about this last week, and the Exchange team have covered all you need to get onto this beta of Exchange SP2, Here’s the link to the download and also have a look at the release notes

Key bits that I’ve pulled out of the release notes (as I get lots of questions on these)

Increase in Database Size for Standard Edition
For the Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition, the hard-coded licensing database size limit has been increased from 16 GB to 75 GB. The administrator will be able to set a protective database size limit (prevent unintentional database size growth). The default value will be 18 GB in SP2 for Standard Edition and the default of 18 GB can be overwritten by editing the “Database Size Limit in GB” registry key.
The database size calculation will be that of the logical database size — empty space is not counted. Limit checks will be performed regularly and controlled by the store process, not by Jet. Intervals for checking will be defined in the local registry and defaults can be overwritten by editing the registry. If there are no registry settings, the default time of 24 hours is used.
There will be an early warning threshold so that warnings will arrive at set intervals. Additionally, there will be better feedback to administrators when the database size limit is reached. Administrators will be able to manually mount databases in Exchange System Manager (ESM).

Improvements in Offline Address Book Performance (and see the Exchange blog for a great post on this and on the OAB v4 itself)
The offline address book (OAB 4.0) has been improved for performance.
Note   You must have Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) installed to realize this enhanced performance.
In cached mode, with the improvements, there will be fewer situations that could result in a company-wide, full OAB download.
Specific features of OAB 4.0 include the following:
Significantly reduce the size of the OAB.
Differential OAB update files use a generic, binary compression technology (BinPatch).
You now can have customizable properties and indexes.
OAB indexing will be based on the locale setting (language and country) of the client. This enables users on the same server (with different local settings) to correctly view the OAB, sorted based on their locale setting and not the servers.

Mobility Enhancements
There are some important mobility enhancements for both the mobile device user, and the mobility administrator.
Important   To use the mobility features, you need a mobile device with Windows Mobile™ 5.0 installed. For most of the other features to work, the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 must be installed also.
Direct push is a new Exchange technology that maintains an open connection between the mobile device and the server. When new items arrive, they are automatically “pushed down” to the device.
Remote wipe is a new feature that enables administrators to erase sensitive data from a lost or stolen mobile device. The administrator receives an acknowledgement that the device has been wiped after the task has been completed.
Global address list (GAL) lookup enables users to receive contact information for users in the global address list from a mobile device. This feature helps users search for a person quickly, based on name, company, and so on.
Policy provisioning allows administrators to make supported policies, such as device passwords, more secure by enforcing them in one of two modes:
Allowing only devices that have policies to synchronize (Windows Mobile 5.0 and Microsoft Feature Pack)
Allowing all devices, including older devices, to synchronize
Support for certificate-based authentication
Use of S/MIME to sign and encrypt mail

Watch out for the caveat though:

Exchange Server 2003 SP2 CTP is unsupported pre-release software distributed for feedback and testing purposes only, and is not supported by Customer Services and Support (CSS). 

Apart from that – enjoy playing 🙂

IE7 Anti phishing – to make you stop and think what you’re doing…


I’m totally impressed with IE7’s handling of suspected phishing sites…

I was catching up with some blog reading this moprning using IE7 beta when I noticed a new yellow warning shield next to the address bar.  (I was on the blog page reading one of the archived entries).  The warning shield denoted that this site may be a “Suspicious Website”. so I followed the link to give feedback on the site.  There was a simple click option to say whether I believed it was a phishing site or not, and that’s it.


There are other links referred to on the feedback page that you may want to have a look at…

Help prevent identity theft from phishing scams

Phishing filter FAQ

Phishing Filter white paper

But the warning on the page was enough to make me stop and think a little bit.  Well done to the IE team for developing this…

Systems Management Server Upgrade Survey

The SMS team would like you to take a survey about SMS:

Take the Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) Upgrade Survey.  By taking this survey you help provide direction to Microsoft when building content and upgrade programs that help our customers get the latest set of technologies.  SMS 2.0 End of Life is nearing in March 2006 and we want to help our customers upgrade with the greatest possible return on investment.  Take the survey here: 

Notice the bit about SMS 2.0 nearing end of life in March 2006.

So start thinking about the upgrade and planning accordingly…

Windows 2003 Server Performance Advisor MP for MOM 2005

The MOM team have just released the Windows Server 2003 Server performance Advisor management pack v2.0.  This MP helps to diagnose the root causes of performance problems in windows Server 2003.  You get reports on CPU and Memory use, top consumers of CPU nd busy files etc. John mentioned  and Vinod the launch of V1.0 in June.

The Management Pack for SPA 2.0 provides performance diagnosis for server roles, such as, AD, IIS, DNS, and Print spooler. Examples include:
Alerts indicating performance issues (e.g., responsiveness, resource usage, configuration) of certain server role or a general system
Events indicating tool issues (e.g., data collection failure, missing template data)
Automatic and distributed data collection

Worth a look anyway…

SMS 2003 viewing the namespace

So where would you go if you wanted to find out exactly which bits of inventory are interrogated by SMS 2003? I seem to remember playing with WBEMtest and having a look at namespaces and classed viewing which bits of hardware inventory you could collect. It’s worthwhile becoming familiar with this tool in case you can’t view the Admin console for some reason. (By the way – where did MOF manager go?  It was really useful in SMS 2.0 and now I need it – it doesn’t exist any more…)

But I also noticed this mail on the SMS mailing lists the other day and saw some other resources you could use…

SMS Schema information views

Schema View mapping

SQL Server views

Well its the nearest you can get to seeing the schema – although we don’t publish it..