Fedora 9 and Dell T105’s

Yay! Fedora 9 is out, and it finally installs fine using on a Dell T105 with a SATA DVDRom. The previous version of fedora (8) on x64 didn’t properly recognize the install dvd.

Outlook 2007 – “A Dialog Box Is Open”

Today i got a call from a customer stating that Outlook 2007 was starting, but giving an error message “A Dialog box is open” trying to open or compose new emails. The problem was that Outlook started on a new user profile, and the usual Outlook/Word dialog that asks you for your Name/Initials was gettign hidden someplace (since word starts silently in outlook).

Solution is to close everything, and start Microsoft Word first. Enter your name and initials, and then you’ll be able to start outlook.

Bill pointed out that if you don’t have the full Office installed, you won’t be able to launch Word. So to fix it, you’ll have to temporarily remove a Microsft Update item number KB946983. Use the control panel to remove this update, start Outlook, then windows will apply the update again at a later time.

Dell Utility Partition Quick Removal

Just a quick post on how to quickly remove the Dell Utility Partition. I just received some Poweredge T105 boxes (quiet nice actually ,very quiet, very efficient – only 70W power consumption idle with 2 80gb drives). I was bummed to find out that the bios didnt come with a SATA raid option, but oh well.

So to remove partition. Boot up from your XP/2003 CD/DVD, and then go into the Console Recovery mode. Login to your partition , then use “DISKPART” to open up the partition manager, and then simply remove the 55mb partition.


TNMailServer 3


Just an update. TNMailserver 3, is around the corner. This time its based on Fedora 8 and is much easier to install and keep up to date, but works iwth the same charm as the Slackware version. It will also be renamed to “Techie MailServer”

RPC problems

So after spending a great deal of time trying to figure out why one of my customers servers had stopped responding to ports 135 and 445 (RPC), i found that someone had ran an “ipseccmd” script to run some blocking ports on the machine, for a reason that i don’t understand completely. Why on earth would a hacker want to block ports, if they want to use it to send spam through it ? Makes no sense. In any case, if you ever come across a machine that clearly has a blocked port, but there is no firewall running on that machine, check the ipsec rules. They may not show in the Local Security Policy manager, but they will show in the registry and the Security Event log straight after a reboot.

VMWare and Virtual Server

For ages now, I’ve been wanting to switch from Microsoft’s Virtual Server 2005 (mvs2k5) to VMWare Server.

Why? Well, at first I started off with a few production Windows Servers (Exchange, Development for clients and a few Windows XP machines to connect to customer’s VPN’s) and this worked beautifully well on mvs2k5. Using Microsoft’s recommendations of using fixed sized vhd’s and “virtual” SCSI adapters, things were just looking spectacular.

However, with the latest version of mvs2k5, i couldn’t get Fedora 7, Slackware 12, or Ubuntu 7.04 to install on mvs2k5 despite Microsoft saying they added Linux support. This is my problem. I need to be able to test Linux and other open source technologies without busting open real hardware.

Thus, VMWare is my only real hope, since it supports Windows stuff, and Linux stuff, and VMWare’s technology works differently. For a start, each of the virtual machines runs in its own process space, so you can kind of see where the memory and cpu utilization is going – which you can’t with mvs2k5.
So, i decided that my Dual Core 3.4Ghz machine with 4gb of RAM shouldn’t be wasted just for Windows Virtual machines, and started my quest in converting everything to VMWare.

Not so good. The conversions for my current Windows machines have problems. If you have WPA Activated virtual machines, you’d have to re-activate – which I’m ok with if everything worked out fine But it didn’t. It’s a painfully slow process. I also couldn’t get the VMWare tools to work right on these converted machines. My first machine i converted (my development machine that i use constantly), worked fine – if a bit sluggish – in Remote Desktop mode, but over the VM Console, I couldn’t get my mouse to work, and it was really slow. If I wasn’t so obsessed with stuff working right, this would be ok. But i need things to work right so I can be sure that the machines environment is safe.

So for this reason, my rule (for now) will be let Windows Virtual machines, built on mvs2k5, stay on that platform till its life cycle ends. I’ll just have to bite the bullet and use two physical machines for now. I’ve desperately needed Linux virtual machines to test out my latest version of TNMailserver in which my project is getting sadly old without updates.

Slow Vista RDP Session to Windows 2003 R2 64 bit

So, finally, some intense Googling found the solution to my problem of having a sluggish, laggy slow connection from a Vista machine to a Windows 2003 R2 64Bit machine. Something to do with Vista’s RDP client trying to tune something. Either case, this is the fix.

Open a command shell with admin access on the vista box, and type in

netsh interface tcp set global rss=disabled
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

I’m not quiet sure yet as to any side effects, but all i know is that this fixes my problem in trying to trouble shoot probelms quickly on clients servers that are running 64bit Win2k3