Print Server Cname Stops Working After 2008 SP2 Install

January 23rd, 2011 Posted in Technology, Windows Server | 4 Comments »

Windows Server 2008During a recent Sunday downtime window doing Windows updates, I found that our Windows Server 2008 print server was missing service pack 2.  Having had no difficulty in the past with the SP2 upgrade on our other boxes in the past, it didn’t even occur to me to make sure I had taken a VMWare snapshot of the server before performing the upgrade.  It’s when your guard is down and you think there’s no way that anything could possibly go wrong that karma jumps up and bites you hard in the ass.

For a little back-story, we migrated from a FreeBSD based print server using LPD to a Windows print server running 2008 server approximately 2 years ago.  The benefits of that switch were many and immediately apparent, with easier queue generation and ease of upgrading and installing drivers, giving us better control over our printers.  Deploying those printers to our student use machines (which utilize roaming profiles) using group policy and scripts turned out to not work as well as we had hoped, but that’s another story for another time.  Our old FreeBSD server had a name which fit with the server naming scheme of the time, and it also had a DNS cname alias.  When we were doing the testing and migration to the new Windows box, we decided to give the server a regular name, and then just move the cname from the old box to the new.  This seemed to be a marvelous idea, as we’d be able to test the new production box before migrating our users to using it, and then when we moved the cname, it meant all of our users wouldn’t need to delete and remap their printers.  This all worked fairly well after finding that we had to create the DisableStrictNameChecking registry key in order for our server to respond to both it’s real name and it’s cname.  This worked swimmingly well for us, at least until we installed SP2.

The SP install went fine, everything completed as normal.  Before I left to go home, I decided to make a spot check that printing was still working, and I found that both of the network printers I had added to my machine using the alias were showing as offline.  When I tried to get their properties or open the queues from my client machine, I received an error stating that I may have a network problem or the printer may have been deleted.  The printers I had mapped to the same machine using the actual server name were working fine.  If I browsed to \\servername, I could see all the shares, and then if I clicked the “view remote printers” button (this was a Windows 7 client), all of the printers would be shown.  However, if I did the same thing using \\alias, I would see all the shares but after clicking to view the remote printers, none of the printers would appear.  It was as though the actual queues on the server weren’t being mapped to the shares when using the alias.

I spent several hours Googling, and attempting fixes which ran the gamut from rebooting the server, creating host name entries on the server, checking the DNS records for the server and the cname, creating registry edits for setting lanman parameters, to setting SPN records.  Finally, deep in the bowels of Google somewhere down around the 25th page of results, I found a tiny no name forum, which I can’t even find again now to give it the link love it so rightly deserves, was someone who had the exact same problem.  That forum post claimed the resolution was to rejoin the server to the domain.  I almost disregarded it entirely because I couldn’t come up with a single reason why this would work, and the connection to the domain seemed to be intact as I was able to login and authenticate to the server, and the domain doesn’t even know about the cname alias.  Having tried everything else and having no other viable options on the table short of trying to migrate the printer queues to a new server with no guarantee that would solve the problem, I gave it a shot.  Sure enough after the server rebooted, my print connections to the alias showed up as online, and started working again.  Probably the most frustrating issue I have ever encountered during an upgrade was fixed by just about the easiest possible thing you could do, which just intensified the frustration and the celebratory drinking which soon followed.

So, the moral of the story is: If your cname alias for your Windows 2008 print server stops working after an SP2 upgrade, try rejoining the server to the domain.

Back From Hiatus

October 11th, 2007 Posted in Miscellany | 1 Comment »

Where has the summer gone?  I’ve sadly been neglecting this site for far too long, but I’m about ready to start making up for it.  If I were to say it’s been a busy summer, it would be the understatement of the year.  Since my last post at work we’ve installed an EMC Clariion SAN, overhauled our email system replacing it with Zimbra, begun using VMWare ESX, and done a successful campuswide deployment of Vista.  That’s in addition to the normal list of tasks, coming in at 4am multiple times for data center power outages, working 6 days a week, while spending nights, Sundays, and “vacation days” working on a massive site overhaul/Joomla install for a local Chamber of Commerce.  It seems that the end of all of that is finally in sight, normalcy will resume, and I’ll be back posting on at least a semi-regular basis. 

The first order of business was upgrading WordPress to version 2.3 which took forever due to cryptic error messages like: “cheatin huh?”, something along the lines of “Firefox has determined that this page will never load due to infinite redirection”, and a couple other hurdles.  It turns out some of that was due to my original theme, which is why I’m back to the classic WordPress theme and makes my second order of business creating/hacking a new theme.  Please hang in there as the new content is coming soon, I promise! 

How to change the blocksize of a VMFS filesystem

July 12th, 2007 Posted in Technology, VMWare | 8 Comments »

By default, VMWare ESX server uses a 1M block size which limits you to having a maximum of 256GB in any single virtual machine.  By changing the block size of your vmfs partition, you can increase the maximum amount of disk you can have.  A 2M block size yields a maximum disk size of 512 GB, 4M yields 1TB, and 8M yields 2TB.  There is no support for anything larger under vmfs3.  Vmfs2 had a maximum block size of 16M, but that has been removed in the vmfs3 specification.

To change the block size of a vmfs filesystem, you need to use vmkfstools to reformat the partition.  The command is:vmkfstools --createfs vmfs3 --blocksize 8M vmhba0:0:0:3 It is important to note that like any other formatting procedure, this will destroy any data on the partition, so make sure you move your data before you do this.  The “vmhba0:0:0:3″ is where you specify which partition to reformat.  According to the VMWare server configuration guide, the format is:

vmhbaA:T:L:P format, where A, T, L, and P are integers representing adapter, target, LUN, and partition number respectively. The partition digit must be greater than zero and should correspond to a valid VMFS partition of type fb

For example, vmhba0:2:3:1 refers to the first partition on LUN 3, target 2, HBA 0.

If you’re reformatting a current vmfs filesystem just to increase the blocksize, you can get that information from the storage section in the configuration tab of the Virtual Infrastructure Client.

Carolyn McCarthy Doesn’t Know Her Ass From A Hole In The Wall

June 20th, 2007 Posted in Miscellany, Rants | No Comments »

Earlier this year Carolyn McCarthy, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from New York proposed bill number HR1022 titled, "Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2007".  It's a bill "[t]o reauthorize the assault weapons ban and for other purposes".  In effect it would put the Clinton assault weapons ban back in place (which Bill Clinton himself has admitted had absolutely no effect on crime), but would expand the ban to include all semiautomatic rifles and shotguns.  Unlike the Clinton ban it would also prohibit the sale of preban weapons to individuals via both purchases from a legitimate storefront as well as private party sales.  Semiautomatic weapons would only be able to be transferred to law enforcement agencies under this ban.  This proposed ban also lacks a sunset date, which means if signed it's around indefinitely. 

I happened to stumble onto an interview on YouTube a few weeks ago from MSNBC where Tucker Carlson confronts McCarthy about the ban, and barrel shrouds in particular.  After McCarthy tries to side step the question 3 times, she finally admits she has no idea what a barrel shroud is, but that banning them would make the US a safer place.  How people who don't have a clue get into positions this powerful is beyond me.  Click here for the full text of HR1022.

[tags]Carolyn McCarthy, HR1022, Clinton assault weapons ban, law enforcement protection act of 2007, clinton gun ban, stupid politicans, open mouth insert foot, msnbc, tucker carlson[/tags]

The Swear Jar – Another Priceless Commercial

June 15th, 2007 Posted in Miscellany | 1 Comment »

My friend Dee sent me a link earlier today to the following Bud Lite commercial.  I've largely been disappointed with the quality of commercials lately even those during the Superbowl, but apparently the ad agencies are starting to hire some better writers.  I'm wondering how much of this is due to the spreading use of PVRs ... they have to make the ads good to keep us from skipping them. 

[tags]bud lite commercial, good commercials, superbowl commercials, beer, bud lite, swear jar, office, swearjar[/tags]

Who Counterfeits Toothpaste?!!?

June 14th, 2007 Posted in Miscellany, Rants | 3 Comments »

As I was tuning into Ghetto Radio this morning to get my weekly fix of sweet 80's music (yes, I know it's lame but it's the truth) I caught the tail end of a news report where they were talking about counterfeit toothpaste.  I first assumed this was a parody news report much like the Onion  but the other stories seemed legit, so I did a quick Google search.  Sure enough I turned up a CNBC article about counterfeit Colgate toothpaste with Diethylene Glycol (DEG) in it.  Diethylene Glycol is the wonderful stuff found in antifreeze that has a sweet taste and helps you get rid of that nasty neighborhood dog who bites your ankles and shits on your lawn.  The tainted toothpaste was found in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland along with dollar stores in a handful of South American countries.

The first thing that came to  mind after reading this wasn't, "Thank goodness nobody got hurt" instead it was, "Who counterfeits toothpaste?!".  Honestly, what kind of racket is this?  What can you make per tube of fake toothpaste?  30, maybe 40 cents?  And how do you get paid for it once it's in the supply stream?  None of this makes sense!  This may just go down in history as the worst money making scheme ever.   

If you find a tube of Colgate that has a bunch of spelling mistakes and was made in South Africa the next time you brush your teeth, put it down and go buy yourself some genuine Crest.

[tags]counterfeit toothpaste, colgate, bad ideas, how to get rid of the neighbor's dog, diethylene glycol, antifreeze, ghetto radio, 80's music, counterfeit, toothpaste[/tags] 

I Always Knew Ferrets Were Psycho …

May 31st, 2007 Posted in Miscellany | 1 Comment »

Diet Mountain Dew's new ad campaign features unusual facts that you've probably never heard before.  The video below is the first of these new ads I've seen and it certainly had me laughing.  It kind of reminds me of the classic Budweiser Frog & Ferret commercials from the Superbowl a few years back.

[tags]ferret,psycho, mountain dew, diet mountain dew, ad campaign, budweiser frogs, humor, funny commercials, when ferrets attack, it's all fun and games until someone loses a limb, hockey mask, horror movie[/tags]

Microsoft a Step Ahead of Apple For a Change?

May 30th, 2007 Posted in Technology | 2 Comments »

Microsoft SurfaceAt 12:01 this morning (5/30/07), Microsoft announced a new product they're calling "Surface".  It might be best described as the morning-after result of a coffee table, a computer, and a touch screen monitor on a drunken bender.  Five years in the making, Surface is a computer inside a table where the table top is the display and input device.  There are no mice or keyboards.  Gizmodo has some great footage of Bill Gates demonstrating Surface on the Today show this morning. 

 From the video it's apparent that it recognizes multiple touches simultaneously as you see Bill arranging photos on the tabletop with both hands, which may be the most intuitive interface I've ever seen.  It does seem to be a little slow to respond in that video, especially during the painting segment; hopefully they'll work on that before its official release.  Initial release will unfortunately be for businesses only, but at the $10,000 price tag, it's probably just as well since I can't afford one at the moment.  For the time being I guess I'm just stuck drooling over it.

 Apple's always been on the cutting edge of user interface design, and I'm still in a state of shock that Microsoft has beat them to the punch with this one.  It is being put out by the same design team who worked on the Zune, so I guess there's still a possibility they could fall flat on their face and execute it as poorly as the Zune.  Time will tell.

[tags]Microsoft,Surface,touch screen, user interface, UI, intuitive, Microsoft ahead of Apple?,coffee table, awesome, design, Zune, failure that is the Zune, drool[/tags]

Adventures with Sysprep on Windows Vista

May 25th, 2007 Posted in Windows Vista | 1 Comment »

Windows Vista LogoI've just spent the last 3 days working with sysprep and the Windows System Image Manager which comes as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) trying to get our unattend.xml file just right for deployment.  After several tries, I found that once I hit a certain point I would start getting fatal errors and would need to reinstall Vista from scratch.  Doing some Google whacking showed me that this was a pretty common problem.  If you're experiencing this problem, don't sweat it because there's an easy solution to allow you to use sysprep more than 3 times.

 The limit of 3 times which seems like an arbitrary number really isn't; it's tied to Vista's new licensing model.  Sysprep causes the licensing timer to rearm, setting it back to 30 days before you need to enter a license key.  In a previous article, I mentioned how to rearm the timer manually so you could extend your trial to 120 days.  The solution is to add the following line to the generalize pass of your unattend.xml file:

  1. <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Security-Licensing-SLC" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="" language="neutral">
  2. <skiprearm>1</skiprearm>
  3. </component>

This keeps the timer from being rearmed during the Sysprep and thus eliminates the problem.

[tags]Vista,Sysprep,fatal error, licensing, timer, rearm, 3 times, WAIK, WSIM, Windows Automated Install Kit, Windows System Image Manager, unattended installation, unattend, unattend.xml, deployment[/tags]

Politicians, the Media, & the Virginia Tech Shootings

April 17th, 2007 Posted in Miscellany, Rants | 1 Comment »

My buddy Cliff over at wrote a story this morning expressing his displeasure with all of the armchair quarterbacking of the Virginia Tech shootings that happened yesterday.  I entirely agree with his point of view ... hindsight is 20/20 and pointing fingers doesn't do any good.  What he neglected to mention though is the deplorable behavior of the media and politicians. 

The shootings in Norris Hall, which claimed the lives of the majority of the victims started at approximately 9:30 am.  By about 2:00 pm, asshat Senator/Lawyer Jack Thompson from Florida was making an appearance on Fox News using the shootings as ammunition for his fight against videogames.  For what seems like years now, Jack Thompson has been trying to outlaw violent videogames based on the theory that they are a major cause for violence.  Mere hours after a senseless massacre, while the nation is in shock and mourning, and the full story of what, why, and how it happened hadn't even broken, there was Jack on his soapbox telling the nation that videogames were the cause.  Where the hell does he get off?  Using a tragedy such as this to further his position without any information and worse yet, less than 5 hours after it started is absolutely despicable.  I hope the voters of Florida recognize this and send him packing.  I sure as hell wouldn't want him representing me.  Don't get me wrong, not all of my anger is directed at Jack Thompson, some of it is also directed at Fox News for condoning this behavior by letting him speak.

I'm sure Jack isn't the only politician who is going to try to use this to their benefit ... those against the 2nd amendment will be out in force shortly I'm sure.  ABC News and others are already laying the ground work for them with polls asking whether this could have been prevented with stricter gun laws.  Hopefully they have a few more brains than our buddy Jack, and will at least wait a few days before pushing the issue.  One of those people I'm sure will be Carolyn McCarthy, a democrat representing New York in the House of Representatives.  Carolyn is the sponsor of H.R. 1022, titled: "To reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes."  Essentially this bill would reinstate the Clinton gun ban, and expand it to include all semi automatic rifles and shotguns.  Apparently she didn't bother to look at the statistics that clearly showed that the Clinton ban did nothing for the crime rate in the US.  Washington DC had some of the most stringent gun laws in the US until recently, and they've been home to the highest crime rate in the country regardless.

When will the politicians learn that videogames and guns don't kill people?  Sick fucked up people kill people, and they'll continue to do it even if guns and videogames were outlawed tomorrow.  I guess my only hope is that the people who use tragedies like the Virginia Tech shootings to further their agendas are dealt with as harshly as Don Imus was, and that the media will stop giving them the attention that they so desperately want.

[tags]virginia tech shootings, jack thompson, videos, politicians, gun laws, house bill 1022, H.R. 1022, Clinton gun ban, Carolyn McCarthy, democrat, armchair quarterback, Don Imus, inappropriate behavior, using tragedy to further your agenda, asshat[/tags]