Unlocking shared files on Windows 2008 R2 Server

In enterprise environments, documents and other file types are often located on central file server and users open their documents directly from there. Sometimes, server administrators need to update such files, but can’t because at least one user is using it and locking the file.

You could of course just reboot the server and the file would be unlocked, but that might be overkill as you are throwing everybody out.

Luckily, there is a tool on the server, that lets you selectively unlock files, here is how to do it:

  1. On Windows 2008 R2 Server, click Start and type Share and Storage Management and press Enter
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  2. In the right pane, click Manage Open Files
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  3. Click Close Selected
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  4. Click Yes to confirm

Be aware that users of that file might lose data.

Blackberry Delivery Confirmation

Sometimes it is handy to know if a mail that you sent has actually arrived on the recipient’s Blackberry. There are delivery receipts in Exchange and other mail systems, but they only confirm that the receiving mail server has accepted the mail, you can’t be sure that the mail ever showed up on the Blackberry.

To get a Blackberry delivery notification, you must start your subject with

<confirm>

So for example, you can send a message from Outlook with the following subject:

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Once this message arrives on the Blackberry, you will get a confirmation that looks like this:

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Remember that the <confirm> tag must be at the beginning of the subject, otherwise it is not recognized.

Blackberry BES 4.1.6 Services and Logs

The Blackberry Enterprise Server consists of more than 10 services and it can be quite confusing to know which service does what. Also, the corresponding log files don’t have abreviations that can be confusing as well. In the following table, I have summarized the services and corresponding log file names:

 

Service

Purpose

Log name

Blackberry Alert

Sends alerts when events at the specified level occur on the BlackBerry Enterprise Server to the event log/e-mail server etc.

ALRT

Blackberry Attachment (can exist on a stand-alone server)

Converts attachments into a format that can be viewed on the handheld.

 

Blackberry Collaboration (can exist on a stand-alone server)

Allows access to Instant Messaging servers via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

BBIM

Blackberry Controller

Monitors key BlackBerry Enterprise Server components and restarts them if they stop responding.

CTRL

Blackberry Dispatcher

Performs data encryption and compression services for all data that the BlackBerry Enterprise Server sends or receives. Also starts and stops the messaging agents.

DISP

Blackberry MDS Connection (can exist on a stand-alone server)

Provides secure access to online content and applications on the corporate intranet or Internet through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

MDAT

Blackberry MDS Integration (can exist on a stand-alone server)

   

Blackberry Policy

Supports wireless IT Policy, service books, and third-party application delivery for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Also does encryption key generation, remote device locks and wipes.

POLC

Blackberry Router (can exist on a stand-alone server)

Manages the connection to the wireless network for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Also routes data to handhelds that are connected through the BlackBerry Handheld Manager.

ROUT

Blackberry Synchronization

Synchronizes PIM application data wirelessly between the handheld and the mail server. (Contacts, Tasks and Notes, but not Calendar and E-mail). Also performs the OTA backup.

SYNC

Blackberry Messaging Agent (no Windows service, but a process started by the Dispatcher)

Connects to the Exchange Server and User Mailboxes. Provides E-mail, calendar and lookup services.

MAGT

Blackberry Backup Connector (no Windows service)

Gets its data from the Synchronization Service. It records events from the Automatic Wireless Backup.

CBCK

Blackberry Management Connector (no Windows service)

Gets its data from the Synchronization Service.

CMNG

Exchange PIM Connector (no Windows service)

 

CEXC

MS KMS Licensing Server Setup on Win2008 R2 over the phone

For Enterprises, Microsoft has created a central licensing system to avoid the need of every company PC to connect to Microsoft Servers on the Internet to activate the software. One or more KMS Servers can be used inside the company to activate all clients.

You cannot only activate Operating Systems such as Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2, but also other applications from Microsoft such as Office 2010 with a Volume License.

The KMS server is the only server that needs to connect to Microsoft over the Internet once. But many company don’t allow direct Internet connections to server for security reasons. So the only possibility left is to activate over the phone, which is a bit a cumbersome process, which I will describe here:

  1. Access the Windows 2008 R2 Server that you have chosen as the KMS server.
  2. Check that the "Software Protection" (sppsvc.exe) service is running.
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  3. Open a cmd box as Administrator and run the following command:
    slmgr -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
  4. Replace the x's with the KMS key for Windows Server 2008 R2 Std/Ent. This installs the key locally (no activation has happened yet).
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  5. In the cmd box, type
    slmgr -dti
  6. · This displays the Installation ID for activation over the phone
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  7. Write the installation ID down in sets of 6 numbers each
  8. Call the following phone number: 044 800 9201 (This is valid for Switzerland, other country numbers can be found in the phone.inf on the server’s system32\slui folder)
  9. When asked, type the Installation ID on the phone keyboard (in blocks of 6 numbers)
  10. You will get 8 number blocks with 6 numbers each (Block A to H). This is the Confirmation ID
  11. In the cmd box, type slmgr -atp xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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  12. Now you can check the license with
    slmgr -dli
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DNS Publishing of KMS Service

The DNS entry that is needed can be tested with the nslookup tool:

nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp.company.com

If the SRV entry cannot be resolved, the missing bit can be entered manually in the DNS Server:

  • Name of Service: _vlmcs._tcp
  • Type: SRV
  • Priority: 0
  • Weight: 0
  • Port: 1688
  • Hostname: kmshost.company.com

Open KMS port on Windows Firewall

TCP Port 1688 (incoming) has to be opened on the Windows Firewall of the KMS server to allow incoming connections from the KMS clients.

Activate KMS clients

At least 5 KMS clients (Windows 2008 R2 servers) or 25  Windows 7 clients need to be registered with the KMS host before the activation is accepted. To initiate activation on the KMS clients, run a command box as Administrator and type

slmgr -ato

How to create a WinPE Bootdisk for Win7 Deployment (x86)

To be able to create an image for Windows 7 mass deployment, you need a boot media (a CD in my case) to be able to create and restore the image. In earlier days, you created a DOS bootable disk, nowadays the OS of choice is WinPE. Here is how to create such a disk:

  1. Download the "Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) for Windows 7" (English). It is freely available on the Microsoft web page.
  2. Burn the downloaded WAIK ISO file to a DVD.
  3. On a Windows 7 PC, start "StartCD.exe"
  4. Choose "Window AIK Setup"
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  5. Complete the setup with standard options
  6. Start > All Programs > Microsoft Windows AIK > Deployment Tools Command Prompt
    Right-Click and choose "Run as Administrator"
  7. The Tools Command Prompt appears
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  8. Enter "copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe_x86"
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  9. Enter "copy "%programfiles%\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" c:\winpe_x86\iso"
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  10. Enter "copy c:\winpe_x86\winpe.wim c:\winpe_x86\ISO\Sources\boot.wim"
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  11. To create the bootable ISO file, type
    "oscdimg -n -bc:\winpe_x86\etfsboot.com c:\winpe_x86\ISO c:\winpe_x86\winpe_x86.iso"
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  12. Burn a CD from c:\winpe_x86\winpe_x86.iso
  13. Booting the CD will start WinPE with a Command Window
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  14. ImageX will be available from the E: drive. Windows systems files are on the X: drive

First Post

Many times, I find it quite hard to install and configure an application properly. I am not talking about user apps like Office, but server apps like SQL. The manuals are often very detailed, but as every possible configuration is discussed, it is hard to find your way to quickly install things. Examples are often not there or not complete.

In this blog, I will post my detailed configuration steps, along with screenshots, so I have my own "archive" and also as possible help for others.

Happy reading!

My experience with servers, networks and gadgets.