Sunday, May 29, 2005

Blogging now I get it!

I think the penny has finally dropped for me in relation to Blogs. Ok I have known for maybe a year that they allow someone to easily publish their ideas and thoughts.

But what I didn't get until today as I was browseing around at least a dozen blogs looking for new information and wasting a lot of time looking at blogs / sites which hadn't updated since the last time I browsed them that there is a better way.

RSS feeds, ok I knew about RSS feeds and even played around with a newsfeed reader but until I stumbled upon IntraVnews which puts the feeds (Any website which supports an RSS feed)you can subscribe to and you are automatically notified if there is any updated content.

Finally I can unsubscribe myself to all of those techie newsletters and subscribe to the sites and blogs I want and then choose to read or disard, tune in tomorrow for details


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Great utility for Data Transfer USB style

Once in a while you come across a gadget that just works and really helps you do your job. The device I am talking about is a USB 2.0 easy sync cable. Basically it allows you to connect 2 pc's over USB.

Those of us a little bit longer in the tooth might remember using Serial Null modem cables to do this kind of transfer especially when most laptops didn't have network cards however with the volume of date now needing to be transferred serial cables don't really cut it any longer being too slow most top out at roughly .5 mbits .

The UBS cable I use happens to be from trust at the link below but there is loads of different versions out there.

Anyway what's so neat well data transfer speed is a respectable 12 Mbits and the driver for Windows 98,ME, 2000, XP will fit on one floppy.

Best of all you can setup a virtual network card on both pc's or if you have problems with the networking setup on the older pc, there is a built in data transfer application that will work even if TCP/IP is not working.

All in all it's a great tool that is worthy of space in my already too heavy laptop bag.

Regards Mark

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Exchange Disaster Recovery and an Apology

Firstly apologies for not updating this blog for the last couple of weeks, I can only sit in wonder at how people like Susan manage to update their blogs so timely, if you want to keep really up to date with everything SBS make sure you pay Susan's site a visit.

Anyway down to business, thought it would be a good idea to share some thoughts and experiences on a Exchange and SBS 4.5 (That's NT 4 and Exchange 5.5 Standard to the rest of us) disaster recovery.

Normally at this stage I would start to step through all the detailed steps you need to carry out to recover from a server crash assuming you manage to get an intact copy of priv.edb (priv1.edb sbs 2000 or sbs2003) off the hard disk

Summary of the steps are below - however there is another way check bottom of posting

You would firstly need to build a brand new NT4 or preferably a 2000 Server using the same name as the old Exchange Server.

Then install Exchange using the same Organization name and Site Name (Yes we can still do it if the customer does not know their Org Name and Site Name.

Then stop the exchange services and overwrite the empty priv.edb with your salvaged copy from the customers exchange server.

Then the fun really starts. ISINTEG - patch and ISINTEG test and then possibly ESEUTIL if there is corruption

Assuming this all works and you haven't had heart failure in the meantime you still had update the exchange Directory to match the new grafted priv.edb.

Your still not finished - you then have to export all the mailboxes out of the temporary exchange server and then reimport into your new SBS 2003 server - You weren't going to put the customer back on SBS 4.5 (NT) were you ?

When I get a chance if people are interested enough (just post a comment ) I will put together a detailed procedure on all the above.

The above probably will take you at least 8 if not 12 hours and more if you have a large information store - I have had to carry this out on a 200 user Exchange site and from start to finish the process took 24 hours.

Anyway what if I told you there is program that can read the raw PRIV.EDB or PRIV1.EDB and can export the mailboxes to PST and could maybe save you 10 hours work.

Well it exists and it's available from Ontrack and it works like a dream

The trial version is still useful although it will not export the data out of the rescued priv.edb it will allow you to quickly verify if the priv file is intact before you potentially waste 8 hours of your life carrying out the recovery procedures described above.

The poduct is a bit expensive about $ 950 for up to 100 mailboxes however if we could convince them to do an SBS version maybe a 10, 20, 50, 100 mailbox version as it can do double duty as a brick level mailbox agent however it would be backing up to pst files which we could use to recover in a disaster.

Let me know if you would like more detailed info on Exchange Recovery

Hope this helps