Cincinnerdi Tech Stuff

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No tool like an old tool

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Administration Tools Pack gets a refresh

and Server Administration Tools

Another eNerd called me yesterday wondering how to let a non-admin user at his client’s business have access to their virtualized server. The hope was to have the vSphere Client locked down in some way.

When I asked what the user needed to do, it was “Manage users and reset passwords and such.”  I realized then that this was not a VMware access issue at all, but a Windows Server rights issue.

In fact, this can readily be handled by the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) which can be installed on the user’s workstation – no need to give the user login to the Windows or VMware server at all.

This is not a new trick by any means, but is one worth remembering.

Also, I’ll add that there is now a version for Windows 7 (Win7) and Vista, in both 32 and 64 bit flavors. (Sorry, they don’t let this run on “Home” editions of Windows.)  The following give some details.

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Written by scottledyard

2010, February 27th at 4:41 pm

The 2nd 95% – tracking VMware snapshot removal progress

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“The first 99% of the project flies by. But the 2nd 99%! Sheesh…” – anonymous

If you ever removed a snapshot in VMware ESX / ESXi, you’re presented with the ubiquitous progress meter. It chunks right along, increasing by 5% every so often. Encouraging.

And then it gets to the dreaded 95%. You’d think you’re almost home.

This would make you think you're almost done. Wrong!

But you’re probably nowhere close. Stuck.

This is really kind of dangerous. I’ve been tempted to assume that something is hung up. And that leads to thinking a hard reset of the host is required.

How CAN you see the progress? What follows is not an elegant solution, but you’ll at least be able to see what’s going on.

First, you’ll need to go to the ESXi command line (see other posts on the internet for accessing ESXi via SSH.) In this case, I used PuTTY ( http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html ) to get to the host IP and command line.

Go to the storage directory of the host, usually /vmfs/volumes, then the LUN directory and finally the VM directory.

Use the following linux command to list the files in time order, latest files last:

ls -ltr

This will show you what files have been most recently processed. Repeat this command over time (remember up-arrow to repeat bash commands) and you should notice a progression, disk files progress from lowest to highest, and within a disk, the delta files progress highest to lowes.

For example, if you have a VM called Server with 3 disks, they would be called

Server-flat.vmdk
Server_1-flat.vmdk
Server_2.flat.vmdk

And you’d see that they’d progress (latest file change time) in that order.  The delta files, created by snapshots, have 6 digit sequence numbers in their names that would progress in reverse order.

Server_1-000005-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000004-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000003-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000002-delta.vmdk
etc.

Not very exciting, true. But at least you can see some progress. I recently removed a snapshot that took 2:40 hrs. It was up to 99% in about :15 of that.

Written by scottledyard

2010, January 19th at 9:37 pm

Posted in ESX, ESXi, Linux, Virtualization

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Westell UltraLine Series3 9100VM configuration tips

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StartWestellConfigWanting to make changes to the wifi and DNS settings of the new routers that Cincinnati Bell (CB) is routinely installing now, I went about researching and using trial and error. The goal was to implement WPA2 wifi security and OpenDNS at a router level, so as to help clients be a bit more secure.

Overview of high speed modem/router

Near as I can tell, Cincinnati Bell is using its installed fiber in urban locations to offer a high speed internet, combined with television channels via internet, so-called IPTV. Westell has long been a provider of equipment to our local phone company and this device is meant to offer “Advanced, dual-core processing power with Ethernet, MoCA, or VDSL2 WAN interface for fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-curb networks.” (link) These are hunka-chunka, white bricks and I’ll leave it to others to show us what’s actually inside them and perhaps explain their hugeness.

Getting access to advanced settings

As made clear on Westell’s web site their stuff is marketed to ISP’s, not thru retail / wholesale channels. As such, finding a manual is like pulling teeth. I must give credit to others’ posts on for helping me just figure out the interface and that you need to click on menus up top AND on the left.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by scottledyard

2009, September 19th at 12:49 pm

Level Platforms install does it all, but must add MWService to admin groups

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Summary:
While installing Level Platforms (LPI) Onsite Manager onto a Windows Server 2003 (a member server running on as and ESXi guest and added to a SBS 2003 domain) all went well, but one service would not start. Final, solution was that the MWService account did not have sufficient permissions. LPI tech support said to add that account to Administrators, Domain Administrators and Enterprise Administrators. This solved the problem.

Details:
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Written by scottledyard

2008, December 17th at 12:09 pm

Open Office Unlocking “Locked for Editing” files needs to be friendlier

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One day into using Open Office 3.x on my MacBook I found that one document I’d been working on was locked. That is, when I opened it I received the message “Document file qwerty.ods is locked for editing By…” My options were only to open read only or to open a copy. Hmmm. I even rebooted. Clearly I needed an option like, “Clear lock” since this file was on my Desktop and not needing to be locked.

After reading OpenOffice forum post it indicated I was looking for a hidden file. Being new to Macs I could find no way for Finder to show me a hidden file, so to the command line I went. Using “ls -a | less” I quickly found the file to be the same as the file name in question proceeded by “.~” It was the only such file as the command “ls .~*” proved so I issued a “rm .~*” and I the problem was solved.

No exactly  “user friendly”. If you know a simpler way, feel free to add a comment.

Written by scottledyard

2008, November 10th at 8:18 am

Posted in How to, Mac, Open Office, OS X

How to Restore using HP Vista Home Premium Recovery Manager

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Posting this because I could find NO answer to this. Hope it helps somebody else.

Had a HP Pavilion notebook running Vista Home Premium that failed an update rendering the laptop unusable. (Tracking that sad fact down is another story.) But a wipe and reload using the Recovery Manager was in order. Upon pressing F11 at reboot, I went through the process, using the built in backup facility that was included.

However, after the recovery, finding out how to restore these files proved difficult. One HP page titled “Using HP Backup and Recovery Manager” would, one would think tell you how to backup, but it suggests you instead go to another link titled “How to Back up User Files” which has a section titled “Backing up your files using HP Recovery Manager” AND it tells you precisely how to do it. But it never tells you a thing about how to RESTORE!

HP chat support was more than useless: they told me it was really a Windows backup (which it wasn’t) and suggested I read “HP Notebook PCs –  Use Windows Basic Backup and Restore Center to Back Up Files in Vista” – wrong! Then they said that I had to use the HP Backup and Recovery Manager which is only available on HP “business notebooks” — presuming those with Windows Vista Business or better. Finally, they suggested I do a recovery – doh! I just had!! [As an aside, I was delighted that HP sent me a survey to complete, but found when I went to it, the site was broken with any browser I used. Sheesh!!]

So, with only another Nerds* guidance I went about solving this through trial and error. What I noticed was that the Recovery Backup had stored the stuff in a directory called “\MINWINPC\Backup Files 2008-10-16 143543” It created in this folder two files: Backup001.exe and Backup002.fbw

Interestingly, the exe file was larger than the fbw file; a whopping 3.6GB. Hovering over it indicated that it had a file description of “RestoreWiz Application” with a file version of 1.0.3.26

So, having no other choice I double clicked the EXE file and waited while it tried to load that big file. Vista prompted me to see if I should allow the file to run. I said, okay.

It ran through the same process as the original backup, asking if I wanted to restore a series of file types with checkboxes. As I had backed all up, I left them all checked.

It indicated that it was going to put all of the files into a folder \System Recovery files. In that folder was a file called RestoreWiz.txt which had a very large log of what had taken place during the restore. Amazingly, it had a lot more than just data, it had 5.2 GB of everything from Program Files to Device Drivers, all stuffed recursively into a folder called “C”. I used this to salvage user data files and will scrap the rest.

*Thanks to James Perih, Nerds On Site for his helpful suggestions and for being a sounding board!

Written by scottledyard

2008, October 20th at 6:18 pm

Posted in HP, Vista

Dell server needs virtualization enabled to install 64 bit Server 2008 in ESXi

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Problem: Using ESXi to setup Windows Server 2008 virtual machine, I was surprised to see a message after booting from the image of the install DVD:
Windows Boot Manager
File: \windows\system32\boot\winload.exe
Status: 0xc000035a
Info: Attempting to load a 64-bit application, however this CPU is not compatible with 64-bit mode.

Windows 2008 Boot Manager reports error

Windows 2008 Boot Manager reports error

This is from a Dell 2950 III with one Xeon CPU (Quad Core Intel Xeon E5405, 2x6MB
Cache, 2.0GHz, 1333MHz FSB) This is from Dell’s virtualization server catalog with available VMware ESXi and ESX software as an option.
Solution: Turns out, you must go to the system BIOS under the CPU section, and change Virtualization Technology from Disabled to Enabled since the factory setting is Disabled.

Written by scottledyard

2008, October 7th at 7:30 am

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