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Showing posts from 2014

SOLVED: Network connection problems (shares, domain) after Windows 8.x wakes up from standby (sleep)

The Windows 8.x Standby / Wakeup from Sleep Problem:
Some time ago I set up multiple Dell Optiplex 9020 mini towers with Windows 8.1. After testing standby / sleep mode I noticed a very strange and annoying problem: Whenever the PCs are waken up from sleep (standby) all connections to open network shares and open Office 2010 documents are lost. All shares are on a Windows 2012 R2 ESSENTIALS server + domain controller which runs as a Hyper-V VM. So after waking up a Dell 9020 from standby I get my Win 8.1 login prompt, log in, but for any open shares that were open when the PC went to sleep in explorer, now I randomly get either a domain authentication error message or a new authentication prompt that asks me for domain username and password. The connection to open Word 2010 docs is always lost and Word tells me that the computer came back from standby but a connection problem occured and the document is now read-only, i.e. it must be saved as a new document. Very annoyin…

Changing the Reserved IP Address in a Static DHCP Reservation in Windows Server

Static IPs preferred DHCP is a good thing if it works - set and forget. But what happens if the DHCP server is down for some reason? Exactly - the whole network stops working. Another problem of DHCP are those random IPs a client gets each time. This is very bad for printers that use DHCP. Therefore I prefer static IPs over dynamic.
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials: You cannot stop Windows LAN Configuration Service anymore
Unfortunately, there is some strange behavior on Server 2012 R2 Essentials if you just enter static IPs on your Windows clients - your Windows OS will show exclamation marks on your network connection from time to time, etc. There is actually a Windows Server LAN Configuration service which keeps overwriting your manual settings and the bad thing is that you cannot stop that service in Server 2012 R2 any more for some reason...So, instead, I decided to use DHCP on the server and add an Alternative IP Configuration with all static data as a fallback if my serv…

Backup to USB disks: Do-it-yourself setup for USB drive rotation / swapping

I was looking for a simple but effective solution to use external USB disk drives attached to my server for backup with backup applications that do not directly support USB drive rotation / swapping.

Unfortunately, Windows does not seem to support assigning the same drive letter to different USB drives, e.g. you cannot assign the letter U: to two different USB drives. This would be nice to be able to rotate the drives but it does not work. So my idea was to use a network share name that automatically mounts different USB drives to the same share name, depending on which USB drives are connected, that creates some sort of priority as we will see. An additional advantage is that drive can be also accessed directly from other computers through the network share.

The first step is to assign different drive letters to each USB disk through Windows disk management, e.g. U: and V:. Then create the same directory to be shared on each drive, e.g. "USB_SHARE". Backups will be stored t…

SOLVED: Making Wake-on-Lan (WOL) work in Windows 10 / 8.x

THIS FIX ALSO APPLIES TO WINDOWS 10, IT IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT,  BECAUSE WINDOWS 10 TURNS "FAST STARTUP" (read below) BACK ON AFTER UPDATES (yes, Microsoft does not stop creating nonsense features / bugs).
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power\HiberbootEnabled
and set its value to 0 !

I had very serious problems getting Wake-On-Lan (WOL) to work on my new Dell Optiplex 9020 MT (MiniTower) on Windows 8.1 Pro. I finally got this to work and would like to share my experience here.

Note: At the time of this writing the current Dell BIOS for Optiplex 9020 MT was A05.
UPDATE: The same behavior is also observed with DELL BIOS A07. Maybe Dell needs to comply with some power saving requirements and therefore enables Deep Sleep instead of Wake-On-LAN? Whatever the reason is, it is extremely annoying that this is the default and it is not clearly docu…

Domain Controller on top of Hyper-V - Firewall problem

The problem:
I have:

1. A single physical server which is a Hyper-V host running Windows Server 2012 R2.
2. A single Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Guest VM running on top and acting as a domain controller.

Now I have researched a lot whether I should join the host to the domain running on top of it or leave it in a separate workgroup. There is no best practice but many sources confirm that this is possible and joining the domain offers many management benefits, e.g. here see Option #4:

Now the problem is that after having joined the host to the domain sometimes everything works fine and the host manages to join the domain on startup but sometimes this seems to fail - I think that the join process times out as the DC in the Guest VM does not start up in time. In this case the firewall tells me that the host is connected to a "public network" instead of the "domain ne…

How do client PC backups work in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials?

The problem: I was trying to get my Server 2012 R2 Essentials (Hyper-V VM) to do nightly backups of my Win 8.1 client PCs. As far as I had understood from the Microsoft presentations the server should be able to wake up the clients automatically from hibernate (I selected this option during setup of the connector). Unfortunately, Microsoft does not care about providing serious docs for their Windows / Server products. What is really annoying is that I don't even find any documentation how the wake up procedure actually works. Does it use Wake On Lan? Are there any magic packets involved? You pay a lot and get something that either does not work or does not tell you how it works.

What I had tested so far: I had setup the server to start client backups at lets say 10:00. So at 9:50 I put my client computer in hibernate and wait and wait ... but nothing happens. It is very sad to have to guess and wait multiple hours or days to see if backup actually works on a server sys…

Windows Server 2012 R2 ESSENTIALS: Virtualization How-To, Physical Hyper-V Host and Virtual Server (VM)

This is intended to be a guide how to install Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 ESSENTIALS as a virtual server, i.e. inside a virtual machine (VM). This VM will run on a physical Hyper-V host which will be again Windows Server 2012 R2 ESSENTIALS itself. This type of installation is allowed by Microsoft but they have not included a tool to simplify the process. In order to achieve our aim, we need to modify the original ISO by removing the Essentials Role and Essentials Setup using Microsoft's own tools.

DISCLAIMER: To my best knowledge everything described here complies with the MS license terms. It worked for me but does not mean that it will work for you as is. So make sure that you have understood everything and check if each step applies to your system. There is no liability for damages.
Physical Hyper-V Host vs Virtual Server (Guest VM) Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is a very interesting operating system for small businesses. What many people don't know: Microsoft now …