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Time Sync with HyperV

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I had a client recently who dropped in a 2012 datacenter HyperV host alongside their VMware host and they had a small issue of network drives disconnecting periodically coinciding with some errors in the logs regarding time sync. In this case they had new DCs setup on the new HyperV but the FSMO roles were still with the old DCs (2008r2 on VMware) temporarily with the old PDC using an external Time source.

At this juncture it was worthwhile to look at how Time was working in the entire environment. Some new (Server 2012) info came to light so I thought I would provide some valuable commands and links to resources which can help you sort out Time sync errors or weirdness before it becomes a major problem.

First of all it’s valuable to know where your Time is coming from:
Open up a CMD window and run “netdom query fsmo“. That tells you which server is your primary domain controller (the server which should be your Time provider). All your other DCs, servers and workstations should be getting their Time from this server, but not by referencing it directly; they go through the Active Directory structure. More on that in a bit.

Where is this server/workstation getting its Time from?:
Open up a CMD window and run “w32tm /query /status” and you’ll see where it is pointed.

This server/workstation isn’t getting Time from the server I was expecting…:
If this is a workstation getting Time from a secondary DC that’s OK. All this means is that the machine authenticated with that particular DC. If the source is anything other than a DC or if the computer you’re on is a DC (not the PDC) and it’s not pointing to the PDC then it could be a problem.
2012 HyperV Guest VM note: If your time provider shows up as “VM IC Time Synchronization Provider” then that machine is configured to point to the HyperV host for Time sync.

I think I should reset the Time service:
This can be very helpful when troubleshooting. Open up a CMD window on the computer you want to reset and run these commands:

net stop w32time
w32tm /unregister
w32tm /register
net start w32time

Then:
w32tm /resync

Then:
w32tm /query /status

2012 HyperV Guest VM note: This should reset the VM to use domain time or a remote time server (depending on your setup) instead of the HyperV Host VM IC Time.

 

Note about VM IC Time Synchronization:
Never disable the Host VM IC Time…it’s needed for many different host operations.

Special consideration for Virtualized Environments:
Virtualized domain controllers and virtualized machines in general tend to lose time much faster than a physical computer. For this reason the Time providing PDC should be configured to check its external time source frequently. MS recommends once every 15 minutes as a good starting point.

 

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https://tigermatt.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/windows-time-for-active-directory/
This site has some great info on Time. Unlike my post, it goes in depth to provide a complete understanding of how you can get Time setup.

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/virtual_pc_guy/2010/11/19/time-synchronization-in-hyper-v/
This post has all the info you ever wanted to know about HyperV and Time Sync along with some Q/A for different network configurations which you may find very useful.

https://msmvps.com/blogs/acefekay/archive/2009/09/18/configuring-the-windows-time-service-for-windows-server.aspx
This one was a recommendation from a post on Experts Exchange…I didn’t review this post so YMMV using it to solve your problems.

Tip for accessing the Command Prompt for Windows 7 from recovery environment

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Let’s say you just boot up a Windows 7 recovery environment and you are trying to get a command prompt.

  • After you boot the CD, select your Language and press Next.
  • Click the Repair your computer link
  • At this point you will either get a screen asking you to select which operating system to restore (in which case you should do that and click Next) or it will go directly to the System Recovery Options screen with two radio buttons on it and the operating system to select listed below.
  • MAKE SURE YOU CLICK ON THE RADIO BUTTON “Use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows…”
    It may look selected already but if you do not click on that radio, then you will not get the full recovery list of options (including the ability to select Command Prompt) screen.
  • you can take it from here…

And if you need it…here is a guide to get you going: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/56864-user-account-password-change-winre.html

PS. If you follow the instructions on the link above and you cannot disable the built-in administrator account then simply “Manage” My Computer, open up the Local Users applet and right-click/disable the account from there.

Finding bad Unicode inside an XML file – parse and validate XML

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A quick note as to one resource for online validation of XML (UTF-8).  Paste your XML into the source field and hit validate. It may take a few minutes to process larger strings of text. Cut the text down to smaller chunks if it doesn’t process at all.

http://www.validome.org/xml/validate/

Example of an error message produced by the validator:
Character reference “&#xD83D” is an invalid XML character

The error you see above I had stumbled on when trying to figure out why a report that parsed XML from a file describing an Exchange user’s Inbox was crapping out. The report would tell you how many messages each user had, the size of the mailbox, etc. Except for one user, whose mailbox had in it an email with bad unicode in it. However, once the validator told me what to look for, I searched the XML for the bad character &#xD83D. I located it about in the middle of the file and along with some related elements, here is what that text looked like:

<emailmarker id=”EF000000198262C0AA6611CD9BC800AA002FC45A0600FC1D00000100000000001C650100000010356A95″>
<attachment name=”OutlookEmoji-&#xD83D;&#xDE0A;.png” type=”1″ extension=”png” size=”734″ compressedsize=”734″ mimetype=”image/png” link=””>
</attachment>
</emailmarker>

At this point I knew that I was dealing with a bad image, apparently an emoji. I set out to find that emoji!

First I had to take note of the last time the parsing program ran by looking at the emailed report. That report indicated that the “Newest Message” processed was 18-Oct-2015″ and by looking at subsequent reports I saw that “Newest Message” didn’t update until 15-Nov-2015. That left me looking through a month’s worth of emails, trying to identify one with an emoji in it. Which I was able to do without much trouble.

Delete the email and your problem goes away.

MAS90 unable to initialize viewer print preview

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Known issue with older versions of MAS90 and high resolution screens, especially dual monitors.

Set resolution to 1680×1050 or less in order to restore functionality.

SSRS 2008 report error

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User does not have required permissions. Verify that sufficient permissions have been granted and Windows User Account Control (UAC) restrictions have been addressed.

  1. Start Internet Explorer as Administrator (Run as Administrator)
  2. Open url http://<Server name>/Reports this will take you to the “SQL Server Reporting Services” Home page
  3. Click on the “Folder Settings” button.
  4. Click on the “New Role Assignment” button.
  5. Add the Group or user name: DOMAIN\USER_NAME, and permissions you have logged in as.
  6. Click on Ok button.

City Council meeting video blank – Granicus

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Quick tech note about IE 11 and the popular streaming platform Granicus.

With some setups you will hear the video, but you will see a black box where the video should be displayed. The controls are there because you can click on them, but you just can’t see anything. This assumes that you have already installed Flash and Silverlight.

The fix is Compatibility View. Goto View–>Compatibility View and add in “granicus.com” to the list of websites to make compatible. Close and reopen your browser and you should be able to see the video and controls for your video.

Windows 7 The User Profile Service failed the logon.

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“The User Profile Service failed the logon.. User profile cannot be loaded.”
Also, you may be trying to login using a Domain User account and each time you get this error you notice that there is a folder for the %USERNAME% and a folder for %TEMP% created in the Users folder…If you try logging in multiple times you see %USERNAME.000% and %TEMP.000% etc…

Why did this happen?

Causes can include improper logoff and trying to logon when an Antivirus scan is running.

OK, so how do I fix it?

You’ve probably already searched several resources, including Microsoft’s knowledge base, you’ve saved your data from your profile (or don’t need it), you’ve tried the MS Fix It for this error, you’ve deleted the SSID for the offending profile from the ProfileList key in the Registry…to no avail.  Despite “starting over” with a new user profile, you have not been successful yet in actually logging back in to Windows 7…

If you’re at this point then you’re ready to try these instructions. Maybe they will help.

The way Windows works is, when a new user logs on, Windows sets up a profile for them using the Default profile. Sometimes, the security settings on that profile’s folder “C:\Users\Default” get corrupted (in conjunction with the corruption of the user profile you want to use I suspect) and it has trouble creating new profiles . To fix this, we must reset the security settings for that folder.

  1. The C:\Users\Default folder is hidden, so unhide hidden files first
  2. Right-click the folder and select Properties, then select Security tab
  3. Make sure “Everyone” and Users” have (Read & execute, List folder contents, Read)
  4. Make sure SYSTEM and Administrators have (Full Control)
  5. Click Advanced. On the Permissions tab click Change Permissions, then check off “Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object” and press OK
  6. On the Owner Tab, Edit and change to Administrators. Make sure you check off “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects” then press OK
  7. Keep pressing OK until you’re out of those windows.
  8. Create a user account for the new user (Control Panel–>User Accounts–>Manage User Accounts). If it’s already there then Remove it and then Add it back in.
  9. Make sure you check the Registry to make sure the SSID isn’t there already because that will prevent you logging on. The SSID is in its own key at HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\PROFILELIST
  10. Removing the offending profile SSID from this area is especially necessary if you have been deleting the bad profile folders from C:\Users manually (instead of using the System Properties–>User Profiles settings dialog box.
  11. Anyway, after you create that new user from Step 8 you should be able to log off and log back on and it will recreate the folder.

NOTES:
– If you do not see a ProfileList key at all then you are probably in the “HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS” folder, not the WINDOWS NT folder…
– When editing the security properties for the Default profile, make sure you are editing the “C:\Users\Default” folder, not the “C:\Users\Default User” folder

Microsoft Word document print preview blank!

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Such a simple issue, and yet it made me scratch my head for a full minute…

The user was trying to print a doc consisting of a list of headlines. They had the Paragraph markers displayed and while everything looked good onscreen, when you printed or ran Print Preview, the doc looked like a single blank page and nothing was there to print.

It turns out all those lines of text were formatted as HIDDEN TEXT. Somehow they managed to turn it on before they started or formatted the text that way and so Word thought that it was supposed to skip printing well basically everything in the document. The solution was to highlight all and format the text removing the Hidden Text attribute. For good measure (because I know the user doesn’t use hidden text in general) I also turned on the option to Print hidden text under Word Options. That way if this issue happens again it won’t disrupt them.

Win 7 Pro Prompting for activation after moving to larger hard drive

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This is just a little tech note for myself:

I did a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro with VLK (volume license key) and activated it via the slmgr /ipk, ato commands. Shortly after install I realized the user needed a larger hard drive so I imaged the drive (Partition Wizard 7) and swapped to the new larger drive. This worked for a while (probably 30 days since that’s how long the initial product lasts before prompting for activation) and then it started having pop-ups to Validate the product to make sure it’s Genuine.  Tried reactivating, still go that message the next morning. I tried deactivating so I could reactivate, but I wasn’t able to make the deactivate stick. I ran the /dlv command, followed by /upk (at which point I saw the System screen didn’t have anything listed under Windows Activation), rebooted and checked the System screen again and it had reverted back to saying the product was properly activated. So that was a no go.

After that I called Microsoft:

If you ever need to contact MS beware…clicking on the wrong set of links or options and you’ll find yourself staring at a prompt to enter in your CC in order to buy a support ticket for $499. I don’t remember all the rules, but I’m pretty sure they offer free support (I didn’t pay anything this time) for Activation-related support requests. If you’re calling on a Volume License Key they have their own support line. You can Google “Volume License Support Center Worldwide” and you should get a list with phone numbers on it. The number I used was United States toll-free 888-352-7140 x4. The agent had me read off my Installation ID, then redirected to an automated service to read me off the Confirmation ID. In order to get to the place where I could enter in that Confirmation ID, I went to START and entered “slui 4” and ENTER. That brought up the Offline Activation wizard. I entered in the Confirmation ID and clicked Next and it was successful.

Exchange logs full

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http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2003/planning-architecture/Exchange-log-disk-full.html

  1. You should have created a large placeholder file on the Logs drive. Delete it and mount the Mailbox stores.
  2. Figure out why the logs did not clear. Chances are  your Backup software didn’t backup the Exchange server…
  3. If you did not create a placeholder file, then quickly Find your .edb files. Open Command Prompt, run “eseutil /mh edb.edb” and look for the STATE line. If it was a clean shutdown then you can remove all old log files, none are needed. If it was a dirty shutdown then you need to look for the line that says “log required” and it will tell you which you need to keep. Move the others to another partition temporarily. Mount the stores. Then figure out what happened. If all is functioning properly then delete the unneeded logs.