Words and Software

Technical writing/user assistance in Microsoft.Azure Intelligent Systems Service (ISS). (old: Data Protection Manager and Operations Manager)

May, 2006

  • Identifying unsupported files

    You can find some really useful info in our newsgroup. For example, Karandeep recently offered two commands and one batch script that you can run on a file server to identify any unsupported data types.

    To identify encrypted files:

    C:\> cipher /s:c: | find "E "

    To identify reparse points:

    C:\> dir /s | find "<JUNCTION>"

    To identify case-sensitive files, save the following as a .bat and then run the .bat file:

    @echo off
    del cs.txt
    dir %1 /s /b /on >files.txt
    for /f "delims=" %%a in (files.txt) do call :checklastline "%%a"
    goto end
    if /I %1==%lastline% echo %1 already exists! >> cs.txt
    set lastline=%1
    goto end

    (Use of included script samples are subject to the terms specified at http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyright.htm)

    Update: thanks to Blake Handler for letting me know I'd mucked up my link tag -- it's fixed now : )
  • Media Player 11

    I'm finally getting used to Media Player 10, just in time to change...

    I have to admit that the change from 9 to 10, as painful as it was for me, was ultimately worth it. Enough so that the rest of my family got upgraded as well. (Their apps usually don't change unless I do it.)

    I don't know if I'm going to try the beta of Media Player 11 or wait for the released version, but the Turn it up slogan caught my eye. Now I'm imagining Windows Media Player 11 commercials featuring the Black Eyed Peas...

  • New documentation: that first paragraph

    You are transitioning from content design to content development...

    The framework is ready. You've created the document with the main sections that you designed, and you've probably dumped in some known information and lots of questions and notes from your design phase. What now?

    I'm sure every writer has his own way to get the narrative started. One of my methods is the fake lede.

    The fake lede helps me get some momentum going. It's a relaxing bit of writing, because it is only a placeholder and needn't meet rules for style or usage or even good taste. I do try to keep it on topic (mostly) but that's my only restriction. If what I write is ridiculous, so be it. Sometimes that's even an advantage...it puts me in a good mood for the "real" narrative.

    So here's my fake lede for the next version of the DPM Planning Guide:

    Why does data protection matter? Data -- information, figures, results, research -- is an invaluable business resource. The loss of that data can result in work stoppage, dissatisfied customers, failure to provide services, financial straits, even harm to individuals. For example, a company that handles travel arrangements loses its reservations database. Not only is it unable to confirm any pending reservations, it cannot even identify the affected customers to notify them of the problem. Mr. Sylvester, travelling to Istanbul, made his hotel reservations through that company. Upon arrival, he is informed that he has no reservation and that no rooms are available anywhere in the city due to a labor strike. Mr. Sylvester, after exhausting all other resources, curls up on a park bench, where he is set upon by thieves and badly beaten in the battle for his briefcase. And you ask why data protection matters…I hope you are properly abashed now.
  • Identifying Systray icons

    My daughter's computer is sick. It's partly my fault, I turned off the firewall the last time I was troubleshooting her wireless, and I forgot to turn it back on.

    Killing the virus would have been quicker if I'd been able to identify it sooner. But the main symptom was an icon in Systray that blinked furiously and popped up vius warnings, yet provided no info on mouse-over and no right-click menu. Because my daughter had just switched to a cable modem, I couldn't be sure that this wasn't some support feature provided by her new ISP (although the lack of information made that doubtful).

    I caught myself muttering that there ought to be a tool that would tell me which program owned each Systray icon...which means there probably is one. Couldn't find it on the Web, though.

  • DPM wins an award!

    DPM wins the 2006 Network Storage Conference Annual STOR(SM) Award in the Data Protection category. Yay team!

  • When DPM pauses a consistency check

    When a replica is inconsistent, DPM will perform a consistency check during the hours that you allot. You could configure consistency checks to begin at 2:00 A.M., for example, with a duration of four hours.

    So what happens when 6:00 A.M. rolls around and the consistency check isn't finished yet? DPM stops the consistency check. Next day at 2:00 A.M., DPM picks up the job where it left off.

    This is explained in the Operations Guide ("Scheduling Consistency Checks") but there is an error in the following note:

    A paused consistency check will be displayed as “Canceled” in the Monitoring task area.

    It should read:

    A paused consistency check will be displayed as “Failed Canceled” in the Monitoring task area.

    The content online will be fixed as soon as we can get the corrected page live!

  • EISA and the DPM storage pool

    I found this newsgroup thread interesting because I learned about something new to me, EISA partitions.

    The issue was not being able to add a disk to the DPM storage pool. The clue was that on the disk is a 55 MB "EISA Configuration" partition. The resolution is that a disk with an EISA partition cannot be in the storage pool because when you add a disk to the storage pool, it becomes DPM's -- it's converted to dynamic if it isn't dynamic already, and DPM uses the entire disk. As Karandeep posted, "DPM would not and cannot overwrite OEM partitions as that may contain important data."

    The learning part for me was...what is an EISA partition? I had never heard of it before. In an Automated Deployment Services (ADS) Knowledge Base article, I found out "Some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) include a diagnostic partition that is installed from media that they provide. The diagnostic partition may also be named the OEM partition, or the Eisa partition."

    So now we all know (and the next set of documentation will mention!), EISA partitions must be removed from disks before you can add the disk to the DPM storage pool.