Words and Software

Technical writing for Windows 10. (old: Intelligent Systems Service, Data Protection Manager, and Operations Manager)

April, 2007

  • Goodbye, hard drive

    It started with a funny little error message, waiting for me when I flipped on my home monitor after work yesterday. "Could not write to F:\ms$t"

    Well, there is no such directory on F: (an external hard drive), nor should anything have been writing to F: -- click OK and confront the frozen screen. Can't even evoke Task Manager. Reboot.

    Safe mode wouldn't start. Windows XP repair couldn't get very far. I finally got it started by shutting down the external drive, and then to be safe, restored the system to a few days in the past. (I do appreciate System Restore.)

    I have to confess, though...about a week or two ago, I noticed a few odd sounds coming from the external drive. "Hmm, I wonder if that means it's going to developing problems?" I even thought. But did I do anything about it? Hmpf...

    Everything else was working fine, so I powered up the external drive again. No problem until tonight. This time, when the odd sounds began, I dove for the power switch. Maybe F: can be survive, maybe it's just having a bad week, but all of my important data is on it, including my backup files.

    I ordered a new external drive (320GB for $99, very nice). I'm crossing my fingers that F: will give me just a little bit more time -- time enough to hook up the new drive and copy everything over -- before it fails completely. No power till then, my old friend.

    With that niggling worry in the back of my mind, I decide to catch up on the blogs.technet feed, and I come across "Why can't it 'just work'?" by Chris Avis. At a time like this, how I can sympathize with that!

  • DPM has a new TechCenter

    You should check out our lovely new home: the Data Protection Manager TechCenter. The TechCenters are being organized to provide everyone with a consistent framework. For example, if you're used to looking up System Management Server information and thus know exactly how to get to their documentation in their technical library, then you'll know exactly how to find DPM's technical library. And when I need to research another product, I don't have to spend time figuring out how they organized their home page and how to get to the information I need.

    I do have a request of you: the guy who built our TechCenter does an incredible job, and all of us on the content team banged on the staged version of this site, but it's possible there is still a link or two that isn't perfect. Please email me through the blog or leave a comment or send email to dpmfdbk@microsoft.com to let us know of any errors, problems, or glitches you have with our TechCenter.

  • DPM 2006: FAQ updated

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for DPM 2006 has been updated.

    This refresh adds the following question-and-answer to the End-User Recovery section:

    Q: Do I have to extend the schema for each DPM server?
    A: The schema is extended only once; however, you must configure the Active Directory schema extension for each DPM server. Enabling end-user recovery for any DPM server requires schema administrator permissions. The first time that you enable end-user recovery on a DPM server in a domain, the action:
    1. Extends the schema
    2. Creates a container
    3. Grants the DPM server permissions to change the contents of the container
    4. Maps source shares and replica share

    When you enable end-user recovery for additional DPM servers in the domain, the process performs steps 3 and 4 for each additional server. DPM will update the share mapping (step 4) after each synchronization, if needed. For instructions on configuring end-user recovery, see Enabling End-User Recovery in the DPM 2006 Planning and Deployment Guide.
  • Coincidence? or attack?

    Yet another phishing email appeared in my Inbox at 9:44 p.m. tonight. Obviously fake, but they'd gone to even more effort than usual to make it seem plausible. Thinking I'd do my good deed for the day by letting this financial institution know about it, I went to their website to find their "report fraud attempts" email address.

    The page cannot be displayed. Did a search on the domain to bring up a huge list of addresses, and clicked each one. The page cannot be displayed. So maybe it's a coincidence, or maybe that domain is under attack. Or the redirects from phishing did something wonky? I don't know, but I thought the bank might be interested that their whole site was down.

    I call their fraud department. After I explain, the gentleman tells me I have to call back during business hours to file a complaint. "But I don't have the problem, you do!" "Oh. Well, thank you then."

    It could all be a coincidence. But if an attack on Bank of America's web makes the news, I called it first!

  • Vista and 2007 Office suite packaging stumps Microsoftie

    I picked up OneNote 2007 today at the company store and brought it home to install. Interesting new packaging; I like the curved edge, although the case is three times wider than it needs to be. Tough durable plastic. How do you open this thing?

    I figured out the "peel here" sticker, and got that off, but then I got stuck. Just below the curve on the upper right are two...things...that really seem like they should do something useful. Like open the case. But they don't.

    There's a little red sticky poking out of the top, looks like those protector strips on inkjet cartridges. I give it a tug; nothing. I decide I have to get the case open before dealing with the red sticky.

    There's more tape along the top, protecting the certificate of authenticity. No "peel here", and repeated attempts convince me it will never peel.

    Finally I turn to the web, which never seems to fail me. And here I find: How to open your Windows Vista Box. With pictures, even. Seems that the little red sticky was the key. Thanks, Sidebar Geek!

    Note: the instructions don't mention the certificate of authenticity tape portion. I used a seam ripper.

  • V2 has a name

    DPM V2 now has an official name:

    Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007