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Random Musings on Exchange and Virtualization

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  • Blog Post: Managing Directory Synchronisation – Notes From The Field

    When deploying an Office 365 solution, directory synchronisation is a critical component. This is the tool that will synchronise the on-premises directory data to Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD). As you can imagine if the synchronisation stops then chances are that you will run into some issues...
  • Blog Post: Using PowerShell To Filter Multiple Different Values

    This post is to answer one of the many interesting questions that seem to pop up doing Exchange work! This is for one of my favourite customers in Winnipeg. Next time, let’s arrange the work for summertime so we can go golfing Tyler, eh? For some added nostalgia, let’s use Exchange 2007 as...
  • Blog Post: Unable To Run Downloaded PowerShell Script

    After finding a killer PowerShell script on the interwebs, you download it and then the excitement dies when you get a lovely PSSecurityException error like the example below: File C:\Scripts\Script.ps1 cannot be loaded. The file C:\Scripts\Script.ps1 is not digitally signed. You cannot run...
  • Blog Post: Which Azure Disk Is Not Attached

    Over time a typical Azure subscription will create, delete and manage multiple virtual machines. When removing an Azure VM there is the option to retain the disk. In a large environment with lots of disks and VMs, how can we easily see what disks are not currently in use? Azure Portal The...
  • Blog Post: PowerShell – CannotConvertArgumentNoMessage Where Object Error

    This is an interesting tale from a customer who was trying to get a list of Outlook clients that were connecting to their Exchange 2010 servers. They wanted to validate the Outlook versions that were connecting, due to Exchange 2013 requirements and also that Outlook 2010 must have SP2 installed at this...
  • Blog Post: Remove Multiple Management Role Entries In Office 365

    Exchange Online in Office 365 has a very similar RBAC implementation to the on-premises installations of Exchange. After previously bumping to an issue with Exchange Online (EXO), and then twice again in the last fortnight this bubbled to the top of the publishing pile. In this environment, a custom...
  • Blog Post: Using Exchange PowerShell Remoting With Integrated Scripting Environment–ISE

    One item that is very prevalent is people directly loading the Exchange PowerShell snapin into the Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE). This is not supported from the Exchange point of view, as Exchange requires that Remote PowerShell be used with Exchange 2010 and 2013. Let’s look at how...
  • Blog Post: Creating PowerShell Profile For Integrated Scripting Environment – ISE

    In this post we will look at some of the mechanics behind creating a profile file which will customise the start-up behaviour of the Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE). This will also serve as a precursor to additional posts on tweaking ISE for Exchange purposes. The catalyst for writing this was...
  • Blog Post: Windows Update Fail – 0xC80003F3

    This is the case of one of those bizarre and very annoying issues to tack down. The server in question is one of my lab servers where an automated build was used to create it. It is a Windows 2008 R2 SP1 based server which has TMG 2010 SP2 installed as a reverse proxy. Said server has been a little “squirrely”...
  • Blog Post: PowerShell Quotes – To Expand Or Not Expand, That Is The Question

    Abraham Lincoln made the famous quote that it is impossible to verify the accuracy of information on the Internet . Well, OK he didn't but it was a semi-funny intro on the subject of quotes….. There are two different types quotes that we can use in PowerShell.: Single quotes -...
  • Blog Post: Remote Desktop Connection Manager Download (RDCMan) 2.7

    The venerable Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan) 2.2 was starting to show its age. After a slight hiatus, RDCMan 2.7 is now available. Please say thank you to Julian Burger for the early Christmas present. Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan) is a great tool to consolidate multiple RDP...
  • Blog Post: Windows 10 Poor Graphics Performance

    Since there will be a good few folks running Windows 10 who subscribe to the RSS feed, I though it would worthwhile sharing a recent issue I had with my Windows 10 laptop. This is a Lenovo W530 with ample CPU, SSD and video card performance. It should run like a beast, but the recently the graphics performance...
  • Blog Post: Doh! Windows Update Has Navigation Tabs

    Windows Update is a very important feature in the newer builds of the OS. If we think back to the NT 3.5/4.0 days the process to obtain updates was very different. Just to obtain a hotfix you needed to call in, provide credit card details and then obtain the update. How times have changed! And for the...
  • Blog Post: Windows 10 Preview - VMs Missing In Hyper-V Manager

    After updating my Windows 8.1 machine to the Windows 10 preview, some of my VMs were no longer visible in the Hyper-V Manager.  Prior to powering on some VMs, all of them were visible.  After powering on, some VMs disappeared in the Hyper-V Manager console.  In the screen shot below, there...
  • Blog Post: How To Check Exchange Autodiscover SRV Record Using Nslookup

    Generally the Exchange external Autodiscover DNS entity is configured as a regular A record. Sometimes a service record (SRV) is used instead. Since I have the habit of forgetting the syntax of quickly querying for the SRV record, this is one of those shared bookmark posts! Nslookup is the tool of...
  • Blog Post: Importing Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V VM Into Server 2012

    A virtual machine from Windows Server 2012 R2 cannot be directly imported into Windows Server 2012. This is discussed in this previous post along with the import error 32784 . There will be times when we want to take a 2012 R2 VM and import it into 2012, this happened to me recently when setting up...
  • Blog Post: Hyper-V Did Not Find Virtual Machines to Import - Error 32784

    When importing a VM into Windows Server 2012 that was exported from Windows 2012 R2 you will be unable to import the VM. If you import the VM using PowerShell’s Import-VM cmdlet the error message is not very descriptive – “ The operation cannot be performed because the object is not in a valid state...
  • Blog Post: Retrieving Packets Received Discarded Perfmon Counter From Multiple Servers

    Whilst working on a customer’s Exchange 2010 DAG issue, I wrote a quick script to quickly grab some performance monitor counters from all of their Exchange servers. The issue that we were investigating was related to discarded packets when the VM was running on a certain hypervisor host. The customer...
  • Blog Post: Quick Tip - Event Viewer Filtering

    I was recently reminded of a simple yet effective Event Viewer filtering tip.  If you have thousands of event entries that are pollution/flooding the log it becomes very difficult to see the actual real issues.  For example this tip has proved very useful when the application event log is full...
  • Blog Post: Outlook 2013 Distorted Display Issues

    After a recent video driver update, my corporate Outlook client started to do some strange things. Within Office 2013, the screen output would be distorted. Menu bars were not painted properly until I mouse-over them again, or moved Office programs around. Other times the display would look corrupted...
  • Blog Post: Exchange and AntiVirus Exclusions – A Critical Conversation

    Scanning Exchange databases with file system antivirus is a recipe for disaster.  This really should not come as a surprise for admins running Exchange services within the enterprise, since this has been the field requirement for a long time.  The documentation provided by Microsoft is very...
  • Blog Post: Exchange and AntiVirus Exclusions – Still A Critical Conversation

    In a previous post we saw the Microsoft requirements for the exclusions that must be added to file system AV on Exchange servers. In a recent CritSit, basically an uber urgent support request where the customer is down or as good as down, I also got to examine some of the other causes for file system...
  • Blog Post: PowerShell Pipeline Perversion

    Every so often I see folks run into issues with scripts/one-liners that they obtained from a blog or crafted themselves. One common issue is when they think the command is perfect and then when they go to dump the output to a file, the content is mince . ** Imagine your surprise when you open up the...
  • Blog Post: PowerShell Input Output Escapades

    After using various types, architectures and generations of computers over the years there is always the habit of “you go to what you know!” In other words once you figure out a solution to an issue, you then use that repeatedly in the future as you know the process/steps involved. This adroitly describes...
  • Blog Post: Exchange Scripting Agent - The Power Of Script

    Exchange 2010 introduced a very interesting feature – the Scripting Agent. The intent for this component is to provide extensibility to the base management tools and ensure consistency for the execution of cmdlets in the environment. The feature is not enabled by default and you must manually enable...