Mark Minasi's Windows Networking Tech Page
Issue #66 January 2008
Document copyright 2008 Mark Minasi; please see
below for info on subscribing, unsubscribing or copying portions of
Installing, Managing and Troubleshooting Windows Server 2008
seminar is coming to DC, Chicago and Dallas in March
- The scoop on the three upcoming Mastering Windows Server 2008
- Tech Section
- CompletePC Backup: the final chapter
- Okay, Vista is incompatible in a few ways
- How do you know if you're using DFS (the old one) or DFS Namespaces
(the new one)? The quickest way to know
- Bring a Seminar to Your Site
- To Subscribe, Unsubscribe, Read Old Newsletters or Change Your Email
I know, I know... "Minasi, where have you been?" Underwater
trying to get my three — yes, three! — volumes of
Mastering Windows Server 2008 books done. But I had a few
tidbits that I thought you'd like, hence this newsletter.
First, you'll see how to use CompletePC (which we've covered in the
past) to upgrade your Vista hard disk, step by step. (The 200 GB
7200 RPM drives are out for notebooks, you know!) Then Mark talks
about two surprising Vista incompatibilities, and finally, our Diva
of Deployment, Rhonda Layfield shows you how to crack a DFS mystery.
But first, a word from our sponsor...
Installing, Managing and Troubleshooting Windows Server 2008
seminar is coming to DC, Chicago and Dallas in March
After a five year wait, Microsoft ships Windows Server 2008 on 27
February 2008. It's the biggest version of Server ever (which, I
realize, is pretty much "by definition" for any new version of Server,
granted) and it
brings lots of changes... so it's time to learn about it!
Whether you intend to roll out Server 2008 immediately or in three
years, you need to know exactly what benefits, challenges, and
opportunities this latest version of Server offers. You could
download a small mountain of white papers (mostly written based on Beta
3 and thus are only partially correct), and spend a few weeks testing it
to discover the hundreds of changes that 2008 brings... or you could
come spend a couple of days with me. I'll tell you and show you what's
changed from Server 2003 to Server 2008 — the good, the bad, the
wonderful and the awful ... with a chuckle or two thrown in. I'll
be in Dallas (well, Plano, actually) on March 6 and 7, the Washington,
DC area March 11 and 12, and Chicago (near O'Hare) March 27 and 28.
You can get all the scoop at
http://www.minasi.com/2008class/. I hope to see some of
The Scoop on the Three Upcoming Mastering Windows Server 2008
Many of you have asked me about what's going on with my Mastering
Windows Server 2008 books — and yes, it's "books,"
three of them. They're coming, I promise, and you can read
more about them at
This month, I've got a few short pieces that I've been meaning to
put online, and I think you'll find them
CompletePC Backup: Transplanting a Vista installation from
one drive to another
I know I've covered CompletePC Backup in two previous
newsletters, but I have since used it for a real-world backup and
restore and in the process discovered a couple of undocumented
things that might be useful. ("Undocumented" because I've
spent a lot of time with the Server 2008 version of CompletePC
Backup and noticed a few useful options to the wbadmin command that
Microsoft's documentation clearly stated only worked with 2008 and
not Vista. You won't be surprised to hear that they did work
in Vista, after all.)
Quick review: CompletePC Backup is a new technology built
into Vista and Server 2008 that backs up entire drive letters (or
groups of drive letters), storing them in the VHD format that
Microsoft normally uses to store its virtual machines for Virtual
Server, Virtual PC or the upcoming Hyper-V server. The VHD
format understands the notion of snapshots and so a given VHD can
store many versions of a given drive's backup, and does it fairly
efficiently as the snapshots store just the differences from one
backup to another. These backups can then be restored to do a
complete system restore, allowing you to do a CompletePC Backup of a
system and then restore that to a system with somewhat different
hardware. (Different drive architectures seem not to always work
— transplanting a backup taken from an IDE hard disk doesn't
seem to be possible on a SATA hard disk, for example, although I
HAVE transplanted a SCSI backup onto an IDE drive.) Thus, CompletePC Backup allows for so-called "bare metal" restores.
Again, it cannot just back up a single file or folder — just
an entire drive.
Anyway, here's the story. 7200 RPM laptop hard disks now
come in a 200 GB size. (I'm staying with 7200 RPM because
Vista is a lot happier with 7200s. Previously 160 GB
was the largest 7200 RPM laptop-sized drive.) In addition to being
larger, the drive (the Hitachi Travelstar 7K200) has a 16 MB cache, rather
than the 8 MB cache found in the other laptop hard disks that I've
used... so I had to have it.
I know, you're saying, "Minasi's going to transplant his Vista
system from one drive to another for a measly 40 more gigs?"
Yup; that measly 40 gigs, my friends, is equivalent to space for
four more virtual machines, or a couple more virtual machines
and space for a bunch more photos. (If you've not been to
then you're missing out on the gray fox and dolphin pictures.) But how to move from
the 160 to the 200 easily and cheaply? With CompletePC Backup.
I've covered CompletePC Backup before, but now that I've used it to
do a "no muss, no fuss, no greasy aftertaste" drive upgrade, I
wanted to cover the steps in detail to (1) document some extra
CompletePC syntax that I found in the process of doing the drive
transplant and (2) save someone having to do this the trouble of
looking all of this vaguely-documented stuff up. I have
already covered much of this in Newsletters #63 and #64, but, again,
when I actually bet my laptop's drive on it, I found having
step-by-steps useful, as I'd sat down beforehand and laid out a
procedure — and I'm hoping you'll find it useful also.
Backing Up the Drive
As I've discussed in previous newsletters, we're going to back up
the existing drives on the laptop to either an external drive (like a
USB-connected drive) or a network share, using the wbadmin.exe
command-line tool shipped with Vista but which is, sadly, a mite
First, open an elevated command prompt (one where you
right-clicked the "Command Prompt" icon, chose "Run as
administrator" and clicked "Continue" at the User Account Control
Then type "wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:wheretobackupto
-allcritical -quiet" where wheretobackupto is either an UNC
path or a drive letter. Remember from previous newsletters
that you cannot specify a drive letter that is actually a mapped
drive (and you may recall that the GUI is completely network-deaf
for some reason) and if you specify a drive letter that is a
hard drive letter, then ensure that you specify only the drive
letter -- you cannot include a path within that drive letter.
The "-allcritical" is an option that I discovered shortly after
writing the last newsletter wherein I covered wbadmin. It
appears nowhere in Vista documentation, but it appears in Server
2008 documentation with the specific warning that the "-allcritical"
option only works on Server, and not Vista. (So much for
Here are a couple of working examples:
wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:h: -allcritical -quiet
This is the simplest example, which instructs wbadmin to back up
everything on the PC except drive h:, and to put the backup on h:.
(CompletePC cannot back itself up to a drive that it is backing up
for some reason. You'd think it'd be smart enough to be able
to handle it, y'know?) The trick is the "-allcritical" switch;
otherwise, we'd have to name every drive to get those drives backed
up. The documentation
says that "-allcritical" only backs up the drives that are essential
to making the OS work, but my older laptop image had a superfluous
drive D: that was 1.5 GB in size and did nothing of any value, but -allcritical
backed it up, all the same. To reiterate an important point,
this would not work:
wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:h:\pcbackups -allcritical -quiet
I have no idea why, but wbadmin doesn't let you specify a full
drive and path,
just a drive; it then puts it in a folder on that drive called WindowsImageBackup.
(Interesting note: I'm not sure why, but when I restored
the backup to the new drive, it rearranged my volumes -- I had
three, only two of which were important — so that the essential ones
were restored first, and the superfluous one later. I don't
know if this is a behavior that'll happen every time, as I've only tried it once, but
it was wonderful, as it let me delete the useless volume and then
use its 1.5 GB in combination with the newly-acquired 40 GB as one
new volume. Very nice!)
wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:\\myserver\myshare\pcbackupsdir -allcritical -quiet
Here, we're doing the same thing, but to a share. Notice
the next wbadmin oddity — specifying an UNC path lets you specify
a folder within it. What backing up to H: could do,
backing up to \\myserver could. Go figure.
Expect the backup to take a fair amount of time. On my
system, backing up the roughly 152 GB of data on my hard disk took
about eight hours.
Restoring to the new drive
Now that my original 160 GB drive was backed up, it was time to
perform some open-PC surgery and swap the drive. I opened up
the PC, removed the 160 GB drive, and replaced it with the empty 200
GB drive. (Of course, the nice part about this is that if the
restore fails, I could have always fallen back to the 160 GB drive.) After securing the new drive, I popped the Vista
installation DVD and booted from it. When I got to the
"Install Now" screen, I opted instead to click "Repair your
computer." That in turn led to a screen that offered me
several options, two of which were "CompletePC Restore" and "Command
Prompt." You'll use one or another of those two options,
depending on where you put the backup.
If you backed up your old drive onto an external USB drive, then
plug it in (if it's not plugged in yet) and choose "System Restore."
Then just run the GUI — it'll look around, find a CompletePC backup
on the USB drive, and offer to restore it to your 200 GB drive.
It will warn you that it's going to blow away anything currently on
the hard disk (it has to repartition the drive to match the
backed-up partitions), and in a short time, much less time than the
backup took, you'll have a working system.
If, on the other hand, you backed up to a network share, then you
need to do three things:
- Connect to the network
- Get the internal "version number" of the backup, even if
it's the only one
- Run a recovery from the GUI or the command line
Getting on the network is easy:
- At the dialog box/window where you didn't choose "CompletePC
Restore," choose "Command Prompt."
- In the command prompt, type "startnet" and press Enter.
- Check that you've got network connectivity with "ipconfig"
and, if you don't, then look at newsletter #59 for some tips on
how to get that network connectivity going.
Next, find out the version of your backup by typing
wbadmin get versions -backuptarget:\\myserver\myshare\pcbackupsdir
(Of course, your share won't have that exact name; substitute
whatever you've used.) You'll get a "version name" back that looks like
“08/16/2007-14:17” and you will then plug that date into
a command that looks like
wbadmin start sysrecovery –backuptarget:\\uncpath -version:versionnumber -recreatedisks -quiet
So, for example, in my case I'd type
wbadmin start sysrecovery –backuptarget:\\myserver\myshare\pcbackupsdir
-version:08/16/2007-23:47 -recreatedisks -quiet
That should be typed on just one line — I broke that to make it a
bit more readable. Again, the system will run for a while and
you'll have your OS on the new drive, good as new. Just
remember from Newsletter #63 that the target drive must be the same
size or larger than the old drive, or it won't work. Good luck
Okay, Vista is incompatible in a few ways
You've probably heard all of the gloom and doom that journalists
have been reporting about Vista — no one's using it, everyone's
"downgrading" to XP, Vista will spell the end of Microsoft and so
on. Now, I don't actually care if anyone upgrades to Vista,
but I hate journalists with short memories and so I've found myself
in the position in the past year of pointing out that yes, Vista
is slower than XP, takes more memory and doesn't have the driver
support that XP has, but the same things were true of XP when it
first shipped in late 2001, and when Windows 7 ships in 2013 or
whatever, those current Vista-haters will be clutching their copies
of Vista and declaring that they'll never upgrade to Windows 7
because it's so slow, needs so much RAM and lacks driver support. That has, I admit, caused me to
dismiss some of the out-of-hand pronouncements of some that tons of
significant apps can't run on Vista. (That hadn't been my
experience, and I've run Vista 64 since it shipped.)
So I was intrigued when, in the space of one week, I ran into not
one but two surprising Vista incompatibilities.
First, I tried to look up a VBScript function using the .chm
("compiled HTML") Help file that used to be the main documentation
for VBScript. Double-clicking the VBSCRIP5.CHM file, I found
that the file opened, but I couldn't navigate to all of the pages,
getting the equivalent of a "404" error from the Help system.
A bit of experimentation with some old circa-Windows 95 Help files
also failed. A bit of searching turned up the fact that the
new Help engine in Vista and 2008 just plain doesn't like some of
the old-time Help files. Odd, no? Whatever happened to
backward compatibility -- was supporting CHM all that hard?
The second truly strange incompatibility came, believe it or not,
from a 2007 product — Microsoft Office LiveMeeting 2007. I
recorded a short LiveMeeting in preparation for one I was going to
give. I tried to play it back, but all I got was audio -- no
picture. Windows Media Player reported that I didn't have a
necessary codec, the "MSA1" codec. "How strange," I thought --
I'm running Office 2007, have installed the LiveMeeting 2007 client;
I'm running Vista... there must be a mistake. No, no mistake,
as it turns out — there are no 64-bit Windows codecs of any
kind for MSA1.
How do you know if you're using DFS (the old one) or DFS
Namespaces (the new one) -- the quickest way to know!
Here's a tip from our DFS expert, Rhonda Layfield. Rhonda
got a really interesting question recently and I thought someone
might benefit from it.
If you've ever worked with Windows-based file shares, then you
probably know of the Distributed File System (DFS). It debuted
in 2000 Server after some spotty testing in NT 4.0 Server and has
been with us since. It's got a useful built-in replication
system powered by the File Replication Service (FRS... yuck!) which
works, um, most of the time. Server 2003 R2, however,
introduced an improvement to DFS called DFS Namespaces. It's
got a bunch of advantages that we covered in great detail in the
Server 2003 R2/SP1 Upgrade Book, and one of the advantages is that
it's got a new-and-improved replication engine called DFS-R.
Unfortunately, it's possible to build a DFS-N system that
replicates with that old hamster-in-a-cage engine, FRS, rather than DFS-R.
So here's the question: you've just been handed an existing
DFS-N system, and, well, you're not so sure about the guy set it up. So you wonder: is this DFS-N system running
atop FRS, or DFS-R?
I'm going to
show you how to find which replication engine is replicating your DFSN on a 2003 R2 Server. You'll need to open the DFS Management
snap-in by clicking Start / Administrative Tools / DFS Management as
shown in the figure below.
Expand the Namespace node to view your DFS Namespaces, and expand
the Replication node to view your replication groups. Replication
groups would be created to group servers that participate in
replicating one or more folders. As you can see in the figure below
with both the Namespace and Replication node expanded — I have a DFS Namespace called test in the nuggetlab.com domain, but I don't
have any replication groups. This would tell me that my current DFS-N
is being replicated via FRS and not DFS-R.
It's as simple as that!
I'm speaking at lots of conferences this spring and if you can't make to my
March seminars, please join me at...
Windows Server Launch Event, Los Angeles 27 February 2008
Microsoft's doing a series of "launch events" to coincide with
the releases of Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008.
The first one is in Los Angeles on 27 February and they've asked me
to present the overview talk on Server 2008. If you're
thinking of attending the event, then please consider stopping by my
session. Info at
The Minasi Forum Meet 2008 in Virginia Beach April 19-23
If you read this newsletter then you probably already know that
I've run an online forum at
www.minasi.com/forum for the past five and a half years, and if
you ever hang around the forum then you know that there are a lot of
friendly and helpful people there. For the third time in as
many years, we're all getting together to learn from each other, put
faces to those online names and have another great time. This
year we've got some great guest speakers, including group policy
guru Jeremy Moskowitz, PowerShell maven Don Jones, our own
deployment diva Rhonda Layfield, Mr. Cisco himself (Todd Lammle),
and a bunch of other great speakers covering a variety of topics
that may surprise you. Find out more at
http://web2.minasi.com/forummeet2008/; I hope to see you there.
Directory Expert's Conference March 2-5, Chicago
Actually, I'm not talking at this conference — but Rhonda is. Server 2008 changes all the rules
when it comes to Sysvol, and we've all got to become experts on the File Replication Service and DFS-R,
FRS's replacement. Nobody knows Sysvol, FRS and DFS-R like Rhonda, so the DEC folks were kind enough
to find room for her. In case you've never heard of DEC, it is the geeky event for Active
Directory techies. They're holding it in Chicago the first week of March, and you can find out more
TechTarget Vista Road Shows in Chicago, Denver, Raleigh, DC and Minneapolis
TechTarget has been kind enough to ask me back for three more of the
one-day Vista road shows that have packed 'em in since Spring 2007.
The next three cities are Chicago, Denver, Raleigh, DC and Minneapolis in March, April, May, August and September.
It's free so how can you go wrong ... unless you don't sign up before all of
the seats are gone? More info at
TechMentor In San Francisco, Orlando, New York and Las Vegas
If you're looking for a Windows technical conference then you'll have
plenty to choose from this year, as the TechMentor folks will be running
four shows this year: San Francisco on the week of March 30,
Orlando on the week of May 12, New York (Brooklyn, actually) the week of 7
September, and Vegas on the week of 13 October. I'm doing a bunch of
new breakout sessions, some content on Server 2008 (of course) and more.
Info at www.techmentorevents.com.
the Rio for their Fall show and I'm doing my
general session on Server 2008 as well as my Vista Security Crash Course and
more. Info at
Windows Connections in Orlando the Week of 27 April
If it's spring, we must be in Orlando! Once again, Penton -- the folks who put out the magazine that I write for
-- has assembled their "mega-show" that co-locates their techie shows on
Windows, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, and all kinds of developer stuff, all in
the same week. The show is in the Hyatt Grand Cypress, the place
they've run it the past few years and not a bad location. I'll be keynoting and presenting technical
sessions, including my new "What's IPv6 all about and why do you care?"
talk. Information at
Bring Mark to your site to teach
I'm keeping busy doing Vista seminars and
writing, but I've still got time to visit your firm. In just two
days, I'll make your current NT techies into 2008, Vista, security, XP, Active Directory
or 2003 experts. (And better yet they won't have to sit through any Redmondian propaganda.) To join the large educational,
pharmaceutical, agricultural, aerospace, utility, banking, government,
telecommunication, law enforcement, publishing, transportation, military and other
organizations that I've assisted, either take a peek at the course
outlines at www.minasi.com/presentations.htm, mail our assistant
Jean Snead at Assistant@Minasi.com, or call her
at (757) 426-1431 (only between noon-5 Eastern time, weekdays,
Until Next Month...
Have a quiet and safe month.
Please share this newsletter; I hope that it is a useful source of
Windows technical information.
Please forward it to any associates who might find it helpful, and accept
my thanks. We are now at over 45,000 subscribers and I hope to use
this to get information to every one of my readers. Many, many thanks to the readers who have mailed me to offer suggestions,
errata, and those kind reviews. As always, I'm at http://www.minasi.com/gethelp and
please join us at the Forum with technical questions at www.minasi.com/forum. Thanks
for letting me visit with you, and take care.
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All contents copyright 2008 Mark Minasi. You are encouraged to quote
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