Gain Performance Increase From Vista

Okay, this probably won’t be what you think (I am misleading you just a little by the title here), but if you want to see a significant increase in performance from Vista, I suggest switching to Server 08 as your workstation. Many administrators prefer to use a server based OS as their primary workstation for several reasons, one of which has not been performance. This all changes with the modular design and function of Server 08. [Read more…]

Vista Remote Admin Tools Finally Arrive!

One of my biggest peaves about Vista has been the lack of support for managing existing Server 03 servers. Well, Microsoft finally released the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Vista SP1 yesterday. After almost a year of suffering through unstable beta’s and oddities in release candidates, the RSAT finally appears ready. Though primarily designed to remotely manage Server 08, several core tools for Server 03 management are resolved, such as no longer needing to register the management dll’s, DHCP scopes resolution, and the now infamous Vista SP1 removal of the GPMC.
You can find the requisite versions here:

x64 RSAT

x86 RSAT

Vista on an Imac using WDS

This was just so funny I had to post it here. My work (K-12 Education) is pretty much a Macintosh shop as far as the desktops go (6:1 Mac/PC). There are a couple Win heads running around the shop and they decided to use the WDS server I brought online last year to image a brand new iMac with Vista to see if it would work. To their amazement (and mine), WDS dropped an image of Vista Business onto the iMac and it runs natively. With a few simple steps, you can turn your iMac into a Vista box, without the use of boot camp or other virtualization technology. I am not sure why you would want to do this to a brand new iMac, but nonetheless it works! The following is the process they followed… [Read more…]

Add Patches to WIM Images

Remember the days of slipstreaming the latest security patches from Microsoft directly into your RIS images? Well, the same can be done with WDS. The process is a little different but works like a charm. Unfortunately, this process does not work for WinXP images, only Vista Images. The following process will slipstream patches into Vista WIM images. [Read more…]

Portsnap to the rescue!

I have been meaning to write this little snippet about portsnap for some time. I think it was around the first of the year when my CVSup cron quit working and after digging into it a bit, noticed some major problems in the CVSup snapshot. In search of a different method to update and upgrade the FreeBSD ports tree, I found the portsnap utility. [Read more…]

How to: Create a Windows Deployment Services Discover Image and CD

First, I have to say that this process is made to look very easy if you follow Microsoft’s documentation, but it will fail if you do. The following howto is the result of several days worth of trial and error, and finally figuring stuff out on my own with some help from posts at technet wds. The resulting CD works in either a non-pxe bootable environment, or if you have NIC’s that are not PXE bootable. The CD also boots you directly into your image store,  bypassing the command prompt screen . [Read more…]

Review: Vista Not Ready for Sys Admins

I recently began running Vista at work and much to my chagrin, discovered some real drawbacks from a systems administrator perspective. The very first thing a typical sysadmin adds to their workstation to work in an active directory (AD) environment are the tools enabled by installing adminpak.msi. I always create a custom Microsoft Management Console (mmc) to manage AD and add things like DHCP, DNS, ADUC, and GPMC because those are the tools I use every day. After adding the adminpak, nothing worked. So after a little research, I found folks had already discovered this and managed to find a script that would re-register all of the .dll files. Re-registering all of the adminpak dll’s is necessary to use the admin tools under Vista. [Read more…]

The Importance of Sysprep

At work recently I ran across one more reason why sysprep is such a valuable tool for the deployment of Win2k and WinXP boxes on a network. If you use an imaging tool such as Ghost to create base images for your deployment, make sure to run sysprep before you save the image. If you don’t use sysprep, you may still be able to add machines (duplicated from your base image) to a domain, however, other problems may occur. [Read more…]

Howto: Squid + msnt_auth + Active Directory

I recently rebuilt our main proxy server at work and decided to get some sort of authentication mechanism installed. With Squid version 2.5 and above they have built-in external “helper” programs, one of which is msnt_auth which is far easier to get to work against an active directory domain than ntlm_auth. CAVEAT, this does not work with transparent proxying, however, this works very well if you autoconfig browsers or use group policy to point the machines on your network to the squid box. The following steps are what I did to get it to work. [Read more…]