11 December, 2014

WDS, PXE Boot, DHCP and VLANs… How to manage?

I’m a big fan of easy deployment, scripting, automating etc… Therefore I love deployment tools. I am constantly using tools like Microsoft System Center, WDS, MDT, etc… Thanks to these kinds of tools, I can be alone and have the workforce of an IT army :)

23 October, 2014

Windows Server 2012 R2 Boot.wim doesn't load during Boot

I am not sure if this happens under all circumstances but I wasn't able to use the boot.wim file from a Server 2012 R2 setup media. In my WDS server, I added a boot.wim file from the Server 2012 R2 setup ISO as a new Boot Image. I used a vm to boot into the PXE server and try the new boot image but I got the following error;

File: \Windows\System32\winload.exe
Status : 0xc000000f
Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

WDS Import-WDSInstallImage Overview - Tips

I am studying for an upcoming Microsoft exam #70-411 and I was practicing the new WDS (Windows Deployment Services) features in the Windows Server 2012 R2 and I ran into a little problem.

19 October, 2014

VMWare Workstation "Not Enough Physical Memory..." Issue after Windows Updates on Windows 8.1

Yep... Another update and another bug. I just applied this months updates on my computer at home and guess what? It caused almost a "fatal" error on my VMWare Workstation virtual machines! As soon as my computer boots, I tried to fire one of my vms and I got the following scary message.

01 August, 2014

Windows 8 Sysprep Issues - Fatal Error

Altough it's been a while that Windows 8 is out on the market, I never had to play around with the Windows 8 images and syspreps as I had to with Windows 7. I decided to prepare me a nice updated image of Windows 8 in a vm and sysprep it and use it as template for my lab environment. The plan is simple...

26 June, 2014


Recently, I was working on a vSphere 4.1 upgrade to vSphere 5.5 and of course, first thing first; I had to update all the physical servers to the latest versions of BIOS, firmware, drivers…
At a first glance, this seems an easy procedure. I’m thinking to use the Dell iDrac console to update most of the stuff but I soon realized that I wasn’t able to update NIC firmware and BIOS through the iDrac.
When you go to the Dell Support web site to download the drivers for a specific model of server, you’ll realize that Dell is offering at least 4-5 different troubleshooting and updater utilities… Some of them are as big as 7.5GB ISO files! The problem with these utilities is that they are not really well documented and it takes a lot of effort to prepare and use them.  Here are a couple of examples;

08 June, 2014

Dell Venue 8 Pro & Wifi Connection Issues

I am an owner of the Dell Venue 8 Pro since it has been out and to be honest, for a device that I only paid $299, I am extremely happy about it. It's not a powerful device where I can use it as a replacement of my laptop or my desktop... Not even close! But...

13 May, 2014

Windows Image Backup Server Error 0X807800C5

Problem :

Windows Image Backup is failing while backing up a drive. In my case, it was a "bare metal" backup scenario. You may also find the following error in the "Event Viewer" under "Applications and Services Log, Microsoft, Windows, Backup"

"The backup operation that started at '‎2014‎-‎05‎-‎13T16:49:41.618242900Z' has failed with following error code '0x807800C5'

06 May, 2014

Microsoft Outlook 2010 Auto-Complete Restore

Recently, one of my users lost all his auto-complete list from his mailbox! For me, this is no big deal as I barely send emails but for our employees who sends / receives hundreds of emails per day, it's a pretty big deal and a very practical feature to have. Outlook will create a little database of the email addresses that you send or receive emails from into a file generically called "Auto-Complete". In the previous versions of the Microsoft Office suite, this file was the famous "NK2" file.

02 May, 2014

Deleting & Recreating an Active Directory User Account and an Exchange 2010 Mailbox

One of our users was having bizarre problems with her account. We tried to troubleshoot to find out what was causing the real issue but nothing was clear. Before I even tell you what the reason was, let me tell you first what the symptoms were.

First user reports that she has a warning when she logs onto her computer.  I confirmed that she was getting a Windows 7 balloon warning “Windows cannot locate the server copy of your roaming profile”.

When you browse Event Viewer, Windows Logs\Application, you should see another error with the error ID 1521 with a description “Windows cannot locate the server copy of your roaming profile and is attempting to log you on with your local profile. Changes to the profile will not be copied to the server when you log off. This error may be caused by network problems or insufficient security rights.”

Just these 2 symptoms were indicating a Roaming Profile issue, which makes sense because the user is part of an OU, which roaming profiles are enabled. But among 50+ users, this particular user was the only one who had this issue. To try another scenario, we logged into another computer with the same user account, guess what? Same issue occurs on another computer. So technically, I started to think that this might be an NTFS security problem but I didn’t feel like going through all of the folders/files in users profile and see the NTFS security settings of each folder and file. Instead, I took the shortcut. Backup everything in user profile and delete the user account and recreate it. What a smooth plan J

Interesting part starts here, when our IT Technician was backing up the user profile, he realized that some of the files and folders wouldn’t copy! That smell of corrupted NTFS security was getting even more intense now. We found out that at the root of a folder, some pdf files had only “Administrators” account in the NTFS security permissions. That was enough to screw up the roaming profile of the user.

Whatever the real cause is, this behaviour was not normal and it was probably a signal for other bizarre issues that the user might have in the future. So, stick to the plan and let’s create a fresh user account.

Once the user account has been quickly deleted (From Active Directory) and automatically the mailbox has been removed from our Exchange 2010 server too. I created the new account right away and I had recreated the users account with exact same username and email address…

The user logs back in with the new user account and no warning or any NTFS issues. Everything is smooth. We even configured her outlook and she started to send / receive emails. No problem… Until when someone tries to send an email to this user! The sender selects the users contact from the Outlook “Auto-Complete List”.  I think the auto-complete list was using the old entries for the user because the sender would receive a non-delivery report from Exchange as soon as the message is sent.


Delivery has failed to these recipients or distribution lists:

Users Name
The recipient’s e-mail address was not found in the recipient’s e-mail system. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please check the e-mail address and try resending this message, or provide the following diagnostic text to your system administrator.

After reading about others who had the same problem and try to understand what we screwed up during the process of recreating a user account, I found the articles below. Basically “This behavior is caused because every internal message send/received in the orgn, will have the recipient info resolvable normally to the LegacyExchangeDN attribute. In this case, the user mailbox would have been recreated or the old LegacyExchangeDN value would have been changed to a different one.”

So we had to add a new X500 address to the user mailbox from the Exchange Management Console. But first, let’s gather the real value of the LegacyExchangeDN with the help of ADSI Edit tool.

  1. Run “adsiedit.msc”
  2. Find the user account in your organization hieararchy under Default Naming Context
  3. Right click on the user object and click on properties. This will bring the CN=User Name Properties window.
  4. Under the “Attribute Editor” tab, scroll down to “LegacyExchangeDN” value and click on “Edit”. Copy that value because we will need it when we create the X500 address for the user.
  5. Now close all ADSI windows without doing any changes and let’s go to Exchange Management Console.
  6. Find the users mailbox in your exchange environment, right click on the users mailbox and choose “Properties”. Under the “E-Mail Addresses” tab, add a custom address.

    E-mail address:  LegacyExchangeDN value that we copied earlier.
    E-mail type : X500
Ideally, you would need to wait that all your clients updates with the new entries, but if you need to force some clients to update with the new value. Create a new message and type the first letters of the user name, when you see the contact listed in the auto-complete list, click on the “x” icon to delete the entry. Go to Outlook, under “Send / Receive” tab, click on “Send/Receive Groups” and click on “Download Address Book” to download the newest global catalog. Now you can manually type in the users email address and the email should go just fine.

What an adventure! J  If you are in this page, it’s because you ran into the same issue as me. So I highly recommend you to see the following links for help. Cheers...