Server 2003 Countdown: 7/15/2015 - What is your plan?

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Did you hear about how Microsoft ended support for Windows XP back in April? Know anyone who made a last minute scramble to upgrade (or hasn’t yet)? Or perhaps you heard about all those banks and ATMs still using Windows XP after support ended?

Microsoft has another looming End-of-life (EOL) approaching, this one for Server 2003—specifically July 15, 2015. This may not affect most users’ day-to-day operations, and you may be thinking, “That is months away, so why do I have to worry about that now?”

Unlike workstations, a server is central to your operating your business. It holds important (and probably sensitive) data not only for your company, but for clients as well. Server replacement is also more complex and requires budgeting and planning to help ensure a smooth upgrade. Or maybe now is the time to move your business into the cloud!

Either way, it’s best to be proactive and start the discussion with your IT department now. Similar to what we saw with Windows XP, there are a few key points to be aware of with the sunset of Server 2003:

  • Unauthorized intrusions. Users of Server 2003 will be at increased risk of unauthorized intrusions or virus infection, since Microsoft will be ceasing security patches and updates on July 15, 2015.
  • Lack of compatibility. Third party programs will eventually stop supporting Server 2003 in their updates and in their newer versions.
  • Limitations on performance. The older operating system is not as efficient using multiple CPU cores for multitasking and has RAM limitations that may be holding your company back.
  • Aging Hardware. There is a good chance your server is 5+ years old if it has Server 2003 installed. This is beyond the recommended 3-5 year life-cycle (and there is only a slim chance it is even still under warranty).

The clock is ticking. Make sure your company is not scrambling last minute to upgrade! If you need help with this, give us a call at Everon: 888-244-1748. Or email us at [email protected].

 

Server 2003 Countdown: 7/15/2015 - What is your plan?

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Did you hear about how Microsoft ended support for Windows XP back in April? Know anyone who made a last minute scramble to upgrade (or hasn’t yet)? Or perhaps you heard about how a large percentage of banks still use Windows XP in their ATMs and the risk it poses?

Microsoft has another looming End-of-life (EOL) approaching, this one for Server 2003 — specifically July 15, 2015. This may not affect most users’ day-to-day operations, and you may be thinking, “That is nearly a year away, so why do I have to worry about that now?”

Unlike workstations, a server is central to your operating your business. It holds important (and probably sensitive) data for not only your company but for clients as well. Server replacement is also more complex and requires budgeting and planning to help ensure a smooth upgrade. Or maybe now is the time to move your business into the cloud!

Either way, it’s best to be proactive and start the discussion now with your IT department. Similar to what we are seeing with Windows XP, there are a few key points to be aware of:

  • Increased risk to unauthorized intrusions or virus infection, since Microsoft will be ceasing security patches and updates on July 15, 2015.
  • 3rd party programs will eventually stop supporting Server 2003 in their updates and newer versions.
  • Limitations on performance. The older operating system is not as efficient using multiple CPU cores for multitasking and has RAM limitations that may be holding your company back.
  • Aging Hardware. There is a good chance your server is 5+ years old if it has Server 2003 installed. This is beyond the recommended 3-5 year lifecycle (and slim chance it is still under warranty).

Make sure your company is not scrambling last minute to upgrade!  If you need help with this, give us a call at 888-244-1748. Or email us at [email protected]server 2003

Spotlight on Small Business Week: End-of-support product alert! (And why this matters to you)

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software cemeteryThere are a few products out there which have reached “end-of-support.” What this means is that the software companies who created them will no longer provide updates. Or support. Without those updates, the user is at both a security risk and a risk for future conflicts with other programs.

And without support…?

Well, we will try to help you, from our end, of course. But we’re limited without the updates. And we really don’t like having you in a security risk position, if that becomes the case.

Microsoft’s Outlook 2003, Exchange 2003, Windows XP, and Exchange 2010/
Service Pack 2 all had their end-of-support in April of 2014. Looking ahead, Dell’s Sonicwall Firewall TZ 180 Series will have its end-of-support on July 1 of this year, and Microsoft’s Server 2003 (different from Exchange 2003) will end in July 2015. This is obviously by no means a complete list of recent or upcoming end-of-support products. It’s a good idea to visit the websites for the software your company uses, in order to determine what your own risks are.

When end-of-support is approaching, it’s smart to make room in your budget to upgrade your software. It’s important that you know your product expiration dates. If you’re unsure, we at Everon can help you with that. We will advise you on the proper upgrade to make for your company, and we can then implement the upgrade — whether it’s through an onsite visit, or via remote to your computer — to ensure a smooth transition.

small business week special-2To request a FREE quote to upgrade your company’s end-of-support software, contact us at  [email protected] and put “Free end-of-support quote” in the subject line. Or call us at 888-244-1748.

We’re here for you.

 

 

Troubleshooting Low Disk Space

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Something we encounter in IT frequently (more-so with older servers than newer builds) is the challenge of an ever dwindling amount of disk space on our servers. This blog will explain a few reasons as to the disk space shrinkage, and what we can do to combat that.

Of course a few of the solutions in this blog post are NOT the only solutions to the issue. There are MANY different things you can do to clear up disk space, this blog is just designed to give you a few ideas of what is safe and not-safe to delete.

The first step into determining low disk space is to get a good tool for reviewing the space on the server. There are many tools out there to give you a good overview of the disk space. A few of the tools are:

WinDirStat: www.windirstat.info

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TreeSize: www.jam-software.com/freeware/

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Space Monger: http://www.sixty-five.cc/sm/v1x.php

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With any of these applications, you are able to view the space in a better fashion, and determine where the biggest offenders lie. In some cases, you will need to move data files/folders, however there are a few things that can be done to clean up the OS files, which will continue to grow as new updates are released, logging is enabled, and sites are visited. One of the best tools to clean up a server quickly with unneeded files is through the use of disk cleanup. This is a tool that can be found in accessories/system tools, and simply running it, and choosing the files you would like to cleanup, will instantly remove unneeded junk.

However disk cleanup does not get as detailed as other free applications you can find online will get you. One such application is Piriform’s C-Cleaner, which can be downloaded at this location: www.piriform.com

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This will do a deeper level clean than what disk cleanup can offer.

If you have cleaned everything you can with this tool, but still need to go a little further, here are a few ideas:

IIS logs can usually be removed. These logs can be found here:

  1. Windows\system32\LogFiles\W3SVC folders (the numbers apply to sites) FOR IIS 6
  2. Inetpub\logfiles\W3SVC folders (the numbers apply to sites) for IIS 7

If the server has Trend Micro antivirus, they make a great cleanup tool that purges old updates and cleans the junk that can accompany many antiviruses. This tool can be found here: http://esupport.trendmicro.com/pages/Worry-Free-Business-Security-Standard-Advanced-Disk-Cleaner.aspx

If the server is 2008 or higher, and does not report errors, it might have a large reporting queue at C:\Program Data\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportingQueue, these can be removed either manually, or by going into the Problems and Solutions GUI, viewing the history and deleting the events.

If shadow copies are causing the low disk space, you can do this:

  1. In CMD
  2. type: diskshadow
  3. list shadows all (this will list the shadow copies with a unique ID)
  4. delete shadows id 36350cd8-5ae2-4ccc-a9e3-e0db64116883 => The ID of the shadow you want to delete if you have multiple and want to remove one
  5. OR delete shadows all

If you have a Windows Small Business Server 2008 or 2011, This technet blog was designed just for you, and it covers many areas of SBS that you can clean up as well: http://blogs.technet.com/b/sbs/archive/2010/03/02/recovering-disk-space-on-the-c-drive-in-small-business-server-2008.aspx

As I mentioned earlier, there are MUCH more areas you can clean up, but hopefully this blog gives you a few ideas to as to what you can safely delete.

Domain Admins! Join a computer to your domain REMOTELY!

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Hey there domain administrators.  Did you know it was possible to join a computer to your domain remotely?  Not so hard at all.

First, you must have VPN configured on your network.  Your VPN can be configured directly to your firewall, or through your firewall to your Windows Server Routing and Remote Access.  (How to setup PPTP on a Windows Server)

Once you’ve configured your VPN, you are now ready to join computers to the domain remotely.

First, connect to the VPN, so that your computer receives a local IP address from your network.

Next, open your computer properties to join to domain as you normally would internally.  Attempt to join your computer to the domain.  It will prompt you for domain admin credentials if your route has worked, and woila!  your are now joined.  Reboot the computer.

If you don’t get the prompt for domain admin credentials, that most likely means you are not able to ping the domain controller via hostname, and you will need to manually edit your hosts file.

To do this:

  1. Goto:  C:\Windows\Syste32\drivers\etc
  2. Open your hosts file with Wordpad “Run as Administrator”.  You may need to open Wordpad as an administrator first, and then open the file
  3. Goto the bottom of your hosts file and enter the following:  ”IP Address”, Tab 2 X’s, “server name” - where the IP address is the IP of your Domain Controller, and the Server Name is the host name of your Domain Controller.
  4. Save the hosts file
Now try joining your computer to the domain again.  This should work for you.
Good luck!