VMware vCenter Storage View is blank/not updating

drew 12 Mar , 2012 0 comments VMware

We upgraded our VMware infrastructure to v5 back around the time it was released late last summer. Since then I’ve been having an issue where the Storage View feature of vCenter would not load. I would receive a mostly blank screen that has a link to update the Storage View. Clicking that link had 0 effect. I finally started messing around trying to troubleshoot a few weeks ago (after nearly 6 months without Storage View). Something I did resolved the issue and it seemed to be working since.

Today I loaded my VI Client up and clicked the Storage View tab to check on something. To my displeasure I realized SV was broken again. This time, I finally determined why – the server vCenter is installed on had a port conflict with another process, the port in question being 8080, which was also being used by IIS for some other service I had installed at some point in the past (certainly NOT at the time that SV broke originally). I changed the port that the IIS instance was running on, restarted the VMware services, and voila, SV worked again.

Like I said above, the IIS instance was running prior to upgrading to vSphere 5, so I’m not sure exactly what caused the conflict. I don’t know if vCenter 5 installs a new service to port 8080 by default or if I, in my infinite wisdom, set the port to use 8080. I know I set IIS to 8080 at one point to AVOID a port conflict with vCenter, however, I wasn’t aware that vCenter was running any web services on ports other than 80 and 443. Long story short, make sure that the vCenter Management Webservices HTTP service isn’t conflicting with anything else (according to VMware 8080 is the default port for the aforementioned service).

XBMC MKV – Green Video

drew 24 Sep , 2011 2 Comments XBMC

I recently installed XBMC on my living room server in order to better supply my 1080p TV with downloaded media. Upon trying to play an MKV x264 movie, I was presented with an all green screen but the video’s proper audio. It turns out that this was caused by enabling hardware acceleration, which was found under Settings->Video->Playback. I disabled hardware acceleration (which actually is the default settings; I had enabled it last night, thinking “why not”), and the video plays just fine, now.

The State of Bitcoin

drew 26 Jun , 2011 0 comments Bitcoin

It’s currently 12:17pm EST (16:17 GMT) and Mt. Gox (the most prominent Bitcoin exchange, which last Sunday shut down all trading due to a huge site hack) was supped to resume trading at 11am EST. Currently the site says 15:30 GMT (45 minutes ago) is when trading is to resume, however, that obviously isn’t going to happen. Hundreds of people are hanging out in the #mtgox channel on the Freenode IRC network, anxiously awaiting the return of Mt Gox.

Stay tuned for updates…

Windows 7–New User cannot logon <Solved>

Upon creating a new user and attempting to login, I received the following error message: "The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded." I’m running Windows 7 x64 SP1.

My current setup is: 
C: drive (SSD) Program Files, Windows, ProgramData.
X: drive (HDD) Users, and everything else.

I use the Administrator account as my account. To set up the system, I created a temporary user, logged in, changed the registry to point the Users directory to the X: drive (and moved the Default and Public folders to the X:\Users directory). I then enabled the Admin account and logged in with it. This created my profile on the X drive.
However, I was trying to create another user account to test with. The account is named "Test". I receive the quoted error message upon attempts to log in. I checked the X:\Users folder and there is no profile for the Test account, not even a folder for it. I tried copying the Default profile and renaming it, but no dice. I also verified that the folder seemed to have the proper permissions (Full Control for System, Administrator, Administrators, as the Test account was an admin account as well). There is no entry in the registry under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\ for the Test user, so I got a utility that could find that users’ SID and created an entry for it, but still, I receive the original error message when trying to log in.

I finally solved the problem.  It turns out that the X:\Users\Default folder needed to give the "Everyone" group Read, List folder contents, and Read and Execute permissions. When I copied the Default profile via the user profile screen, it didn’t apply correct permissions; it just inherited those of the destination folder.  Event Viewer showed that Windows didn’t have permission to copy the Default profile to the X:\Users\Test folder.  When I gave the Everyone group permission to the Default profile folder, I was then able to login with new users (and subsequently have them automatically create profiles).

SFC /scannow error 0x000006ba – The RPC Server is unavailable

While attempting to run a System File Check (sfc /scannow) on a Windows XP machine today I received the error 0x000006ba – The RPC Server is unavailable.  I checked the services console and saw that the RPC service was running.  After scratching my head for a few minutes, I decided that the SFC component must have been disabled (as the CD I installed from was a torrented ISO that has the latest updates).  I figured the ISO must have been modified to disable the file checker for whatever reason.

Sidenote for the haters: I have a valid license, but I was deploying about 20 refurbished machines for coworkers and didn’t have the time or desire to install all of the Windows updates that were needed to get the machines fully updated.

Anyway, so after scouring the ultranet for a little bit, I came across an nLite setting that was probably employed when creating the Windows disk I downloaded.  The settings is a registry entry to disable SFC.  It’s located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.  It’s a DWORD value titled “SfcDisable” and was set to some random hex value.  Change this to 0 and restart, and SFC should now work.  Note: There was another value called SfcDisabled which was already set to 0.  That threw me off for a moment, but then I saw the proper DWORD I was looking for, which was not already zero.

Manual WordPress Backup (on Windows)

I was running the WP-DB-Backup plugin for this blog up until recently when it suddenly stopped working.  I tried troubleshooting a little bit before I said “screw it, I’ll backup myself”.  My solution was to write a script that will create a dump of my MySQL database, add it and my WordPress directory to a password-protected 7-Zip file, then email it to my GMail account and automatically archive it for safe keeping.  This was all created in one batch file.  The steps I took to perform these actions are as follows:

1. For the first few lines of the script, we’re going to set variables to set a date and time stamp on our archive, that way we’ll know exactly where it came from (and won’t overwrite anything if we choose to store the backup locally).

For the first lines of the script, write:

set T=%time:~0,5%
set UniqueDir=%date:/=-% %T::=-%

For the next line, we’re going to set the location of the backup file.  Type out:

set backupfile="c:\path to backup\%UniqueDir%.7z"

2. Create the MySQL dump.  To do this, add the line

"C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\bin\mysqldump.exe" --user=MySQL-user-here --password=pw-here blog-db-name-here > c:\path to backup\blog_name.sql

3. Create the 7-Zip archive by archiving the SQL file we created along with the WordPress directory of your site.  Start by downloading and installing 7-Zip.  Then, add the line:

"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -t7z -pPASSWORD-HERE %backupfile% C:\inetpub\wwwroot\website_name\wordpress c:\path to backup\blog_name.sql

This creates the password protected archive named Date + Time.7z at the location you specify in the “backupfile” variable.  The archive is protected with PASSWORD-HERE (and please note the lack of a space between the “-p” switch and the password.  The archive includes the wordpress directory specified and the blog_name.sql file specified.  You can add whatever other files you’d like after that, if desired.

4. Now it’s time to email the archive.  To do this, we need to download the program “SendEmail”.  This is a command line utility that will allow us to send email messages via the command line (or batch file, in this case).  Once you’ve downloaded it, extract the contents of the zip file to c:\SendEmail.  Now we’re going to add a line to our batch file that says:

"c:\sendemail\sendEmail.exe" -f [email protected] -t [email protected] -u Blog Backup for %UniqueDir% -m "See attached for backup" -s SMTP Server Here -xu SMTP User, if needed -xp SMTP PW, if needed -a %backupfile%

You can exclude the -xu and -xp switches if you don’t need to authenticate with your mail server to send messages.

5. This part is optional.  To remove the backup files from the local machine, we add two lines to delete the SQL dump file and the 7-Zip archive we’ve created:

del c:\path to backup\blog_name.sql
del %backupfile%

That’s it!  Now all that’s left to do is create a scheduled task using the Windows Task Scheduler to run this every evening (or however often you feel like).  This will create a SQL dump, 7-Zip it with the WordPress directory, email it to a specified address, then delete the local copy of the backup.  A full version of the script is below:

set T=%time:~0,5%
set UniqueDir=%date:/=-% %T::=-%

set backupfile="c:\path to backup\%UniqueDir%.7z"

"C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\bin\mysqldump.exe" --user=MySQL-user-here --password=pw-here blog-db-name-here > c:\path to backup\blog_name.sql

"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -t7z -pPASSWORD-HERE %backupfile% C:\inetpub\wwwroot\website_name\wordpress c:\path to backup\blog_name.sql

"C:\sendemail\sendEmail.exe" -f [email protected] -t [email protected] -u Blog Backup for %UniqueDir% -m "See attached for backup" -s SMTP Server Here -xu SMTP User, if needed -xp SMTP PW, if needed -a %backupfile%

del c:\path to backup\blog_name.sql
del %backupfile%

WordPress–Add Text To Single Scrolling Line

While working on another post and attempting to insert code, I came across the problem of not being able to insert single lines of code on one line within WordPress.  This ends up displaying a confusing, multiple line display of what should only be one line of code.  The solution for this was to first install the WP-Syntax plugin.  Then, when typing out lines of code that need to retain formatting, wrap your text in <pre lang=”text”> (or whatever language you want; the WP page for that plugin lists all of the available options) and </pre> tags (in HTML view).  This will output your text just as you entered it, meaning if you’ve been working in the Visual Editor, and your quotes are now displayed as &quot;, you need to change them back to “”.

An example of incorrect display is:


And corrected:


VMware ESX/ESXi 4–Windows Server 2008 R2 Mouse Choppy <Solved>

I had made a previous post a while back about the mouse being choppy while using the VMware console with Server 2008.  I stated in that post that as of that writing, there was no fix for 2008 R2.  There appears to be a fix now, however.  The server I’m running is ESX 4.1.0-348481 (which is the RTM of ESX 4.1 Update 1).  To get the mouse choppiness to stop, open up Device Manager and select the display adapter.  Update the driver and manually choose the location of the driver (which is located in C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\video).  After selecting that location and clicking “Next”, it automatically found the proper driver and installed it, and after a reboot, the mouse choppiness was fixed.  I had already enabled hardware acceleration for the adapter, so if you update the driver and are still having issues, ensure you’ve enabled hardware acceleration.  I’m also running the latest version of VMware Tools on this machine, so if this directory doesn’t exist, or this doesn’t work for you, make sure VMware Tools are up to date.

Unable To Install Microsoft Security Essentials <Solved>

I’ve just spent the past hour or so fighting a co-worker’s personal computer, trying to get Microsoft Security Essentials to re-install (she had originally installed v1 of MSE, and when the v2 came out not too long ago and it attempted to upgrade, apparently it hosed her antivirus installation).  Her machine is running XP SP3 32-bit.

The original error code we received was 0x80070002 when trying to run the v2 installer.  I tried to run the v1 installer (downloaded from FileHippo.com), hoping to re-write whatever had become corrupted (as Add/Remove Programs didn’t show MSE as being installed at all).  However, that didn’t do anything, and it ended up failing to install as well.  From there, I went into Program Files and renamed the Microsoft Security Essentials folder so that the installation would be able to write to a fresh folder.  That didn’t work.  Then, I entered the Registry…

In the Registry, I searched for “Security Essentials” and proceeded to delete every KEY (which is the term for the folders) that contained any items referencing Security Essentials.  This took a while.  I re-ran the installation after that, to no avail.

I then went digging around the Application Data folder (C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data) and deleted the Microsoft Security Essentials folder and files.  I also went back into the Registry and searched for “Microsoft Antimalware” and again deleted every key containing items referencing the string I searched for.

At one point, after ripping enough items out of the registry, the error message I received changed.  It eventually  became 0x80070643, 0x80070648 and finally 0x80070645.  I then found a post that described two registry keys that could be causing problems (they appear to be telling the installer to upgrade rather than do a fresh install).  Once I removed these two keys and rebooted, all was well after re-attempting to install.  Below are the two keys I removed.

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > Installer > UpgradeCodes > 1F69ACF0D1CF2B7418F292F0E05EC20B

—Right click on1F69ACF0D1CF2B7418F292F0E05EC20B and delete the key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Installer > UpgradeCodes > 1F69ACF0D1CF2B7418F292F0E05EC20B

— Right click on1F69ACF0D1CF2B7418F292F0E05EC20B and delete the key.

I’m not sure if everything I did is necessary in order to achieve the desired results.  I’d recommend trying to remove the two last keys mentioned first, and if that doesn’t work, do everything else.  As always, keep in mind, removing information from the Registry is potentially dangerous to your system’s health, so make a backup of the Registry before proceeding.

Exchange 2007 Calendar Sharing Problem

“You do not have sufficient permission to perform this operation on this object. See the folder contact or your system administrator.”

This message has haunted me for a number of months.  I originally had set up calendar sharing permissions between my management team to allow for easy viewing of each others’ schedules.  This is a total PITA to do by logging into each users’ Outlook and manually sharing the calendar.  I wanted to allow the users to open specific calendars at will, but didn’t want to have to interact with my users in the process.

To set these permissions, I used PFDAVAdmin, a free tool from Microsoft that allows you to manipulate Exchange data.  I created a mail-enabled security group in Exchange and added all the users to this group.  I then went through with PFDAVAdmin and gave this group “Reviewer” permissions on each users’ calendar within their mailbox.  This worked fine for a while.  Then all of a sudden I started receiving the message quoted at the beginning of this article when new users opened shared calendars that they supposedly had permissions to view.

I had to change a few things to resolve this, and I still don’t know what caused it to begin with.

First, using PFDAVAdmin, I verified that the user did not have permissions set on the calendar object that were less than the group had.  For example, for some reason my user had the “Folder Visible” permission while the group he was a member of had the “Reviewer” permission.  Why he had “Folder Visible” to begin with is another story, but I removed his individual account from the DACL.

Next, I had to modify the “Freebusy Data” object in the user’s mailbox.  For some reason adding users/groups to the DACL of the calendar object wasn’t automatically updating the Free/Busy object.  I went into this object in each user’s mailbox and again added the group and granted them the “Reviewer” permission.  This fixed the problem with shared calendar data not appearing in Outlook and got rid of the error message.

A side note: I found that some users attempted to share their calendar with “Everyone”, which resulted in the “Folder Visible” permission assigned to “\Everyone” in the DACL within PFDAVAdmin.  This caused strange things to happen, such as shared calendars opening and displaying data, yet the user received the “insufficient permission” error from above.  I removed “Everyone” from the DACL (or changed the permission to “Reviewer”), and this made those problems go away.


How to use PFDAVAdmin:

1. Open program and click File –> Connect

2. Input the mailbox server’s name in “Exchange Server” field and a DC with the Global Catalog in the “Global Catalog” field

3. Under Connection, select “All Mailboxes”.  Click OK.

4. Expand the mailbox of the user you’re working on.  The “Freebusy data” object is directly below the user.  To edit the DACL, right-click the object and select “Folder Permissions”.

5. Click “Add” in the “Permissions” windows.  Type the name of the mailbox you wish to add permissions for (ie john.doe if I’m giving John Doe reviewer access to the selected mailbox).  Click search to find the user.  Then click OK.

6. Select the user in the name list (back in the Permissions window), then select the desired permissions in the drop-down box.  Then click “Commit Changes”.

The “Calendar” object can be found under the “Top of Information Store” object in the users’ mailbox.