Archives June 2010

On to pastures new!

Hi,

As some of you will know, today is my last day working for Dimension Data.

I’ve been at DD since the beginnings of the UK Microsoft line of business and have seen it grow from the six people there when I joined, to over a hundred now.

It’s been a good journey and I’ve certainly made some really great friends and learnt a huge amount along the way!

I’m looking forward to getting straight on with a new journey on Monday; working at Grey Convergence.

I will be taking on the role of Unified Communications Lead, working with Microsoft Exchange, Communications Server and supporting technologies and helping to build an expert Unified Communications practice.

I fully intend to continue sharing tips and tricks here and being as active as ever in the UC Community.

Cheers

Nathan


MMMUG July 2010 in person event – Exchange 2010 SP1 and Migration

As promised, Tony and I at MMMUG have finally managed to get the physical meetings going again.

To kick off our first meeting after re-launch, we are going to have an evening discussing Exchange 2010 SP1 and migrations on Thursday July 15th 2010.

As some of you will be aware, we recently held a LiveMeeting on the subject, however this will be a chance to dive deeper into the new changes and to bring your questions along to discuss in person.

The event is being sponsored by Redgate Software, a Microsoft Gold Messaging certified partner who provide transparent Exchange email archiving and PST discovery software. The perfect compliment to Exchange 2010, Exchange Server Archiver allows you to reduce the storage load on your Exchange server whilst providing a 100% transparent end-user experience. Combined with a PST discovering and importing tool, these tools will give you the best Exchange 2010 environment.

Alongside their software products they run the Simple-Talk sysadmin website which Jaap Wesselius and I have both written for.

Jaap will be our guest speaker for the evening and between us, we will cover both the new elements of Exchange Server 2010 SP1 and also answer questions about the process of upgrading from previous Exchange versions.

The agenda will be as follows:

18:00 – 18:30 – Arrival
18:30 – 19:45 – A look at what’s new in Exchange 2010 SP1
19:45 – 20:05 – Break/Networking
20:05 – 21:00 – Discussion and Questions on Migrating to Exchange 2010

The event will take place at the BSG Offices at the address below:
BSG House, 226-236 City Road, London, EC1V 2TT

To sign up, use the link below:

http://www.mmmug.co.uk/3-15th_July_2010_-_Exchange_2010_SP1_26_Migration

Looking forward to seeing you there, we have 30 places and expect them to fill up quickly so please make sure to register soon!


Installing the prerequisites for Exchange 2010 SP1 UM role – can’t install UCMA

Just a quick tip, as this seems to have caught a few people out (including me!)

When installing Exchange 2010 SP1 UM role there is the need to install the UCMA 2.0 Runtime which can be downloaded from the Microsoft site using the link below:

UcmaRuntimeWebDownloadX64.msi

So when the software downloads, you double click the MSI and install it. What is perhaps not so obvious, is that you haven’t actually installed anything yet! You have only copied the files to the location specified which in my case was:

C:\Microsoft UCMA 2.0 Runtime Installer Package\amd64

So at that point you need to run the SetupUcmaRuntime application in that folder to actually install UCMA, at which point Exchange setup will find the prerequisites and let you install the Exchange UM role!

Hope that helps!

Cheers

Nathan


The SysAdmin Handbook

I was asked about this a little while ago but until recently it slipped my mind! Anyhow, I’ve noticed that Redgate software (the people behind the www.simple-talk.com website) have published a new eBook featuring a bunch of articles from their website to help administrators to get to grips with Exchange.

Excitingly for me, one of my articles was included! It was the one about Resource mailboxes in Exchange 2007 which is still the most viewed article on the Simple Talk website! The article can be found here:

http://www.simple-talk.com/sysadmin/exchange/using-exchange-2007-for-resource-booking/

 

Or, if you are interested in the whole book, take a look here:

http://www.red-gate.com/specials/Exchange/the_sysadmin_handbook_ebook.htm

 

Cheers

Nathan


Friday Tips and Links #1

At the end of the week I always find that I have a bunch of browser windows open which have some information I think might be useful. Maybe not immediately, but certainly worth looking at sometime!

So recently I’ve seen a few people do weekly round up posts, and I’ve decided that it would be the perfect place to put all those little bits of info, which are not fully investigated but which might be worth a look in the future.

So here goes with number 1.

 

First Tip:

Typing whoami at a command prompt in Windows 2008 R2 (and likely earlier – 2008) tells you who you are logged on as. It’s great to find out if you are a local or domain admin!

 

Second Tip:

For those who run SnagIt, (screen capture software) but don’t have the latest version, here is the link for previous versions:

http://www.techsmith.com/download/oldversions.asp

 

Third Tip:

Here is a useful webcast from Microsoft about virtualizing Exchange:

https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032428204&CountryCode=US

 

Fourth Tip:

A nice website offering tools for testing around email

MX Toolbox – www.mxtoolbox.com

 

Fifth Tip:

Microsoft has released a deployment guide for hosters planning on using Exchange 2010 SP1.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=BBA88FB5-9D84-475C-85D7-3FFEB308636E&displaylang=en


Exchange 2010 SP1 webinar – Thursday 10th June 2010 with Microsoft UK and MMMUG

As you may be aware – Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1 is being released shortly and Microsoft’s Brett Johnson, Steve Tassell and Leigh Smith and I will be delivering a LiveMeeting on the 10th of June from 9.30 am to 11:00 am to explain in detail the fixes and enhancements that it contains.

The LiveMeeting’s agenda is as follows:

• Reminder of the Exchange 2010 core tenets
  • An update on where Microsoft is with Exchange Online
  • Introduction to the Feature Enhancements of Exchange 2010 SP1 such as;
    o The New Exchange Control Panel Management UI
    o Improved High Availability and Disaster Recovery functionality
    o Improved Outlook Web App UI and Performance
    o Better Mobile Device Experience
    o New Information Protection and Control
      ? Personal Archive Enhancements
      ? Retention Policy Management Enhancements
      ? Multi-Mailbox Search Enhancements
• Demo and Deep Dive
    o Having given a broad outline of the new features we will demo some of the most visible, including;
      ? New OWA,
      ? Exchange Control Panel
      ? Key Information Protection and Compliance functions
• Questions & Answers

To log into the event – click on the following url….

https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/microsoft/join?id=3Z8JBW&role=attend&pw=5P7XXQ

We encourage you all to join this meeting as it will be useful to anyone who looks after Exchange Servers of whatever variety – even if you’re not currently using Exchange 2010.


PowerShell scripting a Parsing error – TerminatorExpectedAtEndOfString

I’ve been diving into PowerShell recently as you can see from my recent blog posts on setting Exchange 2010 virtual directory settings and on redirecting the OWA URL from http to https.

The inspiration has been my project to write up an article detailing a simple Exchange install for a single server Exchange 2010 environment. The aim was to provide a simple set of steps for small IT shops to follow, which lead my to try and automate a few things.

Whilst doing writing a script with user interaction to set the logon format for OWA I kept getting the below error:

[PS] C:\Users\administrator.GAOTS\Desktop>.\SetOWALogonFormat.ps1
The string starting:
At C:\Users\administrator.GAOTS\Desktop\SetOWALogonFormat.ps1:56 char:55
+         Write-host "Nothing has been changed, script quit <<<< " -foregroundcolor $WarningForeground -backgroundcolor
$WarningBackground
is missing the terminator: ".
At C:\Users\administrator.GAOTS\Desktop\SetOWALogonFormat.ps1:61 char:18
+ iisreset /noforce <<<<
    + CategoryInfo          : ParserError: ( -foregroundcol…sreset /noforce:String) [], ParseException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : TerminatorExpectedAtEndOfString

Well it turned out that a couple of things were the problem.

Firstly I checked for any “ that were in the wrong place (or in my case additional ones!)

Then I did a find and replace on all “ in the script which seemed to make the parser happy! I guess maybe this was the age old copy and paste problem with smart quotes from word??

Hope that helps a little!

Cheers

Nathan


Set Outlook Web App (OWA) Logon Format with PowerShell script

I’ve been working with PowerShell recently as you can see from my recent blog posts on setting Exchange 2010 virtual directory settings and on redirecting the OWA URL from http to https.

Below is a script I put together to set the logon format for OWA. Basically it prompts the user about the various types of format available and then goes and builds the relevant commands to configure any Client Access servers in the environment. It should work against Exchange 2007 and 2010 although I’ve only tested Exchange 2010.

 

Write-host "This script will let you set the logon format for OWA virtual directories on Exchange 2010."
Write-host ""

#============================================
#Set Variables
[string]$ConfirmPrompt = "Set this Value? (Y/N)"
[string]$WarningForeground = "white"
[string]$WarningBackground = "red"

#Build Array of OWA virtual directories and then run through for the user

[array]$OWAVDir = Get-OwaVirtualDirectory

#============================================
#Prompt user about how they want login to occur and then get selection
Write-host "How do you want users to log into OWA?"

[string]$type = Read-host "You have three options, EmailAddress (UPN), Domain\username or username. Please enter one of (Email / Domain / Username)"

Write-host ""

#============================================
#Create function for calling later which will do the setting of properties

function ConfigureVirtualDirectory
{
#Get the current AD domain FQDN for use as the default domain if Username format is chosen.

$ADdomain = [System.DirectoryServices.ActiveDirectory.Domain]::GetCurrentDomain()

    if ($type -eq "Email")    {
        Write-host "You have opted to use the email address. Please make sure users UPN in active directory matches their email address" -foregroundcolor $WarningForeground -backgroundcolor $WarningBackground
        Foreach ($value in $OWAVDir) {
            Set-OwaVirtualDirectory -Identity $value -LogonFormat PrincipalName }
    }
    if ($type -eq "Domain")    {
        Foreach ($value in $OWAVDir) {
            Set-OwaVirtualDirectory -Identity $value -LogonFormat FullDomain }
    }
    if ($type -eq "Username")    {
        Foreach ($value in $OWAVDir) {
            Set-OwaVirtualDirectory -Identity $value -LogonFormat UserName -DefaultDomain $ADdomain }
    }
}

#===========================================
#Tell user what is about to happen for each server and then give choice to execute

Write-host “Looking at Server: ” $OWAVDir[0].server
    Write-host “Current Logon Format: ” $OWAVDir[0].logonformat
    Write-host “New Logon Format Type:     ” $Type
   [string]$set = Read-host $ConfirmPrompt
    Write-host “”

    if ($set -eq "Y")    {
         ConfigureVirtualDirectory  
    }    else    {
        Write-host "Nothing has been changed, script quit" -foregroundcolor $WarningForeground -backgroundcolor $WarningBackground
        exit
    }

iisreset


Outlook Web Access URL simplify – Redirect OWA

This is a very frequently discussed topic, so much so that I along with other recently asked if something could be built into a future version of Exchange to do this out of the box.

Well after asking another Exchange MVP Pat Richard pointed me to a script that he had written which does all that is needed.

Interestingly there is a little more needed than you might think!

IIS 7 and 7.5 which come with Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 respectively both have a redirect feature which is used as part of Exchange client access to provide for legacy clients.

We can make use of it to allow for OWA redirect from the root site however that requires a bunch of SSL changes. We must turn off the requirement for SSL on the root site to allow the redirect of http://mail.domain.com to https://mail.domain.com/owa.

However doing that in the GUI for the root of the site will also uncheck the require SSL for a bunch of sub-sites (like OWA)! Not what we want at all. Clearly you can go through a manually set things how they should be but using the script Pat provides it is all done for you!

One final thing the script does is set permissions on the OAB web.config file which is created as part of the redirect process.

Oh, and finally it takes a backup before it starts! 🙂

To get the script look at Pats blog post here.

For a lot more info on the redirect subject in general including more on the Offline Address Book (OAB) problem check out Henrik’s post here:

So having done this anyone hitting the default website of the CAS server will be redirected to the correct URL.

Finally, in a future post I will investigate how this might change when publishing with ISA/TMG.

Cheers

Nathan