Category Archives: Windows

Accessing Azure Serial Console for Windows (Preview)

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For absolute ages now we have been crying out loud to have some sort of serial access to Azure VM’s. Now, this request has been fulfilled and the Special Administrative Console (SAC) is available in preview for Windows and Linux guests! Windows images on Azure do not have Special Administrative Console (SAC) enabled by default (see below). SAC is supported on server versions of Windows but is not available on client versions like Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7 etc.

To enable Serial console for Windows Virtual Machines please use the following steps:

  • Connect to your Windows virtual machine via Remote Desktop
  • From an Administrative command prompt run the following commands:
  • Accessing_Azure_Serial_Console_for_Windows_(Preview)_1

  • Reboot the system for the SAC console to be enabled
  • To access the SAC head over to Serial console (Preview) item on Azure Portal and get greeted with the following:

    Accessing_Azure_Serial_Console_for_Windows_(Preview)_2

    How very awesome! 🙂

    VMware vSphere 5.5: Installing vCenter results in “Error 29102. Unable to Contact Lookup Service. Check vm_ssoreg.log in the system temporary folder for more details.”

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    Recently I have been re-installing my home lab due to the 60 day trial license coming to an end and discovered something odd. During the installation of vCenter 5.5 on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 I came across the following error:

    VMware_vSphere_5.5_Installing_vCenter_results_in_Error_29102_Unable_to_Contact_Lookup_Service_1.png

    The solution was rather simple but not straight forward to work out initially. My internal network ID for VMware hosts is 10.10.0.0/24 but what I was missing is the corresponding rDNS zone in my DNS (reverse). The minute I have created 0.10.10.in-addr-arpa the error went way. What makes this even stranger is the fact I have to redo my lab every 60 days and this is the first time this error has came up!

    VMware vCenter 5.5 Update 2 Service Health displays Storage Monitoring Service Initialization Failed

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    Don’t we all just love to see everything in green/healthy/hunky dory state when it comes service availability? I know I am definitely one of those that do (OCD and all that..)

    If you’re running VMware vCenter 5.5 Update 2 you might find, upon checking, that VMware vCenter Storage Monitoring Service has an alert with a message stating that Service Initialization Failed:

    VMware_vCenter_5.5_Update_2_Service_Health_displays_Storage_Monitoring_Service_service_initialization_failed_1

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    Veeam Endpoint Backup – how to change backup name after altering hostname of a source machine

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    I have been using the free version of Veeam Endpoint Backup (VEB) product since it was first released and it works wonders. Really good software that just keeps getting better and better. You can not only backup desktop and laptops but also VMware virtual machines with PCI pass-through devices which Veeam Backup & Replication 9 cannot properly backup since snapshots are not allowed when PCI-e devices are in use. Another good use case for VEB is the ability to backup Hyper-V hosts themselves. I have a large number of Hyper-V boxes dotted around and although I use Veeam Backup & Replication to backup the virtual machines I still need some sort of backup for the hosts. VEB fills this gap perfectly and in the unlikely event of a disaster, I would use VEB to restore the host (C drive i.e. the OS) and Veeam B&R to get my virtual machines back (D drive where the VMs sit). This setup works really well and I already had to use it once!

    One thing however that didn’t quite make to the GUI yet is the slightly annoying fact when you point the backups to SMB share and change the hostname of the source machine the backup name doesn’t reflect the new hostname within the share. In my example my Core i3 test bench used to be called DESKTOP-9H9LL2J but now I have changed its name to SPN-TESTB-01 to comply with my standard naming convention. In an ideal world, the backup folder should also change its name but that’s not the case. Here are some examples, hostname has been clearly changed to DESKTOP-9H9LL2J:

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    Renaming Local Site on VMware SRM 5.8 from its default value

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    Pretty silly thing to do really – I have left the default site name when installing SRM 5.8 so it has FQDN of my vCenter box instead of a proper name:

    Renaming_Local_Site_on_VMware_SRM_5.8_from_its_default_value__1

    From vSphere Web Client point of view having FQDN in there is not ideal as well as introducing confusion which site is which (live vs. recovery):

    Renaming_Local_Site_on_VMware_SRM_5.8_from_its_default_value__2

    To get the site name changed we need to edit vmware-dr.xml which lives (by default) in the following location:

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    Windows Server 2012 R2 Explorer Reports Wrong Disk Size?!?

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    I have been struggling to fix this rather weird disk space issue for quite some time now. Basically, underlying thin provisioned disk on vSphere 5.5 was extended by additional 5GB (from 125 to 130GB) and expanded using Disk Management from withing the OS as per the normal routine. No problems thus far BUT Explorer in Windows Server 2012 R2 was not reporting the increased space and was still showing the 125GB total size! How odd. Here is the screenshot for illustration purposes showing Disk Management and Windows Explorer both reporting different values!

    Windows_Server_2012_R2_Explorer_Reports_Wrong_Disk_Size_1

    I must have done the disk space increase from vSphere and extension from the guest OS hundreds of times and never had any real issues. There are tons of potential solutions to this problem, quite a few posted here:

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    CrashPlan 4.3.0 shows “Unable to connect to backup engine, retry?”

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    CrashPlan woes continue!

    This error is from an earlier version of the CrashPlan software i.e. 4.3.0 which one of my customers is still running. So here it is – fully appreciate you won’t be able to read native Polish language but the error reads as:

    “Unable to connect to backup engine, retry?”

    CrashPlan_4.3.0_Unable_to_connect_to_backup_engine_retry_1

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    The CrashPlan Setup Wizard ended prematurely…

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    Monday mooning eh? It surely is!

    Trying to install CrashPlan 4.4.1 (CrashPlan-x64_4.4.1_Win.exe) is proving to be a lot more hassle than it should..

    Error messages shortly after kicking off the .msi installation:

    The CrashPlan Setup Wizard ended prematurely
    CrashPlan setup eneded prematurely because of an error. Your system has not been modified. To install this program at a later time, please run the installation again.
    Click the “Finish” button to exit the Setup Wizard.

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    Cleaning up NetApp SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure snapshots in VMware vSphere

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    Cleaning up NetApp SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure snapshots in VMware vSphere can be a pain if you have large number of VMs being backed up by SMVI. In my case there are snapshots that are consistently left behind like so:

    Cleaning_up_NetApp_SMVI_snapshots_in_VMware_vSphere_1

    which just pile up as the days go on. I think this is some sort of bug in either vSphere API or the way NetApp handles snapshotting during the backup window.

    To have these snapshots cleared up after the backup jobs run I have written the following PowerShell script to deal with the situation:

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    Virtual machine customisation fails with error “A specified parameter was not correct. spec.identity.userData.computerName”.

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    Today I was testing some new Windows Server 2012 templates and noticed something rather odd. Basically my costomisations would cause the deployments from template to fail for no real reason. Error message that came up was:

    Virtual_machine_customisation_fails_with_error_A_specified_parameter_was_not_correct._spec.identity.userData.computerName_1

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