Monthly Archives: October 2011

Windows Server 2008 stops responding and hangs at the “Applying Computer Settings” stage of the logon process

I was recently faced with a Windows 2008 Server that became stuck on the “Applying Computer Settings…” screen of the logon process.  It would sit at this stage for close to an hour before it would finally reach the logon prompt.

Worse yet once logged in the Event Log showed no errors.  A check of the services showed that Netlogon was in a stopping state and a handful of other services did not start.

  • Print Spooler
  • Terminal Services
  • Server service
  • Remote Registry
  • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
  • Distributed Transaction Coordinator

Booting into Safe Mode seemed fine.  It would boot up fast and log straight in.  Of course most services are stopped in Safe Mode so didn’t shed much light.

I didn’t have much to work off.  I had been removing and applying new certificates for OCS 2007 just prior to removing the computer from the domain and putting it into a Workgroup.  A subsequent reboot led to the hung logon process.

After some digging around I finally came across an MS KB which matched what I was experiencing.   The key note of the article was that this issue typically occurs after a server certificate is applied.

Microsoft provides a Hotfix and a Workaround for this issue.  The Hotfix updates 2 or 3 files depending on your OS version.  The Workaround is a registry change and was the solution I took.  The registry change makes HTTP.sys depend on crytosvc service to be started first.  The quick backup and change of the reg keys and reboot got me back up and running.

Appendix.

Reg Fix

  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
  2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
  3. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesHTTP
  4. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Multi-string Value.
  5. Type DependOnService, and then press ENTER.
  6. Right-click DependOnService, and then click Modify.
  7. In the Value data box, type CRYPTSVC, and then click OK.
  8. Exit Registry Editor.
  9. Restart the computer.

Microsoft KB Article

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2379016

Increasing the Rules Quota limit in Exchange Server 2007

Many admins probably wouldn’t know that there is a size limit set on mailbox rules.  The default value in Exchange 2007 and 2010 is 64 KB.  It may seem small but up until recently I never had a need to change this value at a global or user level.

Every so often, though, you come across a user that’s the exception rather than the rule… so to say.  The only indication you’ll get that the user is over the limit is a warning on the user’s desktop when they attempt to create another rule via Outlook.

“One or more rules could not be uploaded to Exchange server and have been deactivated. This could be because some of the parameters are not supported or there is insufficient space to store all your rules.”

Using Outlook Web Access will present the user with a slightly different message.  OWA seems to do a better job at a more descriptive error message and even suggests a resolution for the user.

“Outlook Web Access cannot save the rule that you specified. Either the rule exceeds the maximum size limit for individual rules, or all your rules together, including this rule, exceed the size limit for rules. Remove some conditions, actions, or exceptions and try again.”

If the user is unable, or in my case unwilling, to clean up some rules.  You can hop onto an Exchange server via Powershell and change their Rules Quota limit.

As mentioned, the default limit is 64 KB.  There is a hard maximum which is 256 KB.  Any value up to 256 KB is valid to use.  In the example below I select a user via their email address to increase their quota to the maximum 256 KB.

get-mailbox [email protected] | Set-Mailbox -RulesQuota 256kb

We can easily check the new rules quota size for the user with the below command.

get-mailbox [email protected] | ft RulesQuota

Microsoft Knowledge Base article
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/886616

Installing Windows 8 Developer Preview in VMware

Deciding to see what all the fuss was about I finally bit the bullet and installed Windows 8 Developer Preview in my Vmware Workstation test environment.  What should have really be a simple task of deploying a VM image turned out to be rather frustrating.  The web is already full of step by step instructions on how to install WIndows 8 in a VMware Workstation environment.  So rather than writing up another blog on that I thought I might just list some of the gotcha’s I came across.

The first issue I came across was VMware Workstation Version 7.  I’ve been happily running my environment off this version for some time now without any issues and I rather like it.  unfortunately, though, this version will not run Windows 8.  One of the prerequisites for Windows 8 is ACPI 2.0.  So an upgrade to VMware Workstation 8 was in order.  Vmware offer a 30 day trial with Version 8 so it will give you enough time to sort out a new key.  Below is the kind of error you will see on Workstation Version 7.x.  Initially I thought it was because I was running a single CPU, single core, which when I modified made the error disappear but still prevented a complete install.

*** VMware Workstation internal monitor error ***
vcpu-0:NOT_IMPLEMENTED vmcore/vmm/intr/apic.c:1796
Please report this problem by selecting menu item Help > VMware on the Web > Request Support, or by going to the Web page …. Please provide us with the log file (…Windows 8vmware.log) and the core file(s) (…Windows 8vmware-core[0-1].gz, …Windows 8vmware64-core[0-1].gz, …Windows 8vmware-vmx-8248.dmp).

Upgrading to Vmware Workstation 8 can solve a lot of problems but will no doubt be the biggest obstacle for most people (re licensing).

The next challenge is getting the VM settings just right.  Even with my prerequisites sorted I still had issues getting a successful install.  I could finally get to an install screen and start the process.  I kept getting constant reboots during the black screen setup processes.  Usually I would get to 90% on the driver setup and get a automatic reboot and a restart of the setup.  It would get stuck into a bad reboot cycle until I Powered Off the VM.

After more attempts than I can count, below is a sure fired way I found to get Windows 8 working effortlessly under VMware.  Create a new VM using the Wizard and select Custom (advanced).

Next make sure your Hardware Compatibility is Workstation 8

The next step I found to be the most important.  It didn’t matter what settings I chose after this step, installation would fail unless I selected ‘I will install the operating system later’

At this point selecting Windows 7 as your Guest Operating System is fairly safe.  Just make sure to select x64 if you downloaded the 64bit ISO.  Another option is selecting Other for the OS though I believe I had some issues with this option too.  Give your VM a name and path.  Next select 1 processor but choose 2 cores.    On the memory screen select a minimum of 1024 MB for the 32bit version or 2048 for the x64 version.  Followed by your desired networking options.  Following on from this the rest of the steps are fairly safe to select your own preferences without causing too much issues.

When complete before Powering On the VM go back into the settings.  Select the Hardware tab at the top.  In the CD/DVD device section set to “Use ISO image file:” and select your Windows 8 ISO.

There’s nothing too scientific about the process I took and the settings I choose, apart from attempting to install in Workstation 7 a dozen times and Workstation 8 a dozen times under different configuration settings.

In sum up… You NEED Vmware Workstation 8 as a minimum.  Choose to install your OS latter during the VM Wizard.  Select 2 cores and best to select a minimum of 2048 MB memory.  Selecting this settings should avoid wasting too much on Google and finding the right settings.