Category Archives: Ramblings

Getting Data Protection Manager agent to work on remote servers

I am now using Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010 to handle backups of my personal Exchange mail server.  It took a while to figure out how to set this up since I had never used this product before and knew nothing about it until talking to my instructor at a recent Exchange 2010 training class I attended.  I learned a few tricks that may help someone else quickly avoid problems during a deployment of DPM 2010. 

First, DPM server must be a standalone server, it cannot be installed on an Exchange server or a domain controller.  In addition, you should install the AD management tools on the server as without them you will get a cryptic error message telling you that the server cannot communicate with AD and thinks you are in a workgroup or have a mis-configured DNS client. 

Now that you have the DPM Server installed, its time to deploy the agent.  You can deploy the agent to remove computers from a wizard driven interface, however I found that this did NOT work for me at all.  I had to manually install the agent by running the agent installer directly from the C:Program FilesMicrosoft Data Protection ManagerDPMProtectionAgents.  Think you are done…not quite!  Now open a command prompt and navigate to the DPMbin directory.  Execute this command “setdpmserver -dpmservername nameofyourserverhere” and press enter.  for the servername, use the FQDN (i.e. servername.domain.local).  The documentation says to use domainservername, but this DOES NOT WORK. 

One you do the above, you can go into the services control panel and set the DPM server service to automatic and start it.  Now you can go to your DPM server and configure protection groups and add member servers.  Enjoy!

Yes you can activate a clean install of Windows 7 with an upgrade product key

I am not promoting piracy, but I ran into a nasty little problem when I tried to activate Windows 7 on my home computer.  Maybe this post will help others like me who can’t get help anywhere else. 

In anticipation of obtaining my Windows 7 Pro upgrades (which I ordered in July on the pre-order 50% off sale) I installed Windows 7 Pro using a clean install without entering a product key for activation on two of my computers.  My laptop and my main home computer.  Both computers were clean installs on either a new hard drive or a new partition.  On my laptop I resized my partitions and installed Windows 7 on a new partition separate from Windows Vista.  So now its in a dual boot configuration with Windows Vista and Windows 7. 

On Thursday, I got my upgrade product keys from the Microsoft store and went to activate my computers.  On my laptop the activation was successful wtihout a problem.  Then I went to activate my home computer and got the error telling me that I can’t use an upgrade product key to activate a clean install of Windows 7.  So now I am left with a fully loaded PC running Windows 7 with only 10 days left to activate before I either have to re-arm or enter a new product key.  It takes hours to backup and restore the data on this PC, its my wife’s main computer and we have tons of stuff to backup and move around.  I’d pay a fee to avoid having to do this! 

The home computer was running Widnows Vista 32-bit Home premium edition.  It got upgraded to Windows 7 Pro 64-bit using a clean install method.  A while after I had installed Windows 7, I decided to cleanup the old hard drive that had the Windows Vista install on it because I wouldn’t need it anymore.  So I can’t even go back to Vista without having to do a clean install of Vista first which is something I want to avoid.  But from my understanding you can’t upgrade a 32-bit OS to the 64-bit version, so I have to do a clean install anyway.  But now that I’ve wiped out the hard drive that had Vista on it, so the activation wizard can’t see the old OS and won’t let me use my upgrade key.  I heard hints in various forums that the activation wizard looks for partitions with an upgradable OS on it. 

On my laptop, I still have the partition with Activated Windows Vista home premium 64-bit because of the dual boot setup, so I think thats why the activation wizard let me activate my laptop without a problem.  So what can we do in a situation like this?  Call Microsoft, take a huge risk and investigate non legit options?  

I had thought about trying to run the Retail upgrade install of Windows 7 on my home PC and use my upgrade key for activation.  The reason I had hope that this might work is because my home PC was loaded using the RTM Windows 7, and the download I got from Microsoft was the official retail media, so there is a very small chance it may have let me do another upgrade using my upgrade key and then possibly activate successfully.  My other thought was to install windows Vista on a spare hard drive and just leave it in my PC when booted up to Windows 7 and see if the Windows 7 Activation wizard will recognize a valid copy of Windows Vista and let me activate using my upgrade key. 

I was getting desperate since it could easily take two days to reload my home computer and go through all the trouble to get Windows 7 running again!  This is such a pain!  It shouldn’t be this hard for legit customers to use Microsoft software!!!

Ok, now that the rant is over, let me tell you how to get around this problem and get your Windows 7 systems activated.  This is actually very easy and only took a few minutes.  To my knowledge there is nothing underhanded or risky about this procedure.  Its also not well documented, it took me two days of google research and massive searches to find the information that helped me. 

Thanks to community for this information!

After performing the clean install, ensure that there are no Windows Updates pending that would require a system reboot. (You’ll see an orange shield icon next to Shutdown in the Start Menu if this is the case).  Install the updates and reboot if necessary before proceeding.

Then, open regedit.exe with Start Menu Search and navigate to:


Change MediaBootInstall from “1” to “0”.

Open the Start Menu again and type cmd to display a shortcut to the Command Line utility. Right-click this shortcut and choose “Run as administrator.” Handle the UAC prompt.

In the command line window, type: slmgr /rearm

Then click OK, close the command line window and reboot. When Windows 7 reboots, run the Activate Windows wizard (go to system properties and click the activate windows link at the bottom of the window), type in your upgrade product key and activate windows.  It should activate successfully and you are now finished!  Congratulations on saving yourself hours (or days in my case) of wasted time jumping through hoops trying to get your genuine Windows 7 installation activated!

The movie Bolt and Even Almighty

The family and I were watching the movie “Evan Almighty” tonight and noticed that the chief of staff in for “Evan Baxter” could have been a real life version of “The Agent” in the movie  “Bolt“.  This dude looks the same and talks the same and everything, it was very obvious right off, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the “Bolt” character was modeled after the real actor in the movie “Evan Almighty”.  The actor who did the voice of “The Agent” in “Bolt” is named “Greg Germann“.  The actor who played in “Evan Almighty” is named “John Michael Higgins“.  Compare them side by side, and the resemblances are amazing!

Have to click user icon to unlock Windows Vista

Something happened to my Windows Vista desktop that I use primarily at work.  To explain the issue, here is some background information.  I normally lock my computer anytime I step away from it to prevent un-authorized access.  It used to be that I could just hit CTRL+ALT+DEL and type in my password and press (Return|Enter) to unlock my machine.  However, in the last week or so instead of bringing up the password field for the logged on user when you hit CTR+ALT+DEL, what you get instead is an icon for the username which you then have to click or just hit enter before you type in the password.  Now this may not sound like much of a problem, but when you are used to something happening a certain way, changing that makes a difference.  I didn’t change any of my user options in Vista, so I am guessing that this is a change from a recent update or something from Microsoft.  I don’t have access to many Vista machine to test this on, but I am curious if anyone else has seen this before and if you know how to fix it.  If I find a solution I will post it here, but for now I am still looking.  I just want to hit CTRL+ALT+DEL and type in my password to logon, I don’t want to have to click on my user icon or have an extra key press before I can put in my password.  Maybe thats just me being set in my ways…

Feels like the flu

Monday morning I woke up with a sore throat that came out of nowhere.  Tuesday I started feeling worse, and today I had to take a sick day from work and go to the doctor.  Fortunately I don’t have tonsolitis or strep or anything like that, but its feeling more like a really bad head cold or the flu now.  I have never liked nedles so I never get a flu shot.  I don’t know for certain that its the flu, but after this, I think I will be getting annual flu shots from now on, just to be on the safe side.  I’ve been glues to my couch most of the day and it seems I’m in for at least one more day of feeling really bad.  The doctor gave me an anti-biotic since I had a fever, but I’m not sure if it will really help.  Hopefully I’ll be back up and going soon.  This is really bad timing for me to be sick, but glad its happening 2 weeks before my trip to Jamaica instead of happening right before or during the trip!

My favorite iTouch Apps

I have gone crazy with the iTunes App store for my new Touch.  Here is a list of some of my favorite apps and games.  Some of the games can be played against another Touch device over Wifi.  This is only the current list, there are apps being added all the time and I can hardly wait to see what else comes out!  (One warning, if you use folders, watch out for updates, as if you have a large amount of data stored in the app, it will never update and you will have to restore your IPOD to recover, just don’t install the updated versions).

FS5 Hocky – fun wifi game
Folders – awesome
Billminder – not free
Expsharer – also awesome
Banner Free
MazeFinger – awesome
Pageonce – awesome
SQ Lite
CAr CAre – not free but awesome

IPOD Touch Review

Last week I finally purchased a 32GB IPOD Touch (2nd gen).  I have to say right off the bat, that this is one of the coolest tech gadgets I’ve ever played with.  Its sleek, ellegant, functional and easy to operate.  The App Store on iTunes is great, there are tons of free apps and a whole lot more of non-free apps that are great as well.  I personally now have over 8 pages of icons on my home screen!  I love the wifi connectivity, rich browsing experience with Safari, and an equally rich e-mail experience.  One of my favorite features of the iTunes remote option, that lets you control a running instance of iTunes with the Touch over wifi.  Everything from now playing controls, to volume.  Its great, and will make a convenient remote control for a party or event where you want to have music playing in the background.  I wish it had bluetooth support, a camera and GPS, but oh well.  If you want those features, get an iPhone. 

I can’t personally use an iPhone because of my work e-mail requirements, but I am seriously considering getting my wife an iPhone soon and experiencing it that way.  I went with the largest model at the recommendation of someone I know who has a Touch.  It is absolutely true that if you have the space you will use it.  I am now using over half of the space on my Touch between the apps and movies/music/podcasts… 

My recommendation would be to buy the 32GB model, immediately get a Zagg protective cover and get yourself some kind of case to keep it in.  These shiny sleek devices are easily scratched on the back and have no trouble collecting layers of skin oils on the surface to smear around.  With all that being said, I love my iTouch, its amazing and if you (the reader) are thinking about getting one, I highly recommend it.  One other tip for you, disable the backup (see previous post) to speed up synch times. 

Slow ITunes Backup

I recently had problems synching my new IPOD Touch with Itunes 8.  It would just hang on synching and take forever to finally get to the backup.  Well I came across this article which tells how to disable the mobile backup process by running a simple command.  (NEW – Alsup try this windows APP)  The syntax that is used in the article is wrong, so I’ll correct it here:

Windows Users: (updated)

Windows users can use the same approach:

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Press Win+R (opens the Windows Run dialog)
  3. Type or copy the following command:
    “C:Program FilesCommon FilesAppleMobile Device Supportbindefaults.exe” write AutomaticDeviceBackupsDisabled -bool true
  4. Open iTunes.
  5. Connect the iPhone/IPOD.
  6. Sync without backing up.

addthis_url = ‘’;
addthis_title = ‘iPhone+3G%3A+Disable+slow+iTunes+backup+%28Mac+and+Windows%29’;
addthis_pub = ‘;

Tampa International Airport ranked in the top 10 in the U.S.

Tampa residents know that they have a great airport, especially if you have exposure to other airports to compare it to.  I love it because of the easy design, quick security process, and convenient layout.  Check out these results for the top 10 airports in the country.

Portland 51.6
Tampa 51.4
Washington Reagan 47.1
Milwaukee 42.4
Orlando 39.5
Minneapolis-St. Paul 39.0
Long Beach 38.0
Salt Lake City 37.8
Pittsburgh 37.7
San Diego 37.3

Going on a trip to Jamaica!

My wife and I have been trying to make plans for our 10th annaversary for several weeks now.  Its been hard for us to really decide on anything for sure since we didn’t have our passports and have never gone anywhere outside the continental U.S.  But today we did it, we decided on a destination and made arrangements for our trip.  We will be going to Ochos Rios Jamaica to the Sandals Ochos Rios Grande All Inclusive Resort and Spa.  We went a little over budget for this trip, but there were a few things (as there always are) that we didn’t expect when planning the trip.  It turned out the flights were more expensive when you select reasonable flight times and then add on the trip insurance and woooops…  But oh well, its our 10th annaversary and we should splurge a little to celebrate. 

It did take quite some time to decide on a destination because we wanted to stay somewhere nice, but wasn’t unreasonably expensive.  Not just that but we actually want to get around and see the area and take some excursions.  Right now I’m thinking about taking the ATV safari and the canopy safari which is a rope walk through the tree tops of the jungle and they hint about some rope swinging which sounds like fun.  Throw in some time to relax at the pools and the beach, and there you have a nice little getaway.  We choose this particular resort due to a combination of factors such as price, room availability, reviews, resort features, local excursions, and more.  We will be sure to take lots of pictures and post reviews of the resort once we return.

Screenshot - 9_18_2008 , 4_37_41 PM