Error Message: “Server Administrator is unable to launch using default Internet browser.”

August 19, 2014 1 comment
  • System Notes: Dell PowerEdge T310, Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Dell OpenManage Server Administrator 7.2.0

On a Dell PowerEdge T310 server, running Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, when trying to start a local default installation of Dell OpenManage Server Administrator from a new account logon, we received an error message stating “Server Administrator is unable to launch using default Internet browser.”


OpenManage Error

It turns out that one of the administrator accounts had installed a secondary browser on the server for a specific purpose, then removed it.  This caused the program associations for Internet browsing to be incomplete.  To correct this, go into the Control Panel, go to Default Programs, then select Set your default programs.  Click on Internet Explorer from the Programs list and click on the Set this program as default option at the bottom of the window.  After that, Dell OpenManage Server Administrator should launch normally.

Additional Notes:
We only tried the above solution with Internet Explorer, but there is no reason it should not work with another browser.



HD streaming via RTSP from a Samsung network camera to Samsung MagicInfo content management software

May 17, 2014 Leave a comment
  • System Notes: Samsung SNB-6004 Network Camera, Samsung MagicInfo Premium Server (Version 2002.1), Samsung MagicInfo Premium iPlayer (Client Software; Versions 1007.10, 1009.7, 1100.9, 2001.3, 2002.2), VLC 2.1.3

We needed to take the HD output feed from a Samsung low-light security camera and send it to multiple MagicInfo iPlayer clients for broadcast purposes.  The main problem with doing this via the provided web interface for the camera was that the interface controls could not be hidden automatically, to show the feed only.  We were able to get around this by using the RTSP direct feed from the camera.  However, getting the MagicInfo clients to display the RTSP feed required a rather tricky setup involving the VLC media player and its associated web plugin.

First, install the VideoLAN VLC media player on each of your MagicInfo client systems (we used version 2.1.3, which was current at the time of this setup).  Then set up a custom HTML file with the VLC web plugin commands to load up the RTSP feed from the camera in full-screen 1920×1080 mode.  An example of this file can be found here, along with one that loads the same feed through Windows Media Player (and which we never did figure out how to get working), as well as some notes on the camera feeds.  Save this custom file on each of your MagicInfo client systems at C:\inetpub\wwwroot, which is the default directory for the local IIS setup on Samsung digital signage PCs.

Next, you will need to create a custom LFD file in the MagicInfo Premium Author program.  It should load up the file you created in the previous step as a single-page, full-screen, Internet Explorer source.  The URL for this page should be set to http://localhost/camerafeed.html (assuming that is the name of the file you created), the Vertical Scroll Pos should be 15, and the Horizontal Scroll Pos should be 10.  Publish this LFD file to the MagicInfo Premium Server.  It should show up in the Content section, just like any other resource, and can be scheduled as needed.

Additional Notes:

The above assumes you are comfortable working with the MagicInfo software in general, and the MagicInfo Author program in particular.  It also assumes you are using Samsung-provided set-back PC boxes (or “digital signage PCs” as Samsung calls them).  We tested with several models, such as SBB-D16AX2/ZA.

The default RTSP link on the Samsung SNB-6004 is rtsp://<ip address>:554/profile2/media.smp.  The default RTSP port is 554, and this can be adjusted through the web interface settings on the camera (although we could find no way to change the link path itself).  Make sure you set the “Enable RTSP connection without authentication” option, also found on the web interface settings (or optionally you can add Username and Password entries on the relevant fields in the LFD file, but we did not test this).

Categories: MagicInfo, RTSP, VLC

RealVNC notifications causing PowerPoint slide show to stop

February 12, 2014 Leave a comment
  • System Notes: Windows 7 Professional, RealVNC 5.1.0, PowerPoint 2010

We have a Windows 7 Professional system that we use a video extender with to display a rotating PowerPoint slide show on an external building monitor.  It has RealVNC installed for  remotely administering the system, and we just recently upgraded from RealVNC 5.0.5 to 5.1.0.  This caused a problem with the PowerPoint slide show stopping and returning to the main PowerPoint interface when disconnecting from RealVNC.

After some testing, it was determined that the connect/disconnect notifications had changed in RealVNC from version 5.0.5 to 5.1.0.  Once we disabled the notifications (which we didn’t really need anyway, due to how the system is set up and used), the PowerPoint problem went away.  To disable these notifications: right-click on the VNC icon, and select Options.  On the VNC Server – Options screen, click on Privacy.  Under the Protect computer options, uncheck the Notify when users connect and disconnect option.

Additional Notes:

By default, when RealVNC is installed, the Notify when users connect and disconnect option will be enabled.

Categories: PowerPoint, RealVNC, Windows 7

Microsoft Exchange 2003 to Office 365 Migration

September 28, 2013 Leave a comment

System Notes: Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise, Microsoft Office 365 E1

I have just recently completed a migration from a legacy on-premises Exchange 2003 e-mail server (running Exchange 2003 Enterprise; only one server/one mail database; 85 user mailboxes) to Microsoft Office 365 (cloud-based e-mail solution; using plan E1). Here are some of my personal observations and recommendations for this process:

  • I consulted with 3 different “migration” companies, but ultimately ended up doing this process myself with no outside help. The cheapest of the 3 companies was over $4K for assistance with the 85 mailboxes we had to migrate. The worst part of the migration process was converting each of the on-site Outlook 2010 clients to connect to Office 365, as it ended up taking the most time and being the most disruptive to the users. None of the companies offered to have someone on-site to help with this process, or wanted even more money specifically for that. Save yourself some grief and hire a temporary contractor for this portion of the project, as the rest of the actual migration is not hard at all, assuming you have a good plan in place.
  • We used the Exchange RPC interface to do a “cutover” migration from the Exchange 2003 server. Two notes on this process:

1. I was able to stop, restart, delete, and recreate the batch migration I set up as needed, with no duplication of users or any data in the user mailboxes. I was very worried about this initially, and could find no hard data on it online, so I decided I would just delete the mailboxes and re-migrate if duplication became a problem (which it did not).

2. Existing mailboxes that had the same username as those that were being migrated were blocked from migration and had to be completely deleted before they could be imported successfully. We have multiple domains set up on Office 365, and I had 5 test accounts set up with a domain that was different from the one I was migrating from Exchange 2003. However, the usernames were the same, and this is where I discovered the issue.

  • Do not just shut down your Exchange server once the migration is complete and you are running fully on Office 365. Even the older Exchange 2003 integrates extensively with Active Directory, and it must be uninstalled correctly or you are bound to have problems with Active Directory in the future. This is what I did:

1. Removed all mailboxes from the Exchange 2003 server.

2. Added a correct primary e-mail address that corresponded with the Office 365 e-mail address under the primary SMTP address field in Active Directory for each user. This is necessary for several Active Directory to Office 365 automation routines that we use, and may be required as well if you are using any of the directory synchronization routines that Microsoft provides.

3. Before uninstalling Exchange itself, I removed all supporting programs, including our Backup Exec Exchange agent, the Exchange User Monitor, and the Exchange Auto-Accept Agent.

4. If you get an error message when trying to uninstall Exchange 2003 from Add/Remove Programs, check out this link for a possible solution. We had one user account that the mailbox had been successfully removed from, but that still had the Exchange attributes attached in Active Directory. I was able to remove these via the Exchange user wizard. I did not have to remove the SystemMailbox from our Exchange environment, but I have seen others indicate they had to do this in their environments.

Backup Exec 2010 R3 System Upgrade from Windows Server 2003 R2 to Windows Server 2008 R2

February 9, 2013 Leave a comment
  • System Notes: Backup Exec 2010 R3, Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard, Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

Lately, I have been doing a lot of work upgrading older Windows servers from the 2003 R2 version (both 32 and 64 bit versions) to 2008 R2 (and soon probably 2012 once I get some more testing/learning time in with it).  One of the servers I had to upgrade was running Backup Exec 2010 R3, which was being used to backup other servers in a local domain to an internal RAID array.

The operating system upgrade was no problem, but moving Backup Exec and all of its data was going to be more complicated.  I primarily followed this Symantec Support article (TECH129826), while also referring to this (TECH67768).  The second article is much more comprehensive, but comes with the caveat that it is really only for moving Backup Exec between servers using the same operating system versions.

All data moved over correctly, and as far as Backup Exec was concerned, there were no differences between the two servers, from a job and history perspective.  The only problem I ran into was that I had to create a new temporary backup job and connect to each one of the remote servers that were being backed up by the existing backup jobs (via a Backup Exec Remote Agent).  This prompted Backup Exec to ask if I wanted to add each remote server to the “trusted favorites list,” which I did.  Before I figured out I needed to do this, my backup jobs were failing with authentication errors.

Additional Notes:

I was reusing the same hardware for my upgrade, and did not have to change the paths of the Backup-To-Disk folders that Backup Exec was using.  This simplified things greatly.  If you are using Backup-To-Disk folders with disk locations that are going to change, keep in mind that you will have to re-add each of them to the Backup Exec configuration, then also do a scan and an inventory on each as well before they can be used.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory Schema Update

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment
  • System Notes: Various Domain Controller Hardware, Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

Recently, I have completed several Active Directory domain upgrades for various organizations.  Everyone seems to finally be moving away from Windows Server 2003 and to Windows Server 2008 R2.  For reference purposes, or for those who are curious, below are sample outputs from one of the upgrades, for the various schema upgrade commands.  This is the main online article I referenced for these routines.

  1. adprep /forestprep
  2. adprep /rodcprep
  3. adprep /domainprep

Additional Notes:

The example Active Directory schema update was for a domain running the Windows Server 2003 R2 schema extensions.  The adprep /rodcprep is not strictly required, but I generally do it regardless of whether or not the client is currently using Read-Only Domain Controllers, as those will then be a future option with no additional Active Directory preparation required.

Dell PERC 6/i RAID5 Volume Non-Destructive Expansion

July 9, 2012 1 comment
  • System Notes: Dell PowerEdge 2950, Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

How I performed a non-destructive (“hot”) disk space expansion on an existing RAID5 array volume in a Dell PowerEdge 2950 server with a PERC 6/i RAID controller.

    1. Make sure a hard drive is available to add to the array, and that it is either already blanked, or that you don’t care about any existing data on it.
    2. Open the Dell OpenManage Server Administrator, navigate to the Storage node, and find the newly added available drive.  Make sure it has a state of “Ready.”
    3. Still under the Storage node, click on the Virtual Disks entry.  For the RAID volume to which the new drive is going to be added, click the drop-down under Tasks and select Reconfigure…
    4. On the Reconfigure Virtual Disk X (Step 1 of 3) screen, click the check box next to the new disk to add to the array.
    5. On the Reconfigure Virtual Disk X (Step 2 of 3) screen, click the radial next to the type of RAID array you are expanding
      (RAID5 in this case).
    6. Click Finish on the final Reconfigure Virtual Disk X (Step 3 of 3) screen to begin reconstructing the RAID array with the additional disk.  The Virtual Disk State will show “Reconstructing” during this process.  On a RAID5 volume with 300 GB SAS disks, going from 3 to 4 disks, the reconstruction took approximately 6 hours.
    7. Once the RAID reconstruction is complete, the disk volume in Windows must still be expanded into the newly available space.  In Windows Server 2008 R2, this can be done directly from the Disk Management interface in the Server Manager, using the Extend Volume command.

Additional Notes:

For older Windows Server operating systems, the DISKPART command must be used to extend a volume.