Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cannot Install Windows Server 2012 R2 on DL380 G9 (Fixed!)

I've been struggling with a relatively new HP DL380 Gen 9 server that I'm trying to convert to a Windows 2012 R2 box. Initially this server was running vSphere 5.5 and ran without any hiccups, however, at the end of the day, I only had one server running inside this host. To me, it made more sense for it to be a physical Windows Server.

Upon first attempting to convert to a Windows box, I kept having issues installing the O/S with HP Intelligent Provisioning. After reading several posts online, I decided to upgrade it to the latest version (v2.50). This unfortunately did not resolve much. Every time I went through the installation routine, it would hang or error out at some point of the installation. Sometimes it wouldn't see the drive and sometimes it got caught in a reboot loop. I finally decided to bypass the built-in HP Intelligent Provisioning tool and installed straight from the media. This worked fine, but you do have to install drivers with SPP media after installing the O/S. I did run into another issue once everything was operational, the server was hard locked at an HP splash screen and after much troubleshooting, the motherboard turned out to be bad. The only error I noticed was that the server overheated.

Once the motherboard got replaced, I went through the process of upgrading the built-in HP Intelligent Provisioning tools once again to the latest version and then followed that up by using the SPP to update firmware and BIOS since the mobo was behind. After multiple attempts at installing the O/S with HP Intelligent Provisioning, different Windows Server media, USB drives, DVD single and dual-layer media and just about any scenario you can think of, I decided to remove the secondary HP Smart Array P441/4GB SAS Controller that was connected to some direct attached storage (DAS). At this point, I successfully used the built-in provisioning tools and it booted into Windows without any issues whatsoever.

tl;dr - remove any additional RAID controllers from server and leverage HP Intelligent Provisioning (F10) to install Server 2012. Also, change the power profile to Maximum Performance.

Edit (12/28/16): After replacing the motherboard a couple of times, the Smart Array card, a couple of CPUs and RAM sticks, HP elevated this case and reviewed the logs a little closer. Unfortunately the CPU was causing machine check errors (MCE) in the IML log. Turns out that the server was shifting c-states on the CPUs and creating a number of issues of us. I had seen a number of similar issues with the same gen hardware and Linux OS, but never with Windows. The solution turned out to be changing the system configuration under power management to Maximum Performance.

Press F9 during POST when promted.
Select System Configuration -> Bios/Platform Configuration (RBSU) -> Power Management
Set HP Power Profile to Maximum Performance
Save configuration and reboot.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Setting static/fixed WMI port in Windows 2012 R2

Here's a quick how-to on setting up a static port for Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). I'm assuming that you have specific reasons to do so, in my case, I wanted to limit the firewall rule scope to a single port instead of the default range of ports. Microsoft allows you to run a quick command and after restarting the WMI services, you end up with the fixed port 24158 for WMI. While that's the default fixed port, there are ways of changing to one of your liking and I'll also demonstrate that.

Step 1 - Elevated Command Prompt

From an elevated command prompt, run the following command:
winmgmt -standalonehost

Step 1

Step 2 - Restart WMI Services

Stop and restart the WMI service (also from an elevated command prompt):
net stop winmgmt && net start winmgmt

Step 2

At this point, if you're not using the Windows 2012 firewall, you are done. WMI has been set to static port 24158. The following steps are optional, depending on your configurations and needs.

Step 3 - Set Preferred TCP Port (Optional)

Launch Component Services from Run or the command prompt.

Step 3a

From Component Services, navigate to Computers\My Computer\DCOM Config\Windows Management & Instrumentation

Step 3b
Step 3c

Right click on Windows Management and Instrumentation and select Properties.

Step 3d
Step 3e

Change the TCP port to the one of your choice.

Step 3f

Step 4 - Add Firewall Rule (Optional)

If you're using the built in Windows firewall, you'll need to add a new incoming rule to allow WMI traffic on the newly designated static port. On the following command, we're assuming that the static port is 24158 and that the new firewall rule is called WMIFixedPort, although you can name it anything you want. Make sure you run the following from an elevated command prompt.
netsh firewall add portopening TCP 24158 WMIFixedPort

Undo WMI Changes

If you would like to go back to default WMI port/behavior, run the following from an elevated command prompt.
winmgmt -sharedhost


Binary2Dec - WMI Fixed Port
MSDN - winmgmt

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Installing OpenFiler on HP ProLiant Server // VMware + NFS

For a current project at work, I've been stuck using local storage on a number of VMware 5.5 servers since we do not have any shared storage available. I decided to take things into my own hands and do the next best thing. Because we have an older HP ProLiant server available, I decided to load OpenFiler v2.99 onto it.  If you're wondering why I'm not using FreeNAS, the reason is simple, the HP server does not allow direct access to the drives, which is something that is needed to setup ZFS in FreeNAS.

The server has 8 total drives; I setup a RAID1 array with 2 drives housing the installation/configuration of OpenFiler and then a RAID5 array with the remaining 6 drives, which will be used to setup the NFS share available to the VMware hosts.

The first challenge came up when attempting to install OpenFiler from a USB drive. Using Rufus to transfer the installation ISO to a flash drive didn't work as intended, apparently you need to copy the ISO over to the flash drive as well. I am thankful for a couple of people that posted this info as it probably would have caused me to lose my sanity otherwise. For more information regarding how to properly create the bootable USB install drive, please see the SECASERVER blog. If you need additional visual representation of what the process looks like, some one was kind enough to post a YouTube video of that as well.

Thankfully after reading these instructions and watching the short video, the install went pretty smoothly. If you'd like to check out some instructions of how to setup OpenFiler NFS or iSCSI with a VMware host, Rob Bastiaansen posted a wonderful guide on the vmwarebits blog. If you'd like to use multiple NICs for redundancy and more bandwidth, you can setup link aggregation between the OpenFiler host and a switch. In my case, I'm using LACP on a Cisco switch. For more info, Conrad Jedynak has the following blog post showing a sample configuration.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Solarwinds indexes with fragmentation over 90%

If your Solarwinds NPM deployment database shows indexes with fragmentation over 90% during DB maintenance, there are a few solutions listed on the Thwack Community Forums.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Error 1911 - Could Not Register Type Library

Recently I ran into an issue while attempting to install MS SQL 2014 Management Studio on a Windows 2012 R2 Server. While it was able to install some of the components, the most important ones failed to install. I kept running into an error called 1911 where it was not able to register a certain file. After doing some research online, I noticed that a lot of people running multiple versions of Windows had the following update installed on their system KB3072630.

The simple fix for me was to remove the update and install the application. This allowed me to successfully install the SQL Management Studio without a problem. If you would like to keep your system secure, I would advise that you install the update to patch the vulnerability once again. Sophos published an article with a little more information, if interested, you can follow this link.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Activating Windows 7 - Error: 0x80070005 Access Denied

Today I ran into an issue while trying to activate Windows 7 on a workstation.  While trying to import a key via the slmgr.vbs /ipk command, I received the following error. 0x80070005 Access denied: the requested action required elevated privileges.

The strange thing about this error is that I had logged on with an administrator account and I even tried it from an elevated command prompt. It turns out that the workstation was missing some crucial registry entries. What worked for me was importing the following (copy the following text and change the extension to .reg).

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\S-1-5-18]


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\S-1-5-19]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\S-1-5-20]

I can't guarantee that this will work for you, but it worked for me. If it doesn't, there are other possible solutions where I originally found this solution.  Full credit goes to Shantanu over at

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Remote Desktop Command: Ctrl + Alt + Del

For those of us who administer a number of systems remotely, here's a quick shortcut when needing to send the infamous ctrl + alt + del command while running Remote Desktop:


Source: Steve Harman Blog