Archive for May, 2006

The Google You Don’t Know About: Discover Google’s Many Hidden Features

Friday, May 26th, 2006

Google is a key tool for just about every Web user these days, and it remains the most popular web search engine in use today. But many of Google’s coolest features often get overlooked. Here are some of Three18′s favorite Google tools:

Google Toolbar (toolbar.google.com): Windows users can save themselves the step of navigating to Google’s homepage by adding the Google Toolbar to their Internet Explorer browser. In addition to fast access to web searches, you also get a history of your most recent searches, bars indicating relevance of your searches, and links to other Google resources. But its most welcome bonus is its built-in, intelligent Pop-up blocker.

Google Desktop (desktop.google.com): Ever wish you could just Google your entire computer to find that long lost document or e-mail message? Well, now you can with Google Desktop. It installs Google’s powerful search engine capabilities into your PC, so you can instantly search your entire hard drive for e-mails, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, IM chats, and even cached web pages you’ve visited. It’s currently only available for PC, but Google has announced plans to build a version for Mac OS X.

Google Local (local.google.com): Confine your search to your neighborhood (or any other location in North America for that matter). It’s a simple matter of entering your search terms and a location, be it an address, a ZIP code, or a City/State combination. You’ll get not only your list of search results in the standard Google format, but you’ll get a map of the results as well.

Froogle (froogle.google.com): Shopping for the best price is easy with Froogle. Just tell it what you’re looking for, and it searches a seemingly infinite number of online retailers. Sort your results by price, or within a price range, or by category (this comes in handy if you’re doing a brand search such as Sony, Apple, or Craftsman). A great tool for bargain hunter’s shopping during the holidays!

Google News (news.google.com): The ultimate fix for news junkies. Browse and search over 4,500 online news publications from all over the world. Then combine it with Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) to give yourself customized news alerts in your e-mail inbox as often as you want: either as they happen, once a day, or once a week.

Google Directory (directory.google.com): Billed as “the largest human-edited directory on the web”, the Google Directory leverages the deep database of the Open Directory Project (dmoz.org) and the powerful Google search engine. You can browse categories or just run a search. Either way, your results are going to be based on categories and information that is organized by human beings, not crawlers, spiders, or bots (which can be easily fooled into incorrectly boosting the relevance of web pages).

GMail (gmail.google.com): Google’s long-anticipated (and hotly sought-after) free e-mail service is still in limited Beta test mode, but those users lucky enough to score a GMail account have been wowed by the results: over a gigabyte of mail storage, all instantly searchable with Google’s familiar search engine technology. Keep an eye on Three18′s newsletter for updates on when Gmail goes “live” for use by the general public.

These are just some of the tools Google has available right now. They’re all free, powerful, and unlike anything else on the web. Google is currently in a dramatic growth phase, with numerous projects and technologies in the works. And the great thing is, you can test them out as they’re developed. Go to Google Labs (labs.google.com) to see what they’re working on now.

Setting Up Firewalls in Windows Server 2003

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

Windows Server has always been a little tricky to configure any type of routing on. To enable the Windows Server 2003 Firewall:
1. Click on Start -> Administrative Tools -> Routing and Remote Access.
2. Under ComputerName (Local) select IP Routing.
3. Right-Click on NAT/Basic Firewall and click on New Interface.
4. Select the NIC to perform Firewalling on and click OK.
5. Click on the radio button for Basic Firewall only.
6. Click on Inbound Filters.
7. Click on Drop all packets except those that meet the criteria below.
8. Click on New.
9. If you are allowing any traffic for each protocol then do not check the Source Network, if you are filtering so that only certain IP addresses can hit the port then use the Source Network to do so.
10. Select the type of protocol that we will be allowing into the server (for an example of web traffic we will select TCP here.
11. Enter the Source and Destination Port in the next two boxes.
12. Click on Services and Ports and place checkboxes in the ports that users of your local subnet should have access to (eg – www, ftp, etc).
13. Click on Apply.
14. Click on OK.

Backing Up and Restoring MySQL

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

Backing up MySQL
Do you need to change your web host or switch your database server? This is probably the only time when you really think of backing up your MySQL data. If you’ve got a website with a database or your custom database running for your applications, it is imperative that you make regular backups of the database. In this article, I will outline two easy ways of backing up and restoring databases in MySQL.
The easiest way to backup your database would be to telnet to the your database server machine and use the mysqldump command to dump your whole database to a backup file. If you do not have telnet or shell access to your server, don’t worry about it; I shall outline a method of doing so using the PHPMyAdmin web interface, which you can setup on any web server which executes PHP scripts.

If you have either a shell or telnet access to your database server, you can backup the database using mysqldump. By default, the output of the command will dump the contents of the database in SQL statements to your console. This output can then be piped or redirected to any location you want. If you plan to backup your database, you can pipe the output to a sql file, which will contain the SQL statements to recreate and populate the database tables when you wish to restore your database. There are more adventurous ways to use the output of mysqldump.

Mysqldump can create a simple backup of your database using the following syntax:
mysqldump -u [username] -p [password] [databasename] > [backupfile.sql]

Username is your database username. Password is the password for your database. Databasename is the name of the database you want to backup. Backupfile.sql is the file that the backup will be written to.

The new dump file will contain all the SQL statements needed to create the table and populate the data into a new database server. To backup your database ‘Customers’ with the username ‘sadmin’ and password ‘pass21′ to a file custback.sql, you would issue the command:

mysqldump -u sadmin -p pass21 Customers > custback.sql

You can also ask mysqldump to add a drop table command before every create command by using the option –add-drop-table. This option is useful if you would like to create a backup file which can rewrite an existing database without having to delete the older database manually first.

mysqldump –add-drop-table -u sadmin -p pass21 Customers > custback.sql

If you’d like restrict the backup to only certain tables of your database, you can also specify the tables you want to backup. Let’s say that you want to backup only customer_master & customer_details from the Customers database, you do that by issuing

mysqldump –add-drop-table -u sadmin -p pass21 Customers customer_master customer_details> custback.sql

So the syntax for the command to issue is:

mysqldump -u [username] -p [password] [databasename] [table1 table2 ....]

[tables] – This is a list of tables to backup. Each table is separated by a space.

If you are a database administrator who has to look after multiple databases, you’ll need to back up more than one database at a time. Here’s how you can backup multiple databases in one shot.

If you want to specify the databases to backup, you can use the –databases parameter followed by the list of databases you would like to backup. Each database name has to be separated by at least one space when you type in the command. So if you have to backup 3 databases, let say Customers, Orders and Comments, you can issue the following command to back them up. Make sure the username you specify has permissions to access the databases you would like to backup.

mysqldump -u root -p pass21 –databases Customers Orders Comments > multibackup.sql

This is okay if you have a small set of databases you want to backup. Now how about backing up all the databases in the server? That’s an easy one, just use the –all-databases parameter to backup all the databases in the server in one step.

mysqldump –all-databases> alldatabases.sql

Backing up only the Database Structure

Most developers need to backup only the database structure to while they are developing their applications. You can backup only the database structure by telling mysqldump not to back up the data. You can do this by using the –no-data parameter when you call mysqldump.

mysqldump –no-data –databases Customers Orders Comments > structurebackup.sql

Compressing your Backup file on the Fly

Backups of databases take up a lot of space. You can compress the output of mysqldump to save valuable space while you’re backing up your databases. Since mysqldump sends its output to the console, we can pipe the output through gzip or bzip2 and send the compressed dump to the backup file. Here’s how you would do that with bzip2 and gzip respectively.

mysqldump –all-databases | bzip2 -c >databasebackup.sql.bz2
mysqldump –all-databases | gzip >databasebackup.sql.gz

It is also always a good idea to backup your MySQL coniguration file. This file is typically called my.cnf.

You can also use the mysqlhotcopy command to make raw backups of MyISAM tables. Mysqlhotcopy handles locks on the database and has support for regular expressions. Mysqlhotcopy can also truncate indexes to allow administrator to save space on their backup media. Mysqlhotcopy is included with a default installation of MySQL and can typically be found in the /usr/bin folder of your system. Mysqlhotcopy use is as follows:
mysqlhotcopy databasename path_to_file

The mysqlhotcopy is a Perl script, so you must be able to execute Perl scripts on your server in order to use it. It requires the DBI, Getopt::Long, Data::Dumper, File::Basename, File::Path, Sys::Hostname Perl classes in order to run. You must also have SELECT, RELOAD and LOCK TABLES priveledges for the tables you are backing up. For more information on the mysqlhotcopy command, enter perldoc mysqlhotcopy at a command prompt.

When you enter mysql from a command prompt you will enter an interactive command line mode. You can only use the backup statement for MyISAM tables. The backup statement, used from within the mysql interactive mode, has been deprecated by later versions of MySQL. You should only use it for small, low volume tables. The backup command works as follows:
1. Enter MySQL at a command prompt
2. Enter backup table tablename to ‘/path/filename’

This copies the definition (.frm) and data (.MYD) files. The indexes will be rebuilt when restoring, which is done as follows:
1. Enter MySQL at a command prompt
2. Restore table tablename from ‘/path/filename’

Additionally it is possible to make MySQL backups using third party software. Packages such as
Restoring MySQL
Now that you’ve got backups of your database, let’s learn how to restore your backup in case your database goes down. Here’s how you can restore your backed up database using the mysql command.

If you have to re-build your database from scratch, you can easily restore the mysqldump file by using the mysql command. This method is usually used to recreate or rebuild the database from scratch.

Here’s how you would restore your custback.sql file to the Customers database.

mysql -u sadmin -p pass21 Customers < custback.sql

Easy isn’t it ? Here’s the syntax you would follow to restore data.

mysql -u [username] -p [password] [database_to_restore] < [backupfile]

Now how about those zipped files? You can restore your zipped backup files by first uncompressing its contents and then sending it to mysql.

gunzip < custback.sql.sql.gz | mysql -u sadmin -p pass21 Customers

You can also combine two or more backup files to restore at the same time, using the cat command. Here’s how you can do that.

cat backup1.sql backup.sql | mysql -u sadmin -p pass21

How would you like to replicate your present database to a new location? When you are shifting web hosts or database servers, you can directly copy data to the new database without having to create a database backup on your machine and restoring the same on the new server. mysql allows you to connect to a remote database server to run sql commands. Using this feature, we can pipe the output from mysqldump and ask mysql to connect to the remote database server to populate the new database. Let’s say we want to recreate the Customers database on a new database server located at 202.32.12.32, we can run the following set of commands to replicate the present database at the new server.

mysqldump -u sadmin -p pass21 Customers | mysql –host=202.32.12.32 -C Customers

To restore the MySQL configuration file, you can usualy just copy and paste the settings from a previously saved copy of the my.cnf file into the newly created my.cnf file from when you reinstalled MySQL.

VoIP and Packet8

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the technology used to transmit voice conversations over data (computer) networks using the Internet. The data network can be T-1, DSL, Cable Modems or any other high-speed Internet (broadband) connection.

In the past few years, Vonage took the country by storm, offering low cost unlimited long distance using VoIP. For most residential users, Vonage is perfect. Vonage is easy to setup and use and has all of the features a standard phone would have for a fraction of the cost for most people. ViaTalk, Sun Rocket, ITP, Lingo, SpeakEasy and TalkTimes.net are all competitors to Vonage, but while some of these are cheaper than Vonage, few are better for a residential making Vonage the preferred choice.

One Vonage competitor that has risen above the rest due to its ability to help Small Businesses is Packet8.

Packet8 takes VoIP a step further; from the home and into the workplace. Their Virtual Office offers unlimited calls to the US and Canada, unlimited worldwide calls within the network, a unique inbound telephone number, auto-attendant routing and online switchboard viewing for $42.48 per month. Each virtual extension is $10.49 per month and each virtual number (other numbers that can be used to reach your organization) is $5.49 per month. The cost is more than that of a service like Vonage, but the commercial features available to Packet8 systems are also much greater. The big thing that Packet8 offers with the Virtual Office and switchboard are 3-digit dialing and other traditional PBX features.

The pricing is fairly straight forward, and numbers can be ported from existing services. An example of the pricing for a typical office with 5 people on a Packet8 plan might be:

5 lines $212.40/month
Switchboard $19.99/month
Total (no fax service included) $231.40/month

Telephone service can be obtained below 64 kilobits per second but audio quality may be adversely affected. Each active voice line uses approximately 23 kilobits per second of total data throughput, upstream and downstream. Typically, no firewall configuration is needed and all of the administration of the system occurs using the easily understanding web portal. The best part is, users do not need to buy an expensive PBX or VoIP telephone server.

The Virtual Attendant can be a great call routing technique for managing an office where users are mostly out of the office. The Virtual Attendant can route calls that come in through one phone number to wired or mobile phones and other Virtual Office extensions, regardless of geographic location. Virtual Attendant can be used in conjunction with a Virtual Office Service Plan. This service is $14.99 for unlimited minutes.

Packet8 also offers Video Phones so that when you are on the road you can connect your phone into the network of a hotel or remote office and stay in touch. The quality and versatility of the Video Phones is unparalleled for the price. The units are affordable, compared to many other solutions and there are no rules against taking the phones or Video Phones to foreign countries as there are with Vonage.

For more information on the many VoIP services that may be available to your business, please contact Three18, Inc. at 310-581-9500 or via email at sales@318.com

Using NTBackup

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

What is backup?

Before we start with the actual backup, we must know what we are doing. This section will give you all the information you need to understand how backup works.

Types of backups

Normal backup
The normal backup is…normal (surprised?). So, what does this mean? It simply means that it copies all the files you have marked to be backed up, and marks the files as having been backed up. You also only need the most recent copy of the backup file (other types of backups requires several files, see below) to restore. This type is usually what you use the first time you backup files.
Incremental backup
The incremental backup backs up only those files that have been created or changed since last incremental or normal backup. It also marks the files as having been backed up. A combination of Normal backups and Incremental backups is common, and also a very good combination. It also requires the least amount if storage space and is fast for backing up the data. The disadvantage of this is that it’s time-consuming to recover files, simply because you need the last normal backup set and all incremental backup sets, which can be stored on several backup drives or tapes.
Differential backup
The differential backup is similar to the incremental backup and only copies files that have been created or changed since the last normal or incremental backup. No, it wasn’t a typo, it doesn’t check if a differential backup has been run. This is because differential backups does not mark files as having been backed up. A combination of differential backups and normal backups is more time-consuming concerning the backup part then the incremental + normal backups are. But on the other hand it is faster to restore data because all you need is the last normal backup and the last differential backup.
Copy backup
A copy backup copies all the files you have selected, but does not mark the files as having been backed up. This backup type is useful when you must backup single files between normal and incremental backups because it does not affect these operations.
Daily backup
The daily backup copies all the files that you have selected that have been modified on the day, without marking the files as having been backed up.
Volume Shadow Copy Technology

This is a new technology in Windows Server 2003 that did not exist in Windows 2000 Server. This technology is used to create a copy of the original volume at the time a backup is initiated. Data is then backed up from the shadow copy instead of the original volume. By doing this, all activity such as file changes, will not affect the backup, because it is using the shadow copy instead, which is not changed. So with this new feature users can access files during a backup, files are not skipped because they were in use, files open appears to be closed.

You should use Volume Shadow Copy, but you can disable it. The only time when you want to disable it is when you don’t have enough free disk space. As you can imagine you need as much extra disk space as the file you will backup uses. This consumption of disk space is however temporarily and will be free when the backup is completed.

If sufficient temporary disk space is not available Windows Server 2003 cannot complete shadow copy and the backup will skip open files.

To use this feature you must use NTFS as file system.

Volume Shadow Copy does not mean that you from now on can backup when the server usage is high. You should always backup when it’s low, for example at nights and weekends.

[Volume Shadow Copy can be used for several other things. In this text I’m covering the backup part of Volume Shadow Copy.]

Permissions

Not everyone can backup files and folders and you must have certain permission to do this. To be able to backup any file and folder on a local computer you must be an administrator or a backup operator in a local group on that computer. Likewise, to be able to backup any computer in a domain you must be administrator or backup operator on the domain or a domain with which they have a two-way trust relationship.

You can however always backup files and folders for which you have ownership of or one or more of the following permissions for the file and/or folder: Read, Read and execute, Modify, Full Control.

You can also be limited in the backup because of disk-quota restrictions that may restrict your access to the hard disk. To check this, right click the disk you want to save the data to and click Properties. Then click the Quota tab.

Good practice is to limit access to a backup file so only administrators and the owner (the one who created the backup file) is able to restore files and folders. This is available as an option during the backup wizard.

System state data

You can choose to do a System State backup, and this is very important if you want to be able to get a functional system in the event of a crash. This table shows which components that are backed up on a System State backup.

Component Included in System State Backup
Boot files and system files Yes
Registry Yes
COM+ Yes
System files under Windows File Protection Yes
Active Directory, directory service If it’s a domain
SYSVOL directory If it’s a domain controller
IIS Metadirectory If it’s installed
Certificate Services database If it’s a Certificate Services server
Cluster Service information If it’s within a cluster
You don’t have to know which of these components to backup. The Backup Utility included in Windows Server 2003 will choose this when you perform a System State backup. Likewise you cannot choose which components to restore; all the System State data will be restored. This is due to dependencies among the components. You can however restore the System State data to an alternative location. This does not mean that you can restore it to another computer and think it will work as the one you backed up. Not all data is restored when you restore to an alternative location. Only the components System boot files, registry files, SYSVOL directory files and Cluster database information files will be restored.

Restore system state data

If you are running in a non-domain environment all you have to do is follow the restore wizard (more about this later). But if you have to restore a Domain Controller it is not that simple. There are three different restore methods:

Primary restore
Normal restore
Authoritative restore
Depending on what you have to restore, if it must be restored to other Domain Controllers, or if you have more then one Domain Controller you use different methods.

Primary restore
This is the type you should use when all Domain Controllers are lost and you are building up the domain from backup. But you should only use this when restoring the first replica set (SYSVOL and File Replication Service is example of replicated data sets). This is also the type you use when restoring a standalone Domain Controller.
Normal restore
When doing a normal restore, Backup is working in nonauthoritative mode. That means that any data (including Active Directory objects) will have their original sequence number. This is the number AD replication uses to detect if there are any new objects to replicate to other servers. So when you use Normal restore any data will appear as old and will therefore not replicate to other servers. If newer data is available, it will of course replicate to the restored server. This method is used when restoring all but the first replica set and when restoring a single domain controller in a replicated environment.
Authoritative restore
This is the third method. To perform an authoritative restore you have to run a utility called Ntdsutil. This must be run after you have restored the System State data, but before you restart the server. When you perform this kind of restore the sequence number of Active Directory objects are changed so that it has a higher number. This will ensure that any data you restore will be replicated (because Active Directory replication thinks it’s new). This is a little bit difficult to understand, but if you compare this to Normal restore, Normal restore will always mark objects as old, and authoritative restore will always mark objects as new. So simply said, use Authoritative restore when you have changed something and the change has been replicated to all other servers and you want to undo the change.
Remember: You must start a Domain Controller in Directory Services Restore Mode (press F8 during startup) to be able to restore System State data on a Domain Controller.

Backup data

We will use this backup scheme to create our backups.

Day Type of backup
Friday night Full backup (normal)
Saturday night Incremental, files and folders only
Sunday night Incremental, files and folders only
Monday night Incremental, files and folders only
Tuesday night Incremental, files and folders only
Wednesday night Incremental, files and folders only
Thursday night Incremental, files and folders only
Designing a good backup scheme is not always as simple as you might think. Questions like, what should I backup and when should I back it up occurs. The answer to these questions varies for every network and every server. Say that you will back up a Domain Controller and you add objects to Active Directory all the time. Then the above scheme would not be recommended. You’ll have to backup System State data at least one more time during the week (if not every day). The above scheme does likewise not have to apply web servers. You’ll have to find out when the load is as low as possible on the web server and use this information to find out what kind of backup scheme you want to use. Here are some general rules:

Backup when the load is as low as possible
If System State data is changed frequently, back it up more often
If files and folders are changed often, perform Full Backup more often
You will most likely have to perform backups beside this scheme. When doing this, if it is possible, do not use Full Backup or Incremental Backup because it can disturb the normal backup scheme (files are marked as already backed up). Sooner or later you won’t know where files are and it can be very time-consuming to restore.
Consider what you think is most important, a fast backup or to be able to restore fast, you cannot have both these features.
Click Start->Run and type ntbackup
Click the Advanced Mode link
Click Backup Wizard (Advanced)
Click Next
Make sure Back up everything on this computer is selected and click Next

We will backup to a file, you can place it wherever you want, just make sure you name it Friday and click Next

Click Advanced
Make sure Normal is selected as type of backup and click Next

Check the box Verify data after backup and click Next (You will most likely have errors when the backup is completed and verified. This is because System State data is changed all the time. If there are too many errors, there might be problems with the file you are using to back up data.)
Click Replace the existing backups and click Next

Click Later and in the Job Name box type Friday Nights, click Set Schedule
In Schedule Task select Weekly and as Start time 11:00 PM (or whenever you want the backup to be scheduled). Make sure it’s set to run every 1 week and on Fridays. Click OK

You will be prompted to run the task as a user. Use a user with privileges to backup data.
Click Next
Click Finish
The Backup Wizard should close and you should be back in the Backup Utility. You can now verify that the backup is scheduled by clicking on the Schedule Jobs tab.

In case you want to edit the backup you can do it from here. Just click the backup symbol on the day you want to edit.

Click the Welcome tab and start the Backup Wizard again.
Click Next
Select Backup selected files, drives or network data and click Next
Expand My Computer in the left pane and select all drives (in my case C: and D:) and click Next

Name it Monday and click Next
Click Advanced
Select Incremental as type of backup and click Next
Check the box Verify data after backup and click Next
Click Replace the existing backups and click Next
Click Later and in the Job Name box type Monday Nights, click Set Schedule
In Scheduled Task select Weekly and as Start time 11:00 PM (or whenever you want the backup to be scheduled). Make sure it’s set to run every 1 week and on Mondays.
Click Advanced and set the Start Date the same day as when the full backup will run. In my case that is January 03, 2003, so that is the start date I choose. Click OK, click OK
You will be prompted to run the task as a user. Use a user with privileges to backup data.
Click Next
Click Finish
Use the steps above to create incremental backups for the other five days of week. Of course all this can be done by writing a script, but I’ll leave that for now. And again, this is only a suggestion for a backup strategy. A backup strategy varies from company to company and it is not something you develop in one hour. You must analyze and find out what fits your company best. Also remember that if you followed the steps above, you will only save the backup files for a week. This is probably not what you want, and you have to schedule a script to move the files every week.

Where are the log files?

Of course you should read the log files so you are sure that the backup was successful. You do this be looking in Event Viewer for error messages, and you can also read a complete report by clicking Report on the Tools menu. If you want to log more or less, take a look in the Options on the Tools menu, and click on the Backup Log tab.

Restore data

It’s Wednesday, and you discover that an important file is corrupt. The question is, how do I restore the file from a backup? Well, it’s quite simple. The first thing we have to do is locate where the file are. If we know where on the disk it’s supposed to be, we can start from the latest incremental backup (Tuesday) and try to find it. If it’s not there, it means that the file was not altered, and we have to try the next file (Monday). On the other hand if we do not know where the file is, we have to restore the full backup file (Friday), find the file, and then find out if there is a newer version.

If the Backup Utility is not open, open it and click on the Advanced Mode link.
Click Restore Wizard
Click Next
Expand Tuesday.bkf, find the file you want to restore and check the box in front of the file. In my case it is 0055.txt in D:\sql

Click Next
Click Advanced
Select Single Folder. This is because I am only restoring one file, and I don’t want to restore it to the original location. If I choose Alternate Location it will keep the folder structure (in my case it will create the folder sql). Usually you will use Alternate Location when restoring files.

In Folder Name type where you want to restore the file (in my case c:\restore) and click Next
Select Leave existing files and click Next
Make sure Restore security settings and Preserve existing volume mount points are selected and click Next
Click Finish
That’s it! The file is restored.

You use the same process to restore System State data. Just remember that if you are restoring the System State data on a Domain Controller you must start the computer in Directory Services Restore Mode, which you access be pressing F8 when the computer is starting. And if you want to perform an Authoritative restore, remember to run ntdsutil before restarting the computer. More info about the ntdsutil can be found by typing ntdsutil /? in a command prompt.

Use the Restore and Manage Media tab

This is the tab where you format tapes, mark a tape as free, delete catalogs etc. And everything is very simple to do, just right click the object you want to do something with, and choose what you want to do.

Advanced Options

There are a lot of other options you can set to get the Backup Utility to work as you want. You access this from the Tools menu and then click Options. I will not write about everything here, instead I recommend you take a look there and if there is some option you do not understand, use the ? in the upper right to get more info about it.

Recovery Console

When nothing else works, Recovery Console saves you. You can use Recovery Console when you cannot boot into safe mode to read and write data (including NTFS) on local drives, enable and disable services, and many other things.

You can start the Recovery Console in two ways:

Boot the Windows Server 2003 CD and start the setup. When the text-based setup begins follow the prompts and choose recover by pressing R
Select Recovery Console from the list of available Operating Systems. To do this you must run a x86-based computer and install Recovery Console.
When you have started the Recovery Console, you will have to choose which Operating System to recover (if you are multi-booting). After that you will be prompted for the password for the administrator account. When you are logged on you will get a console from which you perform all tasks. This console is very similar to the command prompt in Windows Server 2003. The only command you have to remember is help. By writing that you will get a list of available commands to use. If you don’t know how to use a command, write the command name followed by /? . To exit the Recovery Console, write exit.

Install Recovery Console

You can only install the Recovery Console on a x86-based computer.

Click Start and then Run
Type (where x is the CD-ROM drive letter) x:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons
Follow the wizard
Remove Recovery Console

Open My Computer and double click the hard drive on which you installed the Recovery Console
Click on Tools->Folder Options
Click on the View tab, check Show hidden files and folders and clear the Hide protected operating system files check box
At the root directory delete the folder Cmdcons and the file Cmldr
Right click My Computer and click Properties
Click on the Advanced tab and under Startup and Recovery click the Settings button
In System startup click the Edit button. This will display boot.ini in Notepad
Remove the entry for Recovery Console, it will look like: C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat=”Microsoft Windows Recovery Console” /cmdcons
Save the file
Remember that the boot.ini is a very important file, and if you modify this incorrectly you can cause the computer to not boot up.

Automated System Recovery

Do you remember Emergency Repair Disk (ERD)? Forget about it. Well, ok, not yet, you have probably still some Windows 2000 Servers. But ERD is replaced by Automated System Recovery (ASR) in Windows Server 2003. ASR is a last resort and should only be used when options like Safe Mode and Last Known Good Configuration fails. ASR consists of two parts – backup and restore. The backup part can be accessed through the Automated System Recovery Preparation Wizard in the Backup Utility. This wizard backs up the System State data, system services and all disks associated with the operating system components. It also creates a floppy disk that you should store in a safe place. This floppy disk contains for example information about the backup.

When recovering by using ASR it will use the floppy disk to read the disk configuration and restore the disk signatures, volumes and partitions that is required to start your computer. ASR then installs a simple installation of Windows and automatically starts to restore from the backup ASR created in the wizard.

ASR will not backup data files. That should be backed up separately.

Create an ASR set

Start the Backup Utility by clicking Start->Run and type ntbackup
The Backup or Restore Wizard starts by default, we will not use this(though we could) , so click the Advanced mode link
On the Welcome tab, click Automated System Recovery Wizard
The wizard is pretty self-explained so follow it
Recover using ASR

Boot from the Windows Server 2003 CD and start the installation.
If you have a mass storage controller and must install drivers for it, do that by pressing F6 when prompted
Press F2 when prompted. You will be prompted to insert the ASR floppy, do that.
Follow the wizard
You will reboot and if you pressed F6 previously, do that again when prompted
Follow the wizard