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14 april 2014

SQL Server Recovery Models

Simple Mode

Putting a database into simple mode means that you don’t want to take log backups and all you want to do is rely on full backups for your recovery.  How it accomplishes this is simple.  It forces the log to truncate when the database writes data to the disk (we call that a checkpoint).  So if the log isn’t storing any long-term data, then it can’t be backed up.  It’s also worth noting that SQL Server 2008 won’t shrink the log file itself; it only deletes the inactive portion of the log.  This means that if you have a huge transaction that grows your log to 50GB, and you’re in simple mode, the log will be 100% full at this point.  However, when the operation completes, that portion of the log is marked as inactive and is deleted, but the file itself remains 50GB.  Only now the file is mostly empty.  For more on managing database files see:  How to manage SQL Server database files.

How To Configure a Cisco Router to Export NetFlow Data

Introduction

Following is a brief how-to video with Josh Stephens, Head Geek at SolarWinds on configuring a Cisco router to export NetFlow data. If you're not familiar with NetFlow, check out this Geek Guide to NetFlow at SolarWinds to get started.

Remove Trojan/Downloader.Geral.sie

Trojan/Downloader.Geral.sie is a generic detection used by Emsisoft Anti-Malware, Microsoft Security Essentials, Avast Antivirus and other antivirus products for a file that appears to have trojan-like features or behavior.
Trojan/Downloader.Geral.sie contains malicious or potentially unwanted software which downloads and installs on the affected system. Commonly, this infection will install a backdoor which allows remote, surreptitious access to infected systems. This backdoor may then be used by remote attackers to upload and install further malicious or potentially unwanted software on the system.

Remove B-Information popup ads

B-Information is an adware program that is commonly bundled with other free programs that you download off of the Internet. Unfortunately, some free downloads do not adequately disclose that other software will also be installed and you may find that you have installed B-Information without your knowledge.B-Information is advertised as a program that displays coupons for sites you are visiting and competitive prices when you are viewing product pages at sites like Amazon. Though this may sound like a useful service, the B-Information program can be intrusive and will display ads whether you want them to or not.

Remove codec.mediacrow.eu pop-up virus

Uninstall the adware program adware that is responsible for the codec.mediacrow.eu pop-up ads from your computer

In this first step, we will try to identify and remove any malicious program that might be installed on your computer.

Remove MalSign.Generic.A8A (Virus Removal Guide)

MalSign.Generic.A8A is a specific detection used by AVG AntivirusAvira Antivirus and other antivirus products to indicate and detect a Potentially Unwanted Program.
A potentially unwanted application is a program that contains adware, installs toolbars or has other unclear objectives.
MalSign.Generic.A8A it’s technically not a virus, but it does exhibit plenty of malicious traits, such as rootkit capabilities to hook deep into the operating system, browser hijacking, and in general just interfering with the user experience. The industry generally refers to it as a “PUP,” or potentially unwanted program.
The MalSign.Generic.A8A infection is used to boost advertising revenue, as in the use of blackhat SEO, to inflate a site’s page ranking in search results.

Windows Server 2012: First Five Fixes

Overview

I think Windows Server 2012 will fundamentally change the way IT Pros manage their Windows environments. I expect many of you are already kicking the tires on Windows Server 2012 and perhaps are even running it in a limited, testing environment.
When you first build a new system, and there are a number of ways to do it, I expect you will have a checklist of standard steps. Eventually, you will be like all the cool kids and use a PowerShell workflow, but for now I’m going to assume you will be employing a manual process.
I assume you will do the following tasks by default when setting up a new Windows Server 2012 system:
  • Configure computer name
  • Configure networking
  • Install features and roles
  • Run Windows Update

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 boasts an impressive number of new features and getting access to them quickly via the GUI can sometimes be a challenge. Like its client cousin, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 now boots by default to a revamped "Start Screen" that presents programs and applications in a colorful tile-based interface, formerly known as Metro.

The new Windows Server 2012 Start Screen (Image via Microsoft).
If you're like me, I've found that using keyboard shortcuts can quickly help me cut through a few levels of mouse-clicks to get exactly what I need. Such is the case with Windows Server 2012, which features a bevy of keyboard commands you can use to quickly and easily access programs, files, and OS configuration options.
I've gathered up a list of some of the most common keyboard shortcuts, but feel free to add your favorites to the comments section of this blog.
One quick aside: The new Server Manager interface introduced in Windows Server 2012 is a joy to use -- and makes managing physical and virtual servers much easier than in previous versions of Windows Server -- but it has it's own assortment of keyboard shortcuts. Microsoft has posted a list of server manager keyboard shortcuts on Technet, so I'd suggest you give those a look as well.

Intro to Virtualization: Hardware, Software, Memory, Storage, Data and Network Virtualization Defined

Overview

What is virtualization? What are the different types of virtualization? And most importantly, what are the benefits of virtualization? In this guide, designed specifically for IT professionals who are new to virtualization, we’ll take a detailed look at the different types of virtualization as well as the benefits of each:
  • Hardware Virtualization
  • Software Virtualization
  • Memory Virtualization
  • Storage Virtualization
  • Data Virtualization
  • Network Virtualization

Boot a Hyper-V Virtual Machine from a USB Drive

The idea for this article came to mind while I was writing my recent post about Windows To Go, which outlines how you can boot into a fully operational Windows 8 work environment from a USB drive. So I decided to share the specific steps with you on how to boot a virtual machine from a USB drive in your own environment. Although I’m writing this from the standpoint of using a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V environment, this also works with Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2.

How to Design a Backup Strategy in SQL Server

Designing a backup strategy is fairly straightforward, but it can get complicated when you’ve got a lot of moving pieces in your scenario.  Here we'll discuss some of the factors you’ll want to take into consideration when designing your strategy as well as some good practices.  Notice I stayed away from the phrase ‘best practices’. 

How to Plan SQL Server Database Files

One of the most important tasks you can do in SQL Server is to setup your data and log files.  Not getting these files setup correctly can be one of the biggest causes for production problems whether it’s disk contention, space usage, or something else.  And honestly this level of planning is often overlooked and by the time the problem is discovered the application and its users have already suffered.  So let’s get into some good discussion about how to setup your database files.

Changing SQL Server Job Owners with PowerShell

Changing a job owner in SQL Server is relatively easy in SSMS and in T-SQL, but when you need to change it several times, it becomes a bit more involved.  While making the change in T-SQL can be done more quickly than in SSMS, it can also be tricky to code and debug.  This is where PowerShell can make your life much easier.
Here we’ll start by right-clicking on ‘Jobs’ in SSMS and choosing ‘Start PowerShell’.

How to Connect CentOS Web Server to a SQL Server

Configuring SQL Server and Its Host
First, the SQL Server (and the appropriate database) must be configured for Windows and SQL Server Authentication. This requires a restart of the SQL Server service if changed. In addition, the server must also have TCP/IP connections enabled with a static port defined (for my example, I will be using the default of 1433), and the firewall on the host for the SQL Server must allow connections to SQL Server on the static port.
At this stage, the first thing to test from your CentOS system is whether you can telnet into the SQL Server host on port 1433. It is important at this stage to test this as you need to determine (a) whether the CentOS system is properly resolving the DNS name of the Windows system (if you are wanting to connect via hostname rather than IP address), and (b) if the Windows system is properly responding on port 1433.
Provided everything is working at this stage, we’re ready to get onto setting up the CentOS system to talk to the SQL Server.

Remotely Managing Windows 2008 Server Core Firewall

As you already know by now, in Windows Server 2008, Server Core installation does not include the traditional full graphical user interface (GUI). Therefore, once you have configured the server, you can only manage it locally at a command prompt, or remotely using a Terminal Server connection. A third management option is to manage the server remotely using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) or command-line tools that support remote use.
Read more about Server Core on my "Understanding Windows Server 2008 Server Core" article.
One of the major pains of managing such a GUI-stripped installation is the configuration of the Windows Advanced Firewall settings. Without properly configuring these rules, you will find it extremely difficult to remotely manage your server.

Anti Virus Exclusion Guidelines for Microsoft Products

Introduction

Running a good, constantly updated Anti-Virus program on your computers - server and workstations - is a must when looking into the potential risks in today's IT world. However, when installing Anti-Virus software on a computer, you also risk having issues with some of the services and applications that run on these computers, most specially with the server machines. Anti-Virus software scans and sometimes locks files on the computers, and when you scan these files, performance and operating system reliability problems may occur because of file locking.
This is why it is extremely important to properly configure the Anti-Virus software to exclude specific files, file type and/or folders on the computers (most importantly - server machines) with an anti virus exclusion.

Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing

Overview

There’s lots of confusion about the security of using public cloud computing. I hear questions about data security at rest, security in transit, and how secret a provider must keep stored data whenever I speak at a conference or teach a class.
The US government also hears these questions, both from inside and outside the government. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), part of the US Department of Commerce, is typically responsible for issuing security guidance and has helped to create and publish guidelines on operating system hardening and secure data processing.

Basics of Cisco Switch Administration – Part 2

Introduction

In Basics of Cisco Switch Administration - Part 1, we covered some of the basics of Cisco switch administration – how to log in, how to show configuration, how to change interface speed & duplex, how to enable switch ports, and how to show switch port status. In Part 2, we will stick to the basics of switch administration by covering how to save your configuration, how to use the Cisco Network Assistant, how to speed up switch port startup, and basic VLAN commands.

Basics of Cisco Switch Administration – Part 1

Introduction

Perhaps you are asked to configure a switch port or see what MAC address is on what port. Maybe this isn’t something you do every day and need a refresher course on the most basic Cisco switch administration tasks. Let’s find out how to perform some basic Cisco switch administration tasks.

How to Configure a Cisco Router as a Terminal Server

Whether you have a rack of 3 Cisco routers and switches or 30, it is always nice to be able to easily and quickly get to the console of each device. This is especially true if you do much reconfiguration. By using a Cisco router with async ports as a terminal server, you can very quickly go to a single device and configure all your Cisco router and switches (in that rack) from a single device. Let's find out how to do it...