WindowsNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter of February 2011 Sponsored by: ManageEngine
Welcome to the WindowsNetworking.com newsletter by Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP. Each month we will bring you interesting and helpful information on the world of Windows Networking. We want to know what all *you* are interested in hearing about. Please send your suggestions for future newsletter content to: email@example.com
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. That's a good philosophy, whether you're talking about life in general or your network. We think of disaster recovery in terms of large, catastrophic events, but we should also be prepared for the small disasters - for instance, when you accidentally delete or overwrite an important file at the worst possible time. Windows Server 2008 R2 includes backup and recovery technologies to help get you through both the big and small disasters. It pays to familiarize yourself with them before you need them.
Sure, if you're an enterprise admin, your business probably uses a third party backup solution, but if you need a way to perform basic backup and recovery tasks for one or more servers (such as in a small business or for a temporary setup), you should check out the Windows Server Backup tool that's included in all editions of Windows Server 2008/2008 R2. It uses friendly wizards to walk you through the backup and recovery processes and it's pretty flexible; letting you back up all volumes on the server, just the volumes you specify, or just specific files and folders. You can even exclude files from backup, based on their storage location or the file type. You can also back up the system state information and create a backup that can be used for bare metal recovery. You can do all this locally or remotely, and of course, you can schedule the backups to run automatically.
Windows PowerShell is fast becoming a favorite scripting tool for Windows admins, and Windows Server R2 has a collection of PowerShell cmdlets for Windows Server Backup so that you can create scripts for performing backup operations. If you want to know more about the Windows Server Backup cmdlets in PowerShell, check out this article.
If your disaster is a big one - such as a total hard disk failure - you can use the Windows Recovery Environment in conjunction with the Windows Server Backup tool to do system state recoveries or bare metal recoveries. For this, you use the System Image Recovery component of the WRE. You can also use the WRE to access the command prompt on a server that won't boot. This lets you access the file system and use Wbadmin commands (Wbadmin is the replacement for the old familiar ntbackup command that you knew and loved in previous versions of Windows Server. Oh, and what if you have backups that you created using ntbackup? Well, the bad news is that Wbadmin can't be used to recover them. The good news is that Microsoft has a version of ntbackup for Windows Server 2008/R2 and Windows 7 that you can download and install, and use to recover those backups. You'll find it here.
When it comes to those accidentally deleted or overwritten files, there may be an easier way. You can enable Shadow Copies of shared folders to allow you to access snapshots of files and folders on your file server, as they existed at previous points in time. This can be a lifesaver if you make changes to a file and save it, then decide you need the original data back. Note that Shadow Copies should not be considered a substitute for making regular backups. To find out more about Shadow Copies of shared folders, see this.
Remember that old Neil Sedaka song, "Backing Up Is Hard to Do?" Well, okay, maybe that wasn't exactly the way it went, but Windows Server 2008 R2 does make backing up a little easier. And that's a very good thing.
By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP
3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest
NTFS Permissions Inheritance Changes in Windows Vista, 2008, and 7
If it's been a while since you last studied NTFS permissions inheritance, then there is one change you will want to be aware of. If you haven't studied NTFS permissions in the past few years, that means not only do you need to update your MCSE, but you need to be aware of the change in a fundamental inheritance rule.
Previously, when moving a file or folder to another location on the same physical disk, the file/folder would retain the permissions from its original location. This changed when Windows Vista was released and remains changed in Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7. Now, a file/folder will automatically inherit the permissions of its new location when it's moved to a new location on the same physical disk.
For more administrator tips, go to WindowsNetworking.com/WindowsTips
Windows Shake is a new Aerofeature included with Windows 7 that allows you to minimize all the windows at the same time so that you can see your desktop. Just click and hold the title bar of the window you want to keep open and then move it back and forth quickly ("shake" it). All the other windows will minimize and you'll be able to see the desktop. Shake the window again and voila! All the windows return to their previous size and location. You can accomplish the same thing by holding down the Windows key and then pressing the HOME key, but that doesn't have quite the same "cool" factor. And you can also click or hover over the "show desktop" area which is at the right (or bottom, if your taskbar is vertical) of the clock in the system tray (notification area). Note that the "shake" feature only works when Aero is enabled, so if you've turned it off to increase performance, you'll have to use one of the other, more boring methods.
I'm one of the few people left in the world who is using a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone. While the phone has served me well over the years, I feel like it's time to get into the next generation of smart phones. The most important things to me are Exchange Server support, mountable file system and tethering. Given these requirements, should I get a Windows 7 Phone?
Thanks! - Harvey.
Thanks for writing! Yes, I also was a Windows Mobile user for many years and got a lot of good service out of my Windows Mobile smart phones. And you're right that the current smart phone world is very different from the world you're living in with the old WinMo operating system. I think you'll be impressed with what's out there for you today. I've been testing phones for one of the major carriers and writing a Smart Phones column for TechRepublic, so this is a subject that's near and dear to my heart.
Now as to your requirements: For Exchange Server support, all the phones use Microsoft ActiveSync to connect to Exchange. However, different phones implement this in a different way. By far the best Exchange mail experience is with the Windows Phone 7 phones, and that makes sense, as Microsoft made their phone OS specifically to work with Exchange. The display is fantastic and in my opinion, mail organization is just plain superior to anything else out there. If Exchange support was your only requirement, I'd tell you to run, not walk, to the closest Windows Phone 7 supplier.
However, your other two requirements make me think that the Windows Phone 7 might not be for you - at least, not in its version 1 incarnation. The Windows Phone 7 phone doesn't support mounting the phone as a file system object. Whereas I can plug my Android phone into my computer via USB and have it show up in Explorer, and drag and drop files between the two, that's not the way it works with Windows Phone 7. Instead, if you want to sync files on the phone with your computer, you're supposed to use Zune - which means you have to install the Zune software on your computer, and you have very little control and connectivity to the phone's file system when connecting it to your Windows 7 PC and can only transfer media files. In addition, Zune is not exactly pleasant to work with, and, like iTunes with the iPhone/iPad, is a real pain (in my opinion). That said, there is a registry hack that will let you drag and drop files to Explorer in the "old fashioned" way. If you're game, check that out here.
As for tethering, this isn't officially supported on the Windows Phone 7 phones at this time, either. While there are some hacks that will enable you to tether your Windows Phone 7 phone, they are not fun or easy. There is no tethering software available, and if you try this, you will end up voiding your warranty and possibly breaching your contract with your service provider, and they could nail you with a giant bill if you try to tether your Windows Phone 7 phone (although I haven't heard of that actually happening to anyone).
Given your requirements, right now I'd have to reluctantly say that you'll have the most freedom and greatest amount of flexibility with an Android based phone. Droid phones have the majority of the smart phone market today for good reason - they work nicely and get along fine with PCs. You can tether with most Android phones, and you can mount the phone's file system on your Windows 7 PC without hacking anything. The Exchange support varies with the vendor and model you get, but all the Android based phones I've owned or tested provided a good Exchange experience. While the UI on the Android phones don't match the sheer elegance of the Windows 7 phone UI, the Android phones have the features you desire and will provide you with a great smart phone experience. My favorites are the Motorola Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible and Samsung Fascinate, all available from Verizon, but there are other great Android models you can get through other carriers, such as Sprint's EVO.