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These are some sites that I find useful. Sometimes it seems that wading through all the hype to get to the "techie" stuff is more work that fixing the original problem. Hopefully, this page will help to bypass some of the fluff.

bulletNAT Routing
bulletMicrosoft NT Server & SBS Resources
bulletTips and Tricks
bulletThe Linux Page

 

NAT Routing & Proxy Servers

The NAT Router Page
www.winroute.com  
www.sygate.com  
www.wingate.com  
   

 

Microsoft NT Server & SBS Resources

www.microsoft.com/  - Microsoft World Wide Web Site
www.microsoft.com/ntserver/  - Windows NT Server product
www.microsoft.com/ntserversupport/   - Windows NT Server support
www.microsoft.com/support/tshooters.asp   - Troubleshooters
www.microsoft.com/ntworkstation/default.asp   - Windows NT Workstation product
www.microsoft.com/NTWksSupport/   - Windows NT Workstation support
support.microsoft.com/support/   - Microsoft Knowledge Base
www.microsoft.com/support/news/   - Newsgroup links

Useful SBS tips & real stories - the best site I've found yet
Exchange Stuff.com A wonderful site devoted to Exchange Info, FAQs, Utilities and Links
web.infoave.netsolutionssbs.htm Grey Lancaster's Solutions site

http://www.slipstick.com Slipstick Systems
http://www.exchangeserver.com/default.htm Exchange Community
http://www.amrein.com/eworld.htm Exchange Resource Center

www.autoprof.com/ Automated Profile Management for roving Outlook users
www.swinc.comresourceexch_smtp.htm   very good source of good Exchange SMTP information
www.ntinternals.com/ Slick site, home of NTFSDOS [allows reading NTFS from DOS]

Suggested minimum requirements list (this is my personal list, needs updating)
www.jsiinc.comreghack.htm
www.savilltech.comntfaq.html Savill Tech

Wingate - Lan to Internet Very nice proxy server

www.chimera.co.nz/ Home of EFS (Email Forwarding Server) a POP3 gateway for MS-Exchange
www.pop3gateway.com/ another POP3 gateway for MS-Exchange
www.exemplarsoftware.com/popexch a little pricey, but I like it [also has a trial version]

MDaemon - SMTP and POP3 server nice inexpensive POP3 email

 

Tips and Tricks

Exchange Server to a single POP3 mailbox

Talk about misunderstood...

Everyone assumes (me included) that connecting Exchange Server to an existing POP3 mailbox should be a piece of cake, well it's not. Exchange Server is an SMTP server and expects to talk to another SMTP server. There are some workarounds, but they are not simple and require a fair amount of cooperation from your ISP -- who are not necessarily know for their willingness to cooperate in the first place.

However, there are some POP3 gateway vendors that allow you to use a single POP3 mailbox to serve your entire company with individual mailboxes [maintained by Exchange server]. They are EFS (Email Forwarding Server), an inexpensive (free - 30$) solution that is reported to work quite well. Another is Pop3Gateway ($239) that is also reported to work well, but is slightly more expensive -- a few hundred dollars either way seems insignificant if it solves such a major problem.

A good solution is EPEC - Exemplar Pop to Exchange Connector. I have used this product and was pleased with the ease of use and functionality. It can be used to "harvest" POP3 mail from multiple mailboxes and deliver mail to the user you specify, as well as forward an entire domains aliased mail to Exchange Server.

I will be trying some of these solutions and will post my results.

Following are some general RAS related issues:

Troubleshooting ISP logons via NT Server RAS
Automating Remote RAS Logons Using SWITCH.INF Scripts
Troubleshooting RAS Client Issues in Windows NT 4.0
Troubleshooting Modem Problems Under Windows NT 4.0

NT logon script not executing via RAS dial-in
NT Hardware Compatibility List

Remote Exchange Clients

For a more detailed discussion, Microsoft has articles on the subject: OL97: Remote Mail, Offline Folders, and Working Offline and OL97: What Are Offline Folders and How Do You Use Them? but a basic description of the methods follow.

There are 3 "remote" scenarios that you can do with exchange, 2 of them support "offline / disconnected" mode:

  1. Remote but online and dialed in over RAS. This is just like connected to the LAN but over a slower link (i.e. the modem). This is not offline usage, as you are still connected to the LAN, albeit a slow link.
  2. Remote mail. This is email and access to your inbox only but in a disconnected/offline state. You can do header preview, mark stuff for download, download it, send stuff up, etc just like MS Mail used to do. This only gives you access to your inbox and no other server based folders.
  3. Offline folders (a.k.a. local replication). This allows you to mark any private or public folders for offline availability. So when logon on to the server and are online, you work out of the server based folders, etc. Then you sync up and go offline (disconnected) the folders you have marked for offline availability are there and you work out of them. Then at some point, either via a modem or you connect back to the LAN with a docking station, etc., you sync back up and we push up all changes made while offline and replicate down any other changes in the server folders. This is new capability supplied with exchange.

You can also have a personal folders store (or multiple of them) mounted in any of the 3 cases above and have private folders available in it/them in all 3 cases. In case #1, your inbox could be server or personal folders based, depending on your preference. In case #2 and #3, your inbox is server based.

Logon Scripts

If you wish to make changes to a user's logon script, you need to make the changes to the logon script template file. Each time a user is created or his or her application state is changed with the Set Up Computer wizard, the logon script is regenerated using the logon script template file, c:\smallbusiness\template\template.bat. If you make changes to an existing logon script, the changes will be removed any time that user is selected in the Set Up Computer wizard. If you wish to make permanent changes to the logon scripts, you can edit the template.bat file, and your changes will be propagated to all the logon scripts that are subsequently created.

Make sure you add your changes in the correct location. If you want the new commands to run for every user even if he or she logs onto the server, insert the users immediately before "if "%COMPUTERNAME%" == "" goto proc_test". If you only want the new commands to run on a client machine, insert them immediately before ":exit".

NTBackup

In order to backup the Exchange Information & Directory Stores via command line [specifically if you want to use the AT scheduler] use the syntax:

ntbackup backup C: D: /v /hc:on /t Normal /e "c:\winntsbs.nt\backup.log"
ntbackup backup DS \\server IS \\server /v /b /hc:on /t Normal /e /l /a "c:\winntsbs.nt\backup.log"
Here is a link to an example daily.cmd batch file that I run using NT's "AT" scheduling service [well actually, I use the WinAT interface from the Resource Kit to administer the schedule] to backup every weeknight at 9:00pm.

Grey Lancaster also has an article about this at http://web.infoave.net/~solutions/backup.htm.
Fax Notification

To enable fax notification where the client will receive an email message with the status of a fax:

On the SBS Server:

  1. Open the Fax Server Control Panel.
    From the desktop click on Start/Settings/Control Panel and then double click on the Fax Server icon.
  2. Select the Routing Tab, and then click on the "Route via E-mail" checkbox. The listbox for Profile Name will probably only list "Administrator" which should be selected. Click "OK."
  3. Stop and Start the Fax Service.
    From the desktop click on Start/Settings/Control Panel and then double click on the Services icon. Find the Fax Service, select it and then click on the Stop button. After the service has been stopped, click on the start button to start the Fax service again.

On the SBS Client:

  1. Open the Fax Client Control Panel. From the desktop click on Start/Settings/Control Panel and then double click on the Fax Client icon.
  2. Select the General Tab. Enter the Exchange Server mailbox into the "Email Address" editbox. (This should be the address of the user who will be sending faxes from that workstation.) Click "OK."
  3. Send a fax using any of the following methods; Exchange client, Outlook client, the Fax Send utility, or File Print to Fax. After the fax is sent, a sent confirmation will arrive in the Inbox of the Exchange mailbox supplied for "Email address."


The above steps apply for both NT and Windows 95 workstations.

 

Seagate Backup Exec

My only problem to date has been with an error stating "Initialization of the dynamic link library D:\WINNT\system32\USER32.dll has failed. The process is terminating abnormally.". This error and it's fix is documented on Microsoft's web site as Q158308. A simple registry setting change resolved this issue.

American Power Conversion UPSs

If you use an APC UPS, occasionally during a reboot SBS (or NT 4 as well) will detect a serial mouse and add drivers for it, on the next reboot, it will complain that there is no mouse. The system will also have sent the UPS into on-battery mode and have lost contact with the UPS. Check out Microsoft's article as Q131976

To prevent this from happening, add the following to the c:\boot.ini file at the end of each line after [operating systems] making sure to substitute the proper com port.

/NoSerialMice:COM1

This will prevent the mis-detection of the UPS as a mouse. I'm not sure why APC doesn't do this for you, I thought it did in PowerChute version 4.x. At least it was in the manual, I could find no mention of it in the version 5 manual.

Modem detection

Make sure to have an approved modem from the HCL before starting installation, otherwise you will have nothing but problems. In one installation, I was using a quad-port serial board from Comtrol. The board required drivers to be installed to make the ports available, and by the time I was able to do so, the modem detection phase had passed. I manually added the ports and modems, reinstalled the fax, proxy, and shared modem services -- quite a pain, and I'm not sure I got it all right. I ended up temporarily adding a modem to a "normal" com2: port and everything went much smoother. I was then able to add the modems to the Comtrol ports without incident.

Proxy service (DUN) not hanging up on idle

I have found several postings concerning this issue. Even though the manual states that the proper entries should be made under DUN control panel applet under Programs/Accessories/Dial Up networking/<your phonebook entry>/More/Logon Preferences/Idle Seconds before disconnect: <time>. You also have to go into Internet service manager/www proxy/ cache, and disable active caching. When it thinks a page needs to be updated,it creates modem activity which resets the idle seconds counter.

Location of default shared folders

SBS setup places the Company and User folders on the C: drive -- which so completely goes against my instincts...

Anyway, leave them there. The console.exe has hardcoded references to to them, and you're just asking for trouble by moving them.

Volume restrictions

I prefer to have the boot volume be a FAT volume, but I do appreciate the interest in security. Also, it seems that the Proxy Server has to have the URL cache folder on a NTFS volume. Maybe to keep things simple, we should just leave SBS to it's own devices and accept the defaults. I also see that there is a motherboard limitation on the size of disk partitions, some accept 2Gb at a maximum, others accept up to 4Gb.

I prefer to keep my data separate from the system files, but with SBS mixing them (out of the box, mind you), I may give thought to partitioning the whole disk into a single volume.

Cheyenne Innoculan

Overall, I like this product. Still, it seems that I always forget to rename the avupdate.ino file to avupdate.ini until I've spent time running around wondering which place to look next -- I would think that during the install it could simply ask if you need to preserve your existing .ini file (assuming that it found one at all).

I always seem to have to fiddle with the settings, and generally poke-and-prod to get the auto-update service running -- there's another one, why doesn't the install start the required services for you?

Attention Cheyenne: at least please give us a checklist of "Things You Need to Do Manually Before this Product will Work".


SBSlogo1


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Copyright 1998 Network Consulting & Support. All rights reserved.
Last modified: Saturday January 16, 1999.