• 21Apr

    It is common practice to keep your server up to date. I came across this error while updating my Exchange Server 2007 to the next service pack. I found many different methods to fix this problem on the internet but none of them worked.

    Below was the error message I received when trying to visit the website.


    Outlook Web Access did not initialize. An event has been logged so that the system administrator can resolve the issue. Please contact technical support for your organization.
    Outlook Web Access was unable to access the Active Directory configuration settings for virtual directory “OWA” under Web site “owa”.


    Request
    Url: https://[OWA URL]:443/OWA/auth/error.aspx?replaceCurrent=1&url=https%3a%2f%2f[OWA URL]%2fOWA%2f
    User host address: [Client IP Address]

    Exception
    Exception type: Microsoft.Exchange.Clients.Owa.Core.OwaInvalidConfigurationException
    Exception message: Outlook Web Access was unable to access the Active Directory configuration settings for virtual directory “OWA” under Web site “owa”.

    Call stack
    Microsoft.Exchange.Clients.Owa.Core.OwaConfigurationManager.CreateAndLoadConfigurationManager()
    Microsoft.Exchange.Clients.Owa.Core.Globals.InitializeApplication()
    Microsoft.Exchange.Clients.Owa.Core.Global.ExecuteApplicationStart(Object sender, EventArgs e)

    Inner Exception
    Exception type: Microsoft.Exchange.Clients.Owa.Core.OwaInvalidConfigurationException
    Exception message: Outlook Web Access was unable to access the Active Directory configuration settings for virtual directory “OWA” under Web site “owa”.

    Call stack
    Microsoft.Exchange.Clients.Owa.Core.Configuration..ctor(ADSystemConfigurationSession session, String virtualDirectory, String webSiteName, ADObjectId distinguishedName, Boolean isPhoneticSupportEnabled)
    Microsoft.Exchange.Clients.Owa.Core.OwaConfigurationManager.LoadConfiguration()
    Microsoft.Exchange.Clients.Owa.Core.OwaConfigurationManager.CreateAndLoadConfigurationManager()


    After attempting many different lines and lines of PowerShell commands that did not work I came across the best way to fix this problem. The fix I found was to remove all virtual directories under the OWA and recreating them using these commands from PowerShell interface:

    Remove-OwaVirtualDirectory “owa (Default Web Site)”
    ***(Default Web Site) may depend on what your directory name is. To find out what the correct directory names are use this the command: Get-OwaVirtualDirectory
    New-OwaVirtualDirectory -WebSiteName “owa”

    This re-synced the OWA Virtual Directory to the Active Directory and allowed OWA to be accessible again.

    – Harry Caskey

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  • 08Apr

    I thought today I would blog about an experience I had with Exchange Server 2007 last June 16th, 2008 we had a power outage early in the morning which resulted in server failures across the board.  This then caused a chain reaction when the backup domain controller went down. The Active Directory systems dropped off the network leaving computers requesting AD authentication dead in the water. Then our Exchange Server went offline causing an unexpected shutdown. As files are writing to the disk this can always cause corruption. In this case it did.

    When the system came back online there happen everything was fine and dandy. Until we noticed that the Public Folders was offline. Now we are running an Exchange Server 2007 when I signed on this machine it would not mount. To fix this problem I had to use a PowerShell command to repair the Public Folders.

    At the PowerShell command prompt I used the following command.

    First run the repair command on the database, you want to repair any damage before and defragmentation because you may make the corruption irreversible.

    repair eseutil /p “[Drive Root]\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange\[Location of the Database]”

    Second run a defragment command, this will clean out and organize the database so it works more efficiently. I highly recommend doing a defragment after the repair this will ensure integrity and stability after the repair has complete.

    defragment eseutil /d
    “[Drive Root]\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange\[Location of the Database]”

    Then when you remount the database in the exchange console and it should work. By reconnecting the repaired store this should automatically bring the Public Folder share back online.

    – Harry Caskey

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  • 07Apr

    Active Directory is truly the heart of an organization. You might even say if a computer system were a human being it would be the brain spanning all knowledge of the system. It is a central repository for all data regarding users, groups, computers, printers, shared folders, contacts, and policies. This store all information into a database, also can be known as the hive. Which contains strings and strings of data, and meta data.

    Many applications are written to connect to the Active Directory. This is useful because when you start to implement a system you can easily integrate it with authentication. If you are a authenticated user at a certain level you can restrict other users access to other resources. Such as you don’t want your Public Relations department to be able to have access to Human Resources files.

    As a Systems Administrator or Network Administrator you can safeguard practically anything you chose. You can even specify in a group policy what programs you would want users to access or install. Let alone when a user signs on run a batch file or implement an import of internal resources of favorites into the users Internet Explorer. If you are just learning about Information Technology I would suggest you visit Microsoft’s website for a training guide. There you can also find resources such as a Virtual Machine to experiment with. You need to practice because this is something you will need to know.

    – Harry Caskey

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  • 06Apr

    I started thinking about this last night. I know the significance of DNS within my field and I thought I would blog about it today. DNS is such a power tool, the average user uses it all the time and probably doesn’t know it.

    DNS plays a huge role in connection everyone to everyone. It starts with your Local Network Connection, for any network connection to work you have to have at least these 3 different settings configured. 1) An IP Address, this is your unique identifier assigned to a media access control (MAC) address which is the hardware that is your device. 2) A Gateway, this needs to be defined so that when you request data it knows where to send it out and expect to receive. 3) DNS Servers, after you have your IP address assigned and Gateway you will need your DNS servers to do resolution requests for you such as….

    Let’s say you get your network card setup and want to go to “www.google.com” well your computer doesn’t automatically know where “www.google.com” is at. So it sends a request to a DNS server which holds that information. So you are at your computer you type the address in “www.google.com” the first query that gets asked is where is “.com.” at? The .com is part of what’s called a TLD which stands for Top Level Domain. These are typically government run servers by ICANN. At this level these domain names can not be purchased. Then your query request then looks for the record “google” under the TLD “.com.”. When it finds that record it asks for “www” under “.google.com.”? Then for each of these requests you have a Public IP address, these are assigned by your Internet service provider (ISP). So the final query that gets sent to your computer returns the value IP address with (209.85.139.9) resulting in “www.google.com.”. Your computer then receives all of the information that is provided on the default port 80 at that IP address with that given host header value.

    It is vital as a Network Administrator to know that your network is configured correctly. This also is very important to know because when you need to troubleshoot something you will need to know how to solve the problem. If you If you are just learning about the Information Technology field or have an interest, it is very important that you know how DNS works and if there is an underlying issues within your zone records. So that when clients request access to certain sites you know where they are being sent to.

    One great thing about DNS that you can utilize is custom domain configuration you can make a domain name “blahdityda.blog” and tell your DNS server to point to this web server. When you control the DNS you can configure your local DNS to allow “blog” to be a TLD then under that record configure bladityda to point to the specific web server hosting the host header value. These are great for and commonly used in organizations that have internal portals, or intranets.

    If you learn DNS like that back of your hand it will make things easier for you and how you can manage your network. I would recommend that you utilize DNS to it’s full potential.

    – Harry Caskey

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  • 03Apr

    Ever since my friend Jason Clark has told me about OpenDNS it has been nothing more than a godsend. Immediately when we changed our XO Communications DNS servers to OpenDNS we saw a huge speed increase. Our speeds literally tripled what they were. I couldn’t believe the numbers but was ecstatic of the results. Our ISP has not been very reliable with their services so it is also very possible they have faulty DNS servers. Nonetheless we are on OpenDNS and safely surfing the Internet. One of the everyday features I enjoy the most is the blocking category sites such as Adware, Phishing, Advertising, P2P/File Sharing. These are all really great features and they constantly get updated. This protects my users from accessing these sites that may cause problems down the line.

    I can’t thank OpenDNS enough for all of the “possible” spyware and virus removals I may have had by users accessing sites by accident. This actually saves me time, saves the company money, and continues productivity within the organization. I would recommend using OpenDNS to anyone.

    The best thing is you don’t need an account with them. If you choose to you can customize your surfing and get statistics on your surfing.

    Check them out at: http://www.opendns.com/

    – Harry Caskey

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