Category Archives: Servers

Clear space on Windows Server 2003 with Symbolic Link

I kept getting “out of space” warnings on a  server 2003 at work , backups were failing and updates were reporting error.

From my online research I see that  many systems Admins are now having the same problem with a Windows server 2003 installation in a 25GB partition, which was the default guidance from Microsoft.

I  looked into some partitioning software to make use of my large D: partition, but was wisely warned away from doing it as it may cause future problems if you need for some reason to restore your server.

As a Linux Admin I am very familiar with the concept of Symbolic Links, which has been around for a long time. On Linux the command LN is all you  need.

Well, to my heart’s content Microsoft does have a very useful, and yet not well publicised, command line tool called LINKD.exe, which is part of the Windows server 2003 Resource Kit.

Please note that a symbolic link is not the same as a Windows shortcut file, which is a regular file. The windows shortcut may be created on any file system (such as the earlier FAT32), and is not transparent to applications. SymLink is transparent to applications making it great for clearing space on your drive, without compromising file structure.

My example scenario.

  • Drive C:\ free space 2Mb
  • Drive D:\ free space 200GB
  • Identified a large folder to move to D:\ –  (Drive C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\AMSP\BackupAmsp –  size 6.5GB)
  • Moved the large folder to D:\  (I created a folder called “moved from C” and saved the large folder inside it)
  • Installed Windows server 2003 Resource Kit  (also to Drive D:\Program Files\RKTOOLS)
  • Opened Command Line (START\RUN\CMD), navigated to D:\Program Files\RKTOOLS
  • Run command: linkd “C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\AMSP\BackupAmsp”  “D:\moved from C\BackupAmsp”
  • Done.

Disclaimer: I used Symbolic Link on a non system critical folder. If you plan to use this on a system critical folder, do at your own risk.

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Linux ClearOS to rival Microsoft’s SBS

Microsoft has dominated the small enterprise market with its out of the box feature rich SBS (Small Business Server). Linux has always trailed behind it and although most of the technology to rival Microsoft has been in place, it has always been a mammoth task to setup a server from scratch  to do that.  ClearOS came to fill in this gap.

“ClearOS is a powerful network and gateway server designed for small organizations and distributed environments.  Though ClearOS comes with an extensive list of features  and integrated services, the solution is easy to configure thanks to the intuitive web-based interface.” (extracted from Clear Foundation website)
 
Take a look at how ClearOS’ features match the MS SBS:

Microsoft SBS

Centralized Authentication (Active Directory)
Mail, calendaring and instant messaging (Exchange)
Webserver (IIS)
Firewall (ISA)
Content management system (Sharepoint)
Antivirus (Forefront)
Database (MS-SQL Premium version only)
Remote Desktop Services
Virtual Private Network (VPN)

ClearOS Linux

Centralized Authentication (LDAP)
Primary Domain Controller (Samba)
File and Print Services (Samba and CUPS)
Mail (SMTP, POP, IMAP, Webmail)
Calendaring (Kolab groupware)
Webserver (Apache)
Firewall plus intrusion protection (iptables, Snort)
Antimalware (Clam Antivirus, Antiphishing, Antispyware)
Antispam (Spamassassin)
Database (MySQL)
Virtual Private Network (IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP)
Web Proxy (Squid)

The Linux Magazine published an in depth article comparing and explaining this “new” Linux distro. 

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SwitchVox IP PBX

Switchvox is Digium’s family of Voice Over IP Phone systems for small and medium businesses. Switchvox systems are designed to be easy to use, full of helpful features and cost less than a traditional PBX. It’s based on the world’s leading open source PBX, telephony engine, and telephony applications toolkit Asterisk.

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Server 2003 – removable storage database failed to load

When trying to start the Removable Storage Service it may hang and stop responding. You may get the following error messages:

  • Backup cannot connect to the Removable Storage service. – This service is required for use of tape drives and other backup devices.
  • REMOVABLE STORAGE – Server Execution failed.
  • The removable storage database failed to load. Check the event log.

To fix this just follow these simple steps.

  1. Copy all files located in the %SystemRoot%\System32\NtmsData folder to another location (don’t delete them for now just for safety)
  2. In the Computer Management tool, double-click the Services and Applications branch to expand it, and then click Services.
  3. Locate the Removable Storage service, try to start the service, or change the startup type from “Disabled” to “Automatic”, and then restart your computer. This should import the database from the export folder, build a new index file, and be consistent from when the last %Systemroot% backup was performed.
  4. Done

See the Microsoft Knowledge Base:235032 in case you continue to have the same problem.

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