Windows Server 2012 R2 Technet Document -7970 pages- Free

Want to know how to be an administrator of Windows Server 2012 R2?  This 7900+ page document has everything you want to know about Microsoft’s latest server.  Included in this massive manual is-

  • Technical Scenarios
  • Install and Deploy Windows Server
  • Migrate Roles and Features to Windows Server
  • Secure Windows Server
  • Manage Privacy in Windows Server
  • Support and Troubleshoot Windows Server
  • Server Roles and Technologies
  • Management and Tools for Windows Server

Download Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 TechNet Library Documentation here.  111 mb

Microsoft also offers free virtual labs (Virtual Microsoft Server from your browser).  Coupled with this 7900+ page manual, this is an excellent resource to learn Windows Server 2012.

If you want to print this, it will take approximately 16 reams of paper and 3.25 high capacity laser toner cartridges.  Of course once you print it, you’ll have your first 32″ wide book.

Optimizing your server with more than one network card

New IT professionals may think that adding a second network card will improve throughput.  While this can be true, IT personnel need to be aware of several rules behind configuring multiple network cards.

Assuming the server will be in the same subnet, once the network cards are installed, several decisions have to be made.  Will the cards be independent and have separate IP addresses or will the cards be bridged and have the same IP address?

Two IP addresses

If you plan on installing two nic cards in your server and you want to use two ip addresses-

  • Make sure that licensing of software is not based on the MAC address of one of the NIC cards
  • Do NOT enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP – This can cause the name of the server to appear on the network more than once and an error will occur (multiple NetBT Event ID 4319 Errors stating “A duplicate name has been detected on the TCP network)
  • Use an internal DNS server – Client computers will use a DNS round-robin and routing tables will be built

One IP Address, multiple NIC cards

If you plan on using aggregation or the bridging of your network cards-

  • USE HP, Intel, Broadcom or other NICs that support teaming (drivers) – this is important so that the cards will be used together

Note- (Our recommendations)

  • Connect each NIC to a separate switch to ensure switchport flooding does not occur.”  Use switches that support IEEE 802.3ad
  • USE RSS and modify the registry appropriately to use multiple CPUs
    In Windows Server 2008, administrators can set the maximum number of RSS CPUs with the MaxNumRssCpus registry keyword in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Ndis\Parameters. TheMaxNumRssCpus value is a DWORD type and, if it is not present, NDIS uses the default value of 4.
    More information:
  • To enable RSS:
    1. Open a command prompt as an administrator
    2. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
      netsh int tcp set global rss=enabled
  • You may want to also enable TCP Chimney if your NIC card supports it.

Is TCP Chimney working? Type netstat -t if you see Offloaded during a connection, this feature is working

An excellent article on the use of multiple NIC cards

Adjusting network card properties to fix slow network response

If you have slow or non responsive program properties; such as a database or other network program…Right Click on My Computer, go to Properties, select Hardware, Device Manager, click the + sign on Network, Right Click on your network card, select properties, select the Advanced Tab, Look for Speed   – adjust the value to 100 Full Duplex, 100 Half or even select the 10 settings.  Try it on each of the settings to see which one is optimal for your network.

When computers handshake (exchange data) autosense does not always work.

I’ve had replaced network cards, ran winsock fix and tried everything when the solution was right in front of me.

You should also disable everything under the Advanced Tab except Flow Control.



For SQL, see our LLMNR Article

Another way to get detailed IP address information and control the Windows Firewall by a command line

You’ve probably used IPConfig to get your IP address and have even used IPConfig /all.   So what is another way to see your configuration?

netsh interface ip show config

This command gives your NIC card information

What if you wanted to open a port quickly on your client computers?  You can write a quick script and use -

netsh firewall set portopening tcp 445 smb enable    (Replace the 445 with the port number you need to open)

What rules have you set on your firewall?
netsh advfirewall firewall show rule name=all

The rules will ‘fly’ by so you can use the following command to ‘capture’ all of the rules to a text file
netsh advfirewall firewall show rule name=all >c:\text\firewallrules.txt

Or you can use these to turn it on or off -
netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state on
netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off

Slow network file transfer from Apple to Windows

The solution below worked for us.    (We disabled NetDMA) – This also correct copy problems to a NAS that runs a Linux based OS.

To enable or disable NetDMA, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
2. Locate the following registry subkey, and then click it:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters
3. Double-click the EnableTCPA registry entry.Note If this registry entry does not exist, right-click Parameters, point to New, click DWORD Value, type EnableTCPA, and then press ENTER.
4. To enable NetDMA, type 1 in the Value data box, and then click OK.
5. To disable NetDMA, type 0 in the Value data box, and then click OK.
6. If the EnableTCPA registry entry does not exist, enable the NetDMA functionality.

Remember, you may also need to adjust your network card from Auto to a manual setting.   (Try this on the Apple and/or the Windows Computer)  When computers handshake (exchange data) autosense does not always work.

How to adjust Windows NIC cards – Link

For Apple  -System Preferences” – “Network” – ” Advanced” – “Ethernet”

Our theory is - “Network speed tweaking is an art and never a science”

MiTeC System Information X – system information about your system.

MiTeC System Information X- full featured system information about your system.  If you need to know exactly what is in your netbook, notebook, desktop or server and you need a free software for residential or commercial use, MiTeC has an excellent system info software you can use.

MiTeC’s System Information X provides very detailed information about your system.

MiTeC also offers an excellent network scanner that provides the following information -

Scan features:

  • Network neighbourhood
  • Ping
  • IP Address
  • MAC Address (even across routers)
  • MAC Vendor
  • Device name
  • Device domain/workgroup
  • Logged user
  • Operating system
  • BIOS, Model and CPU
  • System time and Up time
  • Device description
  • Type flags (SQL server, Domain controller etc.)
  • Remote device date and time
  • Listening TCP and UDP ports and SNMP services.
  • Installed services on device
  • Shared resources
  • Sessions
  • Open Files
  • Running processes
  • Terminal sessions
  • Event Log
  • Installed software
  • SAM accounts
  • WMI and SNMP Queries
  • Powerful WhoIs client

(Don’t forget to see our article on protecting your data -Scanning networks for information)

MiTeC also has an excellent network meter (NetMet) if you wish to keep track of information about your network connection including Session totals, Download and Upload speeds.

MiTeC has dozens of other freeware programs for your toolbox.  Link

The miracle server

What happens when you are in a hurry and you have to replace a server motherboard?   You run the server with the protective plastic shield for three years without incident.    Three years ago we had to replace a motherboard on the fly.   Being under the gun Mike and I hurried through the motherboard installation and got a department up and going within an hour.   Proud of ourselves we discovered three years later as we were repasting our computers that we had left the plastic protective sleeve for the CPU on top of the processor when we assembled the motherboard in late 2008.

(Photo: Neil Spector)

I was so shocked that the motherboard and CPU had survived I looked up at Mike in amusement and asked, “Should we leave it on there?  It’ll probably die if we take it off!”    Of course we removed it and repasted the computer.

Moral to the story – Take your time and double check everything

Verdict – Mike and Steve guilty….. Dawn innocent

Monitor your servers and workstations with ManageEngine tools

ManageEngine has excellent software used to manage workstations, servers and other enterprise computing needs.   They also have some of the best software tools you can download and use for free. Their free  Windows Health Monitor Tool can be used :

  •  Windows Monitoring including -Windows 2003 & Windows 2008 servers and Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
  •  Works in Active Directory or in workgroup
  •  Allows you to monitor server resources like CPU Utilization, Memory Utilization
  •  Disk Utilization & Disc Read ⁄ Write details
  •  Bandwidth monitoring – Network Rx ⁄ Tx
  •  Dashboard – Top resource utilization details
  • Monitor up to 10 devices
Other  tools you can download include- SQL Monitoring, SNMP, Active Directory, Exchange, Hyper-V, Sharepoint and more.

Slow Network?

Do you have a computer that responds slow on the network or hesitates?  Follow these steps and you will see a significant difference. (Because we have not shown how to disable advanced settings in your network card, simply go to your device manager and double click on your network card – disable TCP offload and any advanced settings such as proxy and other settings that may make the card hesitate)

  1. Remove any add-ins on your Browsers that you don’t need
  2. Remove Toolbars
  3. Adjust your MTU Settings
  4. Adjust your Network Speed
  5. Disable LLMNR
  6. Disable all advanced settings on your card
Advanced settings example

Prevent the Shutdown or Restarting of a computer if a critical file is open

Here’s a nice little program that will prevent a shutdown if critical data is open.  Foolish IT has a program that prevents automatic restarts.  ShutDownUnless is a program that can monitor your server and prevent corrupt data in the event something is open such as a database.  Often restarting and the automatic restarting of a server can lead to this.  Link