SBS 2008 Migration: Nibbled to Death

Today, I thought of the old saying about being nibbled to death by ducks.

I had all sorts of little problems crop up today.  We have a PBX with a built-in router that I had hoped we would be able to use.  No such luck.  It locked up after hours for no good reason.  Not good.  We have a cable modem/router that will be familiar to many, since it is the one provided to business customers of this large cable operator;  we are now using its firewall capabilities.

It works better.  At least it hasn’t locked up.

But the VPN works.  Our PBX vendor will gladly license our appliance to be a VPN server, but with SBS it’s a waste;  we already have a license for as many people as we expect to use it (not many, mainly staff.)

(Our staff uses Macs at home, so Remote Web Workplace is not a great fit.  I’m aware of the disadvantages of a VPN, but the staff is most familiar with it so that’s what I’m going with.)

I also had all the usual problems one has with 6-year old workstations;  I don’t believe in “Winrot”, but these machines have been used hard.  (To their credit, Dell Optiplexes are very good machines.)

Two larger problems I had to deal with:

1) When the users are migrated from SBS 2003, the users themselves aren’t migrated as such—they’re already there in Active Directory.  But the user roles and permissions have to be assigned at the new server, otherwise they’ll not show up in the console.

Straightforward, mostly.

But I had gotten ahead of myself and copied User’s Shared Folders from the old SBS 2003 server to the 2008 machine.

The User Role Wizard doesn’t like that.  It will report it can’t set quota because the folders already exist.

OK, I move the folders to somewhere else and try again.

Nope.  This time it says it can’t set quota on folder “xxxxxx”.  Turns out folder “xxxxxx” doesn’t exist.  Fix:  Run the User Role wizard and note what folders it complains about.

In the folder assigned to users’ shared folders, make a folder or folders with the name the wizard lists.  If if complains about a folder named “davidmoisan”, then create that new folder named “davidmoisan”.

Rerun the User Role Wizard and tell it to add a role (not replace).  Do this until you get green checkboxes for every user going forward to the new server.

This is known, in sysadmin practice, as “Giving the bleeping computer a cookie until it gets what it wants and is happy with it!”

Of course, you’re using the SBS 2008 Group Migration Tool, right?

2)  I had problems getting the SBS 2008 Backup wizard to work;  I got an error “Unable to configure the backup schedule”.  The log had an ugly error about something being missing in Task Scheduler, so I assumed the worst.

There are two possible causes:  The old EMEA SBS blog suggests it’s due to having  a backup device that’s too small for the data being backed up.

Our backup disk is a pair of LaCie Big Disk Quadra, 2 TB each.  Not likely to be too small!

The other reason was uncovered by Nick Whittome:  His machine, and ours, is a Dell PowerEdge that was configured at the factory.  It has a 2 gig FAT partition named “OS”.  The Backup Wizard does not like this.  His fix, and mine, is to convert the 2 gig FAT partition to NTFS.

I’m wondering if it’ll break the diagnostic partition that Dell installs on its machines;  it usually puts that in a tiny EISA partition (that is on the server.)  I haven’t gone into the partition to see what’s actually in it.

Fix is to type in a command prompt:

convert <drive> /fs:ntfs 

where <drive> is the Dell OS partition (usually D:.)

I’ve heard nothing about this.  The SBS team was supposed to post about this but that was in February and it’s now June.  There had to have been hundreds of Dell boxes with SBS.  Why I never knew this…?

But the fix worked and I should get a good backup report in my morning email.

With that, nearly everything is done.  I only have to verify that all the workstations are applying folder redirection to the new server, redirect some file shares, and decommission the old server.

One last post in this series and I’ll be done.


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