Having run into a few incidents with external users trying to access our helpdesk satisfaction surveys, I decided to stop having the users append the FQDN to the server name and just fix the “cause.” I quote cause here because the true cause of the issue is not that the server name needs the domain name appended to the end of it; the root cause is an older version of the cisco anyconnect VPN client experiencing a split tunnel routing confusion issue.

Rather than seeking out to fix true root cause of the issue (and opening the can of worms that is herding an external sales group) I decided to fix the low hanging fruit. Users did not always need to click a link to respond to helpdesk surveys, they used to be done right in the email and then submitted. When outlook 2007 came out and switched the HTML rendering engine from IE to word and “set email back 10 years,” we were forced to adjust the email template. See the AKB# 35098 for more details.

The template now contains a link so that everything is rendered properly in a browser window. The fix was fairly simple, edit the satisfaction survey, scroll to the bottom, you should see the following text:

<A HREF="REGEX[[URLALIAS(workitemsatsurveyurl)]][[\{0\}]][[WORKITEM(workitem_number)]]">Click here for Satisfaction Survey</A>

This uses a regular expression and can be adjusted straight to the URL instead. My change was as follows:

<A HREF="http://servername.zombo.com/aexhd/winuser/default.aspx?cmd=satSurvey&id=WORKITEM(workitem_number)">Click here for Satisfaction Survey</A>

This eliminates the split tunnel confusion issue and forces the VPN client to send the http request down the corporate tunnel because it sees the FQDN. Our external users are now free from needing to append anything to their survey URLs.

Throwing this post out here more for myself than anything. The following query will determine what Service Pack your SQL 2005 server is running.

SELECT  SERVERPROPERTY(‘productversion’), SERVERPROPERTY (‘productlevel’), SERVERPROPERTY (‘edition’)

Published Workflow Issue

November 24, 2009

I was experiencing an issue where after publishing a workflow to the workflow server the page that would come up where your supposed to see your webform or project was showing a “Page cannot be displayed” error. A quick MySupport incident and a phone call from SYMC support found the issue that .NET 3.5 SP1 was installed.

The solution is to uninstall 3.5 SP1, 2.0, and 1.1. I then rebooted and reinstalled in reverse order up to 3.5 WITHOUT 3.5 SP1. After double checking the associations in ‘default website’ in IIS Manager and an iisreset I was good to go.

First Workflow…Check

November 23, 2009

Just finished off my first workflow with the help of a user submitted video on Symantec Connect. Pretty simple workflow really, it’s a basic hardware request. I really like the interface, I just have a lot more learning to do. Anyone else using Workflow?


Workflow 7.0

November 21, 2009

It’s that time of year, just in time for the holidays and our fiscal year has ended and the new one has begun. New fiscal years mean new budgets and hopefully some new solutions or consulting help for existing solutions for us lucky ones. This year we have been fortunate enough to have budgetary approval for workflow solution.

We’ve obtained the licenses and today I setup the solution in the SMP and installed the server/designer on our freshly built workflow server. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten for now but I’m curious – What is the first process you setup or had built with your brand spankin new solution?

tl;dr – What is the first thing you did with workflow 6/7?

Search Federation

November 5, 2009

One of the new lesser publicized features in Windows 7 is called Search Federation. If a website uses the OpenSearch standards you can create an XML file and save it as a .OSDX file so that Windows will recognize it.

Search federation for example allows you to search Wikipedia from within Windows Explorer. There are several connectors already available, you can find them at the bottom of this article. One thing to note is even if a site doesn’t use open search, you can search it using live search.

You can see it in action with the preview pane open here:


Free Hyper-V book

November 5, 2009

You can pickup a free copy of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V by going here. Thanks to NetApp for putting on this promotion, you must register by November 20th, 2009.

The New Efficiency

November 5, 2009

Yesterday I attended a New Efficiency event in Kansas City put on by Microsoft to help get the word out about Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Exchange Server 2010. The event was packed, I’m guessing somewhere around 400 people or more.

Overall, it was a pretty solid event. It sure helps that they gave out a free copy of Windows 7 ultimate. It was nice to get to listen to MS Technical Evangelist Kevin Remde speak, he had some great presentations.

You can checkout Kevin’s blog here.

AKB 1820 Clarification

October 27, 2009

I just finished doing a “clean” uninstall (per akb 1820) of NS 7 to fix an issue in AKB 26197. After attempting a reinstall via SIM7 I was getting an error when trying to install the Symantec Management Platform by itself or as part of the client management suite. Altiris knowledge base article 1820 covers the process one must complete to do a manual uninstall of Notification Server. In short the article states:

  1. Backup your existing Altiris or AeXNS (this is optional, but recommended).
  2. Backup custom files: This includes Patches, Software Delivery packages, and any other customized files within your Notification Server installation. This does not include core program files.
  3. Stop any Altiris Service using the Services Manager
  4. Uninstall All Solutions, Notification Server, and the Altiris Agent from Add or Remove Programs.  Do *not* remove the Wise Toolkit if it is installed. This may cause IIS from running correctly.
  5. Go into Regedit and delete the following keys if they still exist:
    • HKLM > Software > Altiris and remove the keys: Altiris Agent, Communications, Scheduler, StartSoftwarePortal, StartCMS, Software Management, Patch Management, APackageStub.
    • HKLM > Software > Altiris > Express and remove all keys except Boot Disk Creator, console, Winpk.log (these will exist if Deployment Server is installed).
    • Delete the HKCR\Installer\Products\4E5A8049C67… key and any other keys that relate to Altiris including AppWeaver, Alert Manager, etc. (This will require you to explore the keys to find Altiris references, whether by Solution name or Altiris).
    • DeleteHKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\Userdata\S-1-5-18\Products\ any of the IDs that correspond to Altiris.
    • Delete HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\ any of the IDs that correspond to Altiris.
    • Delete HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services any of the Altiris services.
  6. Delete the follow locations on the drive where Notification Server was installed:
    • Install path\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server
    • From Windows: delete any Aex files in Winnt\System32
    • From Windows: delete any MSI files in WINNT\Installer related to Altiris (Look at the MSI properties).
    • Install path\Program Files\Altiris\Setup Files
  7. Reinstall Notification Server. (Use the version from www.solutionsam.com/solutions/6_0/ to make sure you have the most current version.)

Number 6 is in need of a little clarification. Where it says to delete any items related to altiris from HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\Userdata\S-1-5-18\Products\. The only way to know if these keys relate to altiris is to expand the key and click on the installerproperties subkey and then reference the values in the right pane to see if they say anything about Altiris, if they do then delete the entire key related to that installer.

Note: This is for Altiris NS 6 but I applied it NS 7 without incident, ymmv.

Update!: This did not fix the SIM7 installer issue I experienced. There was an event log error reporting that NS 5.5 must be uninstalled before NS 6.0 can be installed. This was puzzling since we’re trying to install NS 7. The fix is to delete the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\UpgradeCodes\BD07D9FBBCB1C4A4394A9F46F2FACC2D This should take care of the problem, I was able to relaunch SIM7 and install the SMP without issue.

DS 6.9 SP3 & PXE

October 14, 2009

Just a friendly reminder here: When you upgrade to DS 6.9 SP3, make sure you either choose to update your PXE server through the SP3 install wizard or go back and relaunch C:\DSSetup\setup.exe (C: can be different in your environment) and choose component installation and choose to install a PXE server to upgrade to the latest build.

Failing to update the PXE server after the DS is running SP3 will result in clients booting into automation only to be struck by a \BOOT\BCD error before downloading the WinPE ISO.