My ramblings about all things technical


Microsoft DPM Fails with event ID: 7034" The DPM service terminated unexpectedly. It has done this x time(s)


A few days ago while running restores on our Data Protection Manager(DPM) server the MMC failed and brought up the below error message


I checked all the services and the DPM and DPMRA services had stopped so i restarted them and made sure all the others were running also and then tried to reopen the DPM 2007 Administrator Console and after five to ten seconds it would fail and give me the same error above.

So I decided to start searching the Microsoft forums and the internet for any mention of this error and hopefully a solution. I found a number of postings with varying solutions and tried quite a few of them, from reinstalling DPM 2007 SP1, installing hotfixes and scouring the DPM error logs for any kind of answers but none of the worked/helped. So after having tried a sufficient amount of time to fix it myself i logged a ticket with Microsoft support as fortunately EMC is a gold partner. After finally getting hold of the support engineer (he asked me to call him for my support ticket…) he asked me to send him my log files which were located in a different place than what was mentioned in any of the forums I saw as mine were under C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\DPM and the log in particular that the engineer said I would find the error and where he found it was the MSDPMCurr.errlog file. In here after Caught unhandled exception  ,right at the end of the line is the error message that shows what your problem isThere is an error in XML document (1, 1). —> System.Xml.XmlException: Data at the root level is invalid. Line 1, position 1”  The engineer said if I put this into a search engine and looked for it it would have told me my problem although I’ve tested this and can’t seem to see any solution that would have saved me calling them.

The solution in the end was a SQL query he made me run and was actually mentioned as something someone did mention in a forum but unfortunately didn’t post the SQL query. Here are the steps we took, These are at your own precaution:

  • First we backed up the DPM Database by running “dpmbackup –db” and making sure it created it successfully under  C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\DPM\Volumes\ShadowCopy\Database Backups.
  • We then opened SQL Management Studio (I right clicked on the application and ran it as administrator due to my DPM being installed on Server 2008) and logged into the DPM database (if yours doesn’t show up by default as an option like mine didn’t, unless it was manually renamed it will be servername\”name after MSSQL in the error message” so mine as shown in the screenshot above was ms$dpm2007$)
  • Once we were into SQL Management Studio we right clicked on the DPM server and selected “New Query*NB* Change the database in the selection box from master to the DPM DB and then we pasted the following query into the window and ran it.

UPDATE tbl_TE_TaskTrail
SET ExecutionState = 3,
LastStateName = ‘Failure’,
StoppedDateTime = GetUtcDate()
WHERE ExecutionState NOT IN (2,3)

UPDATE tbl_JM_JobTrail
SET JobState= ‘Failed’,
EndDateTime = GetUtcDate()
WHERE jobstate= ‘Execute’ OR jobstate= ‘Retire

  • At the bottom of the window it will tell you if the query executed successfully which mine did and then we opened the DPM Administrator Console and it wasn’t crashing anymore Open-mouthed smile.

The engineer said it was due to certain jobs having crashed and their XML files being corrupted so running the above query retires the jobs and fixes the problem.

Hopefully this helps people and saves them the time and effort I had to endure.



Active Directory Web Services encountered an error while reading the settings for the specified Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services instance. Active Directory Web Services will retry this operation periodically. In the mean time, this instance will be ignored.

Yes the title is seriously long but I couldn’t think of a better title for it so used the error :).

Almost a month back now I was having the above errors in my Virtual Centre Server. Due to the need for a recent rebuild our Virtual Centre server is installed on a Windows 2008 server. The server is fine, but after going through the logs of the server I noticed the above error happening every couple of minutes, so I researched it and came across a VMware communities thread about the error but there was no real solution to it. So I scoured the web and came across the solution as it’s not a VMware error but a Windows/Microsoft error/event which “is only recorded if ADWS can’t read the ports that AD LDS is configured to use for LDAP and Secure LDAP (SSL).” The fix was on a Microsoft Active Directory blog, the last question was it exactly. I’ve posted the solution from the blog posting here:

Active Directory Web Services

Q: I’m seeing the following warning event recorded in the Active Directory Web Services event log about once a minute.

Log Name:      Active Directory Web Services
Source:        ADWS
Date:          4/8/2010 3:13:53 PM
Event ID:      1209
Task Category: ADWS Instance Events
Level:         Warning
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Active Directory Web Services encountered an error while reading the settings for the specified Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services instance.  Active Directory Web Services will retry this operation periodically.  In the mean time, this instance will be ignored.
Instance name: ADAM_ContosoAddressbook

I can’t find any Microsoft resources to explain why this event occurs, or what it means.

A: Well…we couldn’t find any documentation either, but we were curious ourselves so we dug into the problem. It turns out that event is only recorded if ADWS can’t read the ports that AD LDS is configured to use for LDAP and Secure LDAP (SSL). In our test environment, we deleted those values and restarted the ADWS service, and sure enough, those pesky warning events started getting logged.

The following registry values are read by ADWS:

Key: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\<ADAM_INSTANCE_NAME>\Parameters
Value: Port LDAP
Data: 1 – 65535 (default: 389)

Key: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\<ADAM_INSTANCE_NAME>\Parameters
Value: Port SSL
Data: 1 – 65535 (default: 636)

Verify that the registry values described above exist and have the appropriate values. Also verify that the NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM account has permission to read the values. ADWS runs under the Local System account.

Once you’ve corrected the problem, restart the ADWS service. If you have to recreate the registry values because they’ve been deleted, restart the AD LDS instance before restarting the ADWS service.

Thanks to Simon Long for reminding me I had this as a blog draft from over a month ago that I seem to have forgotten to post.

Gregg Robertson

*UPDATE* I’ve just had to do this fix for the latest installation of vCentre and as mentioned by people in the comments below the path is now HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\ADAM_VMwareVCMSDS\Parameters , the | SSL Port value is created as a REG_SZ instead of REG_DWORD and the value is empty. So you need to delete this and recreate it as a REG_DWORD with the value 636.


Windows Server 2008 drive doesn’t expand correctly after extending in VMware VI client


I thought I’d stick up a quick posting about this seeing as today it’s the second time the problem has come about and this time i made sure i did it really carefully just to make sure it wasn’t my fat fingers the first time.

A user requested me to extend one of their windows server 2008 vm’s c drives by 20gb. Standard practice is to make sure there are no snapshots attached (was reminded to make sure of this painfully recently),edit the settings of the vm and increase the size/value of the drive you wish to be increased,log into the vm,go to storage>disk management and rescan the disks. the new space should now show up and then you just right click on the drive to be extended and select extend and increase the space. But after extending it a error came up saying “invalid parameters”, after which the disk showed as the new size at the bottom of the disk management panel but in windows explorer and the top part of the disk management pane it still showed the original size.

What i had to do was shrink the drive i wanted to increase by the free space still left on the drive(this value will be automatically shown in the shrink drive wizard), rescan the disks by which it shows the drive shrunk by the free space and the free space of the shrunk drive added to the space you added earlier. Now you just extend it again like normal and it all works as it should.

If you want to know how to extend your drive via Windows Server 2003 Jonathon Medd has detailed it in a blog posting along with the steps I did above.

Gregg Robertson



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How to disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration on a Windows 2008 Server

Yesterday while trying to work out why VMware update manager hated me and wouldn’t scan any of my hosts, one of the many fixes I was trying was making sure that my VMware Update Manager server could reach the patch stores to download updates and do patch checks and so decided to make sure of this I wanted to remove the painfully irritating Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration. Now before I get loads of comments saying this is dangerous etc etc and that it’s a security risk,I know it is but for testing purposes I wanted to do it so I did. Now the point of this blog is that to disable it isn’t as easy as it used to be in 2003 as you used to just:

  • Go to Control Panel
  • Add/Remove Programs, 
  • Add/Remove Windows Components on the left hand side


  • Untick it from the drop down list


But for Windows Server 2008 I couldn’t find it anywhere in the features drop down lists which has replaced the Windows Components in Server 2008. Fortunately while on another Server 2008 server I noticed the place to disable it. In the Server Manager root page under the Security Information section is Configure IE ESC


All you need to do is click on this link and disable it for either Administrators and/or for Users. I only needed for Administrators so this is what I selected for the testing.


Gregg Robertson



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Enabling Telnet in Windows 7


This morning while trying to do some troubleshooting via one of my windows 7 testing machines I noticed that they have disabled telnet by standard as they did in vista it seems. I’m sure this is due to Microsoft trying to make windows 7 more secure. So I thought I would quickly post up how to re-enable it for anyone wishing to do this but isn’t fully up to speed with windows 7(although guess if you need telnet you should be already but anyhow)

  • Go to Start
  • Control Panel
  • Programs And Features
  • image
  • Turn Windows features on or off
  • image
  • Tick the box for Telnet Client
  • image
  • Then click the OK button and it will be installed for you.

Hope this helps someone 🙂

Gregg Robertson




MCSE upgrade to MCITP Server Administrator

This morning on twitter i saw Scott Lowe(@scott_lowe) and Jason Boche(@jasonboche) talking about the upgrading of their MCSE credentials to MCITP and though i would repost the blog postings I wrote on my Corporate blog and thought i would repost them here for people who are interested.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist(MCTS) 2008 (posted 05 August 2008)

As I’ve said in previous blog postings before, I have a bit of a problem, I love doing Microsoft exams. So feeding my addiction I was very happy to hear of the new windows 2008 exams that were coming out which I spoke of fairly extensively in a previous posting. My aim is still to get my mcitp credentials and along this path I needed to upgrade my MCSE 2003 to Server 2008 and this entailed me needing to write the exam 70-649 : Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist. So last Friday after many nights of studying, weekends spent inside going over material and the massive book the Conchango training department kindly got for me to use called The Real MCTS/MCITP Exam 70-649 Prep Kit: Independent and Complete Self-Paced Solutions which I would highly highly recommend ,I wrote the exam.

I did the upgrade exams from MCSE 2000 to MCSE 2003 so was very weary of this exam as like many other people I know and have spoken to who have done or attempted the 2000 to 2003 exams the two exams were a nightmare and a true challenge of your knowledge. But I have to admit that this exam thankfully wasn’t as insane as those previous upgrade exams and was fairly straight forward in the answering. Now obviously I am not going to divulge any information of the exam as I don’t need Microsoft bringing a lawsuit on me for breaking the rules of the exams, but as I said earlier the book I used was spot on in covering absolutely every bit of information I needed to prepare me for the exam and my test score of 962 is definitely as testament to that(especially because I know the question I got wrong that denied me my full number of points).

So now I am a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist in three different fields after passing my exam which definitely makes my Transcript look pretty mean if I do say so myself with the new four credentials being:

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist

Windows Server 2008 Active Directory: Configuration

Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure: Configuration

Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure: Configuration

Now I jusAt need to do my 70-646 for my MCITP:server administrator credential

MCITP Server Administrator (posted 02 April 2009)

On the 19th of march i finally got myself into gear and wrote my second mcse upgrade exam to server 2008 exam 070-646. With the passing of this exam i also acquired the new certification MCITP Server Administrator.

As stated in previous blog postings i  did the upgrade exams for the upgrading of my MCSE 2000 to 2003 and the exams were very challenging, so much so i actually failed one at my first attempt. Sadly both of the upgrade exams for server 2008 were much much easier in comparison. I can possibly attribute some of that to my using of the technology far more than i did for 2003 when i wrote the upgrade exam but they were definitely made a lot easier and most of the answers i felt could have been guessed by someone just based on the answer being the new technology in 2008.

So now i am now an MCITP: Server Administrator


I’m still a bit puzzled why they took away the well known MCSE certification but they claim these new certifications prove your skills more effectively on specific technologies. I still feel the MCSE covered a much broader base which proved your skills much better whereas this new way waters down the exams and doesn’t prove a candidates skills as well. Mark Wilson explains this in a lot more and better detail in one of his blog postings.

I waited to post this blog till my confirmation finally came through and showed in my transcript which happened last night as now i have the MCITP exam at the top of my transcript(which has extended quite nicely with the mcts credentials i obtained from my 70-649 exam)

If anyone is planning to write this exam wants a good book to study for the exam i would firmly recommend the MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-646): Windows Server Administration It covered all the topics very well and is a third off so well worth the buy.

Good luck to anyone writing this exam and hope the above rambling helps you in some way. Now i need to decide if i do my Hyper-V exam or do the exam for me to acquire the MCITP: Enterprise administrator credential.(Funnily enough i did neither and still haven’t. I started my VMware path but I plan to write and blog about my upgrading to MCITP Enterprise Administrator later this year)

Gregg Robertson




All things Virtual V


The past few weeks have been very busy both personally and in the virtualisation arena. My previous posting on the DNS issues I came across and my still unanswered problem with Virtual Distributed Switching VLAN connectivity(which I will post a blog about when I find a solution better than the long winded work around I detailed in my discussion) while deploying a large number of projects both here in the UK as well as in the US has kept me very busy. As for the virtualisation side there has been a large amount of interesting articles,more employment movements by some of the top people in virtualisation and a very nice bit of coverage of this blog.

Unfortunately even though I work for one of the major VMware partners I wasn’t fortunate enough to make it to the VMware Partner Exchange in Las Vegas last week. Sadly I didn’t see a large amount of new and interesting news coming out of this either,but the blogs I found very interesting and which covered the events was blogs Duncan Epping(@duncanyb) of Yellow Bricks fame’s blog on the event detailed. From these blogs the points that really interested me were:

  • VMware’s recently acquired company Zimbra. I would firmly recommend reading up on what Zimbra is and what it does as I have a very strong feeling we’ll be hearing plenty about it in the coming weeks and months.A very interesting acquisition which I’m sure is one they have done to increase their clout in the Cloud Computing arena.
  • The news and painful lack of definite news on the decommissioning of the service console was of upmost interest to me obviously as we have a large array of esx machines here in my environment that are all using the service console. I’ve still not read any really good reasons for this happening apart from someone at VMware thinking it would be fun to make VMware Systems Administrators have cold sweats at the the threat of it coming in soon and the work that will need to be done as well as the skills that will need to be learnt for this to happen.  From chatting to a few fellow virtualisation sys admin’s there is a lot of dissatisfaction with this decision and the reasoning of “minimize the possible attack surface”. This is complete rubbish to me as the trade off of ease of configuration and management compared to the possibility of your systems being attacked is massively painful as with correct security procedures there shouldn’t be any real chance of this happening so why take it away and make my job that much more difficult and complex. Hopefully someone will be able to answer this with better reasoning.Scott Lowe’s first session’s blog comments have detailed part of this and is where my disappointment in the still lack of news is detailed by a few people.
  • The next part that i did find interesting due to my plans to utilise the software for my works own environment was the talk about VMware Chargeback. Scott Lowe’s blog about this session was the one i got the most out of on the topic and is one I’m currently using as a resource for my roll out of the appliance. Hopefully if all goes well I can post my findings and opinions of what it does and how it has or hasn’t helped me.
  • If you want a really good overview of the day Chad Sakac of virtual geek fame has posted a very in depth and detailed posting on the event and is a blog i would recommend if you have the time to read(I’m currently still making my way through it)

This week Monday Nicholas Weaver (@lynxbat) posted his latest update to the much tweeted about and highly spoke of vSphere Mini Monitor. I have personally installed the tool and am busy configuring it to suit my needs. It’s a brilliant tool for anyone wishing to monitor their virtual environment in new practical ways(twitter feed especially). Also a big welcome to Nick on his joining EMC. Seems the tide of top virtualisation people joining EMC is carrying on. Nick’s posting on his leaving and his reasons for leaving are something I can relate to as is his desire to constantly learn and push himself and is what I did when I left my then gf,parents,lifestyle and comfy job back in South Africa to move over to the UK just so that I could push myself and become better and hopefully end up working with some of the industry leaders(which I’m very proud to say I am now that I work at EMC and previously Conchango)

After much waiting (almost three months) my VCP4 certificate finally arrived this past week and with it my workstation 7 licence key. The licence is very helpful as I use workstation 7 for a lot of my home testing/workshop testing and work. Eric Sloof(@esloof) posted about the kits being sent out and as well as the new vcp logo which I have now attached to my signature at the bottom to keep in accordance.

In the past two weeks one of my team members and I have now been tasked with the backing up of our virtual machines and so i needed to brush up my knowledge on vcb backups. While asking an open question on this David Convery(@dconvery) pointed me to a blog posting he did detailing a document he wrote all about vcb and how it works and how to deploy it. It’s a brilliant document and one I have saved and have been using to manage our vcb backup environment.

As I have detailed in previous blog postings my aim this year to try better my skills in Powershell so that I can make my life easier in managing my companies virtualised environment. One of the leaders in this field in using powershell for VMware tasks is Alan Renouf(@alanrenouf). Last Monday he posted a brilliant article detailing automated vm provisioning. I have yet to try these scripts out but if these do what they say they can do and are anything like his vcheck tool then I can’t wait to get them to make my daily job easier.

Simon Seagrave from posted about the ability to Pre-register now to be notified when you will be able to register for VMworld2010 (i had to read that twice myself to make sure it made sense) I’m planning on going to the European one this year, which I’m extremely excited for for so many obvious reasons!!

While busy working this past week I decided to catch up on all the VMTN podcasts I hadn’t listened to yet as I like to keep up to date on everything happening and unfortunately with the amount of new and information coming out all the time the only time I can listen to these things is while I’m at work. The last one had Mike Laverick of RTFM-ED fame and Stevie Chambers from the UCS team and of fame. The podcast was extremely interesting to me and I found myself sitting still at points to concentrate on the things the podcast was covering. The podcasts are very informative and I would highly recommend them to anyone wanting to learn and keep up to date with everything happening and due to happen in the virtualisation field.

As I said in my previous All Things Virtual posting the London/South England VMUG is happening next week Thursday. Sadly I’m not able to attend as I stated in the posting which was made even more painful this week when I heard it’s fully booked before my co-workers had registered so now none of us are going and that so many of the top british virtualisation industry leaders are attending. I’ll definitely be glued to twitter during the day and Simon Long of SLOG fame has promised me a detailed blog about the days proceedings.

Gregg Robertson



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DNS issues on Windows Server 2008 R2

Last week while trying to build a Windows 2008 R2 server environment for a user I came across numerous problems when trying to add the clients to the domain I had created. I didn’t have much time to troubleshoot but after disabling all three “instances” of windows firewall everything started working and communicating as it should.

On Monday this week I noticed Daryl Hunter(@darylhunter) and Kendrick Coleman(@kendrickcoleman) talking about DNS problems with windows 2008 r2 on twitter and so told them of the problems I had come across and my work around. From this Daryl came back with a very interesting blog posting on the issue and which is the reason I’m creating this posting. Scott Forsythe who’s blog it is has found the reason to why I personally was having this problem and has brilliantly detailed how to fix the problem. A definite must read for anyone planning on rolling out Windows 2008 R2 domain controllers to their environment. and obviously anyone also experiencing the same issues.

Hope it saves someone the time.

Gregg Robertson



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Upgrading a machine from Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition x64 to R2


Yesterday while upgrading a Windows 2003 server for a user in our development centre I came across a very strange error. If this is down to my stupidity then so be it, but when I tried to upgrade one of our servers from Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition x64 to Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition x64 R2 by adding the R2 disc to the vm and running the upgrade the upgrade didn’t seem to work. This is a fairly simple upgrade and one I’ve done before. But once I ran the upgrade and restarted the box as is standard procedure the server was still the original OS prior to the upgrade. I tried again as I thought I missed something and watched it through the whole process and it all seemed to work correctly but when I looked at the system information it yet again was still the original OS.  What I found out after trying a whole bunch of different ideas is that once the upgrade process has “completed” and you have restarted ,you need to attach the second disc and finish the installation.


It seems windows doesn’t tell you(that I saw at any point) or ask you to do this so you have to know this is the process(like you will after reading this post) or have a lucky chance of trying the second disc like I did.

Hopefully this saves someone the time I ended up using in trying to get this upgrade completed.

Gregg Robertson



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Powershell,PowerGUI,PowerCLI and vCheck

As i said in my last post I’ve decided to start brushing up my non existent knowledge of powershell and learn the applications that link into VMware Virtual Infrastructure and how they can make my daily job easier and more automated. I’ve found many great articles and actually registered myself for two on demand Microsoft live meetings on using powershell a number of months back which i still need to make my way through. The two live meetings I’m planning to go through are:

Introduction to Windows PowerShell:

Writing Scripts with Windows Powershell :

Hopefully these will give me a basic basic knowledge of standard commands i can use and how they work as I’m a very big point and click type of person. There are many brilliant resources out there to learn from and reference.

For PowerCLI there is obviously the administration guide. The administration guide has loads of examples and covers both basic and advanced cmdlet usage. I’m definitely going to be spending a fair amount of time reading through and learning everything in the guide.Obviously to do all the great commands in your VMware environment you’ll need to install the PowerCLI application from

Alan Renouf(@alanrenouf) has written a great blog detailing some really helpful links and documents you can follow and use to learn and perfect your PowerCLI knowledge.I’ll be making my way through this list in the coming days. Alan also has a page on his site where he blogs about any new developments in powercli at

Microsoft has very handy PowerShell Quick Reference guide that has some very good examples for doing stuff in your environment.

Vinternal (@vinternals) has a really great blog page about learning all things powercli which is something I’m planning to get through once i have learnt all the basics from all the above resources. But a really great resource.

But my first port of call is a document detailed on both Alan and Simon Longs blogs that was made available at VMworld Europe last year. As it covers all the basics while teaching me about VMware specific commands.—-vmworld-europe-2009.pdf

If your on twitter and wish to follow me and hear about my progress on my learning of powershell,powercli etc then my username is @greggrobertson5

Gregg Robertson