BVLog Bryan Voss’ mental synchronization point


Windows 2003 R2 Enterprise 32-bit not seeing all available RAM

I ran into an issue today after adding more RAM to a Windows 2003 R2 Enterprise server. I upgraded it from 4GB to 20GB, but Windows still only saw around 3.25GB after booting. I checked the HP management board and it showed 20GB installed and working. After some googling, I found a solution here. Edit the boot.ini file and add a /PAE switch to enable Physical Address Extension. After rebooting, the System Properties dialog now shows a nifty Physical Address Extension line under the Computer section and all 20GB of RAM is available.

Filed under: sysadmin, windows No Comments

Generating a Centera cliplist from DiskXtender

We recently completed a migration from one EMC Centera to another. I was asked by Centera Support to provide cliplists from all applications that store data on Centera so they can verify that they copied everything.

When a file is stored on Centera, it returns a clip ID, which is an identifier for that particular file. Rather than a directory/filename, etc., Centera generates an MD5 hash of the file contents and that serves as the locator.

Here are the instructions for generating a cliplist from EMC DiskXtender:

  1. Download dxdmchk utility from EMC Powerlink.
  2. Run dxdmchk /sub /e "[extended drive directory]"
  3. This generates dxdmchk.log in the dxdmchk directory. This is the cliplist that will need to be provided to Centera Support.
  4. If there is more than one content directory on the extended drive, run dxdmchk for the root of each content directory. Make sure you rename the logfile or it will be overwritten.

Since we have over 40 million files stored on Centera by DiskXtender, it looks like it will take a while to generate the cliplist.


Silent install of VMWare Tools under a Windows guest

In vCenter Server, right-click on a virtual machine, click Guest | Install/Upgrade VMware Tools, and enter "/S /v /qn REBOOT=R" in the Advanced field. Reboot will be supressed.


RightFax error: A Non-Group 3 Fax Device Answered

Issue: RightFax 8.5 consistently errors with "A Non-Group 3 Fax Device Answered" when attempting to send to a particular number.

Details: Called the number and noticed that it rang four times, switched to an internal line and rang another couple of times before the fax device answered. Suspect a timeout issue.

Resolution: Increase CD (Carrier Detect?) timeout on Brooktrout card:

  1. In RightFax Enterprise Fax Manager, right-click RightFax BoardServer Module service
  2. Select Configure Service
  3. Under Global Board Settings, increase CD Timeout. In this case, I changed it from 40 to 60.
  4. Click OK and the service should restart
  5. Resend a fax to a number that has been erroring to make sure the setting change fixed the problem

The disk management services could not complete the operation

Issue: Receive the following error while trying to extend a disk volume via diskpart under Windows 2003: "The disk management services could not complete the operation."

Resolution: User running diskpart does not have full access permissions to root of volume. Either grant user appropriate permissions, or select disk then partition under diskpart, rather than volume. Example:
list disk
select disk n
list partition
select partition n

Thanks to for the solution. Plagiarized here for my ease of location next time this issue occurs.

Filed under: sysadmin, windows No Comments

Note to software vendors

If your "enterprise-class" application randomly displays an error dialog and stops working on my servers, I WILL use AutoHotKey to detect the issue and restart said application, thereby circumventing your attempts to deny my users their productivity. We will prevail!

Filed under: sysadmin, windows No Comments

32-bit apps on 64-bit Ubuntu

Issue: Attempting to run a 32-bit app on a 64-bit installation of Ubuntu Server results in a "not found" error message.

Resolution: Install ia32-libs package.

Filed under: linux, sysadmin No Comments

Big Data

I just added another 15 terabytes of disk to one of the SANs at work that I manage. Woohoo! Always fun dealing with lots of storage. Now off to provision some new datastores for VMWare ESX.


Creating/deleting Windows services

I always have to look the procedure up when I need to create/delete a Windows service, so here it is for posterity.

Create service (note the space after binPath=):
sc create "[service name]" binPath= "[path to executable]"

Delete service:
sc delete "[service name]"

And as long as we're on the subject, I really wish our "enterprise" software vendors would stop setting things up to run as Windows console apps when all they do is display a logfile in a window. If the app has the ability to run as a service, run it as a service. I can tail a logfile to debug issues, even if your support people don't know how to do that.

Running apps on the console tends to cause problems if people login via RDP. I can either:

  1. Explain to people that they have to login via RDP using a particular account with an obscure password in order to restart an app, making sure to include a "/console" after mstsc on the commandline.
  2. Tell them to login using their own account, double-click the Services icon on the desktop, right-click the app on the list and click Start.

Hmm. I think I prefer option 2.

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Clariion hosts showing as unmanaged

I have had several Windows servers connected to an EMC Clariion SAN via both Fibre Channel & iSCSI show up as unmanaged, even though they all have Navisphere Agent installed and running. After some investigation, I found that all of the hosts have multiple NICs, either for cluster heartbeat purposes or for iSCSI connectivity. In Navisphere, right-clicking the host and choosing "Update Now" gave an error which included the IP of one of the private interfaces. In other words, the agent is binding to the wrong adapter.


  1. Create a file named "agentid.txt" under the Navisphere Agent directory.
  2. The first line of the file should contain the server's fully-qualified hostname.
  3. The second line should contain the IP address that Navisphere should use to contact the server. This determines which adapter will be used.
  4. Stop/start Navisphere Agent service. Do not restart the service, as that doesn't seem to work.

In Navisphere, right-click on the host and click "Update Now". It should show up as managed.