Changing TFS user account passwords

If you change the domain\tfsservice and/or the domain\tfsreports as you would expect your TFS server to stop, and it does. To get it back working you have to reset the passwords in:

  • The various TFS AppPools on the frontend server need the new tfsservice password
  • The datasource in ([frontendserver]/reports) on the reporting services need the new tfsreports password.

After that all should be OK

Shame it is at TVP

When I heard the NxtGenUG were putting on a day conference Fest 07 on the 23rd May, I had assumed it might be in the midlands, as that is where their user groups are based. However it is at Microsoft TVP in Reading – yet another trek south, does nothing other than an occasional MSDN/TechNet road shows come further north than the M4 corridor?  other than our Black Marble events of course!

This said the line up of speakers looks great and well worth the trip.

Swapping from Nvidia RAID to Software mirroring on a SunFire x2100

Our SunFire x2100 application servers, running Windows 2003 R2, are configured with Nvidia RAID system (built into the motherboard) to mirror the pair of SATA drives in each servers. Two of these servers keeps losing the mirrors, but a third, and a SunFire x2200, do not. When this happens Windows hanging – not good in a server.

We have had a support call open with Sun and swapped bits of hardware, but it keeps happening. During the support calls we discovered that the Nvidia RAID is not true hardware, but a ‘software trick’. So not a great step up from letting Windows do the mirroring itself.

To try to isolate if we have a hardware problems (motherboard, disk etc.) or a driver problem we decided to move from the Nvidia RAID to Windows software mirroring. This was not as hard as I had expected, even though you have to load a special driver for Nvidia RAID, it does not the standard SATA  built into Windows.

So the process is:

  1. Boot to BIOS setup (F2)
  2. In the integrated peripherals, disable the Nvidia RAID
  3. Boot to Windows (may take a couple of reboots to get to a login prompt, not sure why this is)
  4. When logged in you should now see two drives, copies of each other
  5. In the Admin Tools | Computer Manager, select the Disk manager and convert the two drives from basic to dynamic drives (this needs a reboot or two)
  6. When this is completed go back into the disk manager and delete the partition on the second drive
  7. Select the partition on the primary drive right click and add the second disk as a mirror

And now you should be done, at least when the resysnc completes, which took about four hours for our 500Gb disks which are only about 10-20% full.

It goes without saying to make sure you have a backup before you start.

Lets see if this fixes our problems

My Presentation at the Extreme Programming Club

I did my presentation on Scrum last night for the Extreme programming club in Leeds, seemed to go down well. A lively discussion was had on Scrum and a whole bunch of agile issues. If anyone has questions post them on the club forum.

The next meeting on 12th of April an Extreme Hour, an audience participation event on doing an XP project in a an hour – sounds interesting.

At last a working Vista replacement for XP Media Center PC

I decided to completely rebuild my media center PC as I was making no progress on the problems I had discussed in my previous post.

I dropped in a new hard disk as drive C: (leaving in my old one to allow me to copy data off) and installed Vista Ultimate, no problems there. It did not find drivers for my ASUS motherboard SoundMax card or for my Hauppauge Nova T 500.

I download and installed the XP driver sound card pack for ASUS, I then looked on Hauppauge site and found that they have at last released a Vista 3.3c disk for most of their current range.

I then installed the current free version of AVG anti virus. I then copied all my recorded TV programs, MP3 etc. from the old drive.

With these  installed everything seemed to work I scanned for digital TV channels, could watch recorded TV, or a DVD and the PC went into and out of sleep mode without an issue. So I left the PC overnight…………….

When I tried a DVD the next day I got the same error about ‘copy protection’ I had had before, saying I should update the driver. I then look at the ATI site and found they also have just released a new Vista driver set. I installed this and the DVD work – but I had seen this before,  everything was OK until I rebooted the PC when I had to repeat the ATI install process (over and over again). After this complete rebuilt this did not seem to be the case. So maybe I have a working PC now? Only time will tell.

Speaking on Scrum

I will be speaking about Scrum at the second Yorkshire Extreme Programming Club meeting next Thursday 8th March at the Victoria Hotel in Leeds.

So if you are interested in a quick introduction to Scrum, or just want to meet other developers in the Yorkshire region interested in Agile methods come along.

Microsoft SQL 2005 starts then stops with 3414 error

I recently had one of our Windows 2003 server lose it’s disk mirrors and locked up. When it was restarted it has two (virtually idenitical) drives C: and E:. It booted off the primary mirror disk (C:) and all seemed OK except SQL.

I also tried booting off the secondary mirror (E:) but this would not boot (this drive it turns out had some bad blocks).

So I went back to the primary disk. The actual problems was SQL server started but then stopped after a few seconds, the Windows error log showed the unhelpful 3414 error. I google for this, but all that was mentioned was issues with DTC, but this did not relavent as we not use distributed transactions. There was nothing else on the web of note.

I had a look at the MSQL.1\logs directory and this showed problems loading the various databases. So it seems when the disk de-mirrored it was writing SQL transaction logs, and they ended up corrupted. So in my case a generic 3414 error in the error log meant corrupt transactions that could not be rolled forward or back.

More in hope than expectations I tried copying the SQL datafiles and logs back from the faulty secondary drive (E:) and tried to restart SQL and this worked – SQL started without a problem! I was lucky the bad blocks were not near the SQL files. This saved me from having to rebuild the server and restore backups, espcially as some the the DBs were SharePoint, and a SharePoint SQL restore is rarely fun!

When installing Cassini why do I always forget this?

If installing the Cassini Personal Server on a PC you will often get the “Cassini managed web server failed to start listening to port 80. Possible conflict with another web server on the same port.” error.

You of course think this is a firewall, other web server or anti virus port blocker problems


Ok it might be those problems as well but usually it is that you need to run

gacutil /i c:\cassini\cassini.dll

or just drag a copy of the cassini.dll into the GAC (C:\Windows\Assembly)

Shame the installer does not do this.

Moving Community Server

Today I moved this blog server from an old server to our nice shinny new ones. This meant splitting it so the DB to the dedicated SQL server and the front end to the new web server box. This cause a few problems.

The actual move was fine, just back and restore the DB and copy over the ASP.NET web contents. I then edited the web.config to point at the new server and had some problems, some expect some not.

  • First I altered the CustomErrors block to report full errors
  • In the SiteSqlServer setting I alter the server name to point to point at the new server, until this was done I got not unsurprisingly a server not found error.
  • Once the server was right I got a MyDomain\MyServerName$ could not connect, so I created this user giving the rights listed in the database readme file could in the scripts sub directory.
  • However this did not work, I then got a CS generated form titled Critical Error: Data Store Unavailable, that told me to edit the entries I had just edited!

After much digging about I found the answer in the CS forums, you have to also give the user the ASPNET_* rights for the CommunityServer database.

Hope this saves someone some time.