Tuesday May 16th, 2017 22:55 Veeam “Failed to create Hyper-V Cluster Wmi utils: Failed to connect to WMI on host” Fixed

Yes, I know I should be beaten with the SEO mace for that post title. It’s intentional because I spent entirely too much time on Google trying to use the actual error code as a guide to find the source of the error. Stupid me.

Nearly everything I could find that was specifically related to Veeam either provided L1-phone support answers or only contained part of the reported error1.

That said: If you’re seeing that particular error, the actual problem has a high probability of being a simple fix. And here’s how that goes.

1. Forget about Veeam. That’s most likely not your problem, even if it’s happening on every job. It’s WMI itself.

22. Open WMI management on your Veeam server. It’s under start if you just type “wmi” or you can load it from MMC.

3. Right-click “WMI Control” – should have “(Local)” next to it at this point.

wmi

4. Check the properties to make sure it doesn’t say RPC Server unavailable. If it does, go to another server (that isn’t failing backup – hopefully you’ve got a standalone DC) and start over until you get a result with some basic sys info and a version number.

5. Close that window and right-click control again, but this time connect to another server.

6. Put in the name of the server that is failing backup and see what happens. For me, I got a positive result.

7. Now put in the IP of that same server. For me, RPC fail.

7.5 If those two things don’t happen, sorry. This procedure will probably not help you.

8. Given that scenario, connect to a DC that handles DNS for your domain.

9. Check the reverse lookup entries for the server failing backup. If you’re not seeing the correct name next to the correct IP, put it in there and delete any other reference to either (assuming they’re not accurate to another NIC’s IP, of course).

Be thorough. If someone gave a host a name outside the netbios limit and there’s a shortened entry, get rid of it. Only leave the un-suffixed FQDN entries. Check other subnets too.

RDNS is not something most of us clean up regularly, and conflicting entries can bork things.

10. Redo steps 5-7 from your step 4 server, connecting to whichever one(s) Veeam errored on. Remember to flush the DNS first. If good info now appears, you should be able to hit retry on the backup job(s) and walk away.

Hope that helps some other poor schmuck out there. No need to thank me; just remember to write it up when you solve your next annoying problem. Beats going begging to reddit.

1. Almost all of the posts had error messages that ended in some iteration of ‘bad credentials.’ Seriously, how are you employed if you needed to look that up?

2. This can also be done via CLI. This guy has a cut-and-paste-ready command.

In: Computers, How ToNo Comments

Monday March 13th, 2017 10:13 Worst Buy case update

Regarding the news from a couple months ago

told_you_so

It’s official now. Best Buy’s Dupe Squad was actively collaborating with the FBI to spy on anyone and everyone foolish enough to trust them to fix a computer.

In: Computers, NewsNo Comments

Friday February 3rd, 2017 10:33 Presented without comment

IT-Peeps

In: ComputersNo Comments

Tuesday January 10th, 2017 16:06 Trust, confidence and getting what you pay for

Doubtless, many people hear phrases like “I’ll just take it to Best Buy/the Apple store/etc.” all the time.

Me, not so much, given that I’m usually the repair point they’re taking ‘it’ to.

know_more_than_you

No matter how badly I’ve wanted any given person to take any given device anywhere else, not once have I let such words pass without at least a bit of snark – e.g. “Yes, and since I’m hungry, I’m going to go lick the bottom of a McDonald’s fry trough. Same as any other food, right?”

Listen up, people:

This is an actual ad for an ‘advanced’ Geek Squad tech. Having an A+ cert is ‘preferred.’

For those unaware, an A+ is the toilet paper of the cert world. Most certs are crap in general, and completely unnecessary for someone with a decent resume, but that one just comes right out and says ‘You will have no serious responsibilities or challenges, not the least bit owing to the fact that the supervisor who will be conducting your interview barely knows the difference between CMOS and ATMOS.’

The Apple ‘geniuses’ have an even lower bar.

But why should anyone give a damn, so long as the computer comes back fixed?

Well, besides it costing a whole lot more money and taking an absolutely absurd amount of time, Best Buy, specifically, is full of thin-skulled twits that are all too happy to rifle through your computer or phone in order to fulfill the childish fantasy of playing Junior G-Man in the service of unscrupulous FBI agents.

It’s kind of funny to a tech person that the world is just now finding out that the Bureau has been paying Geek Squad nitwits to spy on customers. Especially since the case in question has had that as an open question for nearly a year now.

The thing is that we’ve always known they were doing that. This is just the first time there may be court-recognized proof.

Think of it this way:

If you’re sending off a computer to be repaired, it stands to reason that you don’t know much about computers. Odds are, you don’t know much about – to revisit my earlier example – making fast food either.

So why do you trust one group to handle a device full of personal correspondence, photos, and videos as if they are beyond reproach, but check the bag to make sure you got your fries while the other is still in the window, watching you insult their capabilities?

Literally the only thing that the Best Buy employee has on the McDonald’s employee is having done a similar job for one year. This qualifies them for ‘advanced’ work.

So is it hard to imagine that (probably) young, barely-skilled retail employees jump right in at the movie-script-esque prospect of spying for the FBI?

About as easy to imagine as a pimple-faced teenager intentionally dropping your burger on the floor?

There’s little chance that anyone not doing anything wrong will end up in such dire straits as Dr. Rettenmaier. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. And it doesn’t mean that the government gets to employ entry-level retail employees as de facto federal agents and send them off to rifle through your data just because a USB port broke on your laptop.

In: Computers, News, PoliticsNo Comments

Wednesday November 16th, 2016 13:53 Pretty much my life

In: Computers, How ToNo Comments

Thursday September 15th, 2016 12:32 Apple is everything I hate about brand worship

iphone-7-and-iphone-7-plus

One of the most annoying questions/comments one gets as an IT person is some iteration of ‘Bet you have all Mac at home’ or ‘What kind of systems do you use? [insert shock at anything not made by Apple here].’

Putting aside the fact that most IT people don’t go for anything Apple besides their phone and maybe a tablet because their desktop OS is a walled garden where the wall is 75 feet high and lined with armed guards…

Or that the question suggests that they don’t know the difference between IT and design or dev, who are the ones more likely to go Apple in hardware, nor that all three groups hate being mistaken for each other…

It’s annoying because that question makes it abundantly clear that they don’t give a flying fuck about the actual operation of the product. All that matters is that it has a logo.

Motorola put out a new ad about these kinds of users. Whether the people in the ad are actors or not, I can confirm from experience that they are perfectly representative of real people. People who just buy whatever the hell is new from Apple, which is a huge segment of their customer base.

Proof of concept: Google “complaints about” followed by any iPhone model or iOS version. The hardware is savaged by the “fans” the instant it’s announced and the software is similarly panned the instant it’s pushed out to the hardware.

This is entirely normal.

The nerds and the geeks and the freaks do that with absolutely every company’s products. It’s practically a Constitutional requirement for anyone with a keyboard, internet connection and entirely too much spare time. Nothing can ever be seen as perfect because there are simply too many people to please.

The difference for Apple is the percentage of people who are directly opposed to a feature (or lack thereof, in the Case of the Missing Headphone Jack) will just buy the damn thing anyway.

It’s like a pizza joint that forces you to have anchovies on every pie, no matter what you ask for, and that store doesn’t just avoid immediate business collapse, but has incredible sales, thousands of franchisees and an army of rabid followers that will instantly attack you for the mere suggestion that maybe some people just don’t like a bunch of weird tiny fish dribbled on their damn pizza.

That Motorola ad should be quite powerful. Showing that, hey, there is already a product that does these things that you really want it to do. You just have to look up from your Apple Bottle Feeder® for half a second.

That stuff is located just next to that group of people whose tech suggestions you typically ignore despite the fact that they have far fewer complaints about the things they decide to buy.

In: Computers, OtherNo Comments

Friday June 3rd, 2016 09:33 Cyberpunk posterity

Inspirational quotes should be purged from the intertubes, lined up and shot, then have their bodies lain in a field of constantly-renewed Amaterasu.

Quotations that actually inspire should be kept for posterity’s sake:

It just occurred to me that one of the most basic, prosaic, everyday things I have to protect my (nanotribomechanical test equipment manufacturing) company’s network against is stateless hackers using semi-autonomous swarms of zombie computers to launch distributed attacks via an underground, anonymous alternative to the web with a goal of encrypting and holding users’ files hostage in exchange for untraceable cryptocurrency which will then be used in money laundering operations for the benefit of obscure terrorist groups.

When you break it down, most of our jobs can be seen as pretty fucking cyberpunk.

Just another day over at /r/sysadmin.

In: Computers, OtherNo Comments

Thursday May 12th, 2016 15:42 SEVERE GEEKGASM ALERT

Click to embiggen:

IMG_20160512_153146

Thing is more powerful than all the office desktops (which are twice as powerful as the average office desktop).

In: Computers, NewsNo Comments

Thursday May 5th, 2016 14:53 Logitech C920 webcam in a conference room

I’m not the guy you find in a web conference. I’m the guy who makes it happen. So it was a bit of a surprise to me that my office had been using a simple Logitech C920 – which is one of the most popular and highly-rated webcams on the market – and the video looked like utter crap.

Naturally looking to do better, I did all kind of tests and looked up replacements. First off, the next level of webcam (ignoring the C930) is a full-price conference room setup. We have one in the big board room, and that puppy was over $15k. You can go way down to $800 or so, but almost none of those come with built-in mics.

While looking, I tried to search out a cam with a large depth of field. The real problem with the C920 is that, from 15 feet away, everything is fuzzy. It claims an ‘infinite’ zoom after a couple meters, but not so much.

This is when I stumbled upon some tiny Finnish site that suggested opening it up and manually messing with the lens.

So, yank it apart and find this (pic via the Finns):

purettu3

Grab yourself a pair of small but strong pliers and, very carefully, twist that lens clockwise a little bit – 1/8 to 1/4 turn. It’s going to look like you’re breaking things, but all you’re actually doing is tightening it against the body of the device.

The result: crystal.

I didn’t even have the thing fully in place when someone walked in for a pending meeting and asked me if I got a new camera. It looks infinitely better.

Score one more for the ‘when in doubt, poke it with a stick’ philosophy.

Note: In the disassembly, after the first two screws are removed and you need to pop off the mic covers, put a flathead in the slot below the two screws and pry up. Wedge the gap with your fingernail and do it again. That will allow it to pop out without risking breaking the other plastic latch-type thing on the other side, to which there is no access.

Note 2: It is noticeably slower to do the first auto-zoom adjustment after making this alteration. Make sure to wave your hand or something in order to trigger the adjustment more quickly.

In: Computers, How ToNo Comments

Tuesday April 26th, 2016 16:48 Deleting a Windows file whose path/file name is too long (the magic way)

In any shared file system, there will be at least one person who manages to get a file, 13 folders deep, to have a 487 billion-character file name. You will not see this file until it completely screws up a move project.

When you run into such a problem and try to look it up on the internet, there is always the ‘use rd/rmdir’ trick and the subst drive creation trick or robocopy them over to a new dir.

One of those always works, provided you didn’t walk into the situation I did.

Your average person might assume that any person would see the title “Distributed File System” and think that it has something to do with distribution. That the part of it distinctly labeled “Replication” is in some way related to replicating things.

Those people were not my predecessor.

Two major folders, one for user profiles, one simple shared space. The former is set up in DFS replication, but doesn’t replicate anywhere. The latter has a standalone, top-level namespace that points to…a share with an identical path.

This is just the part I could bring myself to investigate. I have no clue what other awful nonsense was going on there, except that it broke all the usual methods of deleting files that had gone over max_path. I decided to try manually changing every folder level to a single character and seeing if that would bring me under 260.

So, here’s the magic part

I went up one level from the errant file and renamed its containing folder to a single character. After that, I went back inside and the actual file was suddenly available for renaming.

Why? I have no earthly idea and I don’t care.

It worked on every single one, so there must be some reason. But this is one of those rare instances where I’m just going to take the money and run.

And since it appears the entire intertubes has never even heard that this was possible, I’m going to spend a few minutes walking around like this:

imbrilliant
In: Computers, How ToNo Comments

Whois

IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

My name is moderately common, as are a couple screen names, so always look for the logo to make sure you're reading something with official Km approval.

You can get to me directly with kyle(@)kylemitchell.org