Windows 7 Static IP conflicts and Duplicate APIPA

February 2nd, 2011

This is an interesting one. I purchased a new laptop for work last week with Windows 7 Professional 64 bit edition installed on it. Pretty routine I thought.

Well, I plugged the laptop into our network (Yes, plugged in, we don’t have a WLAN) and assigned the laptop a static IP address on our network. Since we don’t use DHCP this is fairly routine and I have a comprehensive database of what IP Addresses are assigned already.

The problem is that instantly I got an IP address conflict. I thought that was odd but proceeded to assign a different IP address but I got the same error. At this point I thought it was unlikely that my database was that incomplete, so I simply attempted to ping that IP address from a known working PC on the Network…. No replies.

The next step… Run IPCONFIG /all under command prompt and at this point I felt it got weird. Both my static address and the autoconfiguration IPv4 address showed (duplicate) after them. I then checked the event log and found the MAC address (in every IP conflict case) that the laptop was conflicting with. It was the same MAC in every case. I figured it had to be a local adapter on the computer, but to be sure I ran Wireshark and Colasoft MAC Scanner but failed to return that MAC address.

Since I had a little time on my hands, I was curious if doing a fresh install would fix the issue, so that’s what I did next. Unfortunately, no, when the newly installed OS came up I had the same issue.

I still thought this was coming from an internal adapter but couldn’t find the MAC internally. So, I decided to go into Device Manager and Show hidden devices.  Here I saw Microsoft’s ISATAP adapter which is responsible for running IPv6 over an IPv4 infrastructure. You can read more about it on http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932520.

The above link does not address my issue it simply illustrates the purpose of the adapter at the bottom of the article. For my issue, I really couldn’t see why this adapter would cause an issue, but for the heck of it I decided to disable it anyway. Miraculously once I did so I had access to my network and the internet!

Since we are not going to IPv6 in our local infrastructure anytime soon I figured I would leave it disabled for now. It’s not a fix but it is a temporary work around for an interesting problem.

**UPDATE**

So, I just couldn’t let this issue go. I ended up running Wireshark again and this time I found the device transmitting DCHP Discover requests. The Device talks IPv4 and IPv6 and for whatever reason the DHCP Discover broadcasts from this device kept causing issues with my static IPv4 Clients until the IPv6 adapters were turned off. I’m still unsure as to why this is the case but at least I have found the MAC address.

Upon further investigation I found the device with the MAC address in question was also sending ARP requests to an outside source. After speaking with one of our network contractors I found out that the device attached to our network is something they put in that communicates with an internet service specific for an upcoming project. At this time I had to turn DHCP on for one of our Routers to allow this device to work (Although I only turned it on for 1 address at the moment).

Cannot connect to the configuration database

February 2nd, 2011

If you are running Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 like I am, then you may have seen the error above. This error can sometimes occur when you are attempting to go into the central administration tool for Sharepoint Services.

Some of the suggested fixes for this include reinstalling WSS 3.0 or reinstalling Windows Internal Database Services. Both of which will work but can require a bit of effort. I propose simply trying to restart the Windows Internal Database Server  to see if the administration tool comes up after that.

I’m not saying it will always work, but it’s a simple troubleshooting technique you can try before reinstalling services. To do this you can go to you RUN prompt “Windows Key + R” and type services.msc then hit enter. From here find the Windows Internal Database Service, right click and choose Restart.

CCNA Access-List practice lab

February 21st, 2010

The following is a lab I created using Packet Tracer 5.2 for the purpose of learning Access Lists.

network topology

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A little detective work can go a long way!

July 16th, 2009

So, today I was continuing to try and resolve an issue with upgrading 3 client computers to a new version of Application Xtender. The old version, 5.25 has to be removed before 5.40 can be installed. No big deal right? I mean it asks you in the installer to remove the old version, which had worked fine on all the clients to this point.

The last 3 clients, that I needed to install this update on however, did not cooperate with me very well. When I got to the screen that wanted me to remove 5.25, instead of saying ApplicationXtender 525 in the selection box, I got something likethe following.. ª^óÉöª

Yikes! I’m not sure I’ve heard of that program! How do you pronounce that anyway? The error that followed was a Windows Installer Error that I’ve seen a few times before.   I tried using the Windows Installer Cleanup tool, but that didn’t help. I then tried reinstalling the old version, then removing it through Add/Remove Programs, this again was no help when attempting to run the 5.40 install.

I actually caught a lucky break on the 3rd computer though. Instead of showing symbols, it showed me an ID that I could find in the Registry. {FEF9530E-47C7-4E15-B423-6281B13F5FFC}. Please note, this is not the actual ID that I had seen.  Anyway, I tracked this key down to the HKEY Local Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Uninstall. The only thing under this key was the following information.

“RegOwner”=”Owner Name”
“RegCompany”=”Company Name”
“ProductID”=”1”

I made a quick export of the key, then I deleted it. After that the Install ran perfectly. I went to the other 2 computers, not know which series of characters to look for in the Registry, I went with the only ones that had just the 3 strings in it like above and deleted that key (While making a backup first of course). This worked on all 3 clients!

Hard Drive Recovery Trick

May 12th, 2009

So, there you are, listening to hard drive grind away, when all the sudden you are presented with the Blue Screen of Death and your OS will not come back up. You have a bad hard drive. It happens, and usually you are left with only one option. Scrap the Hard Drive!

Take note that I said “grind away” above. This usually isn’t a good thing, and it means that something with the drive head is going wrong. Usually, from my experience, the standard measures used to extract data from a drive with this problem don’t work. You’re welcome to try though.

The standard measures I’m talking about involve utilities, like ones that can be found on Recovery Console. Fixboot, Fixmbr and chkdsk. Other utilities that are great for drives not experiencing physical failure are included on The Ultimate Boot CD. You will see me referencing this awesome set of utilities in many of my posts.

Ok, the standard measures didn’t work for this problem. So what happens when you have something on the failed drive that you need. What? Didn’t backup? Ooops! Well, there are services that can sometimes extract information from drives that experience failure. There is one small catch though, they cost money!
Want a possible solution that is more cost effective? Here’s what to do!

First of all, I want to mention that if your computer is covered under a warranty this will probably void it. So, if you want to maintain your warranty, then I don’t suggest you try this.

The first step in this process is to remove your failed hard drive from the computer. Place the hard drive in a zip lock bag and place it in your freezer over night! Sometimes this procedure can buy you a couple hours to extract your valuable data off of the drive. This is not a 100% guaranteed fix, but I have been successful with about half of the drives I have done this with.

I always hook the failed drive up as a slave, this is in case the OS is damaged. You don’t want to spend your limited time on trying to do a repair install of Windows. Hook the drive up, get your data and get out. I’ve managed to keep a drive going for over an hour using this method. One thing you could do is use a Drive to Drive Copy Utility, sometimes you won’t have enough time though.

One other trick I’ve done, when I didn’t have time to wait for the freezer, was to use canned air. I don’t recommend that you try this, but I made sure that I was in a well ventilated area, held the can upside down and continuously sprayed down the hard drive.
Canned Air describes the cooling effect I am talking about, in case you want to know more.

71-680: Windows 7 Beta exam

May 6th, 2009

 Do NOT take this exam for granted!

I just got back from the testing center…. I have to be honest, I think there is a good chance I failed this one. It was tough! I think coming off fresh from the Vista exam, allowed me to make the mistake of underestimating this exam.

I have 2 major regrets about this exam. The first is not having a 2008 Domain Environment with Windows & clients to play with. The other thing I regret, is really my own fault, but I should have spent a lot more time with the new features.

I watched all the videos posted in the resource link here, but I got lazy when it came to reading for this exam. I think that again, I misjudged how hard this exam was going to be.

The exam objectives are listed on here. That is a great place to start. I can tell you right now that I should have focused more on the following:

DISM
DirectAccess
BitLocker To Go
BranchCache

I knew enough about these feature to be dangerous. LOL. Watching the Video presentations on these technologies alone, in most cases only lead me to a 50/50 shot of answering the question… In the other cases, I drew a blank.

I felt comfortable with 60% of the test
I narrowed down between 2 options on about 15% of the test
The rest of the test… I honestly and regrettably didn’t know.

If I end up passing this one, it will be 60% know how and the rest… Dumb Luck.

Good luck to everyone taking this exam!

**Update**

I never did post back on this, since I’m in an updating mood today I figured that I would address this. I did not pass this Beta, but I did end up picking up the Sybex book for the Windows 7 exam and studied for a good month and passed the live exam. The new features in Windows 7 (Especially in the corporate environment) are actually pretty amazing and worthwhile.

I also took a couple of Beta exams for the Windows 7 desktop support and enterprise administrator. I passed both of those Beta exams.

The text is too long to be edited.

May 5th, 2009

This was the error that I receiving during some data conversion in Access today. The version of Access that I was using was 2003, the project, an in-house call accounting system that I developed a couple years ago.  The conflict that needed to be resolved is some what complicated, but I’ll try to explain briefly.

When we switched providers for our phone system, it changed the output of the file that I capture from the PBX. All the fields from March 2008 onward no longer looked quite right. This obviously caused my reporting tools and everything to be off. So, I reformated the Linked Table Specs, but I ddn’t go back to convert the January thru March data.

You see, all the data still existed, it was just formated a little differently. Seeing as how we don’t need to run phone reports very often, it just became an “out of sight out of mind” deal.

Ok, enough babble about my project, let’s get to the problem in the title! I decided to create a few update queries, using the date field I was able to create the criteria as <“03/01” to single out just the problem records! Awesome! So all of the update queries worked beautifully except 1!

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Server+ 2009 Beta

May 4th, 2009

Today I took the SK1-003 exam.  The exam is in many ways exactly what it should be. To give you an example of what I mean, take a look at the Exam description.

 CompTIA Server+ 2009 Description

The part that I want to highlight the most out of that description is the Work Experience (18 -24 months). I can definitly see someone who has worked in the field for that long being able to pass this exam with little to no book time.

I felt that the exam was easy, even without being familiar with some of the technologies, I think I probably walked out of that exam with at least 85%… I will admit that I will be very embarrassed in a few months if I find out that I failed the exam. I have been working as an all around IT guy at my job for 9 years…. I work on a lot of server equipment, this is why I thought it felt easy.

CompTIA Server+ 2009  Objectives

Most of the questions for this exam seemed straight forward, but I did comment on a number of questions that I thought were vague or could have better answers. I think I commented on more questions for this BETA than on all the others I’ve ever taken combined. It’s not because there was that much wrong with it though. The reasons I think include:

  • I was familiar and comfortable with a lot of the technologies on this exam
  • I was able to appreciate some “trick” questions and comment that I liked the difficulty
  • There were some vague questions, I made it known that I was not sure if I was right, because the question could imply multiple things
  • I made suggestions for better answers

Due to NDA, I will not discuss any examples of questions, but I will say that the Objectives in the link above are pretty accurate.  If you are preparing for this Beta, or eventually the Public release, I think it would be helpful to go through that Objective link and make sure you know everything in it.

Good luck to everyone taking this! I’ll try to remember to come back to this post in a few months when the scores are released!

**Update**

I did pass the beta with a fairly high score. It seems to me that CompTIA is pretty accurate in assessing the “Work Experience” focused toward this exam. I’ve been working on servers for around 10 years now and this exam suggests that the certification is equivalent to 2 years of knowledge. I would say that someone working in a server environment for 2 years should have no problem passing the exam, although a study guide (I prefer Sybex) wouldn’t hurt. Heck you might even learn something new.

Passed the 70-620 exam

April 24th, 2009

This exam was Configuring Windows Vista Client… Compared to all the other Microsoft exams that I’ve taken, this one was pretty easy.  I have to admit that I didn’t score as well as I would have hoped, but I still had a score in the 800’s. The section that really got me was the “Configuring Applications included with Windows Vista”.

Basically, that section dealt with technologies such as Parental Controls, Windows Meeting Space, Windows card Space and other newer or updated Vista programs that I just have never had to set up in a real world work environment. Overall, I think that this exam was far easier than the XP client exam.

The resources I used for this exam included the 70-620 study guide from Sybex and my Windows Vista Home Basic setup at home. I think the Sybex book was pretty good, I would have liked to have read the Microsoft Press book also, I have a feeling that it might have been a little more in-depth on the sections I was weaker on. I don’t know that for sure though.

Malware Prevention and Removal

April 20th, 2009

Malware is a term that describes any malicious software. Examples of malware include viruses, spyware and rootkits. Often times this software can cripple a computer system or even render it useless to most users. So how do you combat this?

Most people unfortunately pay for services and software to remove or even attempt to prevent Malware. The fact is there are a lot of programs out there that are free. I do understand that some people are hesitant to use free software, or to try and fix things on their own. While I use the practices in this article on a daily basis, please keep in mind that there are always risks involved with computers. Everything I outline here, you do at your own risk.

Let’s start with preventing Malware. The first line of defense is, knowing what to avoid.
The first rule, do not download attachments from an email sent to you by someone you don’t know! It’s a simple rule, but not practiced by the uninformed users. The next rule is to watch your searches. When you use a search engine, sometimes there will be sites near the top of the search engine that do not match your search criteria. You must carefully examine the URL before clicking the search link. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to spot a URL that will lead to trouble, if it looks suspicious, don’t click it. To go along with the other 2 rules, the next rule I’m going to suggest might be the most difficult to accept. Be cautious when downloading software! I do it all the time, but I research the software a head of time, choose a trusted download site and watch the install process. I’m not saying to not install any software, just exercise some caution when doing so. The last rule I’m going to suggest is very important. Make sure you keep your system up to date with the latest security patches, hotfixes and service packs.

Now I want to continue the prevention topic by introducing some protection methods. Let’s start with software. One of the first things you should have on your computer is an antivirus program. The problem is that many people pay for such a thing, personally, I have always used free solutions, the one I’ve used for the past couple years is AntiVir. The antivirus, when kept up to date, adds a layer of protection by hopefully catching a virus before it can do any harm. The next piece of software I would recommend having is called a firewall. If you have Windows XP SP2 or higher then you already have a built-in firewall. For those who do not have Windows XP2 or higher, then I recommend checking out http://techsupportalert.com/dr/. The last thing I’m going to suggest in this section is Spyware protection. There are several free spyware protection programs that will run in the background, I will supply a list later in the article, one I’m going to suggest right is called Spyware Blaster.

Ok! So, let’s say you have a mild malware infection. This means something has broken through your protective measures. While, it is certainly true that you can never guarantee a 100% removal, I wouldn’t resort to formatting your PC on every case. Some people feel safer this way, if that’s the case then stop reading here. The first thing to do is to turn off System Restore, some malware can protect itself in your restore points, since your scanners will be unable to remove the malware form there. Now comes the time to run a whole arsenal of Antivirus and spyware removal tools.

Here is a decent list of tools that will help you out.
Super Anti-Spyware
Spybot
Ad-Aware
A Squared
McAfee STINGER
Symantec Removal Tools
Rootkit Revealer
Gizmo’s The Best-ever Freeware Utilities List

Sometimes you will have a specific infection that will require special attention, in which case, you may have to do some searching on the internet or asking around on forums. As I run across specific infections, I will write about them here. You can also sign up for my web forum and post questions, I will do my best to answer them for you.

The last subject I’m going to talk about regarding Malware Removal is classified as difficult removal. By difficult, I mean that your system is so bad that I won’t even boot to your desktop! What do you do then?

Luckily, there are a couple really awesome tools you can use! The following tools will be great for the mild infections as well. In fact I recommend them as the main offence. These tools are Ultimate Boot CD and Ultimate Boot CD for Windows. The second one is slower but has the familiar Windows GUI and tools that people are more familiar with and it has more tools geared towards Malware removal. The reason why both tools are great is because you are not really in your Windows environment. This means, there are no locked files to slow you down.

The one thing I have to caution you about with regards to the boot CDs is that you may have to create a new one every so often to keep the program definition files up to date.