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Friday, October 05, 2007

Fwd: EE Community Newsletter, September 27, 2007

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: newsletter@experts-exchange.com < newsletter@experts-exchange.com>
Date: Sep 27, 2007 1:46 PM
Subject: EE Community Newsletter, September 27, 2007
To: javier.silva@gmail.com

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Experts Exchange Community News
Managing Your Server's Boot Drive
leew on getting the most out of C:\

Questions of Note
Worth taking a look at

Getting Back In Touch
News organizations and change

Tip From the Moderators
I didn't get my points!!

More News and Notes
When titans collide

Nata's Corner
Hold the Quechup, please

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What's New at Experts Exchange top
Managing Your Server's Boot Drive top

leew joined Experts Exchange just over ten (!) years ago, and answered his first question that very day. A Microsoft MVP, he ranks eighth in EE's Hall of Fame, and is one of the Zone Advisors for the Windows servers and networking zones. This article is condensed from one that appears on his website.

This article is intended for use with Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003-based operating systems. While there are some things here that can apply to 2000 Pro or XP, especially when some of these applications are installed, the article is meant for Servers.

Before I get started, I want to make sure you understand that Boot and C: are used synonymously here. It IS possible that your boot drive is not the C: drive, but for most of us, it will be C:. Regardless of what drive letter your boot drive is, the recommendations here will still be applicable.

One question I see asked frequently is how to extend the boot drive because it's full or nearly full. In many cases, this is a problem caused by inexperienced systems administrators or lazy consultants.

So what, you might be thinking. Hard disk space is CHEAP by comparison nowadays... why not just make one big 80 GB C: drive. Well, you could do this. But to me, this is a HUGE waste of space. Further, this question is often enough asked with regards to OEM installs and preconfigured RAIDs. Or in other instances where moving using the whole drive is simply no longer an easy option.

Still, there are instances where you may legitimately need to increase the size of the boot drive.

What's too small?

I'm not going to go in depth here about planning partition sizes right now; you're reading this because your partition sizes are already established and in production. Instead, let's consider what an appropriate size is.

The Windows Server 2003 base install takes up about 2-4 GB on average. Of that, the dllcache folder uses about 600 MB or more and you can expect patch and service pack backup folders to use another 200-500 MB or more. You can expect this folder to grow over time, but with a proper configuration and some occasional management, growth will be very, very slow.

Then you have to take into account the various programs and services the system will be needing to run -- as well as possible future upgrades to these programs. Ideally, your servers will run only one task or one major task each. In a budget-free world, this would be ideal as it allows you to restart a single service/server without affecting other aspects of your network. But we know that very few people live in a budget free world. So add up the typical install sizes for all the services you need to run. If the machine will act as a database server, determine the amount of space needed for the database server application component. The data should live on another partition and not be factored in. In most circumstances, you will likely find that the total size of the Program Files folder is 2-4 GB and does not grow much at all.

The last major folder you need to take into account is the Documents and Settings folder. This is where all your user profiles are stored. Downloaded an ISO image of Windows with the service pack slipstreamed in and saved it to your desktop? It's stored in here. Lots of web browsing results in a large cache of temporary internet files. And don't forget your temp folder is located here too. Then consider if you have more than one admin who logs in to the server, this will create a separate profile for each user and use even more space. If you manage things cleanly, not doing things like web browsing or downloading directly from the server, you will find these profiles typically do not occupy more than .5 to 1 GB of space. Now, add in some miscelleneous files and folders -- say 1 GB, and what do you have?

On the low side, this adds up to 5.5 GB and on the high side, 10 GB. So depending on exactly how large the original drive was, you're looking at a drive that should be 8-12 GB. And I'll be more generous and recommend you make it 12-16 GB.

So now, some people like to throw out there the big upgrade question. Here's my big upgrade answer: Most systems are 32 bit and so are not upgradable to 64 bit operating systems even if they have 64 bit hardware. The only way to upgrade a Microsoft OS from 32 bit to 64 bit is through a clean install. Even if you are thinking you want to go with 32 bit for the next version of Windows, my question then becomes, don't you want a stable system? Sure, there's an upgrade path and in theory it should work... but there's nothing more stable than a CLEAN install and I've even heard Microsoft reps suggest that, even though it's technically possible, the upgrade should not be done if at all possible -- use a fresh install.

Ok, but what about Small Business Server (SBS)? That's got a lot of stuff in it... I definitely need more than the 12 GB partition Dell (or some other OEM) gave me... right? Again, no. BUT, you do need to make some initial modifications to your OEM preinstalled version of SBS to ensure you don't get into trouble later.

Of course, there is one common circumstance where a much larger C: drive makes sense: A Terminal Server. Such servers typically have many users logging in to them at the same time (or even at separate times) and can have a number of different applications installed. For Terminal Server systems, I would typically recommend the C: drive be as large as the disk will allow. Indeed, Terminal Servers should not typically have anything datawise on them so there's little reason to have anything other than a C: partition.

One last note - if you are using SBS 2003, you might want to review the Microsoft TechNet article, Moving Data Folders for Windows Small Business Server 2003. This article discusses the various processes for moving data files off C: on an SBS server.

The balance of the article can be found at lwcomputing.com.

Questions of Note top

Every week, thousands of questions get asked at Experts Exchange. Most of them are pretty straightforward; someone has a problem, and someone has a solution. But there are always a few that come to the top, for any number of reasons: they are complex situations, or they involve a number of Experts collaborating on a solution, or they contain an interesting and informative discussion. So take a look.

Continuation of discussion regarding .com vs .local. Zone Advisor TechSoEasy posted all of the comments from a question that veered off course. It's a disagreement, but there's a lot of good information there.

Copyright on EE answers. This issue comes up a lot -- just who does own the material posted at EE? If you're a lawyer and want to chime in, no one would object.

Can I sell my registered Microsoft software?. Who reads EULAs anyway? Evidently, jason1178 does, but don't trust the call center...

For Experts: Query Plan and Index Names. harfang comes across interesting ... events... when writing applications in Access. This is his latest.

Getting Back In Touch top

An editor by trade, a writer by avocation and an Expert by happenstance, ericpete puts together the newsletter for Experts Exchange.

Ink in the veins is one of those afflictions that doesn't go away easily. Before I left the newspaper business about ten years ago, an ISP opened its doors just up the street, and we missed the bus; at the time, nobody really knew what this Internet thingy could really do (or how to do it), so our grand ideas about local shopping networks and advertising sales and online versions of the papers were all far beyond the capabilities of a small rural weekly.

Ten years later, most news organizations are only beginning to get it. I shoulda become a consultant way back then, but that's another story.

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times finally decided to let everyone read their columnists for free (they made it official last week), but that isn't really the big story behind what the Times is doing. They also opened up twenty years worth of archives to all of us who used to look to the paper for research.

That's huge -- and not just for the people who think Abe Rosenthal was the best columnist the Times ever had. The Times will benefit from getting a lot more hits on the search engines, which will bump its rank on Alexa up quite a bit. That means it can charge more for advertising; beware the Gray Lady.

Still, the Times, and most other news organizations, don't get it. Newspapers, for centuries really, weren't just reliable sources of information; in fact, some of them were never particularly trustworty. But they were the focal point for the communities they served; it was the news that got people in communities talking. Somewhere along the line, though, the messenger invested in itself an importance greater than that of the community it was serving, and greater than that of the message it was delivering. A list-serv we subscribe to has been talking about just that subject lately, and a couple of good examples of news organizations that are getting it have popped up.

Joe Michaud, the president of Maine Today, wrote to the group:

Why do we have Reader Comments on all stories? Because since 1995 our operating philosophy has been to use the Web to expand the traditional role of our company beyond journalism but within our core values as a community resource... To be very clear, this is not journalism, nor does it flow from our mission as a journalism organization... Contrary to many in our industry, I do not believe reader contributions can be managed simply by putting better technology in the hands of the users. Human beings need to be involved behind the scenes on an ongoing basis..."

Another one, pointed out by Clyde Bentley, a professor of journalism at the University of Missouri, is the site run by the Fox station in St. Louis. Bentley says there are normally about 5,000 people logged into the site at any time, which isn't chopped liver.

Both Michaud and Bentley, and several others, argue that the success of the sites is that they do everything they can to involve people in the sites. It isn't so much that someone in Portland or St. Louis can post a link to the story on Digg, and tens of thousands of readers will descend to see it; it's that the regular users of the site show up every day and contribute. Some of those sites depend on internal staff to keep some semblance of order; far more are giving their users the responsibility. That's not necessarily out of any democratic altruism; it also makes good business sense. Volunteers, though their investment is mostly emotional, can be tireless, and they're inexpensive.

Sometimes, there are a few of them that are more in touch with what's going on than even the reporters and editors. Robin Miller, the editor of SourceForge (which owns SlashDot), points out that while SlashDot has a lot of posts that really don't have a lot of value, it's the occasional contribution that is special -- what one correspondent called "pearls in the mud" -- that make the rest worthwhile. Those pearls are rarely left by the reporters who are covering the same story every other reporter is covering.

Become a "Go-To Expert" top

Everyday, a small number of questions slip through the digital cracks between the 1's and the 0's at Experts Exchange. Like grade school children who don't get picked for dodge ball, these questions are left to the sidelines to kick gravel with their hands in their pockets simply because they are different. If you've ever been left out, you know how devastating this can be. If you've never been left out, you'd better be careful. Ever seen Revenge of the Nerds?

Experts Exchange needs your help to include these freckle faced questions in getting pegged with a solution. Respond to jason1178's "Go-To Expert" question with your area(s) of expertise. Once you're on our "Go To Expert" list, Experts Exchange Community Advisors will be alerting you of questions that could use a helping hand via email and asking you to take a look.

This is your chance to shine as an Expert. Take your best shot at some of these tough questions and see if you can earn the satisfaction of answering a question that nobody else could. You will be helping ensure that Experts Exchange continues to be the best place to find solutions.

Tips From the Moderators top

Q: I didn't get my points!!

Occasionally, we'll see a question complaining that the asker only got points in one of the three zones listed in the question -- and it's usually not the zone they want the points in.

Relax. You got your points. However, the list of Answered Questions in your profile only shows one zone (it's called the Primary zone, and can be designated such by the asker of the question), so for all the world it looks like you only got the points in that zone. You can check your points totals for each zone for yourself by clicking on the Zone Rank link to the left side of your profile, and then filtering for the date the question was closed.

Obviously, if you were awarded more than one Good Answer or Good Assist that day, the totals for all of the questions will be there -- but if you know you only answered one, you'll see that your points are all there.

One thing, though: the points are added to your overall total only once. So if yours is the only answer in a 200 point question that was asked in ASP, HTML and CSS, and you got an A grade on it, you will see 800 points in each of the zones, but your overall total will go up by only 800 points; sorry, but you don't get to triple dip.

More News and Notes top

When titans collide: The European Union's First Court upheld the $600+ million fine levied against Microsoft -- about 3.5 per cent of last year's net operating income -- for antitrust violations. Microsoft has two months to appeal. eWeek has a slideshow of the nine-year history of the dispute, which is expected to have little impact on the market and no impact in the US unless the states get their way, but a big impact on others, like Apple, Google and Intel.

It was bound to happen, part 1: We have been expecting this for years. A Bosnian couple who chatted with each other decided to meet on the sly -- only to find out they were married to each other.

Notice to US veterans: The GAO says your personal information is still at risk.

Business strategy in a 2.0 world: Fresh off its success at getting RIM to cave in, the people at NPT have filed lawsuits against AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, alleging that since RIM violated the patents (which the US patent office has overturned), the telcos should also pay because they transmit the emails sent to Blackberry users. We can't wait to see if they go after Google, Yahoo and Microsoft because those companies let users send emails.

Meanwhile, over on the other "let's sue everyone front", the RIAA is getting another taste of its own medicine from an Oklahoma woman who is claiming the organization is "abusing the court system". Her case, along with others that are similar, will no doubt get a boost from the news that MediaDefender, one of the leading antipiracy companies, had 6,000 of its emails regarding tactics and services posted on the Internet.

And from the "Huh?" wing of the legal department comes the story of former television reporter Dan Rather, who is suing his former employer because they fired him for airing a story that may or may not have been true. He insists CBS damanged his reputation.

Product of the week: Home cell-phone towers. We promise: we'll share. Also, if you're a college kid, you can get the full Microsoft Office 2007 Suite for $60.

Factoid from the cloud: Never one to sit around idly doing his homework, GhostMod did a little invesitigation and found that MIT, to which all IP addresses beginning with 18. resolve, controls 1/256th of the Internet. He also says "Muwahahaha!!"

Don't Fence Me In : China has been taking a lot of heat in the West because of its restrictions on access to information on the Internet (although there are indications that their measures might not be as effective as everyone would like to believe), but the Chinese government isn't alone in its attempts to stem the flow of information. Thailand blocked YouTube for five months and has blocked it again. Australia is considering legislation aimed at blocking "terrorist" websites . The European Union will be considering similar legislation later this fall. Doesn't anyone remember the story of Pandora's Box?

Reality imitates art: Surgeons have developed a method of implanting electrodes in the brain as a way of treating neurological disorders. No comments about Netminder are necessary.

A step in the right direction?: Lenovo is offering its customers a CD that lets them downgrade from Vista to Windows XP.

You can get anything you want, at...: eBay has come across our desk recently involving a couple of stories. One was about a stolen 1931 Model A that was sold; the other was about an auction for Belgium. Up next: abandoned municipal WiFi projects .

Sites of the Week: The guy who bought Barry Bonds' (he won't be back with the Giants next year , according to his journal) 756th home run baseball ran a poll to determine what to do with it (sorry -- voting ended prior to press time); he's the same guy who tagged Air Force One. Also, nominate your SysAdmin of the Year. We vote for Glenn.

Lists: It's been a little while, so we offer these for your consideration and amusement:

It was bound to happen, part 2: A US Treasury agent was arrested for cyberstalking after accessing a Homeland Security database 163 times.

Signs of the Apocalypse: A new take on distributed computing and *** ... ***.

Nata's Corner top
Nata's Picture

My other half doesn't like ketchup much (he got a tour of a tomato cannery years ago and swore it off). But the Quechup I don't like is the relatively new "social networking" -- it's really the online equivalent of a popular bar on a Friday night -- site that asks if you would like to see if anyone in your address book is a member. Then it spams everyone asking them to join, except that the invite arrives at someone's in box with your name and email address, so people think it's from you. Bloggers everywhere wound up posting apologies. Sometimes it's nice to just write a column every two weeks.

Speaking of scams, I came across a warning about fake memory cards for cameras. You can generally spot the fake ones because they're a lot cheaper than the genuine article (and you know it). The workmanship is usually pretty poor; legitimate manufacturers like SanDisk and Sony spend the money to make sure their products look good, so labels will be attached straight, and things like serial numbers will be visible, even if they're small. If you are thinking of spending money on one of these memory cards, make sure you're buying the real thing.

I do get to travel quite a bit, and that means we're always looking for places that have wireless access, especially if it comes with the hotel room or lunch. One place we probably won't be stopping is at a cybercafe in India. The government in Mumbai has ordered that all of the cybercafes now have to install keylogging software , and if they don't, they'll lose their licenses to operate. I just wonder what happens if this goes nationwide... and then what happens if China decides it's a good idea and imposes it as well. I think I'm going to see what Seagate stock is selling for.

I have also been thinking about college, and maybe going back, just because I like learning new things. Besides, if the latest offering from Pitzer College in southern California is anything like the Stanford class on Facebook, I might even be able to get a degree without leaving home. I'm just not sure it would be worth $11,800.

Lastly, I came across an article that says that if you were one of the first people to sign up on the national Do Not Call registry, your number is scheduled to fall off the list beginning next summer unless legislation is passed amending the law. What I wish they would do is not exempt politicians from being able to call; our congressman has his automatic system call us at least once a week.

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