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How-to : Use SQL Server to query Active Directory

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I think it’s common problem as Active Directory gets bigger in organizations, control over content of that mission-critical component seems to be lost. Same happened in my place. In addition to that we had to provide information from AD on a regular basis in a form of report. We had no tools to pull all data from AD, process it and present in some readable format. However, I was working with skilled SQL guy who was also very good in Reporting Services. So, I proposed that we can link Active Directory with SQL Server and use Transact-SQL to pull information from AD, process it on SQL and then make it readable and presentable through Reporting Services. That would allow SQL guy to process all information and do all kind of reporting required.

Here are components of our LAB environment before solution went to production:

And below steps how we made SQL Server 2008 R2 to work with Active Directory to use Transact-SQL queries to pull information from directory database.

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How-to : Relocate iTunes folders to different drive/partition

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Using any of the iDevices with PC computer with Windows 7 will enfornce us to use iTunes as application which can synchronize content of a device with PC, backup device to the computer, etc. By default iTunes will create all folders for content synchronization between PC and iDevice on C: drive. However, sometimes this might be inconvinient, especially if someone has multiple partitions on hard disk dedicated for certain type of content. Also, when number of applications, music files and movies is growing on iDevice iTunes can consume lot of space, so this might be reasonable to move iTunes content to another partition or disk on our system. I will show quick way how ot make iTunes data move smooth and transparent for our device.

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Code snippets : Exchange Server : Count messages submitted by user

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In some companies performance is measured based on number of emails someone sent. regardless the reason for those emails and content, what matters the most is if someone is sending something to others. So, I was asked to produce quick count how many emails one individual sent.

Here is quick PowerShell command which I ran on Exchange 2007 Mailbox server to find requested number:

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First look : System Center Operations Manager 2012 RC installation screenshots

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As we can download SCOM 2012 RC from Microsoft, I decided to do quick installation in LAB environment. Whole test environment is based on VMware Workstation 8. Deployment of SCOM 2012 will be spread across few servers to separate certain functions (in fact similar to real-life deployments). For SCOM2012 deplyoment I will use following servers:

  • lab-dc-01 – Domain Controller – Windows Server 2008 R2
  • lab-sql-01 – SQL Server – Windows Server 2008 R2 + SQL Server 2008 R2
  • lab-net-01 – SCOM 2012 Management Server – Windows Server 2008 R2 + SCOM 2012 Management Server
  • lab-wks-01 – SCOM 2012 Management Console – Windows 7 x64 Ultimate + SCOM 2012 Management Console

This will be mainly screenshot tour through installation phases of SCOM2012.

Here is schematics of the lab:

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Windows Registry : How to change background on Windows logon screen

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Background image on logon screen os common issue with pre-installed servers, for example from Dell. That makes accessing those systems via Remote Desktop painful and slow (it happenes that serer is shipped to location, racked and stacked, and then whole configuration take place remotely). By default background bitmap from logon screen is sitting in C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds, so you can put your own logon screen background or if you don’t want to have any (just system default) you can follow instructions below and remove background from logon screen.

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