Active Directory Recovery Guide

I’ve been having numerous errors in the event log appearing on one of my servers from the ESENT service:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: ESENT
Event Category: Database Corruption
Event ID: 467
Date: 18/05/2007
Time: 09:33:06
User: N/A
Computer: SERVER123
ntfrs (5660) Index GChangeOrderGuid of table OUTLOGTable00002 is corrupted (0).

For more information, see Help and Support Center at

These errors are appearing regularly, and contain various tables with problems.

After scouring and the Microsoft support site – I eventually found a very useful Powerpoint presentation that outlines various methods of recovering poorly or corrupt active directory databases.

Although not a specific answer to the problem, it does provide useful guidelines in the best practices for repairing or reinstalling and domain controller, as well as some useful advice such as carrying out a metadata cleanup.

I’ll be following the guide to try and resolve the database errors on this server, and hopefully it will work out nicely.

Offline Windows Updates for the IT Tech with no Broadband

It happens enough times. You’re busy reinstalling Windows for someone when you find that you can’t install Windows Updates because the internet connection available is slowly than a milk float delivering breeze blocks instead of milk.

In so far as keeping up-to-date, the issue is no longer “How soon can the updates be installed on the computer?” It is actually “Can I even download updates on my computer?”

The odds are that if you are using Windows XP pre-SP2, the answer is simply ‘no’. Whenever you’re behind on a service pack, Microsoft likes to ensure that this becomes part of the download set. And that 200MB+ download might take a little while on dial-up. Once you’ve completed this, you’ll probably find another 100MB+ worth of updates to install afterwards.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways around this.

Downloading the redistributable versions of the various service packs is a piece of cake – they can be downloaded from the Microsoft website without too much effort. The subsequent rollups prove to be more of a nuisance.

Enter AutoPatcher. This is a handy little project for those folk who have all of those problems, and then some. What I particularly like is the semi-frequent updates that do not require you to download a complete CD of updates. So having a full download and the latest update CD does the job nicely. On my next visit to this school where I need the files, I’ll hopefully be able to install the updates with the minimum of fuss – then I’ll be a happy chappy.

Go get it!

Dual booting causes clocks to go mental!


Although only half a year for a user such as myself.

As I’m happily dual-booting between Ubuntu and Windows at the moment, it becomes clear that in British Summer Time (BST), Windows and Linux disagree on how the computer clock should be interpreted.

What’s really a nuisance is that I keep staying up an hour later than I intended!

Basically, the problem boils down to how Windows and Unix-based systems interpret the computer’s internal clock. There’s more about this here, including some pros and cons of either system.

Windows takes the local computer clock time, and treats it as a ‘local’ time. That is, the clock matches the time that it should be in the region. Mac and Linux systems treat the computer’s clock as GMT, and then makes any adjustemnts inside the Operating System.

The bottom line is, unless you’re living in a GMT timezone – you’re going to get the time constantly changing as you switch between operting systems on the same computer.

The simplest way to get around this is to ask Windows to use UTC time instead of local time:

Copy and paste the following into a new file called time.reg

<code>Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Save the file, and double-click on it. Accept the various warnings that appear.

Once Windows has been rebooted, make sure that the clock is set to the correct time. The time should now settle down as you dual-boot between systems.

Now I’ll be able to go to bed at the right time!

%Logonserver% session variable doesn’t work on network Vista logon

Some grief today as I found that Vista wasn’t behaving with user profiles. Whenever a user attempted to logon, he or she would be greeted with the following popup:

Your user profile was not loaded correctly!

You have been logged on with a temporary profile. Changes you make to this profile will be lost when you log off. Please see the event log for details or contact your administrator.

How annoying is that message when you are the administrator?

Anyway, the event log was equally unhelpful:

Windows cannot locate the server copy of the roaming profile and is attempting to log you on with you local profile. Changes to the profile will not be copied to the server when you log off. This error may be caused by network problems or insufficient security rights.

DETAIL – Access is denied.

What was weird was that some users were creating the username.v2 profiles.

After a bit of trial and error, I realised that the users that had a dynamic roaming profile path (such as %logonserver%\users\%username%) would not locate or create a profile in Windows Vista.

As soon as I replace %logonserver% with the name of a domain controller (\\server1\users\%username%), everything behaved itself.

This is pretty annoying, as I’d have to set up DFS to get around this. In the meantime, I’ve just changed the paths.

There is no evidence to suggest that this is by design, especially considering that using the SET command in Vista shows that the logonserver variable is indeed set.