A server is a special-purpose computer on a network that provides services, such as file storage, network security, print queues, directory services, etc. A server is often build with redundant hardware and can run for years without rebooting.


Fix Remote Desktop Black Screen

black-screen-of-deathEvery once in a while I’ll try to log into a server and get what I call the Remote Desktop Black Screen of Death.  No matter how many times I log out, log in, try to switch resolutions, etc. I could never defeat it.  Fortunately I just discovered a simple solution: hit the Remote Desktop equivalent of Control+Alt+Delete, which is Control+Alt+End.

An Odd Server Migration Issue

Over the weekend my boss replaced the server which holds all of our student’s user data.  Though the operating system version, server name, domain membership, share names, and permissions all stayed identical from the old server to the new server none of our students could access their data when they came to school this morning. After a few hours of troubleshooting I realized that an nslookup of  the server wasn’t getting beyond our Extreme Network switches. Five minutes after rebooting our switches everyone was back up and running, and the users were able to access their data.  Has anyone else experienced this? And if so, can someone explain to me why this has happened so I know when to expect it in the future?

Enabling Network Discovery on Vista Without Windows Server 2008

This problem has been making my life a living hell since we deployed Windows Vista to a handful of workstations several months ago. According to Microsoft, “Network discovery is a network setting that affects whether your computer can see (find) other computers and devices on the network and whether other computers on the network can see your computer.” What this means to a network administrator is that, even with correct firewall rules in place, communication between your Vista workstations and 2000/2003/XP workstations and servers will basically cease to function. Apparently Windows Server 2008 has a GPO policy that resolves this, but the fact that it hasn’t been released to the public yet tends to keep up from upgrading. In the meantime you can solve this problem by applying a couple of registry entries to your workstations.

[Update]: For those of you fortunate enough to be using Server 2008, check out this page over at the MSDN Blogs about turning on Network Discovery via Server 2008 Group Policy.

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