INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ARTICLES
Virtualization has become an incredibly powerful and flexible way to deploy environments. So much in fact that Microsoft has integrated the ability to attach virtual hard drive (VHD) files as physical disks in the Windows Disk Management tool. This process is easy enough to do manually but if you attach VHD files often then we have a solution which enables you to mount and unmount VHD files with a single click.
If you try to update certain Windows files (such as programs or word documents) while they are in use, you get the the standard “access denied, file is in use” error. While the reasoning behind this is obvious, it can be quite annoying if you need to update a small executable which is currently in use by another user. In these situations, you have, among others, the following choices, all of which take up your valuable time:
Backing up SQL databases regularly is must. We have already covered ways to can easily backup all your SQL server databases to a local hard drive, but this does not protect against drive and/or system failure. As an extra layer of protection against this type of disaster, you can copy or directly create your backups on a network share.
The zip format is the standard for file compression, however many power user and system admin types prefer to use the 7z format because it offers significantly better compression ratios. The zip format does have a few things going for it such as speed (relative to other compression formats) and application support.
Many programs and utilities are distributed as portable applications which do not require you to install them. While this is a great option to have, there are a few reasons you might want to “install” these programs. For example, installed programs appear in the Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs) list and they typically have entries in the Start Menu. A utility which both installs and builds installers for installer-less programs is NirSoft’s ZipInstaller.
Perl is a very popular scripting language which is used to develop a wide variety of tools. One of it’s well know uses is web based CGI (Common Gateway Interface) applications which allow Perl scripts to be executed from a web server. With a little configuration, you can configure IIS 7 on your Windows Server 2008 system to serve Perl scripts via CGI.
We have already covered how to backup a SQL Server database from the command line, so what if you want to backup all your databases at once? You could create a batch script which runs the backup command for each database, but this script would have to be updated each time a database is added or removed. Additionally, the database backups will all be appended to one file which will grow by the size of the new backup each time it is run. Instead, in true “set it and forget it” fashion, we will create a batch script which will adapt to your SQL Server as new databases are added and removed.
Perl is a very popular scripting language which is used to develop a wide variety of tools. One of it’s well know uses is web based CGI (Common Gateway Interface) applications which allow Perl scripts to be executed from a web server. With a little configuration, you can configure IIS 6 on your Windows Server 2003 system to serve Perl scripts via CGI.
We have previously covered a simple SQL database restore using the command line which is ideal for restoring backup files created on the same SQL Server installation, however if you are restoring a backup created on a different installation or simply prefer a point and click interface, using SQL Server Management Studio (or the Express edition) makes this task easy.
The most important part of a SQL Server maintenance plan is backing up your databases regularly. To backup a database, you cannot simply copy the respective MDF and LDF files of the database as SQL Server has a lock on these. Instead, you need to create a true backup file through SQL Server.
One of most popular development platforms on the web is PHP which powers many popular applications and sites such as Facebook, WordPress and Joomla. While most of these systems are ‘designed’ to be used on a Linux system running the Apache Web Server, you can deploy PHP applications via IIS 7 on your Windows Server 2008 system.
While the Microsoft Sysinternals tools are incredibly powerful and useful, the one feature they lack is the ability to check for new versions. Currently, you have to periodically check the Sysinternals site and compare versions between your system and the most recent official release in order to stay up to date.