Category Archives: Windows Server

Hyper-V VM Stuck In Backing Up… State

In this post I’ll show how to resolve the issue of a VM that’s stuck in the “backing up…” state as shown by Hyper-V Manager, without having to reboot the virtual host.

BackingUp0

 

If a VM is stuck in the backing up… state it’s probably due to an error with the Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer.  Open an elevated command prompt and run “vssadmin list writers”.  The output should look like it does below, with no errors listed.

BackingUp1

 

The Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer runs within the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management service, so in order to restart the VSS writer and clear the error, you have to restart the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management service.  I’ve restarted this service without any issues, but please test this on a test server first.

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You can restart the service from the Services mmc, but if the Hyper-V VSS Writer is in an error state the service may hang on shutdown, in this case you’ll have to kill the vmms.exe process from Task Manager.

BackingUp3

When you do this VMs will disappear from Hyper-V Manager, but will reappear when you restart the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management service.  Following the service restart the VM should no longer by in a backing up… state.

 

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Create A Dedicated Account To Join Computers To A Domain

This is a quick post to describe the process of creating a dedicated account for joining machines to an Active Directory (AD) domain.  This is useful for things like System Center Configuration Manger task sequences and System Center Virtual Machine Manager templates.

First create a standard Windows user account.  Next, right-click on the Computers Organisation Unit (OU) within your AD domain.  From the menu choose Delegate Control…

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On the next screen (Users or Groups) choose Add and select the user account you just created.  Click Next.  Choose “Create a custom task to delegate” on the next screen.

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Next, choose to only delegate control to computer objects and tick Create and Delete selected objects in this folder.  Click Next.

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On the next screen choose to show general permissions and from the list select:

  • Reset password
  • Read and write account restrictions
  • Validated write to DNS host name
  • Validated write to service principal name

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Click Next and finish to complete the wizard.  Repeat this process for any other OUs where you’ll be joining computers to the domain.

Adding Domain Users To The Local Administrators Group Using Group Policy

Adding AD users to the local administrators group on multiple computers is simple using Group Policy.  In this post I’ll describe the process.

Create a fresh group policy object (GPO) and link it to a test Organisation Unit (OU).  Add a test server to the OU.

Open the GPO and navigate to Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Windows Settings   -> Security Settings -> Restricted Groups.

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Right click and choose Add Group.  If you want to add users to the local administrators group enter Administrators.  In the next window under “Members of this group:” click Add and choose the users to add to the local administrators group.  Note that any users that are currently in the local administrators group will be removed and replaced with the users you select here.  If that is what you want click OK and close the GPO.

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The second method allows you to add an AD security group to the local administrators group.  This process is additive and users and groups that are currently in the local administrators group are untouched.

Navigate to Restricted Groups as previous, right click and choose Add Group.  This time enter the name of the AD security group you wish to add to the local administrators group.  Click Ok and on the next screen in the “This group is a member of:” section click Add.  Enter Administrators to add the group to the local administrators group. Click OK and close the GPO to save changes.  You can add additional users to the domain group and they will automatically be part of the local administrators group on servers that apply the GPO.

In Place Upgrade Of Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard To Enterprise Or Datacenter Edition

If you need to upgrade a server running Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard to either the Enterprise, or Datacenter editions, it’s possible to do so online, without re-installing Windows.

Open an elevated command prompt and type DISM /Online /Get-CurrentEdition.  This will return the current Windows version.

Type DISM /Online /Get-TargetEditions to list the Windows editions to which this server can be upgraded.

If you type DISM /Online /Set-Edition:ServerDataCenter you’ll get the message in the screenshot below.  This is because even if you’re using a KMS server for internal activation, you have to provide a product key.  Fortunately, Microsoft have a page that lists the KMS client setup keys http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793421.aspx.  On this page you can find keys for Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Datacenter.

Typing DISM /Online /Set-Edition:ServerDataCenter /ProductKey:xxxxxx will upgrade the operating system.  All that’s required to complete the upgrade is a reboot.