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SQL Server DBA Tips & Tricks

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Windows 7 and Multiple Clocks

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks/months, you may have heard about a little thing called Windows 7. Windows 7 is Microsoft’s latest iteration of its Operating System and along with a slew of other stuff (i.e. security enhancements, pretty new stuff to love, Windows management features, etc.) there’s a nice little feature I find comes in handy, especially when you work with a global community like PASS (and you SQL peeps thought this post wasn’t going to pertain to you…)

The feature I’m talking about is multiple clocks in your system tray. I’m not sure if this was available in Vista as well but I thought I’d share with everyone how to do it in Windows 7. First click on your clock in the bottom right-hand corner.

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Next click on the ‘Change date and time settings’ link to bring up the Date and Time box. Click on the tab for Additional Clocks.

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Once here you can add up to two additional clocks in addition to your default clock for a total number of 3 possible clocks! Simple check the ‘Show this clock’ box to enable the clock. Use the dropdown menu to select the appropriate time zone you wish to monitor. You can also give the clock a custom label for display purposes. Once you’re done click OK.

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Now if you click on your clock in your taskbar again you should see your newly added clocks!

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I live in Florida so the clocks I like to monitor are either West Coast or India since those are the two time zones I tend to end up working with the most. Sure I could probably do the math for someplace close like the West Coast but I’m a geek, and I like to see my information quick and at a glance.

And since we’re talking about Windows 7, I’ve included in this blog a zip file of step-by-step directions on how to do this (screenshots included) courtesy of another really cool feature in Windows 7 called the Problem Steps Recorder.  With this tool you can see step-by-step how a user got to a problem or you can use it to document an issue like I have here.

Download Zip File

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Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 (RTM)

Earlier I had blogged about the toolkit being available for Windows 7 RC but now Microsoft has officially released the RTM version of the tools. Big thanks to my co-worker Nick Piccone ( Twitter ) for bringing this to my attention. The new tools are available at the Microsoft site at the link below:

https://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=7d2f6ad7-656b-4313-a005-4e344e43997d

Overview

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 enables IT administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on remote computers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 (and, for some roles and features, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003) from a remote computer that is running Windows 7. It includes support for remote management of computers that are running either the Server Core or full installation options of Windows Server 2008 R2, and for some roles and features, Windows Server 2008. Some roles and features on Windows Server 2003 can be managed remotely by using Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7, although the Server Core installation option is not available with the Windows Server 2003 operating system.

This feature is comparable in functionality to the Windows Server 2003 Administrative Tools Pack and Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1).

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Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 (RC)

If you’re like me and trying out the Windows 7 RC on your everyday machines, there are certain key tools you find you need to do your work. For us system administrators Remote Server Administration Tools is definitely (or should be) one of those. I installed the previous version of tools on my workstation and it blew up on me (whoops!). Thankfully Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, has released a version of this software for us Windows 7 folks! Just follow the directions on the page to figure out how to install the tools.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=f6c62797-791c-48e3-b754-c7c0a09f32f3&displaylang=en

UPDATE: The RTM version of the tools have been released! Check it out

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Got an Installation Stuck in a Loop?

Today I was troubleshooting an issue where an MSI is constantly trying to install itself on the server but cannot find the files needed to complete the install. The errors encountered were the following:


Source: MsiInstaller
Event ID: 1001

Detection of product ‘{GUID}’, feature ‘{program}’ failed during request for component ‘{GUID}’

What happened here was that when the MSI did its install it copied temporary install files in a folder. I believe we ran out of space on that particular server during this time thus throwing the installer for a loop of confusion. So how do you clean up this mess? Well Microsoft offers a tool for free that takes care of situations like these. It’s called the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility.

Here’s the description from the KB article on what it does:

When you are working on your computer and installing a new program, the installation suddenly fails. Now you are left with a partly installed program. You try to install the program again, but you are unsuccessful. Or, maybe you have problems trying to remove an old program because the installation files are corrupted. Do not worry. Windows Installer CleanUp Utility might be able to help. You can use the utility to remove installation information for programs that were installed by using Windows Installer. Be aware that Windows Installer CleanUp Utility will not remove the actual program from your computer. However, it will remove the installation files so that you can start the installation, upgrade, or uninstall over.

After you run the utility, give your machine a restart and try to reinstall the troubled application.

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