Monthly Archives: November 2006

Set-up Support for VPN Clients in Microsoft ISA Server 2004

We are currently in the middle of migrating our network from a Windows 2000 domain to a new Windows 2003 domain. In the process we have upgraded from Microsoft ISA Server 2000 to Microsoft ISA Server 2004.

Microsoft ISA Server 2004 is quite different in how it operates from ISA Server 2000. It is now very wizard orientated in how you set-up new rules and functions. Moving from ISA 2000 can be challenging, but once we get used to it we are finding it quite easy to use.

Because of the nature of our work (Christian Missions) we have a very mobile workforce. We rely a lot on our IT infrastructure, and especially e-mail and our Microsoft Sharepoint Services Intranet, for our communications. We also need consistent VPN access for our staff to connect to the network when they are away from our main operating centre.

How to Cheat at Configuring ISA Server 2004 (How to Cheat) (How to Cheat)VPN Access in ISA 2004 is quite easy to set-up, once I found the right tutorial for it and set up proper routing on our Internet router.

The Lazy Admin (sounds like it was made for me) has a great tutorial that I used for setting up the VPN. Using ISA 2004 as a PPTP VPN Server Pt.1 – Server Config is a very simple tutorial for setting up the VPN client and Using ISA 2004 as a PPTP VPN Server Pt.2 – Access Rules makes it easy to set-up the proper access for any VPN user (this is the step that I had gotten stuck on).

I have yet to try the VPN access from a Mac or Linux machine, but it is working flawlessly right now for my Windows XP Pro machine.

Migrate/Upgrade to a New Hard Drive

Last night the hard drive in my wifes computer started to make that “click, click, click” sound that can only mean one thing – imminent head failure on the drive. Since the hard drive was only an 8GB hard drive it also offered a chance to “upgrade” to an old 20GB hard drive that I had sitting around.

I have always been a bit weary of upgrading the primary hard drive where the operating system is located. Previously I would have reloaded the OS from scratch. In this case I really didn’t want that sort of down time, so I started looking for alternatives.

In the end I found an extremely handy software package called Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0. The program is available for download with a 15-day free trial, which is all that I needed for this project, or you can purchase it on Amazon.

All that I can say is WOW. After installing the software, installing the new unpartitioned hard drive as a slave drive and restarting the computer it was seven easy steps to replacing the old hard drive with the new hard drive.

  1. Start up Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0
  2. Click on the “disk clone” button
  3. Selected “Automatic mode” which automatically sizes the partitions on the new hard drive
  4. Selected the source disk
  5. Selected the destination disk
  6. Clicked on “Proceed” and the computer restarted (on reboot Migrate Easy takes over and clones the drive)
  7. After Migrate Easy had done it’s thing I shutdown the computer, removed the old hard drive, installed the new hard drive as the primary master drive and restarted the system.

That was it. The computer restarted just fine and after one reboot when Windows detected a new primary hard drive we were up and running like nothing had ever gone wrong. If I had known it was this easy I probably would have upgraded the hard drive in her system a long time ago.

The software also works on Windows Server 2000 and Windows Server 2003, so I probably would have used it at work to upgrade some of our four-year old servers (which we are in the process of finally replacing right now).

Photo Editing on Terminal Server

Photo and image editing in a terminal server environment has always been a challenge. Most photo editing software out there will not run on a terminal server because it requires multiple instances of the software to be open, and usually requires a higher colour level than terminal server allows.

Recently when loading up a new terminal server for the staff and students at our organization we ran into this problem. After trying to load multiple software packages, including Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition and Ulead Photo Impact, we finally found some software that works.

IrfanView is a simple looking image editing package and claims to be “…one of the most popular viewers worldwide!”.

The interface is extremely simple with almost all the tools being accessed through the menus. This can take a bit to get used to, but after using it for a while you get used to it.

Despite the simple user interface IrfanView is actually quite a powerful little editor. You can easily view, convert, edit and even do batch processing on images.

Another consideration when setting up any application in terminal server is how much load it puts on the server. IrfanView only uses 5MB of system memory while running idle and apears to use very little processor power.

You can find out more about IrfanView at www.irfanview.com.