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Location: Oregon, United States

Here is why I put my long(er) ramblings, well, at least the stuff I pretend the think about BEFORE posting. Here is my primary site.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Windows Server is easier to setup than Linux

The next person that proclaims that Windows Server is easier to setup than a Linux server, I will happily make the following proclamation to them:

MY ASS!

The background for this proclamation is that we suffered a dead Active Directory/Exchange server. Backups would have worked, had the two hardware platforms been the same, however, the original machine was a MPS multi-processor system, and the new one was ACPI, along with other hardware issues. Therefore, the move an installation to different hardware didn't do us jack. Just to make sure, I even tried the change the HAL after installing a base server to match the old MPS HAL, and that worked a lot less than desired.

So what did I get to do, I got to install Windows Server 2003, Active Directory, and Exchange 2003, in one nice marathon session.

Do you want to know what is involved in installing that mess? Well, I got to find out the list the hard way, but here is the breakdown of it.


  1. Install Windows Server 2003

  2. This seems like a fairly simple one. Just put in the disc, format the drives, and let it run. Actually, this was probably the easiest step of the process.

  3. Install Support Tools

  4. This is form the Windows Server 2003 disc, under the \support\tools folder

  5. Install DNS


  6. Install WINS

  7. We have some non-windows machines on the network, so WINS is gonna be helpful here

  8. Install File Server

  9. If you are sharing anything from the machine, at least in a multi-person public way

  10. Install Print Server

  11. Mind you, if you aren't ready to install the printer software on the machine right now, wait until later, or make plans to install the printer first.

  12. Install IIS and ASP.NET

  13. This is absolutely necessary, even if you aren't planning to use Exchange's web-based interface

  14. Install SMTP and NNTP for IIS

  15. This is the requirement that boggled my mind the most. Here we are with Exchange, but it actually uses SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) from IIS to handle sending emails. If this isn't installed, Exchange won't install.

  16. Install Active Directory

  17. If you have a dead machine, don't even bother naming the new domain the same as the old one, it still won't work. Just choose a new domain and live with it.

  18. Start installing Exchange

  19. You would think this would be as simple as putting the disc in, then running the installer, answer some questions and watch it go. That would be thinking that they (Microsoft) actually cares about you, the technician. No, they care about managers and "decision-makers," you could go and fuck a goat for all they care.

    • Verify that all of the other tasks are done first manually, because Exchange's installer can't detect shit before it starts installing

    • Yep, it is probably one of the most stupid installation programs I have ever seen, hell even ./configure scripts with many Linux programs are easier to use than piece of shit

    • Run Forest Prep

    • Take a nap, or go out for dinner, you will be a little while

    • Run Domain Prep

    • You thought you have finished with the mind-numbingly boring parts with Forest Prep, naw, that was just the beginning.

    • Now start installing Exchange

    • Product Key Entry #3.


    Now, I get to start adding users to this mess. Let me say, that if you, for some insane reason, you named your domain something other than the @ name for your email addresses, get ready for extra steps.

    • Open Active Directory Users and Groups


    • Add a User

    • Don't even try to put their correct email address in

    • Open the user just created, and fix their email address, including SMTP information

    • If you don't fix this, it just won't work



Folks, this is the quickie version of the list. You can use Manage my Server for installing DNS, WINS, File, Print, Active Directory, and even the basic IIS stuff. However, you go into Add or Remove Programs -> Add/Remove Windows Components to install SMTP and NNTP. And please, for the love of all things holy, don't make a mistake. If you do, it will be easier to wipe and re-install than it would be to uninstall and re-install a component.

I can honestly say, that the amount of time that I took to learn and setup this mess, I have setup Linux based email servers. The only difference between the two? Well, in the same amount of time, I could have had a Linux server running the same basic items (IMAP, POP3, web-based email, File and Print sharing, DNS, WINS, User authentication) and would have included Spamassassin for filtering, Amavis for virus checking, Webmin for management, FTP, and SSH server for all of my remote login and uploading needs.

Yeah, Microsoft shit is just sooo much better and easier, my ass.

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