Changing SID of a cloned machine using sysprep tool

I created some VMs in my lab recently and one of the VMs were cloned. When I tried to add this particular Windows Server 2012 R2 VM to domain it showed the following error


I used the sysinternals tool PsGetsid to confirm that the SID on both the base VM and the clone were the same.

So, the next thing to do is change the SID of the server which I am trying to add to domain. By default, Sysprep is available in Windows with which you can perform this operation.

Go to Run and type Sysprep  and click Enter.


In the Sysprep folder, launch the sysprep application.


Select the Generalize check box and click OK.


Sysprep will start and once done your machine will restart to the below screen




Input the values and you will login to the machine. You may have to change the hostnames etc. again.


Disable Clutter folder in Office 365

Office 365 has added a new feature called Clutter starting from June 2015. A new folder called Clutter will be available, if you have an Exchange Online mailbox. It performs intelligent email filtering and based on the behavior of an individual, moves low priority mails to this folder.

You can see it as a great feature, at the same time some people feel it is unnecessary. This blog post hence will describe how to disable the clutter folder or de-clutter your inbox.. 🙂

For an individual, this can be achieved through your OWA settings. Once logged into OWA, select Options -> Mail -> Clutter.

If clutter is enabled, you will see the below screen


You can just un-check the above boxes and save the settings to disable this feature.

A point to be noted, even-though you disable the feature, the clutter folder still remains in your mailbox and all the mails which were previously in this folder will remain there itself. Since you disabled the feature, new mails wont be moved to this folder. 

An administrator can disable a user’s clutter folder through PowerShell as follows:

Set-Clutter -Identity -Enable $false

In order to globally disable the clutter feature, use the below cmdlet [this may consume some time]:

Get-Mailbox | Set-Clutter -Enable $false

Administrators at some point may have to disable this feature for a certain set of people in your organization, based on some parameters or attributes. For example, the Company attribute. In that case you can use the below cmdlets

For simplicity, we can assign all the user mailboxes in Contoso company to a variable and then call the variable and disable clutter.

$contosousers=Get-Recipient -filter {company -eq “Contoso”} | where {$_.recipienttype -eq “usermailbox”}

In the next step, execute

$contosousers | Set-Clutter -Enable $false

This may also take some time depending on the number of mailboxes.

PowerShell commands to connect to Exchange Online

As more and more businesses are moving to Office 365 for email, IM etc managing their respective service lines is a day to day task for an IT Engineer. Similar to managing your environment through the Office 365 portal, admins also use PowerShell for more flexibility every now and then. In order to perform any complex admin tasks on Exchange Online, admins need to connect to their O365 tenant. The below commands can help you achieve the same :

$UserCredential = Get-Credential

Click Enter Key after the above command. You will be asked to supply your O365 tenant credentials.


$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

Import-PSSession $Session

The modules will be loaded and you will be connected to Exchange Online.


EMC Crash with exception “FX:{A5406CA3-6393-48a0-8827-CF06F0C94C55}”

There has been many instances where the Exchange Management console crashes when I used to work on Exchange Servers, particularly on Exchange Server 2010. Most of the time the issue gets resolved when you end the task from Task Manager and launch a new session.

However, in this particular Exchange Server I was working with, the MMC kept on crashing throwing exceptions. This post provides the steps to resolve a similar issue.

The Exception I kept on getting is shown below :


mmc crash

This issue can be resolved with the help of a small .bat script..

All you have to do is in a notepad copy the below script and save it in .bat format.

set COMPLUS_Version=v2.0.50727
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\Bin\Exchange Management Console.msc”

Execute the script and confirm the working of EMC.


Reference :-

Error “Outlook Web App didn’t initialize. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.”

Recently, I faced an issue logging in to OWA on our client’s Exchange 2010 server. The error reported was as follows :

Outlook Web App didn’t initialize. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.
Couldn’t find a base theme (folder name=base)


Initial troubleshooting steps were taken, like restarting the Microsoft Exchange Form Based Authentication service, re-creating OWA virtual directories etc..

Upon further researching on the issue, I found a similar post online where the OWA crashed after installing the Exchange updates..

So, in order to resolve the issue all you need to do is launch Exchange Management Shell, navigate to the location C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\Bin and then execute the power shell script UpdateCas.ps1.


This script will find your OWA/ECP virtual directories, update them and make some modifications to metabase etc.. Once completed, you will be able to access your OWA/ECP like before.. 🙂


Reference :-

Error: The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted

I received an error trying to launch the Active Directory Users and Computers console on a Windows Small Business Server 2011.

I tried executing the command ‘netdom query fsmo‘ to identify whether the DC I logged in holds all the roles or not. I received the same error here as well, as shown below:


Upon checking the services, it was found that the Windows Time service was not started. However, attempting to start the service resulted in the below pop-up


As indicated in the notification, the Netlogon service was found to be Paused.


The issue was resolved after starting the Netlogon and Windows Time services in the Server .



NIC teaming on Windows Server 2012

Teaming NIC’s has been in the industry for quite some time now. Until now, NIC teaming was done using drivers or software obtained from the NIC vendors itself. With the release of Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has included Operating System level teaming support. It even lets you team NIC’s of different vendors.

A scenario is discussed in this post which was recently performed on a Dell PowerEdge R720 that has a quad port NIC. The OS installed in the host was Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Edition. The host was a member of an Active Directory domain and had couple of VMs installed. My job was to team the 2 NICs and assign it for the VMs.

Log in to the Windows Server. As shown below I had 4 NIC’s, 2 of them enabled and 2 disabled.


Here, NIC 1 was already assigned with an IP.

Launch Server Manager -> Local Server. From Properties, click on the Disabled option adjacent to NIC Teaming.


Now you will get a console similar to the one shown below:


The available NICs are displayed on right hand side and the Team section on the left hand side. Select the Tasks drop down menu and click on New Team.


Select the NICs that needs to be teamed. Here, we will team NIC1 and NIC2 as planned before.




As you can see there are different Teaming and Load Balancing modes available, which will be discussed later in this post.

Once teaming is done, you can see the NIC’s arranged under the Team as shown below:



Also, if you view the Network Connections wizard you will notice a new adapter along with the NIC’s. This can be seen below:


The IP address for this network will have to be specified in this adapter next. If you check the properties of NIC1 and NIC2, you will notice that IPV4 settings will be disabled. Now, when you create a Hyper-V switch, you will find another adapter known as the Hyper-V virtual network adapter as well. The IP address settings will then be moved to this new adapter.


If you select the teaming mode as LACP, which is a switch dependent type and in case the configurations are not performed at the network switch end, you may receive errors. One such example is shown below:




 Teaming Mode:

The teaming mode can be Switch Dependent or Switch Independent. As the name says, Switch Independent means teaming is not required on the network switches, Switch Dependent requires teaming to be configured on the network switches.

  • Switch Independent mode works better with a Failover scenario [where you have both Active and Standby adapters] rather than Load Balancing. However, if you are planning to use Switch Independent mode for Load Balancing, you will have three Load Balancing modes:
    • Address Hash
    • Hyper-V Port
    • Dynamic



  • If you are using Switch Dependent mode, you will have to configure the network switches as well. The available teaming mode types are
    • LACP
    • Static



The load balancing mode types will be the same as mentioned before. Depending on the Teaming mode selected, you will have option to assign a NIC as a Standby Adapter.


To get a better picture of this topic check out the link :





Login Error RAC0218: The maximum number of user sessions is reached

Recently, a Hyper-V server at a client site was shutdown due to some errors. As it was after office hours, the only way to bring the server back up was using DRAC. DRAC Enterprise was installed in the server already. However, for my bad luck, when logging in to DRAC I received an error as shown below:


In order to resolve this issue, all you have to do is to SSH in to the DRAC, preferably using Putty tool. Launch Putty and enter the DRAC IP of the Server.


Once connected, enter the DRAC credentials. Next, execute the command racadm racreset in the console as shown below:


Check and confirm that you are able to login through the DRAC web console now.

Error accessing OWA “Microsoft.Exchange.Data.Storage.AccessDeniedException”

A client having Exchange 2013 recently faced a strange issue while logging in to OWA. The error is shown below :


Upon further analyzing the error, it was found that this error can occur due to two reasons:

  • If the attribute msExchVersion value is different for a user
  • Due to insufficient permissions

First, we can check the Exchange version for a particular user who has the issue. For this, execute the below command in EMS:

Get-Mailbox <User_Name>| format-list ExchangeVersion

If the value that returns is less than 0.1, then the Exchange Server will consider this user object only as Read-only. This issue can be resolved by executing the command :

Set-Mailbox <User_Name> -ApplyMandatoryProperties

If you again check the Exchange version it will show a value like eg: 88218628259840 [ for Exchange Server 2013]

You can also check the value of the attribute msExchVersion from attribute editor in ADSIEdit.



If you still face issues when accessing owa or ecp, perform the second step.

  1. Navigate to Active Directory Users and Computers
  2. Find the user and select Properties -> Security -> Advanced
  3. Select Enable inheritance
  4. Add a Principal value like Domain Admins and required access type
  5. Click OK
  6. Check and confirm that OWA or ECP is accessible without any issues






Moving OAB Generation Server in Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 !!

With Exchange Server 2013 in order to manage your Exchange environment, you will have to make use of Exchange Admin Center. As of now with EAC you will not be able to manage all Exchange features, due to which Exchange Management Shell has the same importance as EAC.

Managing OAB likewise will require the use of Exchange Management Shell or cmdlets. You can use the below cmdlets for the same:

  • Creating a new OAB

New-OfflineAddressBook -Name OAB -AddressLists “Global Address List”

  • Identifying the OAB generation server

In Exchange 2013, it is the duty of the arbitration mailbox “Organization mailbox” to generate the OAB’s required for the Exchange environmnet. This mailbox is hosted in the Exchange Server 2013 mailbox server.

Get-Mailbox -Arbitration | where {$_.PersistedCapabilities -like “*oab*”} | ft name,servername

oab 1

  •  Move the OAB generation server

As we now know that the ‘Organization Mailbox‘ is the one that generates the OAB, we have to first make sure that the Organization mailbox resides in the mailbox database of the Exchange server which we are planning to assign the role of OAB generation server.

For this purpose, we will have to move the Organization mailbox to the new server’s mailbox database. This can be achieved using the shell command :

Get-Mailbox -Arbitration -database MDB01| where {$_.PersistedCapabilities –like “*oab*”} | New-MoveRequest -TargetDatabase MDB02

where, MDB01 is the name of the mailbox database that holds the Organization mailbox initially, and MDB02 the mailbox database to which the Organization mailbox is moved.

oab 12

Now, if you execute the command to identify the OAB Generation server, it will indicate the new Exchange Server only.


Reference :