Microsoft End of Life Dates – Mark Your Calendars!

Where is 2012 going?  It seems like just yesterday I filed away my planner for 2011 and crack open that fresh page to January 2012. Now that we are racing towards Spring, you might want to highlight a few of these special dates for the future.

Here are some future “end of life” dates for some Microsoft products you might still have floating around on your network.  Some will be supported for several more years, but it never hurts to keep your eye on the horizon.

These dates are the end of support life for the product as a whole (no more extended support), so start thinking about your budget cycles and internal support needs for the next few years.

Windows XP – 4/8/2014
Server 2003 – 7/14/2015
Windows Vista – 4/11/2017

Exchange Server 2007 – 4/11/2017
SQL Server 2000 – 4/9/2013
SQL Server 2005 – 4/12/2016

Office 2003 – 4/8/2014
Office 2007 – 10/10/2017

These dates are for specific service packs for these products, so be sure to install the latest available service pack, if you haven’t already.

SQL Server 2005 SP 3 -1/10/2012
Exchange 2010 SP 1 – 1/8/2013
Office 2007 SP 2 – 1/8/2013

For more information about other Microsoft Server products, check out the Lifecycle Info for Server Products list. – http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeSelectServ

** 11/21/14 Update **

For some current end of life dates – visit this post.  Interested in learning more about getting away from on-prem Exchange and Office?  Check out these courses from the Microsoft Virtual Academy –

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Installing IIS for SQL 2005 and SharePoint

I’ve started planning out an installation of SharePoint at work and have found myself installing some of the necessary WSS 3.0 components in the lab. I want to set up SharePoint as a small server farm on one server, which requires SQL to be pre-installed. Both SQL 2005 (if you want all the services) and WSS 3.0 require IIS, but the default installation of IIS on Windows Server 2008 does not include all the necessary components for either one.

First to support WSS 3.o, you’ll need to make sure all the components in this list are selected. But if you go with the just components on that list, you’ll still get a warning about “IIS Feature Requirement” when installing SQL 2005. Most of the necessary components overlap with WSS 3.0 except for one – HTTP Redirection – so be sure to select that one as well.

Finally, if you are looking around for some WSS 3.0 installation guides, here is a link to some of the downloadable documentation. Perfect if you are looking for some fresh reading on your Kindle.

Keeping track of the SQL User Provisioning Tool

Here’s a tool I find myself looking for over and over again. After installing SP2 or SP3 on an installation of SQL 2005 you have the option to run the User Provisioning Tool for Vista”, allowing you to set proper access permission.

However if you haven’t restarted SQL services before running it, it fails to connect to the database and then closes. There isn’t a shortcut anywhere to restart it, so it can be a mystery as to how to locate it again. The path to the tool is:

%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Shared\sqlprov.exe

For more information about why this tool exists, check out this msdn blog post.

Restoring ImageRight in the DR Scenario

Our document imaging system, ImageRight, is one of the key applications that we need to get running as soon as possible after a disaster. We’ve been using the system for over 2 years now and this is the first time we’ve had a chance to look closely at what would be necessary in a full recovery scenario. I’d been part of the installation and the upgrade of the application, so I had a good idea of how it should be installed. Also, I had some very general instructions from the ImageRight staff regarding recovery, but no step by step instructions.

The database is SQL 2005 and at this point it wasn’t the first SQL restoration in this project, so that went relatively smoothly. We had some trouble restoring the “model” and “msdb” system databases, but our DBA decided those weren’t critical to ImageRight and to let the versions from the clean installation stay.

Once the database was restored, I turned to the application server. A directory known as the “Imagewrt$” share is required as it holds all the installation and configuration files. We don’t have all the same servers available in the lab, so we had to adjust the main configuration file to reflect the new location of this important share. After that, the application installation had several small hurdles that required a little experimentation and research to overcome.

First, the SQL Browser service is required to generate the connection string from the application server to the database. This service isn’t automatically started in the standard SQL installation. Second, the ImageRight Application Service won’t start until it can authenticate its DLL certificates against the http://crl.verisign.net URL. Our lab setup doesn’t have an Internet connection at the moment so this required another small workaround – temporarily changing the IE settings for the service account to not require checking the publisher’s certificate.

Once the application service was running, I installed the desktop client software on the machine that will provide remote desktop access to the application. That installed without any issue and the basic functions of searching for and opening image files were tested successfully. We don’t have the disk space available in the lab to restore ALL the images and data, so any images older than when we upgraded to version 4.0 aren’t available for viewing. We’ll have to take note of the growth on a regular basis so that in the event of a real disaster we have a realistic idea of how much disk space is required. This isn’t the first time I’ve run short during this test, so I’m learning my current estimates aren’t accurate enough.

Of course, it hasn’t been fully tested and there are some components I know we are using in production that might or might not be restored initially after a disaster. I’m sure I’ll get a better idea of what else might be needed after we have some staff from other departments connect and do more realistic testing. Overall, I’m pretty impressed with how easy it was to get the basic functionality restored without having to call ImageRight tech support.

Failed SQL Restores That Actually Succeed

This week’s adventure in disaster recovery has been with one of our in-house SQL applications. The application has several databases that need to be restored and we find that the Backup Exec restore job is reported as having failed with the error of “V-79-65323-0 – An error occurred on a query to database .” This error doesn’t prevent SQL from using the databases properly and hasn’t appeared to affect the application.

Once the job completes Backup Exec also warns that the destination server requires a reboot. We are speculating that Backup Exec is unable to do a validation query to the restored database due to the need for the reboot, so the error is somewhat superfluous.

We are going to experiment a bit to see if turning of the post-restore consistency checks eliminate this error in the future, but for the moment we just opted to note the error in our recovery documentation so we don’t spend time worrying about during another test or during a real recovery scenario.

We’ve also found that for some reason, it’s very important to pre-create subfolders under the FTData folder before restoring the databases. If these folders related to the full text index aren’t available the job will fail, too. This has required our DBA to write some scripts to have available in the event of the restore to create these directories, as well as drop and recreate the indexes once everything is restored.

While I appreciate learning more about the database backend of some of our applications, I’m so glad I’m not a DBA. 🙂