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Windows 7 Security settings issue? / WHS compatability issue between Console and Add-ins RRS feed

  • Question

  • Today, after having spent 30 minutes on the phone with McAfee technical support and then 2 hours on the phone with ACER technical support it appears that a common postion is crystalizing between them regarding a possible compatability problem between the shared folders/software/add-in folder and the WHS console being able to see what's inside in terms of M.S.I. files (specific file is topwhsaddIn4.9ACER.msi) in order to install on the server. I have 2 ACER Aspire Easy Store home servers H340 both of which have the identical issue. Acer technical support advised that Remote desktop is disabled by default under W7 by Microsoft. All  4 computers attached to the server use W7. McAfee and ACER have checked my files and folders permissions and noted that Home Server Discovery (Discovery .exe) and Home Server Oobe (WHSOOBE.exe) keep defaulting back to Outbound-Only Access from Full Access at each system re-start which may have something to do with this problem in terms of W7 security settings? Even so, they consider that there is another underlying compatability issue within WHS that has not been fully identified. ACER have discounted software corruption of the factory settings files as the same image has been used on hundreds of identical hard discs without issue. Acer also advised that there should be a utility within WHS to view SYS folders in the partioned drive supplied however as per my other unanswered post (link below) no clarification has been forthcoming. Acer have their own utility which they advise was not supplied with the Acer Aspire Easystore H340 as WHS is supposed to provide this functionality. Where is this function in the Console settings? I restored to Factory Settings again yesterday and have no data on the disc. Re-installed WHS is currently running with Power Pack 2 V6.0.2030.0 If anyone has suggestions regarding W7/WHS security settings which they consider would impact then please advise and I will attempt. Other than that are forum moderators aware of any such issue as described which Microsoft WHS Team are currently investigating?

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/f8538728-f34b-41f6-bcfa-e081c14b36bc


    Since posting earlier I have downloaded the Windows Home Server Toolkit v1.1 (32-Bit) for the server and placed inside the add-ins beside the topwhsaddIn4.9ACER.msi. I cannot see this msi file either from the WHS admin console.

    I located this on the internet:  The Windows Home Server team keeps an eye on the community forums and tries to understand specific issues in greater detail.  Sometimes people are willing to work with the team to isolate the issue, and other times they simply disappear before the team can get enough data and details to learn about the persons’ unique environment and exact “repro” steps.

    I would be delighted if the WHS team contacts me, initially by posting to this forum thread and I can finally work thru with WHS experts these recurring server software problems.
     
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 9:30 PM

All replies

  • Microsoft has asked that bug reports be submitted through Connect .

    Regarding access to the partitions on your server's drives: I believe you misunderstood what Acer told you. By design, direct access to the server drives and partitions (including the system partition, i.e. C:) is not supported. You can use Remote Desktop to connect to your server and get at the C: partition that way, though (again) it's unsupported. The Remote Desktop client is available in all versions of Windows. You can, for example, find it on the Start menu under Accessories on Vista.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:42 PM
    Moderator
  • I will duly submit thru connect tomorrow morning. I hope it doesn't require toolkit extracted information as I can't install this .msi file either. I wrote down at the time what Acer advised so perhaps the technician used the wrong wording. I have since accessed remote desktop using the mstsc command and I can access the console remotely however it is no different to accessing thru the pc WHS connector which I can do.  I think the Acer technician was attempting anything but the normal route to see if it made any difference - which it didn't. What about the other part of the Acer advice regarding the Acer utility which can access the SYS folders and was not supplied because WHS is meant to have this utility? I have posted separately (link below) which has no responses so far. This should be basic WHS functionality and I would appreciate being advised where this utility is within WHS or an add-in (which I could not install anyway). The longer this goes unanswered the more it suggests a known bug/problem. 

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/f8538728-f34b-41f6-bcfa-e081c14b36bc


    I notice that PP3 beta is designed for W7 users. As all my p/c's are 64 bit W7 is there anything that I have posted to-date that is answered/corrected by this release? I am currently running PP2.
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 2:00 AM
  • While logs are normally collected using the server toolkit add-in, there is an alternate method. But please get the initial bug report up quickly, and post back with the id (or the whole link) and I'll make sure it comes to the attention of the team. Just don't have expectations regarding what they will do.

    There is no supported tool which gives a remote user access to the system drive or partition other than through the shares or console, I'm afraid. The Acer technician was wrong if he told you there was, unless he was speaking of remote desktop which (as i said above) is unsupported but will give you desktop access to your server...
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 5:05 AM
    Moderator
  • I had not used Remote Desktop before yesterday and ACER stopped remote desktop yesterday because a CAUTION SCREEN which appeared before you can enter remote desktop required a number of websites to be added to IE8 trusted sites folder and one site in particular: view.atdmt.com appeared to be a caution site according to the ACER google search at the time. Without McAfee anti-virus protection running on the server they decided it was safer to stop and go back to the p/c console route, however this morning I decided to try again and added this site to the trusted list within IE8 on the server. I was then able to access the remote server desktop.

    STEPS: Remote Desktop run command: mstsc.  This opens a window which accesses the server by IP address which then opens the Log on window for the server administrator and from that I can view/access the .msi files. I clicked on the Toolkit msi file to test access and it appears that I can actually open/run the file as I now get the standard Open File - Security Warning pop-up before opening/running files. I also have on the Remote desktop screen (accessed within the remote server path as described) the icon for WHS which I duly clicked and opened. The admin console appears and again by checking settings/add-ins the msi files do not appear even though I can view/access/run from within Remote Desktop.

    It seems very odd to me that the unsupported remote desktop tool correctly allows me to access/run the msi files within the server yet the supported WHS Admin console is unable to see these very same files. There is definitely a BUG either in the supported WHS Admin console or the ACER factory setting SYS files.

    Any thoughts or suggestions before I run these files?

    Thanks

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:41 PM
  • it sounds to me that you have just bought McAfee for Desktop and not McAfee for windows home server.  The reason you are not seeing the add-ins in your Windows Home Server is that they are not signed as being for Windows Home Server.


    --
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 5:55 PM
  • If the caution screen results in warnings for sites that need to be added to the IE trusted sites, you have problems. Either Acer has modified the warning page (entirely possible, and I don't have an Acer to test) or something is somehow hijacking or piggy-backing on your browser and/or internet connection.

    Suggestions: do not attempt to install/uninstall any add-in using Add or Remove Programs, running the .msi file from the desktop, etc. You will likely wind up with an add-in which you can't then remove, or an add-in which you have removed will still appear as installed. Regarding the toolkit, please read the toolkit user manual , as the installation process for the server component is not obvious.

    And do not attempt to install an antivirus product which isn't branded for use on Windows Home Server. A number of user problems over the past couple of years have been traced directly back to a non-WHS aware AV product detecting Drive Extender activity as virus-like, resulting in the AV product quarantining or deleting the file shadows (which are the actual files). You get file conflicts and other errors, lose data, etc. So please do not install your (already paid for, sorry) desktop AV product on your server.

    Also, please, please , file that bug regarding not seeing valid add-in .msi files and post back. Do it now , even without logs. I can hand the id directly to the person who "owns" the console for the next day or two, and you seem able to reproduce this issue reliably.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 6:33 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for replying

     I successfully installed the toolkit and have filed a bug report with the CAB # provided to Connect. I made mention in the BUG report of the other problems encountered in case they are related or otherwise. If you are signed up to connect here is the heading:  WHS add-ins not working by Antfortas. If you need a direct link please let me know and I will post to this thread.

    Not quite sure regarding your comments about add/remove programs. This feature is inbuilt to W7/Vista/XP and works for files on the individual p/c. I took a look and was unable to see server programs (didn't expect to either) and my understanding is that within WHS the only way to add/remove programs is using the add-ins function (not working currently) - is this correct or is there another add/remove programs function in WHS I've yet to locate? 

    The McAfee AV product is Total Protection designed for Home Servers and I use Virus Scan Plus on each PC. I attempted to install the downloaded MSI file from within remote desktop but I get a pop-up advising that there is already a copy of McAfee Total Protection installed which needs to be uninstalled first. Unless I can access and uninstall from the add-ins then I will need to do this manually by accessing the partitioned SYS folders and working thru folders to be advised by McAfee. When I access by remote desktop the McAfee Total Protection pop-up appears briefly and then disappears however the admin console warnings advises that I need to register the product but the console link takes me directly to the log-in screen for the already registered product for a download - which currently cannot be installed because of the existing trial version (complete loop). If the add-ins problem can be resolved I can then remove McAfee Trial version and replace.   
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:53 PM
  • To clarify, I successfully installed Toolkit using Remote Server and accessing the msi file within shared folders location software/addins - not by using the admin console add-in function

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 8:02 PM
  • Finally some progress. :)

    I will note that an add-in installed via remote desktop (as you did) will not appear in the list of installed add-ins that you can remove using the console. You will have to remove it manually, just as you installed it manually, and there may be some cleanup required afterward. This includes the McAfee software presently installed on your server; Acer installs that outside of the console, so you will need to remove it outside of the console. See e.g. this thread for more information.

    Edit: So I've passed that along. A reminder: there is no guarantee that the dev team will contact you on this issue. if your logs have enough information, they won't. If your logs make it clear that it's an external issue, not part of Windows Home Server, it'll probably be closed pretty quickly. But I've passed it along; it should be in the right hands by now.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 8:24 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for passing along and including the linked thread which largely mirrors my experience.

    I re-contacted ACER again this afternoon and advised that I want to return both H340 server partitioned hard disks for complete re-formatting and clean re-installation of the latest software. I am also going to request that Acer does not re-install McAfee at the factory settings level. I have a suspicion that the pre-installed McAfee Total Protection Trial version contains (legacy) elements of their Total Protection Firewall which when the trial software is activated may automatically block linkage between the shared folders and the Admin console add-ins. I have the same problem on both servers therefore its a consistent error. 

    ACER advised that I cannot just send both the partitioned hard drives back, I need to send both server boxes as well even though one box was checked by Acer and returned little over a week ago. Perhaps this is either to discourage repairs due to shipping cost or perhaps confirm that both server boxes are still in my possession (lucky me). Either way if that's what it takes to resolve my recurring problems then I will ship everything back.

    I will follow the postings on this forum and connect as the reality is that my particular problems could be caused by other factors still to be identified. The connect forum which received the CAB data is of definite interest as the data should hopefully clarify to a Microsoft WHS programmer if and where the problem lies within the WHS software - or elsewhere.  

     
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:58 PM
  • I can almost guarantee that if you don't have the server with the problem in your possession so you can recreate the issue at will, Microsoft will wind up closing the bug as non-reproducible.

    As for Acer supplying you with a version minus McAfee, I'm doubtful that they will be able to do so. OEMs don't individually install and configure the Windows Home Server software, and their add-ins, on each server they ship; they have a disk image that they apply to a hard drive, plug it in, and ship it. And certainly the server recovery disk is duplicated from a master copy, which will have that baked in.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 12:12 AM
    Moderator
  • That depends on how long it takes Microsoft to review the CAB file I submitted today. I am happy to hold off returning to Acer if Microsoft want me to attempt/replicate something. Basically how long does it take for Microsoft to respond - within reason - as my primary goal is to have a functional server that quietly runs without requiring major attention.

    Whether Acer can or can't do is unknown - I can only request and see what transpires - however I am guessing that the current version of McAfee Total Protection on the disk image they use will have been updated from the one included when I purchased 09/09 and could have been sitting for weeks/.months before I was lucky enough to buy....

    If it comes back from Acer and I start up to find exactly the same problem then what do you suggest?
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 12:41 AM
  • I attempted a comparison of the file/folders in the SYS Drive of each server I have using a couple of external hard drive boxes. Both servers are same make/model Acer H340 however files which were factory installed pre-dating my purchase in 09/09 have a reasonable number of files which on one server generally date around 2008 and on the other server around 2009. A couple things I noticed was that in the Docs & Settings /Administrator & also Default User that the server I am currently using does not have a cookies folder wheras the other server has. Are cookies used within WHS to allow access between shared folders and the WHS admin console? Another one I noticed was that in the server I am not using there is a file in Inetpub/remote/bin that contained a file WHSCommon.resources.dll dated 12/07/08 whereas on the server I am using this file dated 10/07/09 appears  to have been added to the server only yesterday 17/02/10. Any idea if this is related to the Toolkit I managed to load yesterday? Other than that unless I send both servers +HDD to Acer to re-format and do a complete re-install of the software then factory installed differences will remain and I have no idea of their functional differences.

    Regarding the connect CAB report submitted yesterday to Connect, I took a look and there was nothing of significance that jumped out to advise of a problem. Perhaps Microsoft will pick up something however if this report is clean then would that indicate that a bug exists within the software? 

    How is the WHS admin console add-ins page linked to the server shared folders/add-ins? Is there a security approval within WHS allows this specific linkage and also within McAfee which program would I expect to find to ensure that McAfee is not blocking the linkage?

    Thanks    
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 7:28 PM