SBS 2003 Quick Hitters [Windows Small Business Server Best Practices book excerpt]

TGIF! I am the author of the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices and each day a give a virtiaul book reading by posting up a few passages from ‘da purple book. Today is a very popular speech I often give called SBS 2003 quick hitters…



Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!

SBS 2003 Quick Hitters

By far the most popular SBS lecture I ever delivered was the “quick hitter” speech. I’ve given it to Gateway, IBM, and countless advanced SBS gatherings in the USA in 2003. The format is “cut to the chase” – less theory and tastes great! In this section, I’ll give you some quick hitters on SBS administration topics.

                      Click through the SBS tools in Server Management. Do yourself right and engage in a “daze and amaze” session where you explore the Server Management console. It’s powerfully amazing.

                      Security quick hitter: permission upgrade. Perform the following now to upgrade the permissions for Linda Briggs from user to mobile user. In Server Management, select Users under Standard Manage­ment and click on the Change User Permissions link. Click Next at the Welcome to the Change User Permission Wizard page. Select Mobile User Template on the Template Selection screen and click Next (make sure the Replace any previous permissions granted to the users check box is selected). Select Linda Briggs under Users and click Add (Linda will then appear under the Change permissions for column as seen in Figure 11-13). Click Next. Click the here link on the completion page to save the settings change to your SBS Network Notebook. Click Finish followed by Close.



Chapter 11 Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual Tasks

Figure 11-13

Elevating the permission of a user so that she can exploit the mobility features in SBS 2003 is a very common task.

          Active Directory – not enough said yet! Just when you thought you’d escape this book without having to read about Active Directory (AD), I want to draw your attention to the built-in multiple organization units (OU) utilized extensively by SBS 2003 (note the single built-in OU wasn’t really used in the SBS 2000 time frame – it was just test marketing!). Under Advanced Management in Server Management, select Active Directory Users and Computers. Expand SpringersLtd.local (the domain object). Expand the MyBusiness OU and peek into the child OUs (Computers, Distribution Groups, Security Groups, Users). You will find, for example, that user objects in SBS 2003 are placed in the SBSUsers child OU beneath the Users OU beneath MyBusiness, not the Users folder beneath the domain object in AD.

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          Group Policy Management. Closely related to the AD discussion above is the object just below it in Advanced Management of Server Manage­ment: the Group Policy Management snap-in. This capability was high­lighted extensively in the launch of Windows Server 2003 for its ability to give your Group Policy a “test run” before committing changes (the Group Policy Results tool). Select Forest: SpringersLtd.local and then select Domains. Select SpringersLtd.local. Observe the important information in Figure 11-14 that displays GPO relationships, in this case the Group Policy Inheritance tab for the SBSUsers.

Figure 11-14

Finally, an easy way to observe how GPOs are being applied!

Migrate Server Settings Link. Get to know the Migrate Small Busi-ness Server Settings page under Advanced Management in the Server Management console. I’m especially fond of the ability to export and import templates (this will be very helpful if you resell LOBs in which the custom template groups reflect LOB specific settings).


Chapter 11 Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual Tasks

                      Sessions. It’s easy to find out who is logged on to the computer (the context being you’ve used the public address system asking all employees to log off before you reboot the server and you need to verify that everyone did so). You can simply select Sessions from the Favorites, Advanced Management menu in Server Management. (There is also a View Connected Users from the Manage Shared Folder page from the Shares (Local) link under Standard Management in Server Management.) Closely related to who is logged on would be the Secu­rity event log. Found under Event Viewer (Server Management, Advanced Management, Computer Management (Local), System Tools, Event Viewer), the Security event log tells you who has logged on and logged off! This is known as logon/logoff auditing

                      Computer Management (Local). And speaking of the Computer Man­agement (Local) snap-in, you really need to explore this tool. This is where many items housed in the Administrative Tools program group will appear in the Server Management console (it’s how we SBSify many native Windows Server 2003 tools).

                      DNS Referral. One difference between SBS 2003 RC code and the final “gold code” of the product was a fix to make the external NIC card use the local IP address as its primary DNS (e.g., and then refer to the DNS Forwarders configuration to resolve queries. While you have Computer Management (Local) open, go to Services and Applications, DNS. Then right-click and select Properties on the server object (e.g., SPRINGERS1).


BEST PRACTICE: Some of the old-time SBSers will recall that you had to manually configure such DNS referrals (the wild-side NIC calling back to the internal DNS) in SBS 2000 using a TechNet article for guidance. This has now been automated.

          System Health. Time to sell you on the next chapter. Monitoring your server and using the system health tools from Monitoring and Report­ing under Standard Management in Server Management is a uniquely SBS 2003 experience.


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