Small Business Server 2003 Setup – advanced discussion

Hiya folks – I am the publisher of the Advanced Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book and I look to post up passages from this SBS book as a vitual reading. Today we start a chapter from Andy Goodman on SBS 2003 setup with a few twists!


Advanced Setup and


BY Andy Goodman (Winston-Salem, NC)

Small Business Server 2003 prides itself on a rapid, seamless setup and deployment approach. In the introductory book about SBS 2003 from SMB Nation Press, Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices, a great deal of timber (that’s pages) was dedicated to the step-by-step setup and deployment of SBS 2003; in fact, those areas constituted over 25 percent of the entire book. This chapter picks up where that book left off, without making you suffer through a repeat of the basic setup and deployment steps. In other words, in this chapter I offer you the tips and tricks that I find useful in my day-to-day life of installing and supporting SBS. I’ve assumed that readers of this chapter have set up SBS 2003 previously and are ready to learn about the complex procedures described here.

BEST PRACTICE: If for some reason you need to revisit the basic SBS 2003 setup and deployment steps, I provide an extensive graphical walk-through on my Web articles.htm. A review of that material might make for a great “compare and contrast” view of how I set up SBS 2003 versus how the setup occurred in Harry’s Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices introductory book.


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  SBS 2003 Setup Specifics

In this section, I impart my sage wisdom as it applies to the following SBS setup phases:

  • Installation midpoint,
  • Partitioning,
  • Protecting certain files, and
  • Volume shadow copy restore.
  Installation Midpoint

The following tip will ring true for many of you. I like to stop an SBS 2003 installation after the base Windows Server 2003 operating system installation, at the exact moment after the second reboot when I’m presented with the Continue Setup dialog box. Why? A lot of my SBS 2003 installs are on server machines that I have built myself, because I’m a system builder. Being an Intel Product Dealer (IPD), I have had a lot of Intel-sponsored system builder training, and one point Intel always emphasizes is the importance of the “order of installation” of the hardware and software drivers. So I always take advantage of this midpoint break in the SBS 2003 installation procedure to get all the current hardware and software drivers installed.


BEST PRACTICE: The “order of installation” law is especially true for motherboard .inf files before the Sound , Video and Lan Drivers. The inf which actually is a setup Information file is what contains the details windows needs to install hardware and software. If you turn on hidden files and search for .inf you will find hundreds of them on you computer. You can also right click on them to install the associated driver or program.. If you are wondering why this is so important, if you don’t install the motherboard inf’s before the rest of the components, windows does not know how to talk to the motherboard chipsets. According to Intel, if you get these out of order on some systems, the only repair is a re-install of the OS!

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Next, I launch the Device Manager in Windows (available from System in the Control Panel or by right clicking “My Computer” and choosing Manage) and verify that there are no yellow exclamation points or red checkmarks (the “X” character) that would signal some type of driver failure (including the drivers you just loaded). Obviously, if you have hardware failure issues, including those directly related to the drivers, there is no sense in going any further until you have resolved those issues.

TCP/IP Networking

At the midpoint in the installation, you can decide what Transmission Control Protocol\Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) subnet addressing you are going to use on your SBS 2003 network. For many customers, accepting the default 192.168.16.x network is acceptable.

BEST PRACTICE: As a reader of this book, you are probably an SBS consultant who “eats your own dog food,” meaning that you use SBS 2003 for your clients’ networks as well as your own. If this is the case, you should set up your own network on a subnet that is different from that of your clients (such as 192.168.32.x) to make your own SBS 2003 network unique compared to that of your customers, who I assume will be configured as the default 192.168.16.x. This uniqueness is evident by viewing the difference in the third octet position of the TCP/IP address (remember that SBS 2003 is using a Class C subnet mask of Uniqueness between networks is important because, when you use a virtual private network (VPN) to access a customer’s SBS 2003 network from your existing SBS 2003 network, the internal TCP/IP subnet cannot be the same as the subnet of the accessing network. The networks must have unique internal TCP/IP subnets so you, as the SBS consultant, can fully access the internal network at the customer site.



Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation

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

PS – my Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is now here! J

PPS – my spring show, SMB Nation Spring 2009, is in the NYC-area on May 1-3, 2009.


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