LettersReaders Speak Out

SQL Database Management

Kudos for the "SQL Server: Top Tips for Effective Database Maintenance" article in the August 2008 issue (available at technet.microsoft.com/magazine/cc671165). Finally, an article in the SQL section that was aimed at us "involuntary DBAs" who just need to make sure that some application called SQL Server is running and being backed up.

And on the very next page, you follow that up with "Windows Administration: Taking Your Server's Pulse" (technet.microsoft.com/magazine/cc718984). That was awesome. I ripped those articles out of the magazine for safekeeping—something that we just can't do with digital e-zines. I'll refer back to both of those articles frequently. Keep up the good work.

We're glad to hear that you enjoyed those two articles. We always like to hear that our content is useful. But while we'll never turn down effusive praise, please don't stop there! Feel free to drop us a line with any other topics you'd like to see covered in future issues. We're always looking for input from our readers.

—Joshua Hoffman, Editor-in-Chief

Image X and Windows PE

Thank you for the column on deploying older operating systems with ImageX and Windows PE ("Dual Booting with Windows XP and Windows PE 2.0," February 2008, technet.microsoft.com/magazine/cc194422). I had discovered the potential of these tools last year, and I started to experiment with them to replace the imaging tool that my company has been using (Acronis Snap Deploy). I got everything working just as I needed it to work about six months ago, and it is now actually the only imaging tool we use.

Then I read your article and noticed your advice on adding the bootsect.exe /n52 option. I had never heard of this option before. The only thing we do before applying the images is to wipe the hard drive using DiskPart with the included script (commands.txt). We haven't experienced any problems just yet, but could this present a problem in the future?

Early on, that command was needed. But I was informed by a team member after that article went live that there is no need for it any longer since the boot code _now_ has logic in it to try looking for the new style boot manager code, and if not found it tries NT­LDR before failing. So it can be omitted entirely without any problems.

—Wes Miller, Columnist, The Desktop Files

Test Image Environment

I read your Desktop Files column about implementing images using the ImageX tool and enabling multicast through Windows Deployment Services, or WDS ("Dual Booting with Windows XP and Windows PE 2.0"). I want to mount a test environment and would like to know exactly what tools are necessary. Must I install Windows Server 2008 for a multicast implementation? And also, for mirror images, is it necessary to utilize ImageX for the installation of the Deployment 4 or the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) and WDS?

To utilize multicast using WDS, you must have Windows Server 2008 installed. The multicast components are not available (and will not be available) for Windows Server 2003.

Deployment 4 is not necessary to utilize multicast. In order to use it, you need to obtain Windows Server 2008, as well as the released version of the WAIK for Windows Server 2008. That version of the WAIK is the first that contains the pieces necessary for multicast to Windows PE.

—Wes Miller

WDS Multicast

I tried to use ImageX to clone images into and from computers. I soon faced a problem: ImageX doesn't support multicast transmissions. I want to do the same using WDS servers with multicast transmissions. Is it possible? It seems that the Wdsmcast command can do the trick. How can a WDS Client inform a WDS Server which image to download?

Indeed, ImageX cannot itself handle multicast. You do have to use Wdsmcast (in the Windows Server 2008 WAIK) to specify which transmission to connect to (after you've started them on the server). The white paper "Using Transport Server" has decent information on how to connect using Wdsmcast (technet.microsoft.com/library/cc725964). Read the section "How to connect a client server to a namespace using Wdsmcast.exe."

—Wes Miller

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