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Sean's Blag Posts

Domain Controller Woes

Over the course of my work at my current place of employment, I have run into all sorts of issues either promoting new Active Directory domain controllers or demoting them.

Most recently, in a project to remove Windows Server 2003 boxes from an environment, I have four domain controllers running: two Windows Server 2003 and two Windows Server 2008 R2.

Issues Demoting Windows Server 2003 DCs

The RPC server is unavailable.

After transferring all of the FSMO roles off to a 2k8r2 server, I prepared to demote the first of the domain controllers. What happened?

The operation failed because:

Active Directory could not transfer the remaining data in directory partition
CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=xxx,DC=NET to domain controller yyy.xxxx.NET.

"The RPC server is unavailable."

Retrying failed again, even though the RPC service was running on the referred to DC. Damn.

Well, the fix isn’t as hard as I thought, even though I had to piece the solution together from a number of sources.

  1. Change the to-be-demoted DC’s DNS servers to your new DCs.
  2. Run ipconfig /flushdns
  3. Run dcpromo again.

That’s it. It works. Horray.

I’ll expand this post as I discover more solutions.


Finally updated the About page, as I hadn’t cleaned it up in over three years.

Also, I’m tweeting again, so that little Twitter icon over on the right side might be worth something.

Factory Reset a Locked Out Buffalo Terastation 5400

I have recently come across a Buffalo Terastation to which no one knew the administrator login. As there is no functional reset button, like one would find on consumer-grade routers and such, I had to go to the Buffalo website. Unfortunately, according to their documentation, one is supposed to create a recovery USB drive for cases such as this. As I cannot access those menus without the administrator login, that was pretty much useless.

I then found this post on their forums that discusses connecting a KVM to the NAS, putting the device in recovery mode, and flashing freshly-downloaded firmware to it. That seemed like what I’d have to do (and appears to still be the best option if you need to preserve the data on the device).

However, the device’s downloads page (your model number may vary), it turns out that you can download a “Bootable USB recovery image for TS5000 series”. This zip file contains DDWin, a program to write the image to your USB flash drive, and the image itself.

After running DDWin and writing the image to my flash drive, I could then refer back to Buffalo’s recovery instructions:

Recovering with the Boot Mode Switch (TS4000 and TS5000)

The boot mode switch is on the rear panel. You can recover by changing this switch when starting the TeraStation.

  1. Connect the USB memory device with the saved settings to a USB 2.0 port of the TeraStation (not a USB 3.0 port).
  2. Set the boot mode switch to “USB”.
  3. Press the power button to turn on the TeraStation.
  4. When the message “Recovery I41 PushFuncToStart” appears on the LCD panel, press the function button.
  5. Setting recovery starts. The TeraStation automatically shuts down when recovery is complete.
  6. After shutdown, “Recovery I39 Change Boot” is displayed.
  7. Set the boot mode switch to “HDD”.
  8. Press the power button to start the TeraStation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This will delete all of the data off of the NAS. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Fallout 3 Fails to Launch on Windows 8

This morning, I discovered that Fallout 3 would fail to launch after clicking ‘Play’ on the launcher. This is the first time I’ve tried playing Fallout 3 since moving to Windows 8.

The solution is actually quite easy: install Games for Windows Live. This can be acquired here. Install it, sign in with your Live ID, and Fallout 3 will run just fine.

New Windows Checksum Utility

Last night, as I was downloading an update to VLC Player, I was thinking that most people I know don’t know what checksums are for, let alone how to verify one.

So, I fired up Visual Studio and got started designing a simple form that will let’s you drag-and-drop a file onto it, then displays the MD5, SHA-1, and SHA-256 checksums.

Coding went pretty quickly, as the .Net Framework has most of the functionality built into it already. Now, I just need to make the checksums selectable, so that users can copy-and-paste the checksums, and clean up the UI a bit.

Presently, CheckSumer RC1 is available for download as a portable .exe (a zipped version also is up there). I will be creating an installer that ensures the proper .Net Framework (currently 4.0) is installed on the user’s system.

CheckSumer is licensed under the GNU General Public License, Version 2.

Building a New Home Server: Introduction

I am currently in the planning stages of building a new home server to replace my HP MediaSmart EX470 and the rack-mounted boxes in my lab. I am confident that I can build a machine that performs all of my lab duties, as well as the functions of my home server (account synchronization, serving media, storing computer backups).

I plan on installing VMWare vSphere Hypervisor on the machine and installing the following VMs:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 – act as a domain controller for the home network
  • pfSense – router/firewall for the home network, as well as a VPN provider (site-to-site and road-warrior)
  • something to serve up Active Directory-protected shares (individual user network spaces and computer backup repository) and public/anonymous read-only shares (media)
  • various Linux VMs for lab purposes

I plan on posting more parts as this comes along and will cover topics including hardware selection, software selection (for the NAS part), and configuration.

Alton Brown’s Bleu Cheese Dressing


  • 4 ounces Gorgonzola
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Put the Gorgonzola in a small mixing bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper and whisk to combine. Serve or store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week.

Read more at:

Setup a Day of Defeat:Source Server on Linux

This is the basic method I use to create a number of game servers that I run for my gaming clan. All of these servers get a pretty decent load and work very well.

I am using an Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS server here, but this should work with most Linux distros.

Create A Game User

Here, I create a new user that the DoD:S server will run as. I named mine hlds, like the old version of the dedicated server, and have it use bash as it’s shell.

$ sudo useradd -s /bin/bash -m hlds
$ sudo passwd hlds

Then, I logout and log back in as this new user.

Install SteamCMD

First you’ll need to install the require packages:

$ sudo apt-get install lib32gcc1

As the game server user, run the following commands to download SteamCMD:

$ mkdir steamcmd && cd steamcmd
$ wget
$ tar -xzf steamcmd_linux.tar.gz
$ ./

This will auto-update SteamCMD and leave you at a Steam> prompt. Now, we install the DoD:S server files.

Steam> login anonymous
Steam> force_install_dir ../
Steam> app_update 232290

This will take a while, as SteamCMD downloads all your server files. When it is done, it drops you back at the Steam> prompt and you can type quit.

Create Your Server Configuration

The game server does not come with a default configuration file, so without knowing what you’re doing, creating one can be kind of difficult. I like the dodbits DoD:S Server Config Maker, which will let you create one via fill in the blanks.

Take the server.cfg that this generates and place it in the dod/cfg/ folder.

Create A Startup Script

Using your favorite text editor (vim, emacs, etc), create a file called in your home directory. Place the following in there (obviously, change IP to match your server):

screen -A -m -d -S dod ./srcds_run -game dod +map dod_avalanche +maxplayers 30 +ip <server's ip address>

Save the file and exit your editor. Now, make that script executable with the following command:

$ chmod +x

You’re all ready to go at this point.

$ ./

will fire-up your server, but you won’t see anything. That’s because we used the screen command to separate the game from your terminal session. You can logout, but the game will keep on running.

So, how do you get in? Simple:

$ screen -x

Now, you are attached to the game server’s console. You can exit back out, keeping the server running, by pressing Ctrl+A then Ctrl+D.

New Computer Setup – October 2013

Get yourself a new computer recently? Here’s what I recommend doing before you start using it:

Head on over to This site lets you pick from popular free applications and gives you an installer that downloads and installs your selected programs without you having to do anything. The programs that I recommend are:

  • Web Browsers: Chrome

Google Chrome is becoming a memory hog, but I can’t get myself to switch to Mozilla Firefox, as I keep having issues with it. If you’ve got more that 4 GB of RAM, you should be fine.

  • Media: VLC and iTunes (only if you have an iPhone/iPod)

VLC is the only media player you’ll ever need (except for playing Blu-Rays).

  • Runtimes: .NET, Silverlight (for Netflix), and Java (only if you need it)

Avoid Java if you can, as it has security vulnerabilities almost every month. At a bare minimum, disable it in your web browser.

  • Documents: Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a fast, easy-to-use, and secure PDF viewer. The latest version will even let you create PDFs.

  • Developer Tools: Notepad++

An outstanding text editor. I use it for coding and looking at all kinds of files. You may not need this one, but if you are a power user, you’ll want it.

  • Other: Steam (assuming you’re a gamer)
  • Utilities: TeamViewer (if I give you tech support) and Classic Start (only if you’re running Windows 8)

I use TeamViewer to remotely access my friends’ and family’s computers when they need tech support. If you’re one of these, then download it.

Classic Start brings the Start Button back to Windows 8.

  • Compression: 7-Zip

While I am a die-hard WinRAR fan, this is the next best thing and is free.


I am currently loving BitDefender Free, which is light on resources and works very well. Download and install.

Mumble Channel Viewer JSON URI

If you’re using MumPI to allow the Mumble Channel Viewer plugins to see your Mumble server, you’ll eventually be asked for the JSON URI.

This is what you should use: