Easy and Useful PoweShell Commands used for Exchange Server 2010

Have you ever wondered how to make your life as a Network or Exchange Administrator a lot easier by using the PowerShell commands in your Exchange Server 2010? Some tasks can be daunting so I have compiled some easy to follow commands. I have actually been using all of these.

Note:  Mailbox Database, User, domain.com, usermail.com are just examples that I used and all fictitious, you may replace them with appropriate database name, domain, User and email.

Some common tasks that the Exchange Server 2010 System Manager was used for was exporting lists of mailbox users into CSV format for reporting in Excel, knowing the Statistics of Users Mailboxes and Whitelisting.

Export output of Mailbox Users in CSV format, and then open it up in Excel.

Get-MailboxDatabase “Mailbox Database” | Get-MailboxStatistics | Sort totalitemsize -desc | Export-CSV C:\mailboxes.csv

Statistics of all Users mailboxes in a particular database.

Get-MailboxDatabase “Mailbox Database” | Get-MailboxStatistics | Sort totalitemsize -desc | ft displayname, totalitemsize, itemcount

Statistics of a particular User

Get-MailboxStatistics User | ft DisplayName, TotalItemSize, ItemCount

Whitelisting Domain

Set-ContentFilterConfig -BypassedSenderDomains the domain.com

Whitelisting a Specific Email

Set-ContentFilterConfig -BypassedSenderDomains the useremail.com

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Microsoft’s Office 365 vs Google Apps Cloud Solutions……the Security and Privacy

I wrote an article about Microsoft’s Office 365 vs Google Apps Cloud Solutions a few months ago and now I’d like to talk about the security and privacy concerns of these cloud solutions for most businesses and consumers.
So…. you’re a Lawyer or a Doctor and also a small business owner trying to decide which cloud solution will be best suited for your company. You should also be concerned about your company’s privacy, sensitive information and files that will be transmitted over the internet and then stored in the cloud. This is a serious factor to think about and whether or not to put your trust in either Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps and the security risks involved. Consider not only how much confidential information your company has, but how you can protect your valuable data, and about choosing the right solution with trustworthy security. It is also a good idea to evaluate Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps regarding security measures if this is a major concern to your business.

Both Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps offer an extra layer of security so that every browser session will be secured with SSL encryption and reduce your worry about outside forces stealing sensitive data such as passwords, credit cards information, etc.. It may be useful to consider what type of additional network security systems your organization has, or wants to implement or upgrade to if you have a budget for this – eg…hardware and software firewall/security protection. For a highly sophisticated security and privacy, if the company budget is not an issue and you’d like to sync Microsoft Office programs to Exchange Server, Office 365 might be the right solution for your company. Here’s a documentation regarding Office 365 Security and Compliance. If you have a reasonable IT budget then Google Apps is good alternative solution. Here’s a good read on Google Apps Security and Compliance.

At the end of the day, the same questions will be asked and pondered as to how these cloud solutions are using highly encrypted technology . Will Google and Microsoft be able to provide you with a high level of protection? The reality…there will always be questions regarding security and privacy. Good luck with your decision, I think that either one would work just fine for you.

Goodbye SBS and Welcome Windows Server 2012 Essentials

It’s the end of the road for SBS and Microsoft introduces a much better cloud-enabled server platform solution and a more flexible product – Windows Small Business Server Essentials has been renamed Windows Server 2012 Essentials. SBS will disappear in a year after its milestone but will still be sold until June 2013, Dec 2013, and >5 years depending on the licensing models. Essentials 2012 is part of the Windows Server 2012 family which comes in four different versions – Foundation, Essentials, Standard, and Data Center all have major draw to the cloud. Windows Server Essentials will only support up to 25 Users. If you need more licensing Windows Server 2012 Standard is doable. Also, if you are looking to  implement virtualization Essentials 2012 has no virtualization rights.

Don’t be surprised if there will be frustrations among the Small Business Consultants and Consumers when SBS departs,  it might be a tough transition for them to move to Essentials 2012.

The main focus here is the email flexibility on the Essentials 2012, Consultants and Customers will have their option whether they wanted their email on-premises, hosted or cloud.

Download Windows Server 2012 Essentials Beta: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30327

Windows Server 2012 Essentials FAQ (PDF) – Microsoft

What’s the Best Router…..the Final Update!

Well, it has been a couple of months now since I have blogged on What’s the Best Router….an update……The D-Link router has been returned to the Vendor which was a hassle free experience. It is now time to give my final update and progress of my new Netgear Dual-Band router.  So far it is performing great and we haven’t had any major issues. The setup is very easy, I had to do a manual configuration and it’s just my own preference but it might be easier for most of you to opt out of the manual setup and use the setup wizard which should take up to 2 minutes to setup, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.  This will assign automatic SSID and network security which is WPA2 and a complex pass-phrase, all you need to do is to write down the SSID and pass-phrase.

I will be focusing on some of the best features of Netgear and explain a little bit as to why these are important and might give you some good hints and decide to purchase a similar router with all of these great features. These are some of the most popular features of Netgear that you may also find on similar modern routers.

Parental Controls – Are you worried at your children’s (commonly teenagers) safety and not knowing the sites that they visit every day?  This is a big concern and this router has the advanced Parental Controls feature and it’s free of charge from Netgear. You may modify the default filter from Custom to High and restrict hours of use using the scheduler. You may white list and black list keywords, websites and domain names. You may also exclude certain computers that you do not wish to have the Parental Controls enabled.

Guests Networks  – Creating  different or multiples SSIDs  for your guests is a nice option to keep them segregated from your private SSID  and  not open to your wireless network to security risks. Make sure to disable “Allow guest to access My Local Network” to keep your shared critical and confidential network files not accessible at all from your house guests.

DLNA Media Streaming – One of the biggest trends in the industry right now is Media Streaming.  Web-based media streaming is the most popular one; you may subscribe to Netflix, VUDU, Hulu, Amazon Video, and the most popular one  is YouTube and stream them in your HDTV, Computer, Blu-ray, Tablets and X-box/Playstation 3.  If you intend to stream high-definition video, you should probably invest in an 802.11n Wi-Fi router which is the latest Standard. You must have either Cable or fiber-optic broadband internet to provide the highest speeds, and slickest streaming performance.

Simultaneous Dual Band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) – If you have multiple wireless devices, these two bands will run simultaneously for better network performance. Remember, to make use of the dual band you will need wireless network adapters that supports the dual band technology. Clients that supports 802.11b/g  can be set to run on the 2.4 GHz side of a simultaneous dual-band router without affecting the performance of 802.11n clients running at 5 GHz.

See for yourself and decide if you’ll need all of these features or not.  Similar features can also be found on the Modern Routers, old routers will not support most of these features.

  • NETGEAR Genie®—Easy dashboard control to manage, monitor, and repair home networks
  • Live Parental Controls with flexible and customizable filter settings
  • Simultaneous Dual Band—Runs both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands simultaneously
  • ReadySHARE® Printer—Wirelessly print from your Mac® Computer or PC to a connected USB printer
  • Two (2) ports for ReadySHARE® USB Storage Access—Wirelessly share a USB drive with Mac® computers and PCs
  • DLNA® compatible—Stream media to DLNA HDTVs, Blu-rayTM players and game consoles
  • Multiple SSID guest networks (separate security and access restrictions)
  • Broadband usage meter measures Internet usage

We have a few Posters/Members at Tech Support Forums lately asking us in Networking Forums if it’s worth buying a new, modern/advanced router. My reply to all of them is – definitely YES. It won’t be a waste of money at all and you’ll definitely benefit from all the enhanced network security and other great features.

There’s no need to spend a fortune for a good router; you don’t need a Dual Band router if there are not too many wireless devices running simultaneously in your network but will be good to be prepared in a near future if you decide to add more wireless devices and will be doing heavy video streaming.  Before buying a router, I’d suggest  to download the PDF Manual from the Manufacturer’s site to read the complete technical details of the router.  Again, reviews are also important, Trustedreviews is one good site that you may find honest reviews.

Here are some of my router  recommendations:

Buffalo Technology AirStation HighPower N600
Netgear WNDR3700 N600 Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router
Linksys E3200 High-Performance Simultaneous Dual-Band
Asus Black Diamond Dual Band Wireless-N 600 
D-Link DIR-632 Wireless-N 8-Port Router
Netgear N300 Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router 
TRENDnet 300Mbps Wireless N ADSL 2/2+ Modem Router
TP-LINK TL-WR1043ND Ultimate Wireless N

It has been a pleasure blogging my experience using  two different routers – the D-Link  which only worked flawlessly for two weeks and finally, the Netgear. I am happy to say that I have found the best router for me and it’s a keeper!

How to Configure WSUS and link to Group Policy Objects

Important to know before you proceed:

You must be a member of Domain Admins or WSUS Administrators group to perform this method.  Do not edit the Default Domain or Default Domain Controller GPOs as this is not a good practice.

If your network is more complex you might have multiple GPOs linked to several organizational units (OUs) and that you may have different WSUS policy settings applied to different types of computers.

First Task: Create a computer group on the WSUS Server:

Open up Update Services, expand Computers, and then click on All Computers. From this Tutorial I will select Update Services Client Computers then click on Add Computer Group from the Actions Pane. You may choose any that applies to your needs except for Unassigned Computers.

Now, you will see the Computer Groups have been added.

Second Task:  Enable client-side targeting:

Locate the Organizational Unit (OU) that you wish to apply the GPO Policy to. Open the GPO Editor, expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, and expand Windows Components then select Windows Update. Double click on the Enable client-side targeting and click Enabled, then type the name of the computer group that you have created in the Update Services or WSUS Console. Click OK when finished.

For the client computers configured with an Active Directory-based GPO, it will take a few minutes (up to 30min) after Group Policy refreshes to appear on the Computers page in the WSUS console.

To synchronize schedule, from Update Services, go to Synchronizations, then click on Synchronization option from the right pane, then choose Synchronization Schedule from the Options page, you may choose to manually or automatically synchronize schedule. In this Tutorial we will choose Synchronize Automatically. Click OK when finished.

I hope that this guide helped you configured and linked WSUS with GPO(s) in your domain network.

Funny and Clever Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) or Wireless Network Names

SSID is often called as wireless network name. Do you have a funny or clever name for your wireless network? By default SSID’s default name is your router’s name (e.g. Netgear, Dlink, Linksys) which often use in Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN).  It is recommended to change the default SSID when you first setup your wireless network for security purpose and a bit of personalization.

Is your wireless network name called….. IamaNerd, WanToberich or Goneforever? Does is it have a special meaning to you?

Others that wish to annoy their neighbors or to get rid of Wi-Fi Leechers use these SSIDs:  Donotusemywifi or Getyourownwifi.

Note:  The above wireless names are just examples. It’s not very pleasant to use a wireless network name to harass your neighbors because it might cause trouble for you later on.

You may also deliver a message to your neighbor by using these SSIDs:   Turndownyourmusic, whysoquiet, Niceneighbor etc….

Some silly or funny SSIDs:  Peekabu, Kissme, Kiwi4u  etc…

Now, it’s your turn….I have given some examples of SSIDs, please share your own funny or clever SSID and please post a comment below and we would like to hear from you. Please be cautious, nothing offensive.


SBS 2011 Migration – Use the Migration Tool or Start from Scratch?

Scenario:  Your network consists of 25 Users and has been using SBS 2003 for a while now.

Questions that you might ask:

Will it be feasible and worth to use the migration tool or start from scratch or new builds?

How many hours will it take to complete this project?

Are you concerned about interruptions and downtime?

What are the Pros and Cons?

In today’s technology more IT Pros are leaning towards what’s the best strategy to use which would work well in their network when doing a complex migration. Be aware of the pros and cons and weigh up the consequences.  If you’re a Network Administrator of the company, chances are you have noted all the configurations made in your SBS 2003 and it’s just a matter of preparing the big migration. Brainstorm your questions and freely document what you can and take your time.  If you tend to be impulsive or procrastinate, try to make a well planned project. Before doing a migration multiple backups are important and a must have,  make sure that you have reliable backups. If the migration goes wrong then it might cause irreversible problems. Preparation and lab practices are also important factors to be considered prior to any network migrations to ensure effective results.

Running different diagnostics tools to check for errors is a must have – SBS Best Practice Analyzer, Netdiag, Microsoft Exchange Best Practice Analyzer, DCdiag and check Event Viewer for any errors.  Microsoft has a few SBS resources that you may utilize and they are free of charge.

Plan well, do this on a weekend or during non-business and not during normal business hours.  Inform all employees in your company about the changes just in case there are issues that will come up after the project has been completed. Be up front with them to negate if there will negative outcomes.

Others have succeeded on doing both options because they were well prepared and planned. Do an extensive research on using the migration tools if you are gearing towards this way. A great link here to read: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sbs/gg981878

You may use a Swing Migration if you do not choose to plan to do it from scratch. This is not free of charge but others have succeeded and might save you plenty of time between 12 hours versus > 24 hours of work. Please have a look:   http://www.sbsmigration.com/

Be aware of the Pros and Cons:

Are there any batch scripts applied on your SBS 2003? How much customization has been made and documented? If Exchange Server is involved things may go wrong and you may not succeed using a migration tool. If you decide to use the migration tool, think of all the fixes that you’ll have to do, this might be very time consuming and considering the time that you’ll spend on the new rebuild may not be this much.

At the end of the day, the question will still remain on what’s best to do and viable – use the migration tool or start from scratch? Goodluck!