I tested chocolatey to install software

by Anton 23. June 2014 17:47

Once in a while I have to configure a new server and install a few programs. To hasten that process this time I used chocolatey.

To install chocolatey just use the command shown on their homepage. After that it is just simply using cinst 7zip to install a program from command line.

It is a nice tool, but it has a few drawbacks. I couldn’t install Process Explorer or NetSpeedMonitor via chocolatey. And it installed Firefox in German (the default download page suggests the German version because of my German IP). Yes there porobably is a parameter to choose the language. All in all I would use it only for about 5 programs.

I read somewhere that it can also be used for installing roles like IIS, but I haven’t tried that yet. It also has a GUI, but I haven’t tried it out.


How to Increase Development Productivity With New Hardware

by Anton 13. December 2013 11:59

After four years with the same PC configuration (AMD Phenom 9950 Quad-Core 2.60 GHz), we decided to buy me a new central processing unit. My old PC was disctinctly slower running unit test and SpecFlow scenarios. We bought a Intel Core i7-4770K CPU, which has a three times greater CPU benchmark (about 10,000 to 3,000). Of course we also needed a new MSI motherboard and Mugen 4 CPU fan.

Installing the hardware was fun – it was my first time installing a mainboard. Here is what my PC looked afterwards:



Unfortunately my Windows Server 2008 R2 on my SSD did not like the new hardware and did not boot. I had to work out how to stop Windows to shut down when showing a blue screen. After researching the error code I changed the BIOS setting for the SSD to IDE (instead of SATA). And finally everything worked! Fixing this bug was less fun than installing the hardware.

It is nice to work with a much faster, quieter machine. The RAM upgrade from 8 to 16 helps, too. It surely boosts my productivity by a few percent – in the long run it is totally worth the upgrade.


Moving SQL Databases to Another Drive

by Anton 11. December 2013 15:46

Since the space on my SSD was getting scarce, I decided to transfer the database files to a different drive. It was much easier than I expected:

  1. Detach the DB (via ‘Tasks’)
  2. Move the mdf and ldf files to the new location. (They are usually located somewhere under ‘C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\’.)
  3. Attach the DB by choosing the mdf file.

Thanks to the instructions from katieandemil. They were especially appropriate since I also had SQL Server 2008 R2 installed.

If you rather like to use Transact-SQL follow this stackoverflow post.


Administration | Database

Create Certificate for SSL Encrypted Site in IIS

by Anton 8. October 2013 18:32

I did not think it was that easy. I just followed these steps. Just create a certificate in Server Certificates feature on the server node in IIS. Then add https binding to your site (Port 443) and chose the certificate you just created.

Of course this self created certificate is only good for a website with users who trust you. For a bigger website you would usually get an authorized certificate from a trusted certificate authority.


Administration | IIS | SSL

Transfering Configuration from IIS 7 to IIS 8

by Anton 8. October 2013 18:25

Sometimes we need to configure a new server with the same websites / applications like on another server. Up until now we only used IIS 7.5 on our servers, and I always used these instructionsby Toni Pohl (in German). Sometimes I even then stumbled into problems – they had to do with different IIS installations (i.e. missing features) on the different machines.

Now, for the first time, we have a Windows Server 2012 with IIS 8. Since I could not find instructions on how to transfer the configuration from IIS 7 to IIS 8, I simply applied the same process like above.  It went badly: the Application Pools and Sites folder were gone. Luckily IIS backs up its configuration to %systemdrive%\inetpub\history. I restored the default by copying and overwriting adminstration.config and applicationHost.config.

I applied the same method to get the IIS 7 configuration into the IIS 8 on the other server: copy and overwrite adminstration.config and applicationHost.config. And it seems to work – I had no problems upto now.


Administration | Backups | IIS

Managed vs. Direct Windows Updates

by Anton 27. July 2012 18:30

We are using root servers provided by webtropia. They seem to have problems with their WSUS-Server, since we get the following error, when we try to check for updates “Managed by your system administrator”:


The solution to this error code is – according to the internet – that the WSUS-Server needs an update. Until webtropia fixes it, we just switch to the alternative way of receiving updates “Check online for updates from Microsoft Update”.

Greetings, Anton.


Lost your performance counters?

by Anton 5. July 2012 11:25

The setup

We use the build in Performance Monitor on our Windows Servers to chart the data. That way we can see in how much load running the web application Camping.Info results. We usually monitor “% Processor Time”, “Commited Bytes”, “Requests/Sec”, “Requests Current” and “Request Execution Time”.

The loss

The latter three did not show up after I repaired the mirror on the server. I could not add them back via Properties –> Data –> Add. The whole category ASP.NET v4.0.30319 was missing.

The solution

After trying a few things and googling, I finally found the answer on serverfault: http://serverfault.com/questions/25842/performance-monitor-cant-add-counters-from-net-data-providers (second answer).

All I had to do was to delete  the entry “Disable Performance Counters" in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\ASP.NET_4.0.30319\Performance. Then I restarted the Performance Monitor and everything was fine. A was able to see the missing category again.


Keeping your server disks and volumes healthy

by Anton 3. July 2012 20:00

We had problems with one of our servers. The mirror was broken. I am talking about the Windows Server Software-RAID (it is a RAID 1, by the way). We had problems restarting the server – it just did not come up again. We had to boot from a “secondary plex”, which usually involved setting up a Lara Console for that server. (Yes, you can adjust in the msconfig which mirror the booting should use.)

I was afraid to do anything with the disks and volume, because I have never done something like that, and I thought I might do something which would crash the server, and leave the hard disks inaccessible. Finally I tackled the problem, and it was quite easy. First off, of course I backed up all the vital data to another server.

At Microsoft TechNet I found a good page describing what I had to do. We had the problem of “Failed Redundancy”. All I had to do was: In the properties-dialog of the volume click “Reactivate Volume”. It then took some time until the disks were synced, but eventually everything was in order again.

The first restart of the server did not work out properly. I do not know why. From the second on, everything was fine.

Hoping that your Disk Management always looks like this:


Cheers, Anton.


How we found a new server provider

by Anton 1. July 2012 17:32

Reasons for a new provider

The web application we are working on – Camping.Info – needed new server power. The site visits grow by about 70% each year, and there is much traffic especially in the summer months.

Our three “old” servers are at Hetzner. So, the easiest thing would be to rent another one there. But we had some not so good experiences with Hetzner. Yes, they are cheap and their service is ok. But we wanted better reliabality. One of our servers at Hetzner is restarting without any apparent reason (about twice a week).

Finding the right provider

So I took on the task of finding a new server hoster. Not quite easy, since the market is filled with many providers. We defined some requirements:

  • data center must be in Germany, since our main traffic comes from Germany
  • should have Intel processors, because they usually perform better
  • should have at least 8 processors
  • should not have setup costs, because we may not need the server after the summer
  • should come with Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • should have sufficient bandwidth and high enough traffic limit

First I made a list of potential hosters: I looked in the iX magazine, and searched online. I also looked for websites which compare providers, but they were sparse, had limited information and few search options. After that I just brute force went to all the websites of (nearly) all the hosters and aggregated the information in this Google Spreadsheet.

Our choice

We then ended up renting a server at webtropia. I know, a slightly strange name for a serious business. All in all we are satisfied with our choice. The price is low, the server was shortly available, and we always have a separate connection to our servers (without RDP). A few drawbacks are worth to mention, though: The image of the Windows Web Server 2008 R2 had not the SP1 upfront, so we had to go through a lengthy update process. When we wanted to rent a second server, their purchase process failed to recognize us as a existing customer, so they had to put our servers together afterwards.

I think, after the summer we will probably rather discontinue one or two of the Hetzner servers, since they are older, have worse performance, and are not as reliable as the new ones from webtropia.


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