Installing Tivoli Endpoint Manager (BigFix) v8.2.1093

imageInstalling this newest version of TEM is relative straight forward and easy to do.  Drawing from my previous articles, a SQL server Installation (and SP1), and the Installing of Pre-requisites, I give you the full installation of v8.2.1093.  I also have downloaded the latest v8.2.1093 version from the TEM website.

I have already attached my new virtual server to my internal Windows Domain so authentication is easily accomplished within my existing network.




I’m going to remove WebReports from this particular installation, favoring to install it onto a different server for simplicity.



I will be using a remote database to a different installed instance of SQL server as noted at the top of this article.










I plan on integrating this newest version of TEM with my Domain.  Thus a generic admin account is exactly what I need here.




Everything looking good according to the TEM Server Diagnostics tool.  The only error it showed was the resolution of the DNS name used for my new infrastructure.  Now I’ll add a quick little entry in my DNS server for this domain name.


There we go… that’s better…



If you have any questions, please them below…

Free Onscreen Ruler


On occasion I’ve needed the ability to keep track of my location on the screen.  Since I have multiple screens, that typically involved me putting my finger on one screen while clicking or typing on another screen. 

Along time ago I had a small utility which puts a ruler on the screen which I could move around with my mouse.  This was a fantastic utility and very useful.  Today I went looking and found someone wrote a different program which does what I wanted even better.  A Ruler for Windows was written by Rob Latour and available at

Here’s my step-by-step installation guide for this utility:







The installation was so fast, I wasn’t able to get a progress screen… LOL


Once finished, I’ve launched the application and see this. Now I can have my bank website up on one screen and my Quicken money software up on the other screen… and quickly/easily reconcile my accounts.  Thanks Rob!


If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!

Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access

Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) is a toolkit for quickly and easily converting Access Databases to full fledged SQL Server Databases.  Exactly what I was looking for to move my newly created 2010 Census Access Database to someplace more usable for my purposes.

Download the toolkit at:

And thanks goes out to the Access Team over at the Access Blog for pointing me to the right place thanks to a wonderful Bing search.

Here’s the installation of that tool…




I have plenty of space and do not like to go back and reinstall things I need… so I’ll do a complete installation.





That’s it… checkout my next article where I describe using it to actually migrate Access data to my SQL 2008r2 server.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

Activating a BigFix Task

The Tivoli Endpoint Manager is a fantastic way of controlling your infrastructure from one central location.  One of the most basic skills is activating a task and direct it to do something on an endpoint.  Here is a step-by-step for activating a task to perform an action on an endpoint.

First find the task you wish to activate, in my example I will be installing a service onto one of my root servers.  Select the task to be activated and click the Take Action button…



Here is our targeting screen… Since I’ll only be installing this service onto one endpoint, I’ll simply select it out of the right side computer list.  I could just as easily choose the second radio button called “All computers with the property…” which allows me to target based on endpoint properties, or even “The computers specified in the list…” which allows me to type endpoint hostnames in one line per endpoint.  Note that the third option should be limited to <100 endpoints.  If you need to target more than that you should utilize the computer groups feature.


I’m very happy with the defaults on this particular task, however the Execution tab will allow me to start a task at a particular time, have it run between certain hours and even control the failure/retry activities of this task.  Try not to restrict these options to much… for example, you wouldn’t want to limit the run between to 10min since the larger your infrastructure the more difficult or impossible that will be to happen.


In some cases your action will interact with end users and you may need to prevent the action from running if no user is logged in.  The following Users tab allows you to constrain the task to only run with certain users…


Other cases you’ll want to present messaging to the end user or even allow the user to control the processing of this particular action.  Maybe you’ll allow the user to determine when the most convenient time for them to have a particular action occur.  This screen is used for that purpose…


Here we have the screen to Offer the user this optional action…


What if your action requires a restart, and you want to allow the end user delay the restart till it’s convenient for them.


Rarely will you need to change the Applicability tab.   Occasionally I find it necessary to alter the default behavior of an action on a one time basis.  This tab allows me to force the installation of something ignoring the default applicability relevance of the original task.


If I’ve modified the applicability relevance, I’ll need to modify the success relevance as well…


Lastly we have the ability to modify the default Action Script of this task.

Once you’re all done modifying the action… click the OK button at the bottom and you’ll be asked for your credentials.  (FYI:  This is no longer the case in v8.2 unless you upgraded from a previous version or you enabled this validation step)


Our task is now activated and the action status window appears.  Here we can monitor the progression of our action to each of the endpoints… on the Computers tab we can see status details on individual computers.



If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

Upgrading Servers with Microsoft SQL 2008r2

I have a server whose hard drive is failing and unable to get an image of the hard drive.  This particular server is one of the most important on my network as it is my SQL database server and links to multiple other services:  Microsoft Team Foundation Server, Microsoft Sharepoint, IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager (BigFix), among several of my personal developments.

Since I have upgraded my virtual host server I plan on running my new SQL server as a virtual  (see: 1, 2, 3) .  I’m assigning 4 cores and 3 vhd files running from multiple hard drives within my virtual host server.  This should serve my applications well.  I’m now left with the problem of migrating my databases from the old failing server to the new one.

The first thing to do is stop all services that rely on the old SQL server. 

Stop my custom vGPS website

First up, my custom virtual GPS website… This website provides an easy way to take someone’s public IP address and performs a database lookup, then returns the previously recorded GPS coordinates.


Stop Team Foundation Server

Next up, my Team Foundation Server… here I plan on just shutting down that virtual.  During my migration process I plan on changing the DNS name for my old SQL server to point to the new SQL server.  Thus when TFS starts back up, it shouldn’t see anything change.


Stop Tivoli Endpoint Manager services

Finally I’ll need to disable my BigFix infrastructure by stopping all of the related services.


I had to stop my BES Client also due to the policies I’ve put into place which monitors for stopped/failed services and restarts them.

While I’ve been working documenting what needs to be stopped, I’ve also been preparing and updating my new virtual SQL server.  Windows Updates, attaching to domain, installing SQL, etc…

Visit my “Installing Microsoft SQL Server 2008r2” for details on how to setup your own SQL server.

Now we’re ready to, backup/detach/move/attach our databases.

Backup Databases

First let’s backup each of the databases that will be migrated over:

Open up SQL Mgmt Studio

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Open up the localhost->Databases and right click on each database->Tasks->Back Up.  The default location should be fine unless your shy on space.  If so, remove the destination at the bottom and redirect to a different location.

image  image


Repeat until you have all of the desired databases backed up and safe.

Since I went with the defaults, all of my database backups show up in “C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Backup”.  I will leave them there for now and utilize them if something goes wrong later on.

Detach Databases

Next we’ll need to Detach these databases from the old SQL Server.


The database files will remain where they were.  In my case I had them configured to sit in the default directory:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA

This process will detach the database from this instance of SQL server and locks the two related files:  [database name].mdf and [database name]_log.LDF


I will repeat the detaching process until I get all 10 databases.  1 for my custom vGPS application, 4 related to BigFix, and the 5 related to TFS.

I now have 20 files to be moved over to the new SQL server.  I’ll do this using robocopy.  See my Robocopy how-to in a different article.

I’m going to move them straight over to the new SQL servers data drive… so I used the following robocopy command:image

robocopy ./ "\\vsql\e$\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA" -z –e

After the move, I wanted to position the transaction log files in a different “drive” than the database files… so I selected all of the _log files and moved them to a separate VHD which sits on a different physical RAID array than the OS and Data VHD’s.  This is due to performance reasons related to BigFix.


Nearly an hour and a half later…Attaching Databases






I encountered a SQL error 5123 while selecting my mdf file.  This is because the DATA directory is protected. I solved that by simply exploring to that directory and when asked for “admin” access to it, clicked yes.  Then choosing OK to the above dialog went as expected…


Since my Data and Log files reside on two different VHD drives, I needed to specify the path to each file separately.  The previous file selection automatically chose the correct Data file, and since my path matched between the Data VHD and the Logs VHD, I only needed to change the Drive letter.



Next, repeat that for each of the databases that are being moved over…


Transferring Logins

I opted not to perform this and simply recreate the couple of logins I needed.  Since only 3 services are currently using the SQL Server, recreating them was quick and extremely easy.

I also opted to change the DNS alias the three services were connecting to.  On my old server, both BigFix and SQL were running on the same box.  I decided to separate them into two separate virtuals.  vSQL will host my SQL server and allow all three services to connect into it.  vBigFix81 will serve as my BigFix server running version 8.1.  If I want to upgrade to 8.2 or beyond, I’ll simply create upgrade vBigFix81 to get upgrade documentation, then create a brand new vBigFix82 virtual, install 8.2 and change the BigFix DNS alias.

Now onto restoring each of my services…

Restoring Team Foundation Server

It made logical sense to restore this service first.  My vGPS service will need alias’s updated in code which is stored on my TFS.  So…

Turns out this is extremely easy.  I only needed to update the web.config file under “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010\Application Tier\Web Services” with the new DNS alias for my SQL server.  I found information on this from which pointed me to the Web.config for other reasons.  While there I remember for many of my apps, I have to configure the database connection within this file.  And done!

I was able to do that LIVE and the connection automatically repaired the db logins needed and established connections to the newly attached databases.

Restoring vGPS my Custom App

This is extremely easy as it was a simple matter of checking out my code from the TFS server, do a crtl-h to replace the alias, save and publish.  Testing showed my DB user account wasn’t configured right, so I made the appropriate adjustments and all done.  App works perfectly with the new SQL DNS alias.

Restoring BigFix

This one I take my time on because I really enjoy installing, customizing, and playing around with my companies program.

I created a brand new virtual 2008r2 server.  Thus I had to do the usual build the virtual, install os, patch os, install pre-requisites, and migrate BigFix v8.1.


Now that my three services have been restored and validated… the upgrade of my Microsoft SQL 2008r2 SP1 is now complete!

Please leave comments and questions below!