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News
Dec
4

Original here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Microsoft Ups Support Ticket to $499 – We Have a Great Alternative: Third Tier!

It seems that this may, or may not, depending on one’s thoughts of how Microsoft sees IT Pros in today’s “Cloud First Mobile First” be another shot at IT Pros that provide much of the front line support to SMB/SME clients.

I’ve been helping out with Third Tier for well over a year and a half now. I’ve been privileged to work on a team of amazing folks as well as work with a great group of IT Pros.

I believe that we at Third Tier offer a viable alternative to Microsoft’s $499 ticket (though I’m not sure what that will work out to in Canada as we pay substantially more than the US equivalent) for spot support or even ongoing support needs.

Given the experience our team has the Third Tier rate of $175/Hour is very reasonable. Active Directory, Exchange, Remote Desktop Services, Hyper-V, VMware, Cluster, and very soon a number of key vertical products and services to help our IT Pros get the job done right the first time!

Third Tier offers a Micro Staffing program where we can be a part of your IT Pro team for ongoing support challenges or staffing challenges. We can be a part of your team for a very reasonable cost.

I’m also excited about some of the things we’ve been working on at Third Tier to provide our IT Pros with a one-stop solution for their data centre that will allow them to provide IaaS and even our SBS (Small Business Solution) at a very reasonable cost per seat! More to come on that soon.

One final thought. If one is caught in a bind with a server down situation then the Microsoft ticket may be the best way. With Action Pack we still get BizCrit (Business Critical) support though via a call back model.

Our response model tends towards scheduled time for tickets as opposed to crash responses. So, please keep that in mind.

Here are some of the areas we can help you with:

  • Disaster Recovery Planning and Practice

  • Infrastructure planning, migration, support, and recovery
  • Active Directory and Group Policy planning, support, and recovery
  • Remote Desktop Services planning, support, and recovery
  • Exchange planning, migration, support, and recovery
  • SQL planning, migration, support, and recovery
  • Hyper-V planning, support, and recovery
  • Virtualization Solution Performance planning and support
  • Specialized Bookkeeping Support and Services
  • IT Business Models, Plans, Direction, Vision, and More

Whatever the task, we have a team member that can help. Not only that, one can expect the task to be done in short order and in a professional manner.

If you have not checked us out before please do now.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


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Aug
14
How to access an RDSH individual farm member
Posted by Third Tier on 14 August 2014 12:04 PM

I used to go through the process of removing a server from the farm, by dropping its share in the load balance to zero in order to perform maintenance and perform management tasks. The other day I found myself frustrated with this process and decided to look for another way. And what to you know, it’s very simple!

Open a command prompt and type mstsc.exe /admin then type in the IP address of the server that you’d like to manage. It’s really that simple.

_____

Not a Third Tier customer yet? Let me introduce:  We’re Third Tier. We provide advanced Third Tier support for IT Professionals. Come on over, create an account (no charge) and follow our social media locations.

Third Tier Get Support BlogFeed Blog Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook LinkedIn LinkedIN


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May
22
Easy Print Anomaly
Posted by amy on 22 May 2014 04:08 PM

It’s a tale of whoa full of long hours spent troubleshooting an issue that took a moment to repair. Our very own Philip Elder provided the pointer to the solution! Hopefully after reading this you will be spared.

The problem at hand was that envelops did not print anymore when using the Word Envelop Wizard. A print job was created but then it disappeared from the queue but the printer never received it. However, all other types of printing worked and we could even printer other types of documents to the manual feed tray. Just not an envelop.

This problem started suddenly affected all 8 remote locations simultaneously but not the site where the servers reside. Everyone uses thin clients to connect to the terminal server. The network had been in place for years and was running Windows 2008 with Terminal Services. There are 9 locations including the head quarters. All location use the same printer which in this case is a multifunction Toshiba.

Long story short, we tried repairing Office 2010, removing Office 2010 service pack, reinstalling the Office 2010 service pack; removing server updates, reinstalling server updates, updating the print driver, updating the printer firmware, troubleshooting with Toshiba, downgrading the print driver and we even tried installing and using other applications to print envelops which is when we discovered that it is merely the shape of the paper that is the problem, not the application creating the envelop print job. Any application that attempts to send an envelop is denied. That’s when Phil suggested to make sure that we weren’t using Easy Print.

Easy Print is a giant time saver and generally a blessing to those of us that have been fans of Terminal Server deployments and fought with redirected printers over the years. Until now. Phil was right. Our thin clients at the remote sites were using the Easy Print driver. We had to implement a local group policy to turn it off and force use of redirected printers.

Launch gpedit.msc on the terminal server: computer configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Printer Redirection

In the future when we encounter a printing anomaly we’re going to look at Easy Print first and perhaps save ourselves a lot of time.

____

Are you not a member of SMBKitchen ASP? Join up. $300 for new members and only $120 for previous members of the SMBKitchen Project. http://www.thirdtier.net/helpdesk. Just register for an account then proceed to payments, click buy more support and add the ASP to your cart.  Our goal is to help IT firms be more aware, be better consultants and survive in the new era.

Not a Third Tier customer yet? Let me introduce:  We’re Third Tier. We provide advanced Third Tier support for IT Professionals. Come on over, create an account (no charge) and follow our social media locations.

Third Tier Get Support BlogFeed Blog Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook LinkedIn LinkedIN


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Apr
7
Allowing Expired or Forced Password Changes on RDWeb
Posted by Philip Elder on 07 April 2014 04:29 PM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Allowing Expired or Forced Password Changes on RDWeb

When we deploy a greenfield Windows Server 2012 setup or migrate to one we always make the following small change to the RDWeb configuration:

image

  • IIS –> Sites –> Default Web Site –> RDWeb –> Pages –> Application Settings

This allows the user to change their password if it has expired which would otherwise be a helpdesk call.

image

When the user goes to log on to RDWeb they will see the following:

image

  • Your password is expired. Click here to change it.

Once they click the link:

image

The page will indicate the change was successful:

image

Click OK and the user will be directed back to the logon page.

When we access a user’s profile for whatever reason we trigger a password change on the DC and they know to hit RDWeb to log on the first time if they are remote.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


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Jan
13
RDWeb in Windows Server 2012 R2
Posted by Philip Elder on 13 January 2014 04:23 PM

Original Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: RDWeb in Windows Server 2012 R2

If you have not seen RDWeb in Windows Server 2012 R2 yet, then a look at the feature along with the full Remote Desktop Services suite of abilities in Windows Server 2012 R2 is a must.

image

Our “Collaborate Anywhere” solution (sound familiar eh? ;) ) is based upon RDWeb and the AuthAnvil Secure Access Portal that we are investing heavily in.

We believe that Cloud has it’s place however on-premises still provides the _same_ feature set and location flexibility to our clients that Cloud vendors extol to Cloud alone with the added benefit of data ownership and security.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Oct
9
SSL Certificates: CSR Decoder to Verify Settings
Posted by Reprinted Article on 09 October 2013 03:52 PM

When it comes to creating a certificate request sometimes we can miss a character or typo something.

If the processing takes longer than expected and the certificate provider does not provide much more than a "Processing" status it may be a good idea to verify the settings in the CSR file.

The CSR Decoder site can do that:

We hit a snag with a CSR that was taking too long and sure enough there was a typo in the common name that caused it to hang up.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


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