Thursday, September 14, 2006

Computer stuff Computer stuff

About a week ago, I appear to have lost the hard drive on my old server (#G). It shouldn't have happened, as I had not really used it more than a year or so, and it was identical to one I have in this computer (#D) that has been running fine for maybe 4 years now.

Nevertheless, that meant losing my local email, FTP, and web services. My web site (www.softpats.com) is primarily hosted by my ISP for availability reaons, and I do have the email backed up there to (through priority on the MX records). And I didn't have an immediate need for FTP hosting. Nevertheless, it was disappointing to find that I had not backed up the mail for quite awhile. I don't think I lost anything, as it had all been downloaded here. Nevertheless...

Economically, it probably doesn't make sense to put a new hard drive in that old server (#G), so I looked towards my newest acquisition, a 900 mhz Dell mini-tower (#H). It came with Windows XP Pro installed (along with Office XP). I tried to run my email server software there, and it wouldn't run. So, I had the bright idea of installing Windows 2003 Server there instead, in case that was the problem. Besides, I wanted to play with 2003 server, had installed it here (#D), but went back to 2000 Professional because it is more responsive (most likely because it is configured to give foreground activities preference) and doesn't have all the XP weirdnesses. So, this was an opportunity to play with Win 2003 server.

I also wanted a chance to see if it made sense to use the mail, web, and ftp hosting services provided in Windows servers. Well, so far, they are all a bust. So, I am back to my old software for these services. But I am also running DNS, WINS, and print serving there.

It took until about midnight last night to identify my mail server problem. Apparently, in a fit of trying to be able to move everything from one computer to another, I had assigned a network drive to a directory that I was using for all these different services. The theory was that I could then move it to different drives on different computers, assign the network drive letter (W) to the appropriate directory, and take off. Unfortunately, the mail server software would get lost - sometimes finding stuff, and sometimes not. Changing back to the real path name was the solution.

Oh, but this brought up a 2003 Server (and possibly XP) issue - if you run a program using a network drive letter, even if it is assigned to a directory on that computer, Windows thinks that it is being executed from another computer, and asks if you really want to do that. Every time. Stupid OS - can't figure out that the networked drive is really on the same computer.

Overall though, I like Server 2003 much better than Server 2000. I ran the later on this computer for a couple of weeks, and gave up on it.

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