back to article Microsoft thinks it's fixed Windows Server mess its last fix 'fixed'

Microsoft has issued fixes to its last round of Windows Server Management Pack fixes, but is asking you to help it understand if the new fixes fix the messes the last fixes created. File this one under “doesn't exactly inspire confidence”. This problem started way back in February 2016 when Microsoft released version 6.0.7303 …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Pint

    'Not sure if the bugs are fixed'?

    Not News. This is SOP for the folks from Redmond.

    Had an interesting chat with a recent MS ex-employee in a bar in Portland, Oregon last night.

    He was not surprised with the recent W10 'upgrade' being forced on users.

    He's now working for a Linux only shop. No need to say any more really.

    I bought him a pint of a farily decent local brew hence the icon.

    1. Bob Vistakin
      IT Angle

      I'm flabbergasted

      It's 2016 and there are people *really* using windows as a server? Wow. Does Clippy set up the accounts for them?

      1. Tomato42
        Boffin

        Re: I'm flabbergasted

        Active Directory is worse than crack cocaine...

        1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: I'm flabbergasted

          In what way? Actually it's a pretty robust product, and this is coming from someone that's primarily a Linux fan. I don't recall the article mentioning any problems with AD specifically, so what point are you trying to make?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm flabbergasted

            Not the same person, but how about an AD setup for only one user because....well, it's a domain see....wait, what? a domain for a single user?..

            I wish I was joking.

            1. John 104

              Re: I'm flabbergasted

              @AC Single user

              This isn't an issue with Windows. it is an "administration" problem. And I use that term very loosely.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I'm flabbergasted

                Agreed, it is an "administration" problem, the point was being made in support of the 'Active Directory is worse than crack cocaine...' statement. Much like crack, using AD for any length of time apparently has a somewhat deleterious effect on your sense of judgement, the situation gets so bad that some people are so 'addicted' to the whole AD thing that they deploy the whole shebang in cases where it just isn't appropriate, e.g. the AD and domain setup for a single user I mentioned.

                Be assured, this setup does exist (I see it every working day) and arguments I've heard about 'expansion' and 'scalability' are moot as this setup will only ever have a single user, not so much a case of sledgehammer and nut, more like D575A and nut.

          2. Tomato42
            Unhappy

            Re: I'm flabbergasted

            @Unicornpiss: in letting it go.

            Once you start using it, you basically will use it forever. So you need a Windows Server to host it.

            I was referring only to the addictiveness of it, nothing more.

            1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
              Meh

              Re: I'm flabbergasted

              "Once you start using it, you basically will use it forever. So you need a Windows Server to host it."

              Well, I can't disagree with you there. The company I work for has inked a deal in blood with MS and is in so deep it would be extremely difficult at best to turn to anyone else for the same solutions. MS is hosting email, SharePoint, etc. While we do use some Linux and other servers, we, like so many, are a Microsoft shop and will never escape.

              However, it does keep me employed, and while there is Microsoft, and flaky software, there will always be IT jobs. And to be fair, no matter what software you use, if you're using a computer, there will always be problems that need solving.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm flabbergasted

          "Active Directory is worse than crack cocaine..."

          If you are speaking from experience of both I think I would prefer the opinion of someone not high on drugs....

      2. Hans 1
        Joke

        Re: I'm flabbergasted

        >Does Clippy set up the accounts for them?

        Nooo, that would be rover!

        Rover is the name of the dog in the Windows XP search dialog, iirc.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    No more testing....

    ...does that mean it's now "Windows Live" tm.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "let us know if the issues are indeed solved"

    If this just meant that they wanted to offload testing onto users, that would be bad enough.

    I wonder, though if it's actually worse : that they don't really know if what they've changed had anything to do with the issues. As if they haven't the skill to work out what is actually causing the issues, and are just fixing whatever problems they've found.

    Crossing their fingers and hoping : not an encouraging sign

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: "let us know if the issues are indeed solved"

      If this just meant that they wanted to offload testing onto users, that would be bad enough.

      It seems to be normal. They've gone from users being beta testers to everyone being a tester. The quote from my engineering days applies: "We now have our customers do our testing. We're saving a bundle."

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "let us know if the issues are indeed solved"

      Seems to be fairly contagious problem. OS X is going to pot too. Apple have made Disk Utility something which you run on disks if you want to wipe data. El Capitan must be the buggiest release yet.

      What is it? Universities churning out Java coders without teaching the underlying theory and managing projects with Agile is my bet.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "let us know if the issues are indeed solved"

      A sign of the times, I guess. I would also add "Performance Culture" to the problem - 'fix this issue in X hours, or get marked down' - which just ensures that the fix supplied is the one available when the clock stopped. Eugh. In my day etc.

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: "let us know if the issues are indeed solved"

      Does everyone else just get to close tickets when you think it's fixed then?

      I have to wait for the customer to confirm that a fix works, and I assumed that's what MS were doing here. (Fortunately I'm not judged for the fact that I'm waiting on a customer to confirm that about twenty different tickets can be closed)

      1. TRT Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "let us know if the issues are indeed solved"

        I think it's more a case of "make it pretty" rather than "make it useful".

      2. MonkeyCee

        Re: "let us know if the issues are indeed solved"

        While I'm sure ITIL requires user confirmation before closure, if some lazy prick doesn't want to confirm or deny something is working that's sitting in my queue, after a reasonable amount of contact attempts I'll mark it as no feedback and close it.

        Amazing how many requests for updates or confirmation closures will get ignored, but actually closing the ticket will light a fire under some ass covering procrastinator.

        Another greybeard "performance review enhancer" is to close all jobs older than x (since it's clearly not a call, should be a problem or a change), and to once a year close all your calls. Just before Xmas is nice :D

  4. PeterM42
    FAIL

    Dear Microsoft

    Try actually TESTING. It works wonders for your reputation. (Or at least it USED TO).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Microsoft

      They probably do .

      Testers raise an issue.

      Does it do it in live? Yes? Known issue will not fix.

      Try it again see if it works this time. Repeat until death.

      Dev cannot reproduce (probably because they're doing it in the Dev environment/emulating a mobile platform etc). Issue closed by PM.

      etc

      These days its less about fixing bugs and more about not having any bugs open for more than X days...

    2. h4rm0ny
      Facepalm

      Re: Dear Microsoft

      >>"Try actually TESTING. It works wonders for your reputation. (Or at least it USED TO)."

      What a daft statement. MS USED (to borrow your caps) to sell Vista and XP and Windows ME and 2000 and all the previous versions of Windows Server. Do you remember the old MS Exchange? Access and Hotmail? IE/7 / IE8? ActiveX? To say nothing of their security! MS products are staggeringly better tested these days than they ever have been before. Are you really so desperate to attack MS that you're trying to invent some better golden age for them?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cluster Disk management gone bad...

    ... it's just like the bad old days with Veritas / Symantec

    1. bigphil9009

      Re: Cluster Disk management gone bad...

      I'm not sure I agree with this sentiment - I've used Storage Foundation for many a year and with many a complex multi-LUN-concatenated-volume-in-a-failover-cluster horrors and never experienced a problem with it. I used to marvel at the technology when initiating test failovers and watching the LUNs disappear from one node and magically re-appear, in the right order, on the second.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows management tool started to go down the sink...

    ... when the whole .NET, cmdlet and PowerShell frenzy began. I'm not surprised of this issues, especially since programmers must spend more time now parsing, transforming and formatting inputs and outputs, and wrapping the underlying calls, than writing actual useful code. Add many groups writing different part of the OS, positional text-based exchange formats instead of well designed APIs and structures, and soon you get an ugly mess difficult to coordinate and prone to errors.

    It is true before to automate Windows you needed greater and deeper coding skills, but it wasn't a bad thing...

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Windows management tool started to go down the sink...

      Good point about the coding skills. The danger of not needing good coding skills means that people with poor programming skills think they can do it. As I always tell my students coding means you can cast a logical solution to a problem into the correct syntax for a given language, programming means you can actually derive the logical solution to the problem in the first place. I suspect many more problems in code derive from sloppy thinking than from the odd syntax error.

    2. TheVogon

      Re: Windows management tool started to go down the sink...

      "especially since programmers must spend more time now parsing, transforming and formatting inputs and outputs"

      With an Object Orientated solution like Powershell you don't have to spend time doing this. It's one of the many advantages of PowerShell. These types of structural problems are far more an issue with say BASH and similar text data only based scripting formats...

      "positional text-based exchange formats"

      See the above.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Windows management tool started to go down the sink...

        "With an Object Orientated solution like Powershell you don't have to spend time doing this. It's one of the many advantages of PowerShell. These types of structural problems are far more an issue with say BASH and similar text data only based scripting formats..."

        Err, you know that formatting input and outputs can also mean things like getting fields in the correct order, the correct byte arrangement of integers if in network order etc? The fact that you think it only applies to text says a lot about your knowledge, or lack thereof.

        1. TheVogon

          Re: Windows management tool started to go down the sink...

          "Err, you know that formatting input and outputs can also mean things like getting fields in the correct order"

          The major advantage of Powershell is that you DO NOT need to keep track of the text position as it passes around objects. In Bash you select parameters from multiple commands piped together using text position often using awk, cut, etc.and that can sometimes be difficult if the text rows have different number of arguments such as iptables logs for example.

          A longer list of some Powershell advantages over BASH:

          1) Object oriented pipes so that I don't have to format and reparse and be concerned about language settings.

          2) Command metadata. PowerShell commands, functions and even *script files* expose metadata about the names, positions, types and validation rules for parameters, allowing the *shell* to perform type coercion, allowing the *shell* to explain the parameters/syntax, allowing the *shell* to support both tab completion and auto-suggestions with no need for external and cumbersome completion definitions.

          3) Robust risk management. Look up common parameters -WhatIf, -Confirm, -Force and consider how they are supported by ambient values in scripts you author yourself.

          4) Multiple location types and -providers. Even a SQL Server appears as a navigable file system. Want to work with a certain database? Just switch to the sqlserver: drive and navigate to the server/database and start selecting, creating tables etc.

          5) Fan-out remoting. Execute the same script transparently and *robustly* on multiple servers and consolidate the results back on the controlling console. Try icm host1,host2,host3 {ps} and watch how you get consolidated, object-oriented process descriptions from multiple servers.

          6) Workflow scripting. PowerShell scripts can (since v3) be defined as workflows which are suspendable, resumable and which can pick up and continue even across system restarts.

          7) Parallel scripting. No, not just starting multiple processes, but having the actual *script* branch out and run massively parallel.

          8) True remote sessions where you don't step into and out of remote sessions but actually controls any number of remote sessions from the outside.

          9) PowerShell web access. You can now set up a IIS with PWA as a gateway. This gives you a firewall-friendly remote command line in any standards compliant browser.

          10) Superior security features, e.g. script signing, memory encryption, proper multi-mode credentials allowing script to be agnostic about authentication schemes which may go way beyond stupid username+password and use smart cards, tokens, OTPs etc.

          11) Transaction support right in the shell. Script actions can join any resource manager such as SQL server, registry, message queues in a single atomic transaction. Do that in bash?

          12) Strongly typed scripting, extensive data types, e.g first class xml support and regex support right in the shell. Optional static/explicit typing. Real lambdas (script blocks) instead of stupidly relying on dangerous and error prone "eval" functions.

          13) Real *structured* exception handling as an alternative to outdated traps (which PowerShell also has). try-catch-finally blocks.

          14) Instrumentation, extensive tracing, transcript and *source level* debugging of scripts.

          15) Consistent naming conventions covering verb-noun command names, common verbs, common parameter names.

  7. Wayland Bronze badge

    Testing on a live system

    When you have a live production system with users trusting and relying on it you don't play with it.

    Microsoft sending out updates which break your storage means you have to roll it back to the version which worked. No one will want the updated update until they have tested it on a test system. Why even bother if the server is doing it's job?

    1. TheVogon

      Re: Testing on a live system

      "Microsoft sending out updates which break your storage means you have to roll it back to the version which worked"

      Or you have a proper testing and deployment process and don't allow untested automatic updates to production systems...

  8. hypernovasoftware

    Sounds like a real 'cluster f*ck'.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Trollface

      late to the show here, but +1 for you. Took the words out of my mouth. We had a MS Cluster, it used to failover, great term by the way,( why not call it fallover) when the wind blew.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    I might be inclined to help, but...

    Here's my personal gripe with the whole thing: when the customers complain about issues which really matter a lot to them yet don't really fit into Microsoft's plans (think about the colour removal in Visual Studio) then they more than often get the silent treatment and nothing happens.

    But when Microsoft needs us then all of a sudden user input has become important to them?

    Not only doesn't that inspire confidence, it also gives me a sense of hypocrisy at work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I might be inclined to help, but...

      More accurate to say that they solicit feedback, not actually deliver requested changes. Aero anyone?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Windows Server can be deployed in infinite combinations.

    General Operations Manager Feedback

    I'm sure glad I don't have to deal with all those confusing text config files under Linux.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows Server can be deployed in infinite combinations.

      Christ one of these people.

      Config files arent confusing though and can be backed up easily before tinkering making rolling back easier.

      I have no particular beef with MS products but the registry in Windows is far more obscure and opaque than a config file.

      For nginx I can just copy /etc/nginx/nginx.conf and my /etc/nginx/vhosts directory then embark on my changes.

      If I fuck it up I can copy the old configs back. Problem solved.

      How do I do that with IIS?

      Dont get me started on Exchange vs Postfix.

      Or BIND vs MS DNS.

      Config files are only confusing if your grasp of the technology you're configuring is sub-par.

      DNS is DNS no matter which server you choose to use.

      The only diffrence is BIND requires you to edit zone files whereas the MS DNS applet does it for you.

      Finding config files confusing shows a fundamental lack of technical knowledge it also puts you at the bottom of the ladder. Literally everyone in the IT industry has at least your level of knowledge if you're in this situation. You are the person escalating tickets not resolving them.

      You're also the guy that eventually ends up as a team leader or a project manager to keep you away from the customers and do the tasks more befitting of your abilities that the engineers dont have time / inclination for. E.g. Managing appointments, getting prices off Amazon, chasing Dell, attending webinars on licensing, taking the blame for a project going tits...you know the shit that only allows you to step back and admire that spreadsheet you just filled in.

      Meanwhile the engineers get to build and innovate. To step back and know they have improved the ability of a company to function. To make fundamental changes in peoples working lives.

      Its totally worth the extra effort to learn how a config file works.

      Most engineers are in their line of work for the aforementioned payoff.

      I certainly am. Oh and the money. A solid engineer determines his value. ;)

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Windows Server can be deployed in infinite combinations.

        Agree with everything you say. But I think you missed the joke icon (I did initially!).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows Server can be deployed in infinite combinations.

          No I saw it. Wanted to get in before all the Wintel folks waded in and agreed with it. Heading it off at the pass.

          Presumably they havent waded in yet because they're still waiting for their Windows 10 upgrade to finish. Either that or its a busy day on the 1st line.

          I forgot to mention what the acronym MSFT stands for. Its not just the stock symbol it also means "mostly shitty functionless tickboxes" and Windows stands for "whom is needlessly dependent on wizard setups"

          John Smith W.i.n.d.o.w.s MVP MCITP BSc (failed).

  11. h4rm0ny

    >>Config files arent confusing though and can be backed up easily before tinkering making rolling back easier. [...] For nginx I can just copy /etc/nginx/nginx.conf and my /etc/nginx/vhosts directory then embark on my changes. If I fuck it up I can copy the old configs back. Problem solved. How do I do that with IIS?

    You can back up modules and settings in Windows easily too. For example:

    Backup-WebConfiguration -Name SharePoint_IIS_Backup

    And you can iterate through the above for each module backing up its configuration settings individually as you wish.

    It's different from copying a config file but not worse. Having your settings as attributes of configurable objects accessible by different callers is more flexible for programmers than parsing an infinite number of varying config file formats.

    >>I have no particular beef with MS products but the registry in Windows is far more obscure and opaque than a config file.

    Yes, but there's a flexibility and benefit to having all your configurations be part of a programmatically accessible object structure. It makes control of settings based on ACLs very elegant without having to create and maintain some layer of text file parsing for example.

    Plus I've found enterprise level management of Windows to be quite effective these days with Powershell and AD. It's not my area of expertise but comparing it to the nightmares of user management and Puppet spider-webs I've come across, I think Windows has the edge these days in terms of system administration.

    Also, you seem to have missed the OP's joke alert.

  12. mswin10

    is it untrue

    Is this the Register spitting it's dummy out again because again it's been been found out to be spreading untruths' about Microsoft, in it's obsession and quest to trash anything Microsoft the Register as itself become a place to read no substance articles that are mostly unbelievable

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nought to do with windows server

    The article title is actually misleading as this is do with Microsoft's monitoring tool operations manager and its management pack for windows. So this isn't to fix a mess in windows its to fix a mess in a SCOM management pack.

    For people that use SCOM this isn't really news, anyone that deploys new management packs without testing what they have broken, is being fool hardy at best. They are especially keen on breaking the monitoring of CSV disks and are very good at it, their favourite not remembering these disks use mount points.

    Anyway I came here expecting to find out about some cock up in windows I didn't know about and instead get an innocuous article about a balls up in management pack. Maybe a more appropriate title next time instead of obvious click bait

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