‘The directory service is busy’ error when renaming a domain computer

This one was a new one… and a bugger to track down!  While renaming domain computers, several of the rename operations would encounter an error during the rename process of

The following error occurred attempting to rename the computer to [New Name]:
The directory service is busy.

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Well, if you have SQLExpress or SQLServer installed, the error may be leading you down the wrong path.  In our particular case, the error was a security error related to SQLExpress / SQLServer SPNs (Service Principal Name).  Basically, the rename operation could not rename the SPNs.

How to identify a potential SPN issues

  1. Open a CMD prompt as an administrator
  2. enter the command:
    setspn –L [Computer Name]
  3. Check for *any* registered SPN which is in the format of
    MSSQLSvc/[Computer Name]:[Instance Name]

In short, if you have *any* SPN which starts with MSSQLSvc, you will not be able to rename your computer!

How to fix SPN issues

  1. For *each* identified SPN above, you must delete the SPN using the following command:
    setspn –d [SPN Name] [ComputerName]
    Important: You must use the full SPN name as identified via the setspn –L command.  These will be in the format of MSSQLSvc/Computer.domain.tld:instance

That is it!  You can now rename your computer!

Provision Samsung EVO SSD drives for BitLocker

Samsung EVO SSD drives (Such as the 850 EVO and 850 PRO) now support Microsoft’s eDrive hardware encryption.  With a correctly provisioned device, you can now encrypt your entire drive without the ugly performance impacts BitLocker normally extracts.

…And there was much rejoicing!  … Wait a second, he said “With a correctly provisioned device”…

It seems provisioning Samsung EVO SSDs is a non-trivial task.  The high-level steps to provision a Samsung EVO SSD are:
(We are conveniently ignoring things like UEFI BIOS settings, TPM, Drive Passwords, etc.)

  1. Create a Secure Erase bootable USB/DVD from the Samsung Magician software
  2. Soft install the SSD in your device (Don’t screw it in just yet… you’ll need to fiddle with it in step#6)
  3. Install a version of Windows which supports full drive BitLocker.  Keep this install simple and quick.  Don’t even bother to activate!
  4. Install Samsung Magician software
  5. Launch Samsung Magician software and set the Encrypted Drive (eDrive) to “Ready to Enable”
  6. Reboot into the Secure Erase bootable USB/DVD created in step#1 above and perform a Secure Erase
    1. This can require some fiddling with the BIOS to allow you to boot the USB/DVD
    2. You will almost always have to “reset” the SSD by powering it off / removing it during Secure Erase
  7. Reboot and install a version of Windows which supports full drive BitLocker
  8. Screw the SSD in and replace all device covers

Did you catch the fact you have to install Windows two separate times?  You caught that right, install Windows TWICE!

This is a nightmare made real if you have to provision, say, 10+ devices for your company.

Large Scale Provisioning Made (slightly) Easier
For users provisioning multiple devices within a corporate environment, there is a slightly easier way.  These steps will allow you to skip the second install of Windows!

Preparation Step#1: Create a bootable USB Drive
The goal is to create a Windows 7 install on a USB 3.0 Drive which we can perform initial provisioning on our hardware.

  1. Download and install WinToUSB
    http://www.easyuefi.com/wintousb/
  2. Locate a Windows 7 x64 ISO (Pro or better is recommended)
    Why Windows 7?  As of this writing, several features of the Samsung Magician do not work in Windows 8.
  3. Create a fully bootable Windows 7 install on your USB 3.0 drive using WinToUSB and your Windows 7 ISO
  4. Boot from your newly created Windows 7 install and install Samsung Magician software on the instance

Preparation Step#2: Create a bootable DVD/USB with Secure Erase installed

Provisioning Your Devices
(We are conveniently ignoring things like UEFI BIOS settings, TPM, Drive Passwords, etc.)

  1. Soft install the SSD in your device (Don’t screw it in just yet… you’ll need to fiddle with it in step#4)
  2. Boot from the USB 3.0 drive created in Preparation Step#1
  3. Launch the Samsung Magician software and set the Encrypted Drive (eDrive) to “Ready to Enable”
    NOTE: You may need to reset your resolution to 1024×764.  Magician is somewhat picky about resolutions
  4. Reboot into the Secure Erase bootable USB/DVD created in Preparation Step#2 above and perform a Secure Erase
    1. This can require some fiddling with the BIOS to allow you to boot the USB/DVD
    2. You will almost always have to “reset” the SSD by powering it off / removing it during Secure Erase
  5. Reboot and install a version of Windows which support full drive BitLocker
  6. Screw the SSD in and replace all device covers

 

Our recommendation to Samsung
The Secure Erase bootable USB/DVD needs to have an option to perform the “Ready to Enable” step as part of the Secure Erase procedure.
This simply change would allow provisioning of the SSD for eDrive functionality directly from Secure Erase USB/DVD in one easy step!

 

 

Exchange UM Voice Auto-Attendant custom greeting and those pesky system prompts

Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging is a very cool tool to put into your corporate telephony arsenal.  You get a very nice, voice activated auto-attendant with some very nice features.
One feature the Exchange UM team didn’t get fully right is customization of the initial greeting.

Out of the box, your voice enabled AA (auto-attendant) will say:

Thank you for calling [your company name] To reach a specific person, just tell me their name

If you are like ArmgaSys, you will want to customize your greeting via the ECP (Exchange Admin Center).  You hire voice talent and record a really nice greeting along the lines of “Thank you for calling my company, if you know your parties extension, you may dial it now or simply tell me their name”.  You then upload your greeting in the UM and are shocked to hear the following:

Thank you for calling my company, if you know your parties extension, you may dial it now or simply tell me their name. To reach a specific person, just tell me their name.

You just discovered a UM system prompt, specifically the Voice AA prompt which says (in a female voice) “To reach a specific person, just tell me their name”

At this point, you have only one option:  You must replace the system prompt with a audio file containing silence.*  Fortunately, this is very easy to do!

The solution:

  1. On your Exchange UM server, navigate to
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V[#]\UnifiedMessaging\prompts\en\
  2. Delete the file vuiAADsearch_Yes_Custom_No_main.1.wav
  3. Make a copy of Silence-250ms.wav
    (This .wav file is also located in the prompts\en directory)
  4. Rename your copy of the silence file to vuiAADsearch_Yes_Custom_No_main.1.wav

That is it!

Warning! Warning! Warning!
Installing cumulative updates (CU) and service packs will revert this file back to its original state.  You will need to repeat these steps after each CU and Service Pack!

 

*Some of you will be asking “Why not just delete the file”.  Well, it is a system prompt which means Exchange UM pretty much requires the file to be there.  Deleting the file can (and will) cause your UM service to fail.