24 October 2009

life update - software learning

I'm currently reading Journey of the Software Professional: Sociology of Computer Programming. It's proved so far to be a unique insight into how developers go from seeing a problem to providing a solution, good or bad. It's quite hard going as there's a lot of detailed analysis into how we work, but it's certainly given me food for thought.

In another area of self improvement, I recently passed 70-536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework - Application Development Foundation, and am currently reading up on the ASP.NET exam with a view to gaining the MCTS cert. Much as I had hoped I'd left exams behind years ago, it is proving to be a useful exercise in filling in the gaps in my knowledge. Today I finally got around to creating something with Web Parts, which I wouldn't otherwise have done, another plan filed away in my cognitive library (cf. Journey of the Software Professional).

23 October 2009

backuppc and windows vista

Steps I took to get a backuppc server on an ubuntu 8.10 pc in order to be able to back up a windows vista business pc. I've only documented the non-obvious and undocumented items here.
  • Added a user called backup to the vista pc.
  • Added the backup user to the "administrators" group. I tried the "backup operators" group but it didn't give access to the user profiles. It looks like robocopy has some black magic that allows it to bypass ACLs when a member of backup operators.
  • Enabled admin shares (ie \\machine\C$) by adding DWORD registry key "LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy" to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System and setting the value to 1. See How to access Administrative Shares on Vista (C$) by PaulSpoerry
  • Removed the "-N" from the SmbClientFullCmd etc options in backuppc's transfer (xfer) settings as it didn't seem to be using the provided password. Troubleshooting was aided by running "/usr/share/backuppc/bin/BackupPC_dump -v -f vistamachine" directly as user backuppc.
  • Hide the backup user from the welcome screen by adding DWORD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList\backup with value 0 to the registry. "backup" is the name of the user to hide, 0 means hide, 1 means show.

See also:
Current status: This has only been partially successful so far. The backup runs but has lots of files missing due access denied errors on many of the important folders. It looks like I will have to manually give "backup operators" permissions to these folders. Sigh. Vista is proving to be less than easy for me to support.