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It appears you have stumbled upon my humble blog. What do we do here? Well, it is a bit of a mash-up between the serious and the less-as-such. There are several things which I am passionate about and interested–all of which are posted about here ony my blog. Let’s take a quick peek behind the digital curtain!

Greetings, internet traveler!

It appears you have stumbled upon my humble blog. What do we do here? Well, it is a bit of a mash-up between business and pleasure. This is where I dump my brain, review and discuss things related to my favorite hobbies.

This site serves as a repository of knowledgebase information I’ve found or created, product reviews, information about games, music, writing, tips, tricks, and more. Are you an information technology professional looking for a solution to a problem you have? Are you a consumer looking for tech tips and tricks? Are you looking for content about a certain game? No matter who you are, I am to have something for you. So dive in! The blog posts are warm.

Well look at that…you’ve made it through my pinned post! It can’t have been all bad, right? Hey, listen. Comment down below with things you’d like to see on this blog or your interests! You stick with me and I’ll stick with you. Everything is better with friends. With that, we’ll see each other back next time! Cheers,

~ Griff

Print Server using Windows Server Core

Introduction

Many administrators are always looking for ways to simplify the required management of their environments, save on overhead, resources, etc. With the advent of Windows PowerShell and it growing to be a commonplace administrator utility in Windows environments, simple systems such as print servers no longer really require a full-fledged graphical user interface. Print servers are prime candidates to be hosted on the CLI-based Windows Server Core variant of Windows Server, especially where they are so easily managed through remote PowerShell. In this brief article, we’ll take a quick look at spinning up a core print server and some of the options available for administering the new server.

Spinning up your machine

Whether you are using traditional hardware for your server (a rackmount server, blade server,tower server/desktop PC) or a virtualized environment, you’ll first need to actually install Windows Server Core on your machine. For my environment, I spun up a virtual machine in my Proxmox virtual environment, but many may be using VMware, Hyper-V, or other solutions which will work perfectly fine.

Adding the features and roles to the server

Once you have Windows installed and your requisite network and domain configuration done, add the necessary services and features to the server:

Install-WindowsFeature Print-Services

This will install the Print Services role as well as the Print Server Role Service. No further configuration is necessary as far as the services and features go. All that is left to do is add some printers!

Administering the server

There are multiple ways to administer your new Windows Core print server.

PowerShell

Arguably the correct way to manage a Windows Core server, is PowerShell. Like other deployments, a print server is managable through the command line with general ease. Beginning with Server 2012’s Core version, there are many print management commands available to administrators.

As an example, we can configure a printer using just two commands:

Adding the printer port: Add-PrinterPort -Name "192.168.254.5" -PrinterHostAddress "192.168.254.5"

Adding, sharing, and publishing the printer: Add-Printer -Name YourPrinter01 -DriverName "HP Universal Print Driver PCL6" -PortName 192.168.254.5 -Shared -ShareName "YourPrinter01" -Published

VBS

An archaic option also exists. At C:\Windows\System32\Printing_Admin_Scripts you’ll find a variety of VBS scripts that can be used to administer the print server. But seriously, who is preferring VBS when we have PowerShell?

As an example, we can configure a printer using the following commands:

Creating the printer port: cscript prnport.vbs -a -r 192.168.254.5 -h 192.168.254.5 -o raw

Adding a printer on the above printer port: cscript prnmngr.vbs -a -p YourPrinter01 -m "HP Universal Print Driver PCL6" -r 192.168.254.5

Sharing the above printer: cscript prncnfg.vbs -t -p YourPrinter01 -r 192.168.254.5 -h YourPrinter01 +shared -direct -m "Default printer for HR" -l "YourDesiredLocation"

Publishing the printer to Active Directory: cscript pubprn.vbs \\printserver\YourPrinter01 "LDAP://CN=YourContainer,DC=YourDomain,DC=com"

GUI

If you really just can’t let go of using the graphical user interface just yet as you ease into command-line-based administration you can still get your hands on the GUI by executing: C:\Windows\System32\printui.exe /il

Additionally, on a remote machine, you can connect RSAT to your Windows Core print server and use the Print Management snap-in for the Microsoft Management Console to visually administer the print server.

But seriously…get comfortable with PowerShell. This is the way.

Conclusion

And, well, that’s pretty much it. There is certainly a more granular level of detail we could go into, but for the purposes of a general overview, I think that does it. Windows Core servers are quick and easy to spin up and an absolute breeze to configure if you are comfortable with PowerShell. In a lab environment, they can also be a great way to get more comfortable with PowerShell if you are just learning. Go ahead and spin up a Windows Core server in VirtualBox or your choice of virtualization bench and give it a try!

What are you using core servers for in your environment, and how do you like it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Additional Reading

Install Print and Document Services | Microsoft Docs

Using Server Core as a Print Server – Microsoft Tech Community

Proxmox Node Cannot Update Packages via apt-get

Problem

A virtualization host/node running Proxmox (whether clustered or not) will fail to update packages via apt-get and produce the below error messages in the task queue:

Environment

Proxmox Virtualization Environment (confirmed for versions 6.2 and newer) running the free/community editions without and enterprise subscription.

Cause

The cause of this issue results from not having a Proxmox Enterprise subscription/license. These errors are caused by apt-get attempting to procure updates from the subscription enterprise proxmox repository, but because the node or cluster does not have a valid enterprise subscription, the update fails and produces an error.

Solution

Access the shell for the node/virtualization host producing the error and run the following command:

cp /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pve-enterprise.list /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pve-enterprise.list.backup && echo -e "#$(cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pve-enterprise.list)" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pve-enterprise.list

This command copies the repository sources list, renames the original as a backup so the system does not use it, then comments out the line of the list for the enterprise repository.

Once this command runs successfully, you should be able to either (a) wait for the scheduled updates to try to run again or (b) manually search for and install updates using apt-get update/upgrade. Either way, no errors should be produced.


Additional Reading

https://dannyda.com/2020/06/19/how-to-fix-proxmox-pve6-1-26-1-7-update-failedfailed-to-fetch-401-unauthorized-task-error-command-apt-get-update-failed-exit-code-100/

How to Revert Node Certificates to Default Configuration in Proxmox VE

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to explain the steps necessary to reset and regenerate the state of the node/host certificates.

Assumptions

This document assumes you have a properly functioning Proxmox cluster with all nodes accessible on the network/via web browser. You’re replaced or modified any of the certificate or key files generated by PVE and now need to revert to the default state.

Step 1 – Cleanup existing certificate files

Delete or move the following files:

  • /etc/pve/pve-root-ca.pem
  • /etc/pve/priv/pve-root-ca.key
  • /etc/pve/nodes/<node>/pve-ssl.pem
  • /etc/pve/nodes/<node>/pve-ssl.key

The latter two need to be repeated for all nodes if you have a cluster.

If you do not repeat the latter two on each host, your issue will return.

Step 2 – Regenerate certificates

Afterwards, run the following command on each node of the cluster to re-generate the certificates and keys:

pvecm updatecerts -f


Additional Information

https://pve.proxmox.com/wiki/HTTPS_Certificate_Configuration_(Version_4.x,_5.0_and_5.1)#Revert_to_default_configuration

Fix “Cannot Start VM or Console Due to TASK ERROR: Can’t Lock File ‘/var/lock/qemu-server/lock-#.conf’ – Got Timeout”

Purpose

This document will delineate the steps necessary to correct an issue where you cannot start, stop, or open the console of a VM due to the following error:

TASK ERROR: can't lock file '/var/lock/qemu-server/lock-#.conf' - got timeout

Assumptions

This document assumes you have administrative access to the shell of the problem node, and that the problem node is available on the network.

Cause

This is often caused by a console session not closing out correctly or a hangup when moving between tabs of console sessions.

Solution

qm unlock ###

where ### is the unique VM ID of the virtual machine or container. If this does not work alone, safely reboot the host following use of this command.

Installing Proxmox Virtual Environment from a USB Flash Drive


Purpose

This document delineates the steps necessary to perform a clean installation of Proxmox Virtual Environment on a host device using a USB drive as the installation media.

Assumptions

This document assumes the device POSTs successfully with no errors and that the device meets the minimum requirements for Proxmox VE.

Step 1 – Creating Installation Media Using Etcher

To create the installation media, we will be assuming the USB drive will be flashed from a Microsoft Windows workstation or a Linux workstation with a distribution based on Debian/Ubuntu.

Download and install Balena Etcher from this link.

Download the desired version of the Proxmox VE installation ISO from this link.

Connect the USB drive to your workstation.

Open Etcher.

Select the USB drive from the drive list, then select the ISO to flash to the device.

Browse to and select the Proxmox VE installation ISO.

Click Flash! When done, you are ready to plug the USB drive into your intended host.

Step 2 – Booting to the USB Drive

Connect the USB drive to your intended host while it is powered off.

Immediately after power on and POST, we will need to boot from the USB drive. Every equipment manufacturer does this differnetly. For most Dell desktop systems, F12 will be the key to strike. For most HP desktop systems, F8 will be the key to strike. For most Lenovo desktop systems, Esc is the key to strike. Server hardware will vary from vendor to vendor as well.

Power on your intended host and use the appropriate keystroke to bring up the one-time boot menu, then select the USB drive.

Step 3 – Installation of Proxmox VE

Once the Proxmox GRUB installer loads, select Installation (Debug) and strike Enter on the keyboard. A black console screen will appear and the installer will check for attached installation media.

When the console gives the option to exit or strike Ctrl+D to continue installation, strike Ctrl+D.

Do note that you must use the debug install option first otherwise the installation will fail.

You may have to strike Ctrl+D a second time.

The screen will again display the Proxmox VE installer and move you through a series of prompts. Follow the prompts to assign timezone, select the hard disk device to which you’d like to install the system, configure host network settings, root user, etc.

When you reach the end of the installation process, you will be instructed to reboot the host and point another workstation’s web browser to the host URL, which will be the IPv4 address of the host on port 8006 using HTTPS. (Example: https://192.168.0.100:8006).

Step 4 – First Run

Once the host has rebooted, your web browser should be able to reach the web portal for your Proxmox host. Log in using the root credential you created during the installation process. The authentication type should be Linux PAM.

You are now able to configure your virtual environment with storage and start spinning up virtual machines and containers.


Additional Information

Additional information on installing the Proxmox Virtual Environment can be found here:

https://www.proxmox.com/en/