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Monday, March 12, 2007

TT - Treacherous Technology

So, after a failed upgrade to Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn I was left with no choice but to boot into my Windows 2003 partition. (To Ubuntu's defense: 7.04 is clearly marked as beta software and I was doing the update on my own risk). Just to be clear: this Windows 2003 SBS is a 100% legal one, which I got as gift from MS for participating on last year Imagine Cup. I installed it and quickly forgot about it after I installed Ubuntu.

Now that I had to use it again (although it will be only until I make some time to reinstall Ubuntu), I got hit by a curious problem: it was shutting down after 1:30 of use. My first reaction was that somehow a malware got installed on my system, but that wasn't the answer. The solution to the quiz was in the eventlog and read like this:

The server was shut down because it did not comply with the EULA. For more information, contact Microsoft.

Now admittedly I never read the EULA and hacked Windows Activation (because I don't want to send any data to MS), but this was a little intriguing. A quick Google search turned up this Knowledge Base article: Windows 2003 Small Business Server Shuts Down Unexpectedly; Events 1001, 1013 and 1014 are Logged. It turns out that I didn't install the AD server on the machine... This really seems over the top. Admittedly it is MS's right to sell their software under whatever license they want, but this is just one more step which distances me from any MS solution. And by the way - they state that Win2K3 SBS can be used with a maximum of 5 clients, which is totally artificial. I can get how different product features can go in different versions of the product (like Basic, Home, Pro, etc), but artificially limiting something is just plain wrong.

Fortunately there is a happy ending to the story: I just used the SysInternals ProcessExplorer (which now ironically is owned by MS) to suspend the SBS licensing process (you can recognize it either after the name of the executable - sbscrexe.exe - or its description - SBS Licensing Service). You could also try killing it, but most probably Windows won't react well to something like it (they treat Licensing as a key component, for example on Vista your box will die if you try to mess with it)

PS. A bonus tip - for salvaging data off your ext2 / ext3 drive (yes, it will work with ext3, because if is backward compatible with ext2), you can use either the plethora of free drivers which can mount ext2/3 on windows (I would recommend this one, because I used it in the past and had very good experiences with it), or a program called explore2fs. To recover your Firefox 2 session, just copy the file sessionstore.js from the directory /home/<your user name>/.mozilla/firefox/<a directory with random name>/sessionstore.js and either extract the links manually or drop it in your Firefox installation and restore the session.


  1. SBS has that limitation as sbs is designed to be the server with all the roles in Active Directory. When you first install it gives you a grace period (30 days I think) but you have a limited period of days before the server has to be the primary server for your network. This gives you chance to do migrations and implementations before needing to use SBS for the purpose it was designed for.
    As for the clients it is actually limited to 75 devices BUT as with all Windows servers you get 5 Client Access Licences with the server. Any more and you need to pay for them.

  2. Marcin5:16 AM

    To Ubuntu's defense: 7.04 is clearly marked as beta software and I was doing the update on my own risk)

    It's not even out of alpha yet! I'm running it without any major problems on my laptop. Couple minor annoyances that I'll just deal with for now. Biggest issue is Ctrl-Alt-Backspace does not restart X-server... not sure when this problem started occurring, but I remember being able to restart X in Edgy.