Windows 7

RPC Server

An interesting quirk of running Virtual Machines for this post… the background is my ‘main work PC’ is currently running Windows 7; in order to remotely manage a Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 machine I had installed Oracle VirtualBox onto my main PC and inside that had setup a Windows 8.1 VM to remotely manage the Hyper-V Server instance.

However after setting up remote management I found that I could connect to all of the remote management tools on my Hyper-V machine with the exception of Disk Management and Hyper-V Manager with the following error message generated in Hyper-V Manager.

RPC Server unavailable. Unable to establish connection between <Hyper-V Host> and <Client PC>.

After much investigation into this issue (and after following a number of dead ends relating to firewall settings, the hosts file and COM security) it transpires that the issue was related to the way that I had setup the network adapter within VirtualBox.

In particular the adapter had been set to NAT mode, now given the properties of NAT it seems plausible that some vital information might have been mangled in the process – if anyone feels like doing some Wireshark on this to discover the cause then please do!

The resolution was simple – setting the adapter to bridged mode instead which allowed the traffic to pass through the virtual adapter just fine.

So you now have your WebDAV server setup and its time to get this out to your users. To help you along you feel free to edit the guides below to your particular requirements.

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For further reading take a look at the links below-

In the previous article in this series we looked at the topology needed to setup a WebDAV infrastructure.

I’ll assume that

  • You have a public DNS record which points to a IP address on your firewall which is in turn port forwarding 443 (HTTPS) to your IIS server (this also works through Web Application Proxys like the ones built into Smoothwall firewalls)
  • You have a internal DNS record which points to the network adapter on your IIS server
  • Your IIS server has your paid (and signed) SSL certificate imported

You will also need a few server roles installed on your IIS server (you can do this through Server Manager), these are

  • Web Server (IIS)
  • WebDAV Publishing
  • Basic Authentication
  • Request Filtering
  • HTTP Logging and Logging Tools
  • IIS Management Console (unless you feel like doing everything remotely)
Server setup

So now to the fun bit! Which is all in the screen shot sequence below…

Testing

So you now have your server setup with the basics…so its time to do some testing. The screen shot sequence below shows how to connect to the WebDAV share on a Windows 8 PC.

Things you really need to test include
  • Users only have permissions to access the folders you want them to
  • You can upload/download files up to the maxium size you defined earlier
  • That you can access the share from both inside and outside your network
Next time

In the next part you can get some example user guides that I have made for my own implementation as well as some links to further reading.

Every once in a while a magical bit of software comes along that makes life so very good; today that software is WebDAV and its been around so long that some people might have forgotten how good it is.

The premise goes
  • You have one or more internal Windows Server(s) which hosts users personal documents and shared drives
  • You would like your users to access these files on any device ranging from their home PC (running say Windows 7) to their personal mobile devices (iPad)
  • You would like your users to access these files both inside and outside the firewall
  • You would like your users to access these files natively (like a mapped drive) so they don’t have to muck around with web based applications
  • You would like your users to be able to use this service with as little configuration on their part as possible
  • All while maintaining a secure and auditable system
To accomplish this you will need a few things
  • A valid paid for SSL certificate (don’t ever think you can get away with a self signed one) – personally I use a GoDaddy wildcard certificate
  • A spare Internet Information Services (IIS) Server to host the WebDAV service on
  • Depending on how things go 20 minutes
Topology

The basic topology is your clients point their WebDAV client at a DNS address which is mapped against a IP address which is port forwarded through your firewall to your IIS server which then serves requests to your file servers (clients don’t get to talk to the file servers direct). Don’t forget to setup your internal DNS to point to the internal network adapter of your IIS server as well.

Next time

In the next article I’ll run through the setup of a WebDAV server.

Lets say you have a Windows 7 Notebook PC connected to a high speed LAN which has some files syncing onto it, all goes well for a little while until the sync stops randomly.

You are sure there is no problem with the PC, your server that you are taking the files off or the network connection and you restart the sync.

Then again all of a sudden it just stops……….

The error message in this case is-

Sync Stopped xyz Errors

One thing you might want to try is pausing the Indexing feature of Windows for a little while (the one that keeps a track on your files to make searches faster).
See below for a quick guide as to how to do this.