Letters - 26 Jun 2008

PowerShell to the Rescue
I don’t often take time to thank authors for their articles, but the timing of “Power- Shell 101, Lesson 4” (May 2008, InstantDoc ID 98447) was so fortuitous that I had to drop a line. I’m an IT generalist, and sometimes it’s difficult to determine which articles I should spend my limited time reading. One series I’ve been keeping up with is Robert Sheldon’s PowerShell series.

The day after reading Lesson 4, I was trying to use Exchange Management Shell to run a built-in script to make public folder changes. I had successfully run the command once, so I knew my syntax was correct. But when I used the up arrow to bring the command back, then simply changed the name of the folder, it kept failing. However, when I used the public folder name with other Exchange Shell commands, they worked. The folder name contained two words separated by a space, and I was trying to submit the name inside double quotes (as per Microsoft documentation)—that is, “X Y”.

Based on the error, it seemed the script was interpreting word Y as a command instead of part of the folder name. I theorized the script was receiving X Y from the script instead of “X Y”. So, how would I get the name to the script still in quotes? Did I remember something about quotes within quotes? I tried ‘”X Y”’. Sure enough, it worked like a charm. So, thanks to your impeccable timing, I avoided a very long day.

—Rich Van Alstine

What About Windows’ Built-in Defragmenter?
Your product comparison in “3 Enterprise Disk Defragmenters” (May 2008, Instant- Doc ID 98577) was very interesting. I’d like to know how well these defragmenters compare with the included—and free— Windows Disk Defragmenter in the way they analyze and defragment drives and files. Such information would help me decide whether the extra features of the three defragmenters you tested make a purchase worthwhile.

—Sergio Monaco

Thanks for the feedback! You bring up an excellent question. Windows’ built-in tool is by no means a poor choice. On the contrary, the tool was created by Executive Software (the same company that created Diskeeper) and licensed by Microsoft. However, the tool is limited. Versions earlier than Windows Vista’s incarnation can’t be easily scheduled, and it can’t defrag system files (e.g., the hibernation file, the paging file, the Master File Table—MFT) that are in use. Third-party tools also do a better job of defragmenting the hard disk in one pass, whereas the built-in tool might require multiple passes. And if you need to centrally manage the defragmentation of all your servers or workstations, you’ll have to look at the third-party tools.

—Eric B. Rux

Don’t Fear the Command Line
I just wanted to take a moment and tell you that Mark Minasi’s Windows Power Tools columns (windowsitpro.com/departments/departmentID/929/929.html) are fantastic. It’s always a breath of fresh air when someone isn’t afraid to talk about the benefits of the command line.

—Bryan Purtell

Antivirus Scanners: Read the Fine Print!
After reading Gayle Rodcay’s excellent “Enterprise Antivirus Software” Buyer’s Guide (May 2008, Instant Doc ID 98441), I thought it was important to clarify the following sentence: “Antivirus products should scan memory, all drives, and the registry.” The “all drives” reference would read OK if the author specified antivirus scan exclusions.

More specifically, for Microsoft Exchange Server systems, it’s important that file-level antivirus scanners don’t scan the Exchange databases and transaction log drives. These scanners can mistakenly identify the structure of transaction logs as virus-like and delete or quarantine the log! I’m always surprised by how many companies install file-level scanners on their Exchange servers without defining exclusions.

Please refer to the Microsoft articles “The Exchange database store may not mount in Exchange Server 2003 or in Exchange 2000 Server, and event IDs 9175, 486, 455, 413, and 5 may be logged” (support.microsoft.com/kb/896143) and “Overview of Exchange Server 2003 and antivirus software” (support.microsoft.com/kb/823166) for further information.

—Richard Martin

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