Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE--March 1, 2004

Windows Tips &amp Tricks UPDATE, March 1, 2004, —brought to you by the Windows &amp .NET Magazine Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site

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  • Q. Why can't I reduce my taskbar to one line?
  • Q. What are the differences in storage groups (SGs) and databases between the Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Standard Edition and Exchange 2003, Enterprise Edition?
  • Q. How can I back up my Microsoft Exchange Server storage groups (SGs) and databases?
  • Q. How can I create the Recovery Storage Group in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003?
  • Q. Why do I receive the error "Runndll32.exe entry point not found" on my Windows XP installation?

by John Savill, FAQ Editor, [email protected]

This week, I explain why you might have problems reducing the taskbar to just one line and the differences in the storage groups (SGs) and databases between the Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Standard Edition and Exchange 2003, Enterprise Edition. I also tell you how to back up Exchange SGs and databases, how to create the Recovery Storage Group in Exchange 2003, and why you might receive a rundll32.exe-related error message after you install Windows XP.

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Q. Why can't I reduce my taskbar to one line? Two lines seems to be the minimum.

A. In Windows 98 and later, you can drag the taskbar one row at a time (if it isn't locked) to fill half the screen or hide it entirely. However, I recently encountered a problem where the taskbar wouldn't reduce to the default setting of one line (it either appeared as two lines or none, but not one).

I discovered that the problem was that I had a toolbar set to start directly underneath another toolbar, which I was able to confirm by unlocking the taskbar (right-click the taskbar and clear the checkmark next to "Lock the Taskbar"). As this figure shows, two separate group start lines were set to appear one directly above the other. To resolve the problem, I dragged the lower group start line up to the other group start line and resized the taskbar to appear on one line.

Q. What are the differences in storage groups (SGs) and databases between the Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Standard Edition and Exchange 2003, Enterprise Edition?

A. As the name suggests, Exchange 2003, Enterprise Edition is a more scalable version of Exchange. The table below lists the major features of both Exchange editions in terms of SGs and databases:


Exchange 2003, Standard Edition

Exchange 2003, Enterprise Edition

Number of storage groups



Number of databases per storage group



Maximum database size (each)

16 GB

8 TB

Both versions also support an additional SG, the Recovery Storage Group, which is a special option available when you create a SG. Exchange can use the Recovery Storage Group to restore an entire SG, a database, or individual mailboxes on any Exchange server in the same Exchange administrative group while the original database is still running and servicing clients, without the need to create a separate recovery server.

Q. How can I back up my Microsoft Exchange Server storage groups (SGs) and databases?

A. The Exchange database uses the Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) to store messages in .edb and .stm files and transactions in the transaction log files. Although the process of backing up these files might seem obvious, several Exchange services lock these files, which can prevent you from backing up the file contents. As a result, you can either perform an online backup or an offline backup:

  • online backup--When you install Exchange, it adds a new section called Microsoft Exchange Server to the Windows Backup program (i.e., NTBackup) that lists SGs and databases available for backup. With an online backup, you don't need to stop Exchange and users can continue to use Exchange as normal.
  • offline backup--Although you can perform an offline backup, I (and Microsoft) don't recommend this approach because it requires that you dismount the mailbox and public-folder stores from Exchange to back up the files in the database that Exchange no longer locks.. The primary disadvantage to an offline backup is that it interrupts user service. You should consider this approach only if your backup software doesn't support the Exchange online backup API (however, you'd be better off changing backup software).

To create an online backup, perform the following steps:

  1. Start NTBackup (go to Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and click Backup).
  2. Select the Backup tab.
  3. Expand Microsoft Exchange Server, then select your server and the Information Store (IS) and the SGs you want to back up, as this figure shows. You can select a particular store within the storage group if you want.
  4. Enter a backup destination, then click Start Backup.
  5. The system will prompt you to overwrite or append the backup if the file exists. Select "Replace the data on the media with this backup," then click Start Backup. The amount of time required to perform the backup will depend on your store sizes.

After you create the backup, you should check the Application event log to ensure no warnings or failures exist. You'll see several entries in the log from NTBackup, ESE, and ESE BACKUP that provide details about the steps performed during the backup process, including transaction log-file deletions if you performed a full backup.

Discussing the various backup cycles (e.g., the use of full, incremental, or differential backups) is beyond the scope of this FAQ. As a result, you'll want to investigate which type of backup to perform. Keep in mind that NTBackup deletes transaction log files only after performing a full backup, so regularly running a full backup is important; otherwise, your disk will fill with transaction files.

It's also important to remember that in Windows 2000 and later, Exchange stores some of its information in Active Directory (AD). Therefore, in addition to backing up the Exchange databases, you need to back up the system state on a domain controller (DC), the Microsoft IIS metabase, Site Replication Service (SRS--if applicable), and Certificate Services data.

Q. How can I create the Recovery Storage Group in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003?

A. To create the Recovery Storage Group, perform the following steps:

  1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Exchange System Management snap-in (go to Start, Programs, Microsoft Exchange, and click Exchange System Manager).
  2. Expand the tree until you reach your server (e.g., go to <Organization>, Administrative Groups, <Administrative Group Name>, Servers, <Server name>).
  3. Right-click the server, then select New, Recovery Storage Group from the context menu, as this figure shows.
  4. From here, you can select the location for the transaction and database files only. Click OK.
  5. When the snap-in displays the new storage group (SG) titled Recovery Storage Group, right-click the new SG and select "Add Database to Recover."
  6. The snap-in will display a list of mailbox databases. (Be aware that you can't use the Recovery Storage Group to restore public-folder content.) Select the database, then click OK.
  7. Enter a name for this recovery database. From here you can also use the Database tab to set paths for the files. Click OK.

You can now use this database to restore a backup (you should restore the log files and mail store). The content will be automatically restored to the Recovery Storage Group rather than the original storage group. For performance reasons, create the Recovery Storage Group on the original Exchange server that houses the data you're restoring.

Q. Why do I receive the error "Runndll32.exe entry point not found" on my Windows XP installation?

A. The error you've described is commonly caused by reinstalling XP over an existing installation or an in-place upgrade, which corrupts the winsta.dll file. Common symptoms include

  • If you right-click My Computer and select Properties or if you launch System Restore from msconfig.exe, you receive error:
    Rundll32.exe Entry point not found
    The procedure entry RemoteAssistancePrepareSystemRestore could not be located
    in the dynamic link library winsta.dll.
  • The System Restore tab will be missing from the Control Panel System applet.

To resolve the error, perform the following steps:

  1. Reboot the computer into Safe Mode (press F8 when the boot menu appears and select the Safe Mode option).
  2. After Windows starts, open Windows Explorer.
  3. Navigate to the \%systemroot%\inf folder (e.g., C:\windows\inf).
  4. Right-click the file sr.inf and select Install from the context menu.
  5. Reboot the computer in Normal mode.

If the previous steps don't resolve the problem, try reinstalling the latest service pack.

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