Nik's Technology Blog

Travels through programming, networks, and computers

Configuring FTP for Windows Server 2008

Setting up FTP on Windows Server 2008 isn’t as easy as in previous versions and the steps you need to take vary depending on what version of IIS you have installed.

Unless you upgrade to IIS 7.5, FTP in IIS 7 is still managed with IIS 6 Manager!

FTP configuration in IIS 7

Failed to Retrieve Directory Listing

The first hurdle I encountered when trying to connect using Filezilla was the error message “Failed to Retrieve Directory Listing”.  Filezilla was able to connect but couldn’t list the files in the remote folder.

A work around to this is to run Filezilla in active mode (Edit > Settings > Connection > FTP > Active), but some programs that use FTP such as Windows Live Writer can’t be set to use active and prefer passive FTP.  Read more about active and passive FTP.

Configuring Passive FTP on IIS

Configuring Passive FTP on IIS essentially involves configuring FTP port ranges in IIS for the passive connection and then opening up those ports in Windows Firewall on the server.

Depending on what version of IIS you have installed I can verify that both of these methods work.  Although the c:\Inetpub\adminiscripts folder didn’t exist on my server so I ended up getting them from a Windows Server 2003 machine.

My advice would be to upgrade to IIS 7.5.

Installing Hardware RAID on Windows 7

Like a lot of Windows fans I pre-ordered Windows 7 and built a new PC ready to install it on; I chose a motherboard (MSI DKA790GX) that, like many on the market, has a hardware RAID controller on-board allowing you to take advantage of redundancy with RAID 1 and/or benefit from faster disk access with RAID 0.  Read more about RAID.

I had already installed Windows 7 before I remembered I wanted to set-up a RAID 1 array.  I tried to get the RAID array working with Windows already installed but soon realised I would have to set it up prior to installing Windows 7 because Windows kept hanging on boot-up because it was lacking the RAID controller drivers.

The supplied manual doesn’t explain how to get RAID up and running unfortunately.

RAID Controller Set-up

So here’s a quick guide to installing hardware RAID on a motherboard that features a RAID controller.  These steps assume you are performing a clean Windows 7 install rather than an upgrade, and they might differ depending on your system set-up, but the general principles should be the same.

  1. Download the RAID drivers for your motherboard from the manufacturer’s website and save them to a memory stick.
  2. Back up all your important data!
  3. Turn your PC off and unplug it.
  4. Install 2 hard disks preferably with identically capacity into your PC.
  5. Turn on your PC, press the delete key or F2 key when prompted to get to the BIOS menu.
  6. Find the option to select the RAID mode, save your settings and exit BIOS.BIOS RAID options
  7. On reboot you should see a new menu option to enter the RAID controller settings.  Enter the key combination when prompted to get to the RAID controller menu. AMD RAID controller menu
  8. Create a new RAID array selecting either RAID 0, or RAID 1.
  9. Select the disks that will form the array, save the settings and exit.
  10. On reboot press the delete key or F2 key when prompted to get to the BIOS menu.
  11. Check the boot sequence of your PC and ensure your optical drive is top of the list.BIOS boot sequence options
  12. Insert your Windows 7 disk into the optical drive and exit the BIOS.
  13. On reboot press any key when prompted to boot from the optical drive.
  14. Windows 7 should start installing.
  15. Select your localisation settings and click next.Windows 7 localization menu
  16. Click “repair your computer” and click the ”load drivers” button.Windows 7 install menu Windows 7 load drivers menu
  17. Insert your memory stick and browse to the correct driver and install.
  18. Exit back to the Windows 7 install menu click “Install now” and on the next screen click “Custom (advanced)” to perform a clean install.install-windows-custom
  19. When you are asked where you want to install Windows 7 you should see that the 2 RAID hard disks are now visible as just 1 drive.
  20. Add a partition to the new drive so Windows with be able to recognise it.
  21. Continue installing Windows as normal.

Preparing an Internet PC

The title of this article speaks for itself, however preparing a Windows based computer for a life connected to the internet is not as plain sailing as it used to be.

With the amount of viruses, worms and trojan horses on the web increasing almost exponentially it's vital to make sure your computer is protected the minute you connect it to the internet.

Reports earlier this year suggest that an unpatched unprotected PC can be infected in less than 30 minutes!

Security Recommendations

The first thing I do when I've finished installing a fresh installation of Windows is to install a personal firewall. I recommend Zonealarm, it's very good and a free version is available from the link below.

Do this before connecting to the internet, if at all possible try to gather a collection of useful tools on a CD-ROM. The CD-ROM should contain a personal firewall, anti-virus software and the most recent Windows Service Pack for your version of Windows.

If you don't have the Windows Service Pack on CD then you'll need to download it. Make sure your personal firewall is up and running, then go to WindowsUpdate.com. Follow the instructions and download all the 'Critical updates'.

Once your updates have downloaded and installed restart your machine and install your anti-virus solution. I recommend the excellent AVG from www.grisoft.com, which also has a free edition.

You may also find that using an alternative web browser to Internet Explorer such as FireFox (www.getfirefox.com) or Opera (opera.com) will significantly reduce your risk of web borne viruses and spyware.

Zonealarm personal firewall

XP SP2 and Netgear MA111

I installed XP Service Pack 2 last night for the second time after rolling it back previously.

The first time I installed it I couldn't get my Netgear MAlll wireless 802.11b USB device to work, I've since installed it on various other XP machines and with each install i've had different issues with the device.

I learned fairly early on that the supplied Netgear software wouldn't work under SP2, instead you have to opt for Windows XP wireless configuration, which incidentally has been slightly improved since SP1. Having said that it's still not perfect, since you have to enter your WEP in manually rather than use a password to create it like the Netgear software.

There are also issues with driver installation when you do a fresh install of XP and patch it with SP2 before installing the MA111.

The joy of computing :)

http://www.netgear.com/products/details/MA111.php