BOFH: I found a flying Dragonite on a Windows 2003 domain

Just slap on our custom VR headset, Boss

Smiling man wears VR headset against backdrop of city. Photo by Shutterstock

Episode 9 Hell hath no fury like a Boss who has taken umbrage - and in this case he happened to hear the PFY discussing how he'd "upgraded" the Boss's Pokémon Go to a full augmented-reality app with a "feature" that made large moving vehicles invisible - just before giving him a virtual reality headset and suggesting that there were some great possibilities at the roundabout at the end of the street. Still, it's not like the PFY borrowed the company van and waited at the roundabout or anything...

In any case, the Boss is annoyed because he thinks there was some collusion going on and as a result he's agreed to the Director's request that we help one of his mates down the road who has an IT crisis.

We get to the site and I immediately realise how bad things can get. It's like I've been transported back in time 10 years. We're talking Windows 2003 domains. We're talking Windows 2000 mixed functional level. We're talking...

"Ah... where's the Backup Domain Controller?" I ask the onsite geek after tapping away for a while in a TS window.

"Oh we keep that offsite - with all the other backups."

"How's it connected?"

"Connected?"

"Yes, to replicate."

"Replicate?"

"So it's not switched on?"

"No, it's a cold backup."

"A cold backup from when?"

"Oh.... 2005. Do you want me to recall it from the secure storage company?"

"No, not really. Or if you did get them to deliver it to your skip bin."

"Why?"

"Because it's useless. Now your immediate problem is probably just that the C drive of your DC is full of logs. Totally full. Mostly error logs but also the windows event logs that you extended the size of dramatically - yet even they aren't large enough to keep more than a couple of months of the errors that have been accumulating over the years."

"So can you fix it?"

"If by FIX you mean make the errors stop, then no. But if you mean enough to make the machine complete a boot before the apocalypse, then probably."

One logfile purge, disk clean and defrag later, the machine is, well, still crap, but at least it's running fast enough that the pointer actually tracks mouse movement, albeit with a noticeable delay.

"Where's the server kept?" I ask.

"Just there" he says, pointing under his desk at a G2 Proliant Tower with more dust in it than a 1950s Electrolux.

"I take it back, you're stuffed." I say.

"We just need it to run for another month or so," he whines.

"At this point I'm advocating prayer as a service tool;" I say "given that you're witnessing a miracle that the machine is running at all."

"So it'll keep running?"

"Barring a disk failure, power supply fault, capacitor breakdown, memory error, infinitesimal - or greater - power spike, sudden tremor caused by someone dropping a sheet of paper on the case, a change in aircon temperature or some other microscopic change to the environment."

"Oh good."

"The licensing issues are another story though. This is the sort of large-scale licence abuse that generally sails under the Jolly Roger ensign."

"You've lost me."

"You probably bought two licences back in the day and just left it at that didn't you?" the PFY asks. "Before you bought everything else?"

But this line of questioning is pointless. The whole site has been set up by someone who read the first two sections of "Migrating to Server 2003" before giving up. The two sections in question being the Index and Introduction.

"So why does it only need to stay running for a month?" I ask "The Company goes bankrupt after the piracy prosecution?"

"No, we're migrating to Server 2012 and Windows 10, then Server 2016 in November."

"You mean you're installing, not migrating," the PFY suggests.

"What's the difference?"

"Well to use a real world analogy, an install is where you get a new set of drawers and buy new office products like pens, tape, rulers, notepads and staplers to put into them."

"Oh, and migrating is like when you move all the items from your old set of drawers?" he asks.

"No, in this case migrating is like dropping a smoking grogan into each drawer before setting it on fire and kicking it into your Boss' office." I respond.

"I..?"

"It is a steaming turd," the PFY explains helpfully. "You don't want to be putting that turd into new equipment."

"But we'll lose all our files."

"Move the files, just not the domain. Create a new, clean domain from scratch."

"What do I do with the old domain?"

"Do you know someone with a crucifix, some holy water, a wooden stake and a bath of acid?"

"No."

"Then chuck it in the bin."

"Well, can you give me some pointers on installing Server 2012 and Windows 10?"

"Yeah, get an expert to do it." I say, nodding to the PFY as I leave.

The Boss is still in a bad mood - more so now that the Director has given him a bollocking for our not helping their IT guy install Server 2012.

"So I want you to go back and sort it out for him!" he snaps. "Just get it done!"

"We'll need some tools," the PFY says.

"And?" the Boss snaps again.

"Lots of tools" I add "As we'll need to desynchronise the replication engine, backrate the diagnostic platform and then recalibrate the entire system infrastructure."

"And why are you telling me this?"

"Because we'll need the van. To carry the tools."

"When?"

"I dunno - what time will you be popping across the street for lunch?" the PFY asks.

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