Hello to everyone reading,

Today, I’m starting a weekly section partially for general questions that come from some of my other friends studying or working in information technology (but mostly for myself so I have all my links, references and guides in one place if I forget to back them up again). I’ll mostly be covering Windows 7, Server 2008/2012, some Hyper-V stuff, AD, Exchange, etc, everything that’s been thrown at me over the course of a month.

“Why are you suddenly jumping into this?” you might ask.

Long story short, I applied for a job in a technology department that didn’t have a network admin, so I’ve had to learn this all really fast. And if you don’t know me, the extent of my knowledge with AD and Exchange is setting up a home server and network so I could toy around with some of this stuff. Yes, that is my idea of “fun”.

Not to mention, I’m even less familiar with Windows in general. It may not be difficult to figure out, but there’s a certain comfort in working on a computer with Linux on it. Something Debian-based, if this is on a day that I’m feeling a little picky.

But if you absolutely must know the whole story, here it is!

So after going to work for Dell and then disappearing off the face of the earth for a good half year, I moved back home to take a break from IT. 10 hours a day of helpdesk calls isn’t exactly my ideal job. Of course, getting paid to sit in a cubicle all day and dispatch parts and listen to customers vent about how their sales rep sold them the wrong configuration or how their new product isn’t acceptable because it has Windows 8 on it isn’t the worst thing in the world either. I know, first world problems.

Almost as soon as I got back into town and settled down at home, I picked up a job at a local computer repair shop. For the most part, I worked in the back room and got rid of viruses that people insisted Microsoft or Dell put on there. Everything was ok minus a few issues like the manager with some anger management problems (who probably drove off more than a few customers due to his habit of yelling at them), and overall the usual disorganization you would see in any small/medium business. Needless to say, that lasted about a month before I broke off.

Once again, I’m kicking myself for picking up work instead of going back to school.

Just about a month ago, I was applying for some grants, looking for scholarships, trying to get back to school for network systems administration (“computer stuff”, for my family that is reading this). Around the same time, I was talking to one of my friends who was working in the tech department as an intern (or workstudy, or part-time employee, I still don’t know what he does). They had a job opening for a “support technician”. Said friend got my name to his supervisor and within the day I received an email asking for an application.

Cool. So I can work at the college, take some classes part time at a discount, and still make a decent income.

After reading the job description, everything seemed fairly easy. Install, repair, and troubleshoot PC hardware. Maintain software. Take care of coordination with faculty and assist/provide training for work studies. Asset management. Terminate network drops. Do switch work. As expected, no major qualifications. Seems simple enough.

The real kicker turned out to be that “Other duties as assigned” at the end of the list.

Evidently the department had a full turnover. The last “long-term” employee left a few weeks after I arrived due to some unforeseen issues. So now I’m feeling my way around a very messy AD and Exchange server. I won’t go into the details of how it’s set up, but trust me on this one. It’s a little scary from working in AD and Exchange with a total of about 30-40 people and some test accounts to one with tens of thousands of users/computers and around a hundred commonly used OUs. Still small scale for an organization, but a big jump nonetheless.

Not to mention I have yet to even look at the GPOs in use. And the servers. And the VMs. You get the idea.

At any rate, I’ve made decent headway since getting here about a month ago. Things start to make more sense if you don’t stop to think about it. And really, I don’t have time to question why things are done. There’s barely enough time to analyze how something is set up and what needs to be done to fix it or work around it. Especially at the beginning of the school year, there’s not a lot of time to worry about implementing new things, and even less time to make mistakes and have to go back and fix them. Not like I needed the time to go back to school anyway.

So I’ll probably throw a weekly post with at least one or two problems I ran into, what I did to fix it, and hope it helps at least one of the many people that get tossed into a situation like this.

Lastly, if you have any questions about any of the previously-mentioned software, feel free to ask. Basic windows/linux/iOS/OS X questions are welcome as well. If I can’t answer off the top of my head, I can at least point you towards the proper channels, whatever they may be.

Hope everyone has a good week, and thanks for reading.

~ Rumeh