28Jun/180

How do I connect to my Windows server via RDP?

This tutorial will show you how to connect to your Windows VPS or dedicated server at Contabo via RDP from different operating systems.

The following scenarios will be covered:

Connections from desktop operating systems:

  • Establishing a RDP connection from WindowsOS (e.g. Windows 7, 8, 10)
  • Establishing a RDP connection from LinuxOS (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu)
  • Establishing a RDP connection from MacintoshOS (e.g. Apple MacBook)

Connections from mobile devices:

  • Establishing a RDP connection from Android based systems (e.g. Samsung Galaxy)
  • Establishing a RDP connection from iOS based systems (e.g. Apple iPhone)

 

RDP connections from Windows
  • on Windows 7: Please navigate to the "Start icon" of the taskbar and search for "Remote Desktop Connection"
  • bei Windows 8/10: Please navigate to the "Windows icon" of the taskbar and search for "Remote Desktop Connection"

The RDP client should start as follows:

Now you should be able to connect to your server using its hostname (e.g. "vmiXXXXX.contaboserver.net" for VPS or "mXXXX.contaboserver.net" for dedicated servers) or the IP address (e.g. "173.xxx.xxx.xxx"). The RDP session will be established within a few seconds automatically.

Alternatively, you might choose a few options beforehand (e.g. screen resolution and audio settings). Therefore, please click on the "Show Options" button:

Explanations:

  • The screen resolution can be individually modified using the slider
  • If you would like to pass through the audio signal to your local PC, you have to set the "Remote audio playback" function to "Play on this computer"
  • If you would like to make your local printer available on your server, please enable the "Printer" option at the "Local devices and resources" section (Important: The printer device driver must be compellingly installed on your server!)
  • The clipboard is enabled by default, so STRG + C / STRG + V will always work. It can be disabled by disabling its checkbox

 

Troubleshooting:

If you determine issues while connecting to your server, please find enclosed some information about how to fix them:

1. "Remote Desktop can't connect to the remote computer for one of these reasons":

Causes / Solutions:

2. "The remote session was disconnected because there are no Remote Desktop Licence Servers available to provide a license. Please contact the server administrator."

Causes / Solutions:

Obviously, a terminal service was installed on your server and no active licence server has been assigned yet. After the grace period of 90 respectively 120 days, all temporarily licences will be deleted and all further RDP logins will be rejected.

To fix this issue, you either have to delete the terminal service or the affected Windows Registry key

  • If you rent a VPS, you can connect to your server through VNC to perform the required steps:

https://contabo.com/?show=tutorials&tutorial=vnc-connect-vps

  • If you use a dedicated server and you do not have a KVM device attached to your server yet, please get in contact with us at support@contabo.com

* The required server role "Remote Desktop Services" can be deleted at the server manager ("Remove roles and features")
* The affected Registry key can be deleted at the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\RCM\GracePeriod

Important: Please be careful while changing settings at the Windows registry! Please create a full backup of the registry beforehand.

* Now please perform a reboot of your server and you should be able to login to your server afterwards again

 

RDP connection from Linux

Alternatively, you can also connect from Linux to your Windows server via RDP. There is a command line based program called "rdesktop" and it is usable for all available linux distributions.

  • Installation:

sudo apt-get install rdesktop

  • Start the RDP connection:

rdesktop <IP address>

Now the RDP connection has been established and you can login to your server using the initial login credentials.

Important information:

  • In order to be able to establish a RDP connection, your Linux system must have an X11 server available. It should be installed by default if you already use a GUI (graphical desktop environment - e.g. "Gnome" or "KDE")
  • Please note, it is generally not recommended to establish a RDP connection through SSH
  • Alternatively, there is another program called 'freeRDP', which can be used instead of 'rdesktop'. Please find more information about it at http://www.freerdp.com/

 

RDP connection from MacOS

In order to be able to establish a RDP connection from MacOS based systems (e.g. Apple MacBook), a RDP client is also required. Please find enclosed a download URL to get the latest RDP client version:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-remote-desktop/id715768417?mt=12&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Afterwards, you can start the RDP client following by entering the Windows login credentials (at the "Domain:" field, you can either use the server's IP address or the hostname):



Please always use the latest RDP client version from iTunes, so it is ensured that no connection issues occur!

Troubleshooting:

1. "Remote Desktop Connection cannot verify the identity of the computer that you want to connect to":

=> This kind of error message is mostly caused by an old respectively outdated RDP client version

Causes / Solutions:

  • Please make sure, that you are currently using the latest RDP client version (download-URL above)

 

RDP connection from Android-based systems

To establish a RDP connection from Google-Android-based systems (e.g. Samsung Galaxy) please use the following RDP client directly from the Google App store. You can always download the latest RDP client version here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.rdc.android&hl=en

 

RDP connection from iOS-based systems

Last of all, we would like to inform you about the possibility of how to connect to your Windows server via an iOS-based system (e.g. Apple iPhone).

Please find enclosed the download URL to get the latest RDP client version:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-remote-desktop/id714464092?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Very important: In order to use the latest RDP client above, iOS version 8.0 is required at least!


If you have any further questions about connecting via RDP to your server or need help, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@contabo.com.

14May/180

New Operating Systems available: Fedora 28 and Ubuntu 18.04

Good news: From now on, we offer you the brand new Fedora 28, it replaces the previous version 27. Furthermore, Ubuntu 18.04 (LTS) is available at Contabo!

Both operating systems can be combined with Software RAID 1 and Webmin. Additionally, Ubuntu 18.04 can also be ordered together with LAMP and Webmin+LAMP. An installation via VNC / SSH is possible for both OS as well.

As an active customer, you can easily install one of these new versions through your customer control panel.

It is especially noteworthy for all of you interested in purchasing our services:
We always offer you a large selection of Linux distributions (as well as Windows Server 2012 and 2016). Just click on "Customize & Order" below your desired (virtual) server model in order to get a detailed overview and select the operating system of your choice!

Please note: You can find further information and a product overview on our website!

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , , , No Comments
7Mar/180

How to manage your RAID controller in Linux

Please note: This tutorial focusses on Linux OS. Should you be a Windows user instead, please confer our respective tutorial on how to manage your RAID controller in Windows.

Monitoring a RAID array

A hardware RAID has certain advantages, but also a hardware RAID has to be monitored. We always rely on tried and tested hardware to minimize the risk of a hardware failure, but there is always the risk that hardware fails, therefore monitoring the hardware is even more important to guarantee that the server will keep running properly.

In the case of a software RAID, the operating system generates messages about the RAID; with a hardware RAID, the controller does it itself - but you need a special software to read these messages.

This blog entry shows the installation and use of the Adaptec and LSI software on Linux operating systems.
There are also graphical interfaces available for managing raidcontrollers, such as a web interface.

Please contact our support department in case you are not sure which controller was added to your server.

Please note: Updating the controller's firmware or the operating system's driver may lead to a complete loss of all data stored on that RAID!

For this tutorial some additional software is needed, for Ubuntu 17.10 it can be installed using the following command "apt install zip unzip net-tools"

1. Adaptec

An overview of available software for your Adaptec controller can be found here: https://storage.microsemi.com/en-us/support/series6/index.php

1.1 Installation of the arcconf binary

Installing the binary with the Linux commandline is very easy, you can manage the controller using that binary afterwards.

A download link for the latest available binary can be found on the above mentioned website by clicking on the "Storage Manager Downloads" link.
The "arcconf" binary can be used for various Adaptec products, usually there is no need for additional software.
In this tutorial we are going to download the following binary: https://storage.microsemi.com/en-us/speed/raid/storage_manager/arcconf_v2_03_22476_zip.php

On your commandline just type:

wget http://download.adaptec.com/raid/storage_manager/arcconf_v2_03_22476.zip && unzip arcconf_v2_03_22476.zip

Now move the binary to your binary folder and make it executable:

mv linux_x64/cmdline/arcconf /usr/sbin/ && chmod +x /usr/sbin/arcconf

The "arcconf" command should be available now.

root@contabo:~# arcconf
Controllers found: 1
| UCLI | Adaptec by PMC uniform command line interface
| UCLI | Version 2.03 (B22476)
| UCLI | (C) Adaptec by PMCS 2003-2016
| UCLI | All Rights Reserved

1.2 Monitoring the raidcontroller

Usually the RAID should have an "OPTIMAL" value, in case one HDD fails the controller will start to send an audible alarm signal. That signal will be recognized by our technicians working in the datacenter, in this case we will contact you and inform you about a possible hardware failure.

With the parameter "arcconf GETCONFIG 1" you will get all information regarding the 1st controller installed to your system. In case you have installed more than one controller you could display the information of the 2nd controller by typing "arcconf GETCONFIG 2".

A list of available options can be displayed by typing "arcconf getconfig".

The most important status can be filtered out by typing "arcconf getconfig 1 | grep Status" into the commandline.

root@contabo:~# arcconf getconfig 1 | grep Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Optimal

"ZMM not installed" shows that this controller currently has no BBU (batterie backup unit) installed, a BBU can be installed at any time as an upgrade.

A "Degraded" status on a LD (Logical Device) indicates that there must be an issue.

root@contabo:~# arcconf getconfig 1 | grep Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Degraded

To check if there is any failed drive (in this scenario the SSD failed), type in the following command and you will see the "State : Failed" information:

root@contabo:~# arcconf getconfig 1 PD
Controllers found: 1
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Physical Device information
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Device #0
Device is a Hard drive
State : Failed
Block Size : 512 Bytes
Failed logical device segments : True
Supported : Yes
Transfer Speed : Failed
Reported Channel,Device(T:L) : 0,0(0:0)
Reported Location : Connector 0, Device 0
Vendor :
Model : Crucial_CT275MX3
Firmware : M0CR040
Serial number : 11111111111111
World-wide name : 500A075116639956
Total Size : 262321 MB
Write Cache : Enabled (write-back)
FRU : None
S.M.A.R.T. : No
S.M.A.R.T. warnings : 0
Power State : Full rpm
Supported Power States : Full power,Powered off,Standby
SSD : Yes
Temperature : Not Supported
NCQ status : Enabled

To replace a failed drive just contact us, we will immediately take care of it. To speed up the process you should provide us with the above output. It shows the S/N and the port that drive is attached to. In this case the S/N is "11111111111111" and the attached Port is "0".

As soon as the drive got replaced the rebuild should start automatically:

root@contabo:~# arcconf getconfig 1 | grep Status
Controller Status : Optimal
Status : ZMM not installed
Status of Logical Device : Degraded, Rebuilding ( Rebuild : 1 % )

Depending on your RAID setup this will probably take several hours.

1.3 Installing an available Webinterface

For Adaptec there is the "MaxView Storage Manager" available, it can be downloaded here: https://storage.microsemi.com/de-de/speed/raid/storage_manager/msm_linux_x64_v2_03_22476_tgz.php

You could also just download it via commandline:

wget http://download.adaptec.com/raid/storage_manager/msm_linux_x64_v2_03_22476.tgz && tar -xzf msm_linux_x64_v2_03_22476.tgz

The installer is located within the directory called "manager" - that directory will be created when unpacking the downloaded archive.
For our system (Ubuntu 17.04) we will install the package using the following command:

dpkg -i manager/StorMan-2.03-22476_amd64.deb

Afterwards you should be able to reach the webinterface at https://<SERVERIP>:8443

2. LSI

2.1 Installation of the StorCLI binary

Download of the commandline Binary :

wget https://docs.broadcom.com/docs-and-downloads/raid-controllers/raid-controllers-common-files/1.21.16_StorCLI.zip --no-check-certificate && unzip 1.21.16_StorCLI.zip && cd versionChangeSet/univ_viva_cli_rel/ && unzip storcli_All_OS.zip

For our system we will install the Ubuntu package by typing:
dpkg -i storcli_All_OS/Ubuntu/storcli_1.21.06_all.deb

Create a link to make the "storcli" command available to your shell.
ln -s /opt/MegaRAID/storcli/storcli64 /usr/sbin/storcli

2.2 Monitoring the raidcontroller

You can display the current status of the raidcontroller by typing:

root@contabo:~#storcli /c0 show

TOPOLOGY :
========
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
DG Arr Row EID:Slot DID Type  State BT       Size PDC  PI SED DS3  FSpace
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 -   -   -        -   RAID1 Optl  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   -   -        -   RAID1 Optl  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   0   64:4     12  DRIVE Onln  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
0 0   1   64:5     13  DRIVE Onln  N  255.656 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Example of a failed HDD:

TOPOLOGY :
========
----------------------------------------------------------------------
DG Arr Row EID:Slot DID Type  State BT Size PDC  PI SED DS3  FSpace
----------------------------------------------------------------------
0 -   -   -        -   RAID1 Dgrd  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   -   -        -   RAID1 Dgrd  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt N
0 0   0   -        -   DRIVE Msng  -  255 GB -    -  -   -    -
0 0   1   64:5     13  DRIVE Onln  N  255 GB dflt N  N   dflt -
---------------------------------------------------------------------

root@contabo:~#storcli /c0 /sall show


Controller = 0
Status = Failure
Description = No drive found!
Detailed Status :
===============
----------------------------------------
Drive    Status  ErrCd ErrMsg
----------------------------------------
/c0/sALL Failure   255 Drives not found
----------------------------------------

To display the current status of the rebuild you can run:

root@contabo:~#storcli /c0 /eall /sall show rebuild

Controller = 0
Status = Success
Description = Show Drive Rebuild Status Succeeded.
---------------------------------------------------------
Drive-ID   Progress% Status          Estimated Time Left
---------------------------------------------------------
/c0/e64/s4         0 In progress     -
/c0/e64/s5         - Not in progress -
---------------------------------------------------------

2.3 Installing an available webinterface

Unfortunately, there is currently no webinterface available for Linux.

 

Posted by: Gianni-Donato | Tagged as: , , , , , No Comments
13Feb/180

New Operating System: Fedora 27

A brief update regarding our Linux OS: As of today, we offer you the brand new Fedora 27 for your VPS and Dedicated Servers, it replaces the previous version 26.

It can be combined with the Software RAID 1 and Webmin and an installation via VNC is possible as well.

If you are currently using the previous version, you can easily upgrade to the new version through your customer control panel.

Our existing customers know it already, and it is possibly interesting for potential new customers:
We offer you a large selection of the latest Linux distributions as well as Windows Server 2012 and 2016. Just click on "Customize & Order" below your desired virtual or dedicated server model in order to get a detailed overview and select the operating system of your choice!

You can find further information and a product overview on our website!

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , , No Comments
3Aug/170

Available now: Fedora 26 and Suse Leap 42.3

As of today, we offer you the brand new Fedora 26, it replaces the previous version 25. Additionally, Suse Leap was updated as well and the latest version 42.3 is available at Contabo!

Both operating systems can be combined with the Software RAID 1 and Webmin. In addition, Fedora 26 can be installed via VNC as well.

Being an existing customer, you can easily upgrade to the new versions through your customer control panel.

We always offer you a large selection of Linux distributions (as well as Windows Server 2012 and 2016). Just click on "Customize & Order" below your desired (virtual) server model in order to get a detailed overview and select the operating system of your choice!

Please note: You can find further information and a product overview on our website!

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , , , No Comments
19Jul/170

Analysing log files in Windows and Linux

Everyone knows the scenario, you want to analyze an issue of your server or local computer but where to find all those log files?

In the following tutorial we are going to analyze specific log files in Linux and logs in the Windows Event Viewer. An additional chapter will go through the log analysis via Systemd.

Linux log files

Unfortunately, it is quite different from distribution to distribution, which information can be extracted from specific log files. In the following we will analyze the log file structure of Debian 8 and CentOS 7.2. The first location to look for log files should always be /var/log/. Depending on their configuration, Apache, Nginx or similar applications write log files to this folder too. System log specifications and locations can be found in the file /etc/rsyslog.conf.

Debian 8:

  • /var/log/auth.log

Logs of successful and failed authentications to your system can be found in this log file. It is also logged when a user invokes commands via sudo.

  • /var/log/messages

This file contains log entries of general system information, amongst others, you will also find the system upstart logs.

  • /var/log/dmesg or dmesg

The kernel ring buffer can be read with dmesg. You will find information about the system upstart, runtime kernel module messages and many further messages according to the hard and software of your system. By default, dmesg shows the full ring buffer. However, the output can be customized by adding specific parameters. A thorough documentation can be found on the manual page (man dmesg).

  • /var/log/syslog

This is one of the most important log files in general. Every Linux process is free to log to the syslog by implementing the syslog interface. It also logs the system upstart and executed cron-jobs.

CentOS 7.2:

As the log file structure is quite similar to the one of Debian 8, we will just mention the differences.

  • /var/log/secure

This log file is the equivalent to /var/log/auth.log in Debian systems. All kind of authentications are logged here.

  • /var/log/messages

There is no separation of /var/log/messages and /var/log/syslog in CentOS, all system logs of processes which implement the syslog interface can be found here.

  • /var/log/cron

Cron specific log files are not part of the syslog as in Debian. They can be found in the above mentioned file.

 

Log analysis via Systemd

Systemd is basically the standard Init system of nearly all major Linux distributions today. Since at least April 2015, when Debian and Ubuntu switched to Systemd, every Linux administrator or user has been in touch with Systemd. As Systemd is a complex system, we will only take a look into the log analysis functionality provided. Every process in Systemd is identified as a unit. All active units can be shown via the following command:

systemctl list-units

When appending the parameter --all, this command also shows all inactive units.

Logs being created by Systemd are managed in the so called Journal. These logs can be accessed via the journalctl binary. If journalctl is called without any parameter, it will print out the whole Journal. However, it is also possible to output the log entries of specific units only. In the following example, we are going to analyze the log files of the Apache web server.

journalctl -u httpd

It is also possible to restrict the output with the parameters --since and --until.

journalctl -u httpd --since "2016-11-01 20:00:00" --until "2016-11-03 20:00:00"

The above command will output the Apache log entries between 2016-11-01 20:00:00 and 2016-11-03 20:00:00. It is also possible to use keywords like "today" or "yesterday".

You can also output the log files of more than one unit at the same time. In the following example we will output all Apache and Nginx log entries which have been logged since yesterday.

journalctl -u httpd -u nginx --since yesterday

If the parameter -f is used, all desired log entries are shown in real time.

The above was only a slight view into the possibilities of journalctl, there are several other useful features which are described on the manual page (man journalctl).

 

Log analysis via Windows Event Viewer

Windows Event Viewer Overview

In the above picture in the left navigation you can see the entry "Windows Logs". The following entries are most important.

  • Application

This entry will show the events of locally installed applications.

  • Security

Here you can see successful and failed login attempts.

  • System

This entry logs operating system internal events and errors.

Via the entry "Custom Views" -> "Server Roles" -> "Remote Desktop Services" you can see RDP related events and errors.

Potential hardware issues can be identified via "Application and Service Logs" -> "Hardware Events".

Useful for error analysis can also be the overview which can be seen via "Overview and Summary" -> "Summary of Administrative Events", it provides a summarized overview of the system status in general.

20Jun/172

New OS: Debian 9 available now!

Just released a few days ago, already available at Contabo: Debian 9, codename Stretch. You can order the operating system with your new VPS or dedicated server. Existing customers can upgrade to Debian 9 through their customer control panel.

You can combine Debian 9 with Webmin, Lamp, Webmin+LAMP and the Software Raid 1.

In its latest version, the developers have replaced MySQL with MariaDB, and a new Kernel version 4.9 is available as well.

Apart from Debian 9, we offer you a large number of Linux distributions, as well as Windows Server 2012 and 2016. Simply click on "Customize & Order" on our VPS and dedicated servers overview sites and select the operating system that matches your requirements - further details can be found on our website!

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , , 2 Comments
31Mar/172

Being spoilt for choice – Windows or Linux?

The operating system is the centrepiece of a server. You can imagine how important it is to choose a fitting operating system. For servers, two operating systems have established themselves: Windows and Linux. In this short overview, I'd like to present you the main differences between those two operating systems.

 

You might have heard that Windows is less stable compared to Linux. This actually was the case 15 years ago. Older Windows Server operating systems tended to operate rather unstable at times. However, Windows Server developed into an utterly robust operating system during the past years. Nowadays, you won't find much of a difference between both operating systems regarding stability.

Let's come down to the first real difference: Interface and Remote Access, which certainly are the most obvious differences between Windows and Linux.
With Windows Server, you access your server remotely with a protocol developed by Microsoft called RDP. The software used to connect to your server remotely, Remote Desktop Connection, is installed on every Windows machine by default, regardless of whether it's a Desktop or a Server version.

remote_en

Once connected to the server, you'll find a familiar Windows interface you already know from your Windows PC you use at home.

remotedesktop2

And that is probably the biggest advantage of Windows Server. Web server, DNS server, or other services, everything can be managed with a graphical user interface.

 

On Linux, this is totally different. While desktop versions come with a graphical interface as well, in server versions, you won't find one there for the benefit of performance. Also, you cannot access it using RDP, but via SSH.
Windows operating systems do not have an SSH client installed by default, therefore you have to install such a client on your own. There are plenty of them on the market, a well known and established client is PuTTY.

putty

Unlike on Windows Servers, there won't open a Desktop environment, but only a command line.

putty2

Administering the server is done exclusively via commands you type into the command line. While the experienced Linux user knows the most important commands, users who are new to Linux will probably have some trouble here, which could cause problems regarding server security and stability.

 

You might already know that Windows Server, unlike most Linux operating systems, is not for free. Microsoft fees a monthly amount for licensing their products. The amount of this fee differs, it depends on the hardware of the server running the operating system and the version of Windows Server.

 

Basically, every service can be realised on both Linux or Windows Server. The choice is mostly a matter of taste.

13Dec/160

NEW operating system available at Contabo: Arch Linux

Great news: From now on we offer you a completely new operating system, namely Arch Linux! It is available for all your VPS and Dedicated Servers! What's even better: Arch Linux will always be up to date, which means you will always get the latest version!

You can combine it with the Software RAID 1 and an installation with a manual configuration is possible as well - for further details, kindly contact our customer support!

Our existing customers know it already:

We always offer you a wide range of the latest Linux distributions (as well as Windows Server 2012 and 2016!). Simply click on "Customize & Order" below your desired (virtual) server model to get a detailed overview. Then scroll down a bit and select your OS of choice!

Further information and a product overview is available on our website!

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , , , No Comments
28Nov/160

NEW at Contabo: Fedora 25 and Suse Leap 42.2

From now on, we offer you Fedora in its latest version 25, it replaces the previous version 24. Likewise, Suse Leap received an update and the new version 42.2 is available now at Contabo!

Both operating systems can be combined with the Software RAID 1 and Webmin. In addition, Fedora 25 can be installed via VNC as well.

Existing customers can upgrade to the latest versions easily through the customer control panel.

We offer you a wide range of the latest Linux distributions (as well as Windows Server 2012 and 2016!). Simply click on "Customize & Order" below your desired (virtual) server model to get a detailed overview and select your OS of choice!

Further information and a product overview is available on our website!

Posted by: Markus | Tagged as: , , , , , , No Comments