Supporting Windows 7 Group Policy Settings with Windows Server 2003 Domain Controllers

Recently, I was asked the following question: We plan to implement Windows 7 in our network very soon. We want to use Windows 2003 Domain Controllers for the next couple of years. Can we make the hundreds of new Group Policy setting available to Windows 7 Windows Server 2003 DCs? Our Technology Consulting Services do this type of thing every day

This is not an unusual situation. Some organizations find they need to replace their desktop computers immediately because of age or obsolescence and others wish to upgrade to Windows 7 because of its superior security and performance. But there may be no budget or desire to upgrade to  Windows 2008 or 2008 R2. Luckily, it is not difficult to adapt Server 2003 to work with Windows 7.
Group Policy settings are edited through the use of ADM and ADMX template files. These files are accessed though the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) or the Group Policy Object Editor (GPOE). As settings are configured in the editing tools a Registry.pol is created. The Registry.pol file is made available to client computers in the Group Policy Object Container on the Domain Controller. Client computers process the Registry.pol file to receive their Group Policy settings. The ADM/ADMX files are needed only by computers running the editing tools. Editing Group Policies using ADMX templates requires that the editing tools be run only on Microsoft Vista, Server 2008 or Windows 7. ADM templates can be edited on Windows XP or Server 2003. ADMX files use XMLbased markup language that includes no language specific comments or descriptions. The ADMX file references sADML files in a sub-folder such as EN-US (for English) or FR (for French) that give the ADMX file appropriate language support. Multi-national organizations will only have to deploy one set of ADMX files and can add ADML files for each language spoken by its administrators.
One of the chief benefits ADMX and ADML files is that they can be made available through the use of a Central Store on the Domain Controllers. Windows Server 2003 can host a Central Store as easily as Server 2008. To create a Central Store simply create a PolicyDefinitions folder in the SYSVOL with a path of %WINDIR%\SYSVOL\domain\Policies\PolicyDefinitions. Copy the ADMX templates from a Windows 7 computer into the SYSVOL location. Window 7 keeps a copy of the ADMX and ADML files in its own PolicyDefinitions folder located in the Windows folder. Once it is placed in the Central Store, the File Replication Service on Server 2003 will replicate the Global Knowledge

PolicyDefinitions folder to all Domain Controllers in the Domain so that the templates are available for use by the editing tools. An ADMX/ADML Central Store requires much less space on the SYSVOL than ADM files and will reduce replication costs.

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Installing GP Dynamics Client

Our Technology Consulting Services do this type of thing every day

The code is on the E: drive of the new server.  It is called GP2010 DVD or something to that effect.  The service pack is also on the E: drive and is an msp file that has 11 in it (as opposed to the one for version 9)

Before installing the client, share the GPSHARE folder on the E: drive of the server.  Make sure that user login (and all other GP users) will have read/write access to this folder and the share

To install the client…

1)      Launch the setup.exe from that folder and run through the wizard.

a.       When asked to select features, be sure to select Collections Management – this is the only additional feature you need to worry about installing right now

b.       When prompted for the server, just enter the new server name and the installer will create a datasource for it

2)      After installing from the main DVD folder, run the service pack installer – this should detect the installation path and apply the update without any further intervention

NOTE: You will probably need to reboot at some point during these installations.  After rebooting, the GP installer should resume automatically

3)      After installing the service pack, launch GP utilities from the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 program group

4)      Say Yes to include new code if prompted

5)      Log in with the Dynamics GP 2010 ODBC datasource (server) with the sa account and let GP synchronize this client to the server

6)      After utilities run, you should see a button to Launch GP – go ahead and log in with the sa account

NOTE: Russell’s GP 7.5 account will not work at this time.  We will need to reset each user’s password and define security before they will be able to use the GP2010 version

7)      Exit GP

8)      Go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics\GP2010 folder and find the Dynamics.set file

a.       Right-click on this file and choose EDIT.  If that’s not available, choose to open and open it with NOTEPAD

b.      Scroll down to the path that ends with Reports.DIC (should be the 3rd line of paths in the file)

c.       Change the path to the Reports.dic to  this:  \\ serverxxxx\GpShare\Reports.dic

9)      Launch GP again to make sure you don’t get any permission errors related to the share.  This will ensure that Russell has the appropriate modified reports for testing purposes.  If any of them are broken, we will need to re-modify them.  I didn’t get a single validation error on the reports, so I am 90% confident that they will all work fine, but it’s best to print a check or two, print a sales invoice, etc, and make sure we don’t have any surprises when they actually cut over.

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Converting a thick to thin disk in a VMWare ESX / ESXi

Our Technology Consulting Services do this type of thing every day

1. Poweroff the virtual machine.

2. Login to the command line (Putty) console of the esxi server.

3. Locate the directory in which the .vmdk (hard disk) file is located.

4. Execute the following command in the command line console.

vmkfstools –i hard-diskfile-thick.vmdk –d thin hard-diskfile-thin.vmdk

where hard-diskfile-thick.vmdk is the thick provisioned hard drive and the hard-diskfile-thin.vmdk is the newly created thin provisioned disk file.

5. Login to the vsphere client.Delete the old hard drive and add new thin provisioned hard drive to the virtual machine.

6. Start the virtual machine with the modified configuration.

Tip:

Sometimes you may need to use thick provisioned hard drives in order to support clustering feature.In that kind of circumstances you can use the same command with a little modification to convert thin provisioned hard drive to a thick provisioned one.

vmkfstools –i hard-diskfile-thin.vmdk –d thick hard-diskfile-thick.vmdk

You need to follow all the steps mentioned above to execute this command.
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Remove Exchange 2010 Manually. Force Removal when cannot do from Add / Remove

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Removing an Exchange 2010 Server that no longer exists

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If you removed an Exchange 2010 server from your network without properly uninstalling it, either because you experimented with it on a test box or on a virtual machine, or because the computer got hit by a meteor strike, or simply because you didn’t know better, you may notice that the server continues to exist in the network’s Active Directory and shows up in the Exchange Management Console. This article describes how to clean up the left over artifacts in your domain controller without having to reinstall your entire infrastructure.
Words of Warning
The recommended way to remove an Exchange server from your network is to properly uninstall it using the Exchange Server 2010 setup file. If the installation no longer exists, then there is also the option of installing a new server with the same name and restoring the original Exchange configuration. However, I have not explored this path as it appears to be much more time consuming.
Removing AD Configuration
The list of Exchange servers on the domain is stored in the Active Directory configuration. Perform the following steps to remove the offending server:
1.    Log on to the network’s domain controller
2.    From the Start menu select Run… and enter adsiedit.msc to launch the ADSI Edit tool
3.    In the tool, right-click ADSI Edit and select Connect To…
4.    In the Connection Settings dialog under Select a well known Naming Context select Configuration and click OK
5.    Navigate to CN=Configuration [domain] → CN=Services → CN=Microsoft Exchange → CN=[organization] → CN=Administrative Groups → CN=Servers
6.    Right-click and Delete the container for the offending Exchange server.
Removing Mailboxes
The Active Directory also stores information about the mailboxes that were located on the lost server. To remove these, perform the following steps in the ADSI Edit tool:
1.    Navigate to CN=Configuration [domain] → CN=Services → CN=Microsoft Exchange → CN=[organization] → CN=Administrative Groups → CN=Databases
2.    Identify the Mailbox Database containers that belonged to the lost server and Delete them.
If there are multiple Exchange servers on the network, the Mailbox Database folders to delete can easily be identified by clicking on the folder and checking the Name field of the first entry, which should contain the name of the lost computer. Do not delete references to databases belonging to other Exchange servers!
Removing Security Settings
Now that the server is removed, some other settings need to be cleaned up as well. Perform the following additional steps on the domain controller:
1.    Launch Server Manager
2.    Navigate to Roles → Active Directory Domain Services → Active Directory Users and Computers [domain] → [domain] → Microsoft Exchange Security Groups
3.    Remove the computer from the members list of Exchange Servers
4.    Remove the computer from the members list of Exchange Trusted Subsystem.
If the computer was removed from the network altogether, you may also want to remove it from the Active Directory’s list of computers, as well as the DNS Server’s Forward Lookup Zones.

Registering Versions of ASP to IIS

Sometimes when you go to install or reinstall client access services or owa running exchange 2007 or exchange 2010 the original installation did not assign the correct version of .net to IIS (such as 32 bit instead of 64bit.)

 

To resolve this issue proceed as follows.

 

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Change directory as follows:
    • For 32-bit machines change to:
      <WindowsDir>\Microsoft.NET\Framework\<version number>\
    • For 64-bit machines change to:
      <WindowsDir\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\<version number>\
  3. Run the command ‘aspnet_regiis.exe –r -enable’ and press enter.
  4. Try Restart IIS
  5. Try whatever you were doing again with the new settings in place.

Every have problems with OWA not work correctly? Many times it can be a problem in IIS .

The easiest way to fix it when that is the problem is to reinstalled OWARe-Install OWA. After I fixed this several times throughout the years. This time around I decided to save a guide on that process.   I found this guide to help with each step.

This is something from

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941201

 

To resolve this problem,follow these step for your version of Exchange Server. After each step, determine whether the problem is resolved. If the problem persists, continue to the next step.

Before you begin, we recommend that you run the following command in the Exchange Management shell:

Get-OwaVirtualDirectory |fl >Owavdir.txt
This provides an output file that can be used as a reference when you re-create the OWA virtual directories
For Exchange Server 2007

 

Step 1: Delete and then re-create the Outlook Web Access-related virtual directories

To delete the Outlook Web Access-related virtual directories, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Exchange Management Shell.
  2. Type the following commands. Press ENTER after you type each command.
    Note These commands are case-sensitive.
    • Remove-OwaVirtualDirectory “exchange (default web site)”
    • Remove-OwaVirtualDirectory “public (default web site)”
    • Remove-OwaVirtualDirectory “exchweb (default web site)”
    • Remove-OwaVirtualDirectory “owa (default web site)”

To re-create the Outlook Web Access-related virtual directories, type the following commands at the Exchange Management Shell. Press ENTER after you type each command:

  • New-OwaVirtualDirectory “exchange” -OwaVersion Exchange2003or2000 -VirtualDirectoryType Mailboxes -WebSiteName “Default Web Site”
  • New-OwaVirtualDirectory “public” -OwaVersion Exchange2003or2000 -VirtualDirectoryType PublicFolders -WebSiteName “Default Web Site”
  • New-OwaVirtualDirectory “exchweb” -OwaVersion Exchange2003or2000 -VirtualDirectoryType Exchweb -WebSiteName “Default Web Site”
  • New-OwaVirtualDirectory -name “owa” -OwaVersion Exchange2007 -WebSiteName “Default Web Site” –InternalURL https://internalURL/owa -ExternalURL https://externalURL/owa

For Exchange Server 2010

 

Step 1: Delete and then re-create the Outlook Web Access-related virtual directories

To delete the Outlook Web Access-related virtual directories, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Exchange Management Shell.
  2. Type the following commands. Press ENTER after you type each command.
    Note These commands are case-sensitive
    • Remove-OwaVirtualDirectory “owa (default web site)”
    • Remove-ecpVirtualDirectory “ecp (default web site)”

To re-create the Outlook Web Access-related virtual directories, type the following commands at the Exchange Management Shell. Press ENTER after you type each command:

    • New-OwaVirtualDirectory -name “owa” -WebSiteName “Default Web Site” –InternalURL https://internalURL/owa -ExternalURL https://externalURL/owa
    • New-EcpVirtualDirectory -name “ECP” -WebSiteName “Default Web Site”

Note Where the “internalURL” signifies the internal Fully Qualified Domain Name of your Client Access Server (such as CAS1.contoso.com), and the “externalURL” signifies the external URL that your users connect to in order to access OWA (such as mail.consoso.com).

 

Step 2: Re-synchronize the passwords

Re-synchronize the passwords in the metabase and in the Active Directory directory service for the following accounts:

  • IUSR_ComputerName
  • IWAM_ComputerName

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Start a command prompt, and then use the cd command to change to the following directory:

c:\inetpub\adminscripts

  1. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:

notepad adsutil.vbs

  1. Locate the following code.
  1. If (Attribute = True) then
  2. IsSecureProperty = True
  3. Else
  4. IsSecureProperty = False

End If

  1. In this code, change the value for IsSecureProperty from Trueto False, and then save the changes to the file.Important After you follow steps 1 through 4 to re-synchronize the passwords, you must change the first IsSecureProperty value back to True and then save the changes to the file.
  2. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

cscript adsutil.vbs get w3svc1\anonymoususerpass

Results that resemble the following are returned:

Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6

Copyright (C) Microsoft corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.

 

anonymoususerpass               : (STRING) “HtV9o2w.18)@SY”

Note You may receive error code -2147024893 when you run this command. This issue occurs if the Anonymoususerpass property is set at the w3svc level for all Web sites and not at the particular Web site level (w3svc1). In this scenario, modify the get command to specify the w3svc level. To do this, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

cscript adsutil.vbs get w3svc\anonymoususerpass

  1. Copy the password that is displayed between the quotation marks in the returned results, and then use this password to reset the password for the IUSR_ComputerName account.
  2. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

cscript adsutil.vbs get w3svc1\wamuserpass

Results that resemble the following are returned:

Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6

Copyright (C) Microsoft corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.

 

wamsuserpass                     : (STRING) “Tl&b9^1n9`7g*9″

Note If you receive error code -2147024893 when you run this command, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

cscript adsutil.vbs get w3svc\wamuserpass

  1. Copy the password that is displayed between the quotation marks in the results, and then use this password to reset the password for the IWAM_ComputerName account.
  2. Follow steps 1 through 3 to view the IsSecureProperty entry in the adsutil.vbs file. Revert the value of the first IsSecureProperty entry to True, and then save the changes to the file.

 

Step 3: Remove the Anonymoususerpass property from the ROOT container in the metabase

To remove the Anonymoususerpass property from the ROOT container in the metabase, follow these steps:

  1. Start a command prompt, and then use the cd command to change to the following directory:

c:\inetpub\adminscripts

  1. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:

cscript adsutil.vbs find w3svc/anonymoususerpass

Results that resemble the following are returned:

Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6

Copyright (C) Microsoft corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.

 

Property anonymoususerpass found at:

w3svc

  1. If the Anonymoususerpass property is set at w3svc and at w3svc/1/ROOT, remove the property from the ROOT level. To do this, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

cscript adsutil.vbs delete w3svc/1/ROOT/anonymoususerpass

  1. Reset IIS. To do this, type iisreset, and then press ENTER.Note You may also have to restart the Client Access Server (CAS).

Back to the top

Step 4: Verify that Anonymous authentication is enabled for the controls virtual directory and for the auth virtual directory

Verify that Anonymous authentication is enabled for the controls virtual directory under the owa virtual directory in IIS. Also, verify that Anonymous authentication is enabled for the auth virtual directory under the owa virtual directory in IIS. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in.
  2. Expand the server name, expand Web Sites, expand Default Web Site, and then expand owa.
  3. Under owa, right-click 8.0.685.24, and then click Properties.Note The 8.0.685.24 virtual directory may have a different version number for a name. This depends on the version of Exchange 2007 that is installed.
  4. Click the Directory Security tab, and then click Edit under Authentication and access control.
  5. Click to select the Enable Anonymous access check box, and then click to clear all the check boxes under Authenticated access.
  6. Click OK two times.
  7. Under owa, right-click auth, and then click Properties.
  8. Follow steps 4 through 6 to enable anonymous authentication and to disable other authentication methods for the auth virtual directory.

Step 5: Verify the IUSR_ComputerName account properties

If a domain account is used for anonymous access, examine the account properties of the IUSR_ComputerName account to verify that this account is permitted to connect to the CAS server. To do this, follow these steps:

Note To determine the account that is used for anonymous access, follow the steps in “Step 4: Verify that Anonymous authentication is enabled for the controls virtual directory and the Auth virtual directory” to view the contents of the Authentication Methods dialog box.

  1. Start the Active Directory Users and Computers tool.
  2. Locate and right-click the IUSR_ComputerName account, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Account tab, and then click Log On To.
  4. If the All computers option is selected, click Cancel, and then click OK to exit the IUSR_ComputerName Properties dialog box.
  5. If the The following computers option is selected, follow these steps:
    1. Verify that the CAS server appears in the Computer name list. If the CAS server does not appear in this list, you must add it.
    2. Click OK two times to save the changes and to exit the IUSR_ComputerName Properties dialog box.
    3. Start a command prompt on the CAS server.
    4. Type iisreset /noforce, and then press ENTER.

Exchange 2010 Unable to Create new Database. Active Directory operation failed on . This error is not retriable.

If trying to add Exchange 2010 Databases and you get the an error like the following:

Active Directory operation failed on “server”. This error is not retriable. Additional information: The name reference is invalid. This may be caused by replication latency between Active Directory domain controllers

It can be caused by actual latency in Active Directory replication.  This may be a result where you have a slow site link or your replication interval may be too high in AD.

However I have come accross a scenrio where it turned out that the Configuration Domain Controller and the Exchange 2010 preferred Global Catalog were actualy different. Apparently the new database object is not replicated quickly enough and AD cannot verify the new database creation.

To fix we I ran following command to set the Configuration Domain Controller and the Preferred Global Catalog Server:
Set-AdserverSettings -ConfigurationDomainController “Servername” -PreferredGlobalCatalog “ServerName” -SetPreferredDomainControllers “Servername”

The servername was the FQDN name of the DC. You should have the Configuration Domain Controllers and the Preferred Global Catalog on the same server.

Hope this helps anyone who comes accross the same issues. Send in a response and we’d be glad to help. If you still are getting the error try looking into :Troubleshooting Active Directory Replication Problems http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc738415(WS.10).aspx

R

How to Change SMTP Banner on MS Exchange

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2003:
1. Open Exchange system manager.
2. Expand your administrative group (”First administrative group” by default).
3. Expand Servers.
4. Expand “YourServersName”.
5. Expand Protocals container.
6. Select SMTP container.
7. On the right window, right click the Default SMTP virtual Server (Or the name you set your SMTP Server) and select Properties.
8. Select the Delivery Tab.
9. Click the Advanced button.
10. Under the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) type mail.yourdomain.com (The A/Host record you created in DNS for your mail server)
11. Click Apply and OK again to accept the changes

Configure SMTP banner Exchange 2007/2010:
1. Open the Exchange management console.
2. Select the Organisation Configuration container.
3. Select Hub Transport container.
4. On the right select the Send Connectors tab.
5. Right click your send connector and select properties.
6. On the General tab under the Set the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.yourdomain.com. Click OK.
7. Under the Server Configuration container click the Hub Transport container.
8. In the Right window Select the properties of the Receive Connector under Receive Connectors tab.
9. On the General tab under the Set the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) this connector will… type the A record domain name you created. Which in our case is mail.yourdomain.com. Click OK.

Enable SAS Tape Library on ESXi 4.1

 

Enable SAS Tape Library Support on ESXi 4.1. It is advisable to shut down all hosts and disable auto start. If you are physically adding the HBA a minimum of two host reboots will be required.

As best I can tell this is not officially supported and even if it works it might not perform as expected. This setup occurred on a HP DL385 G5p with a SC44ge HBA and a Overland Neo 400s Tape Library.

 

Connect tape library to via dedicated HBA. Do not share HBA with disks.

 

Verify that the HBA and Tape drive are visible in vSphere

 

Verify that Remote Tech Support Access, is enabled and SSH to the server. (Or go to the local console and enter tech support mode) Remote tech support can be turned on here. (Click on Properties to start service)

 

From the SSH console enter the following. Locate your HBA in the list.

 

 

esxcfg-scsidevs -a

 

~ # esxcfg-scsidevs -a

vmhba38 sata_svw link-n/a sata.vmhba38 (0:1:14.0) ServerWorks BCM5785 [HT1000] SATA (Native SATA Mode)

vmhba0 sata_svw link-n/a sata.vmhba0 (0:1:14.0) ServerWorks BCM5785 [HT1000] SATA (Native SATA Mode)

vmhba1 cciss link-n/a block.cciss/c0d2:0 (0:72:0.0) Hewlett-Packard Company Smart Array P400

vmhba2 mptsas link-n/a sas.500605b0018e62d0 (0:66:0.0) LSI Logic / Symbios Logic SC44Ge Host Bus Adapter

vmhba32 bnx2i unbound iscsi.vmhba32 Broadcom iSCSI Adapter

vmhba33 bnx2i unbound iscsi.vmhba33 Broadcom iSCSI Adapter

vmhba34 bnx2i unbound iscsi.vmhba34 Broadcom iSCSI Adapter

vmhba35 bnx2i unbound iscsi.vmhba35 Broadcom iSCSI Adapter

vmhba36 sata_svw link-n/a sata.vmhba36 (0:1:14.0) ServerWorks BCM5785 [HT1000] SATA (Native SATA Mode)

vmhba37 sata_svw link-n/a sata.vmhba37 (0:1:14.0) ServerWorks BCM5785 [HT1000] SATA (Native SATA Mode)

On my system the HBA was

vmhba2 mptsas link-n/a sas.500605b0018e62d0 (0:66:0.0) LSI Logic / Symbios Logic SC44Ge Host Bus Adapter.

The item after the HBA name is the driver. Use that driver name and enter the following command. Fill in the correct driver for your system. The phrase in the parenthesis is a description only, it has no effect on the command. Do NOT omit the quotes on both ends.

esxcli nmp satp addrule –satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL –driver=”

mptsas” –description=”LSI Logic/Symbios Logic SC44Ge Host Bus Adapter

 

This is a small font to simplify coping. The break between the quotes in the description can be joined together, spaces are not important in the description.

esxcli nmp satp addrule –satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL –driver=”

mptsas” –description=”LSI Logic/Symbios Logic SC44Ge Host Bus Adapter

 

Reboot the ESXi host.

Confirm that the tape library is visible in ESXi.

Take note of the LUN and the Runtime name for each device. Pay attention to the value of T

On this system they are

vmhba1:C0:T0:L0 Tape

vmhba1:C0:T1:L1 Media Changer

From a ssh session the connectivity can also be verified with the following command. On my system I see the library and the tape.

 

esxcfg-scsidevs -l | grep -i vendor

 

~ # esxcfg-scsidevs -l | grep -i vendor

Vendor: VMware Model: Block device Revis: 1.0

Vendor: VMware Model: Block device Revis: 1.0

Vendor: VMware Model: Block device Revis: 1.0

Vendor: HP Model: MSL G3 Series Revis: G.33

Vendor: HP Model: Ultrium 4-SCSI Revis: U55W

~ #

Now it is time to add the library and the tape changer to the host. Please remember that the library and tape can only be added to a single VM.

Edit the settings of the target VM

Click Add

Select SCSI Device (If you do not see SCSI Device then something went wrong in a earlier step)

I will add the library first, it shows up on my system as media HP.

Select the library for the SCSI Device and then select a SCSI id DO NOT USE SCSI (0:x) Use SCSI (1:1) The second number must match the Target from the earlier step. In my case it was vmhba1:C0:T

1:L1

Now to add the tape

 

Click Add

 

The tape shows up on my system as Tape HP.

 

Select the tape for the SCSI device and then select a SCSI id DO NOT USE SCSI (0:x) Use SCSI (1:0) The second number must match the Target from the earlier step. In my case it was vmhba1:C0:T

0:L1

Save your changes and power on the virtual machine. If all went well you should see the tape and the library on the system.