Thursday, 19 October 2017

1 year at NATC

I am happy to inform all of you that I am completing exact one year in this company on 17 October 2016. My 1st project on build an 80 feet tower for installing internet equipment at Africa Heart Wood Zannah Town. When I joined this company a year back, I was totally new in this company's culture and it was a hard time to match with it.

It was you all who had taken pains to teach me the culture and working style of this company. Because of your strong support and my CEO Ms. Farzana Rasheed and Chief Operation Mr. Haresh Karamchandani. Who had guided me time to time in my work, I could successfully complete this one year period in the company.

I am sure you all will continue to provide your support and guidance, which will help me in performing the Best in near future.


I feel proud to complete one successful year with great satisfaction. Yes, this is my 367th day as an employee. First of all, I thank God for all the good things he gave in my first year and my fantastic team members whom I work with. They are of great support and fun to be with.


I, being a very optimistic person, hope that the coming years will be full of learning, challenges and fun. One last thing, not to forget to mention is that, I always feel that, I am updated with the moving technology. Thanks NATC management and staff.

Thanks for reading.
Regards,
Farman Elahi, IT Technician



Friday, 13 October 2017

LIBERIA AGRICULTURE COMPANY HP PROLAINT 360 G8 SERVER NOT BOOTING

Dear reader,

NATC has proven to be the one stop IT solution center. We are continuing to deliver customers satisfaction like no one does and through this means we are adding new clients based on customers’ recommendations. We recently provided tech support to the second largest rubber plantation in Liberia: The Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC) in Grand Bass County. 

On the 29th of September, our Head of Operations received a call from the General Manager of LAC to report a failure in powering on their data server HP ProLiant 360p Gen8, running Windows Server 2008 Data Center. The in-house IT officers assumed a power surge caused by a the lightning strike had damaged the server. A team of two senior staff, Hardware Specialist Farman Elahi and myself Daniel Collins, Software and Network Administrator, were dispatched with a new 460w power supply unit and software for troubleshooting incase the problem could be power supply replacement. We arrived the same day at around 5:00 O’clock PM due to the bumpy road condition.

The LAC IT team welcomed us and we were introduced to all the senior management staff. We provided an overview of our company and ourselves. They later took us to their staff canteen for snacks and fresh air after a long day of driving. After lunch, we proceed to the server room and started our work. We checked the two power supplies and they were all working well, but the server was still not powering on. We carefully started a one-on-one check of all the ICs and MOPET ICs as well then found out they were lot of damaged ones on the motherboard that prevented power or current to flow from the power supply to these components to power on the server. That took us up to 11:55PM. We could not work on repairs on the motherboard on site so decided to inform the client to take the server to our lab in Monrovia. The next morning we had a short meeting with the senior management and the IT officers. As technical as the other guys were, they agreed to our request and gave us a go-ahead. Before leaving we inspected the electrical grounding system and lightning arrestor. We noticed that lightning arrestor and grounding of the equipment was not properly done.

We arrived with the server late on a Saturday evening back to Monrovia along with the In-house IT Head. We could not do anything as it was close of office hours. Early Monday morning we were able to thoroughly check the server's motherboard in our lab with our tools and equipment and concluded that it would be difficult to do any professional or guaranteed repairs on the motherboard as there was so much damage. These diagnostics were done in the midst of their IT officer so he understood exactly our next step on replace the motherboard.

The information was shared with LAC General Manager and we were given the green light to order a new motherboard with same part number from our USA partner and prepare material for the installation of the lightning arrestor and grounding. The order was placed the same day and expected an arrival over the weekend. 

It arrived on the 6th of October. I received a WhatsApp message from our Head of Operations about the arriver of the said item. I got prepared for the next morning's trip to Grand Bassa.    I was picked up from my Junction with the team including our Head of Operations that Saturday morning and arrived at noon and immediately starting on replacing the motherboard. The important parts such as Network Interface Card, Power Supplies, Heat Sink and RAID Array Card were extracted from the old Motherboard and inserted on the new Motherboard to secure the existing configurations and data files. 

The Server was powered on and came on initially with ‘’Power Supply Mismatch’’ error. I was like gosh!!!!! Another problem again? But you know, there’s always a solution especially when it comes to IT; either repair or replace in this scenario. A critical thinking was done quickly and decided to remove the redundant power supply unit and left the server one supply. It boots up successfully with all configurations and data in place. We contacted their Home office to login remotely from Switzerland to confirm it everything was ok from their side, too. He then confirms ‘’Yes’’. 

He suggested that we do a backup immediately on a 4TB external hard drive. After completion of the Server, we had a good lunch and proceeded back to site to continue the installation of the new lightning arrestor. 



Installation of the pipe.
The Company provided us few men to help with digging of 5’ deep pit and prefabricated 30’galvanized pipe to weld the lightning arrestor on top of the pipe securely and planted into the pit and filled with concrete mixture. The tower was secured with 3 cable attached to the ground. 3 more pits were dug and 3x5’ x 37.5mm thick copper rods were inserted into these pits and connected the lightning arrestor with a 25mm on insulated cable. The resistance test was 0.3 Ohm, this was a good value.  

These pits were filled with fertile soil. The old arrestor was reading 0.0 Ohm. They understood that the old one was not working and should not be relied on. We also installed a 10000VA Voltage Stabilizer and instructed their in-house electrician on how to connect the server rack and other IT equipment due the time as we did not plan to sleep on site. They have confirmed that it is connected and working well.

The customer was very excited with our quick intervention and solution. Other vendors had advised that they should replace the server and by replacing the server they would have lost all data because the hard drives were configured with RAID protection. These drives cannot be read in any servers or backup equipment.

NATC always provides the best solution for its clients/customers that why that’s why we remain the one stop IT solution company in Liberia running for years with experience management and staff.

Thanks for following our technical blogs and hope you enjoy reading!

Prepared By:
Daniel Collins
Senior IT Technician

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Upgrading a Windows 2008 Server to 2012 R2 Standard

We have a client, Population Services International Liberia (PSI). All of their ICT infrastructure is being managed by us as a consultant.

There’s a file sharing server (HP ProLiant Server T620) that has been configured and setup for years running Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard. Last week, I was forced to upgrade the (OS) Operating System to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard for below reasons.

I have had issues with RAM failure twice in the past and the RAM was replaced.

A monthly preventive ICT maintenance is also carried out on all their IT equipment including Anti-virus full system scan, defragmentation of disk space, deleting temporary internet files, Windows updates, checking all wireless access points, switches & routers, making sure everyone is seamlessly browsing the internet and system backups in case of disaster recovery or any other future problems.
One morning, I was just back in office from one of our clients sub office out of Monrovia, Sanniquillie Nimba County and doing the routine checks. I got an email request from PSI to creating new users and access to the said file sharing server. To be specific, Human Resource Department folder. I quickly arranged my tools and left for their site.

I typed in the administrative password for the server and got an incorrect password warning over and over. I couldn’t believe it because even if you woke me up at night I could read it out loud. I phoned the guy who’s in charge of the server room keys and whom I relate every sensitive information including Wi-Fi password, desktop administrative passwords, including the server just in case I am unable to get there on time due to emergency if he made any changes on the server password. He responded that yes he did, but can’t remember where he place it neither remember. I was so frustrated that why would he make changes without securing a system password or sharing it with me. I had no alternative but to get Windows Server 2012 software in resetting my password. Now if you don’t have this idea you will end up running a fresh installation, structuring files, configuring Active Directory, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and creating all users over. This would have been more than a pain.

These steps are very easy and simple to follow once you have your software installation disk or USB available. (Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard)
·      Boot from you Microsoft Windows Server 2012 DVD
·      From the Windows Setup menu, Click “Next’’.
·      Select “repair Your computer’’
·      Under Choose and option, click on “Troubleshoot”.
·      Under Advance option, click “Command Prompt”.

At the command prompt, run the following commands:
  • d: and hit enter
  • cd windows\system32 and hit enter
  • ren Utilman.exe Utilman.exe.old and hit enter
  • copy cmd.exe Utilman.exe

·      Close the command prompt and click “Continue.

·     The server should boot and display a logon screen. In this case you only hold Windows Key + U.
·     At the prompt you can now change the password you wish by entering the following commands:
net user administrator ‘’Adm1n1str8t1ve” for example.

Close the command prompt, you will now be able to log back onto the server using the password you entered in the command prompt. Once you verified that you can log on to the server. That’s really cool. You still need to repeat the steps in getting to the command prompt by restarting the server and running these commands:

          · d: and hit enter
          · cd windows\system32, and hit enter
          · ren Utilman.exe Utilman.exe.new, and hit enter
          · copy cmd.exe Utilman.exe

Here are photos of my password reset. The server is now running without causing any inconvenience to our customers.

Reach out for NATC for all your IT needs and support!

Prepared by:
Daniel W. Collins
Senior IT Technician

New Africa Technology Company (NATC)

Monday, 31 July 2017

Afriland Bank server installation

We supplied an HP ProLiant Server for one of our clients, Afriland First Bank Liberia. In a few days the, the client request that we (NATC) come over and do the installation of the software (Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard). I arranged my software quickly and stop by at the bank. My arrival was announced to the IT department but unfortunately, the IT Manager had left the bank. He instructed that I deliver the software (OS) to any of his colleagues of his department. The next day on my way to work I got a call from my boss saying ‘’ Daniel, the bank have some issues with the installation of the server operating system (OS). You need to pass by and see what’s the problem is and have it resolved as soon as possible!’’ He also shared the error message with me on our WhatsApp channel, as it is one of the easier and smooth ways the team works and communicate with each other these days, very interesting!


Well, below was the error message of the server shown during shutdown. This error does not occur on a “warm” restart of the server. It only occurs during shutdown. I quickly continue my journey to my office, downloaded the needful, went back to client site, and updated the firmware in resolving the problem.

If you may have experience such problem after installation of Microsoft Windows Server 2008R2 Standard in your server environment, there’s no need changing your OS/ operating system  or server brand. A firmware upgrade is required. Download the firmware of the exact brand and OS to save yourself the stress by clicking the link below.
Prepared by:
Daniel W. Collins
Senior IT Technician
New Africa Technology Company (NATC)