Server Maintenance "Best Practices"

Posted on 2006-04-19
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I'm looking to get some new fresh ideas on server maintenance for my Win2KADV domain.  So far I've found the following.....can anyone add to this list?

•     Servers:
o     Server cleaning:  Quarterly
o     Backup tape testing:  Monthly
o     Server rebooting:  As necessary / Quarterly
o     Hard drive defrag:  Monthly
o     Hard drive cleaning:  Monthly
o     Security Account review:  Monthly
o     Event Log monitor:  Weekly
o     Patches & Updates:  As needed
o     Battery/server shutdown test:  Quarterly
•     User / Accounts:
o     User Account (AD) cleaning:  Monthly
o     User file system cleaning:  Monthly
o     User Outlook profile cleaning:  Monthly
o     User Account security checks:  Quarterly
•     Network Devices:
o     Verification of access-control lists and security settings:  Monthly
o     Review of security logs:  Weekly
o     Backup of configuration:  As needed
Question by:collintapia
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Hi, two great tools I find for maintenance and monitoring of my servers are provided free of charge from Microsoft. The first is Microsoft's Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) and when downloaded and installed, it can give you a really good insight into any holes in your security or setup.

    The link for downloading it is here:

    The second tool is essential if you are using Microsoft Exchange on your network. It's called Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA) and its available here:

    You could also try to hack into your network using some free software. You can download an ISO to burn to cd from this site:

    The Auditor collection has some really powerful hacking tools to test and audit just how secure your network is. You might be surprised at how easily you can get access to your network.

    Also, it helps to implement/review any group policies that you might have in place in your AD domain.

    You could also review off site storage policies of your backup tapes, making sure that they are secure and off site every night.

    Hope this helps.

    Author Comment

    As you can probably see in my post, I'm looking for very broad ideas here....

    I've looked into all the suggestions and will use the software.  Thanks for that.  

    I guess what I'm looking for is some kind of documentation or even books on best practices for maintaining Win2kADV Server.

    I want to be able to put something together that outlines these best practices so I can distribute to my other collegues for reference.
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Hi again, you could try looking at some of these books, I find most of Microsoft Press' books are well worth a read although, you might want to try and shop around to get the cheapest prices for them as different outlets can vary in price drastically. The links below will give you a feel for the books by allowing a sample chapter or two!

    hope they help

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the links....I will look into those as well....I believe I might have one of them already.  I guess my request above is a little bit too one seems willing to tackle my question...
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Could add:

    Anti Virus Updates.
    Carry out CPU, Disk usage and other performance monitoring to get a baseline so you can compare when a problem does occur.
    Programs Installed (to check for unauthorised program installations).
    Full anti virus scan.

    Will post more if I think of anything else.

    LVL 57

    Accepted Solution

    Your list is very good; I would add

    Spyware Scans: Monthly
    Verify AD replication:  Weekly
    Analyze Domain Controllers using DC Diag:  Monthly
    Test Disaster Recovery Plan: Quarterly or Semi-Annually
    Old Computer Maintenance:  Quartely  (I like oldCMP for this task
    Verify Members of Domain Admin Group:  Weekly
    Change passwords on service accounts with elevated rights:Quarterly or Semi-Annual
    Check Disk Space:  Daily or Weekly


    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    This is really, really old.  But since I found it, someone else might be looking here as well.  

    Regarding defrag.  We recently started automating it.  Contig (from SysInternals) is a free file level defrag tools that uses the defrag functions built-in to Windows.  That means you can safely abort it anytime you need to.  So I setup a small batch file which runs weekly, or even nightly, depending on how quickly the server tends to fragment).  The batch file looks something like this:

       EventCreate /L system /T INFORMATION /SO Contig /ID 999 /D "Start Defragmentation of Drive C"
       Contig c:\ -q -s
       EventCreate /L system /T INFORMATION /SO Contig /ID 999 /D "End Defragmentation of Drive C"

    The Event entries are so that I can determine when it starts and stops.  

    I use scheduler to determine when to run it and set an quit if not finished so that it doesn't bother people in the morning.  The first couple of times, it will take a while to finish.  On a really fragmented drive it may abort before it finishes.  But if you run this nightly for a few days, you can probably drop the schedule back to weekly.  

    Works like a champ.  We now have some of the cleanest, fastest drives.  Best part's free.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Is there any specific documentations from Dell to preventive maintain their PowerEdge serves? If you could find one, please share with us

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