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I am going to glaze over the beginning processes, because I have already performed and documented them here.
This is a Lync Server 2010 install on a domain member server running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise.

I will pick up: Prepare First Standard Edition Server.

This goes through the process, and completes this time, installing SQL 2008 Express and an instance named RTC, which is started and running.

Next, select Install Topology Builder, and let the tool complete.

Topology Builder
Topology Builder

Now let’s do some prep. First, add the account you are using to DomainAdmins and RTCUniversalServerAdmins groups. You can do this via ADUC, by double clicking the group, selecting the members tab, and adding the name of your account.

RTCUniversalServerAdmin

RTCUniversalServerAdmin

Next, create the share you will be using during your topology setup. The default sharename is share, on the server you are installing Lync 2010 on. I will name it LyncShare, as this server has little else to do besides Lync, and no other shares. I create a new folder on any drive, right-click it and select share with, specific people. I then add Domain Users and Everyone with read/write permissions. We can change these to least access later on.
File Sharing

File Sharing

Make sure the account you are using is in there as well- and this should be a domain account.
DNS Records for your Server Pool need to exist, as well as simple URL’s. We will add those after we build the topology, before we publish it.

Now, go to Start>All Programs>Lync Server 2010, and select Topology Builder.

Click on New Topology.

The Primary SIP Domain can be any domain name that you use, I leave mine set to my internal domain name. For this example, I will use company.local.

Primary SIP Domain

Primary SIP Domain

Click Next. I am not adding any added domains, so click Next again.

Under Site Name, name your site something nice, like CompanyLync.

First Site

First Site

Click Next. Enter your City, State, and Country.

Check the box: Open the New Front End Wizard… and click Finish.

New Front End Wizard

New Front End Wizard

Click Next.

Select Standard Edition Server, and enter the domain member server’s FQDN.

Front End FQDN

Front End FQDN

Click Next. Check no boxes, click Next.

Select Features

Select Features

Uncheck Mediation Server, and hit Next.

Collocated Server Roles

Collocated Server Roles

Enable anything you want, I leave all unchecked. Click Next.

Associated Server Roles

Associated Server Roles

Click Next on the grayed out options screen for SQL Store, to leave them at the default settings for new.

Select the name of a File Share, leave File Server alone or set to your company’s file server- in this case it is all on one server, so enter that servers FQDN. Click Next.

File Share

File Share

Leave Web Services URL alone- remember this is going to be used for internal IM only. You can change this as you see fit, if you will be hosting external access.

Web Services URL
Web Services URL

I named my External URL ExternalPool.company.local. I will now create DNS records for both pools. Open up DNS MMC, and add an Alias(CNAME) entry for both internal and external base urls, pointing to the correct FQDN address of the server.

DNS Alias for Pool

DNS Alias for Pool

You can now view the properties of everything you have configured.

Properties
Properties

Click Edit Properties from the menu on the right. Click Simple URLs on the left of the window that opens.

Add an Administrative access URL. I did mine to match the other too, changing the first word to admin.
Click Central Management Server and select the only option.
Simple URLs

Simple URLs

Now let’s add DNS entries for these three Simple URLs.
Back in the DNS MMC, add a Alias(CNAME) for dialin, meet, and admin.

In the menu on the right, click Publish Topology.

Read the requirements, and when ready, click Next.

Leave this to default and click Next.

Central Management Server

Central Management Server

Now I decided to change my pool name, and I got all sorts of problems. If you get warning messages about your pool not existing in AD, then you can use Lync Management Shell to remove the pool, and redo the set up. The post on how to do this is here.

Now when I hit Publish, it completed successfully.

Publish Progress

Publish Progress

Publish Success
Publish Success

Nice, but we still have more to do. Microsoft says that this is the point in which you rerun the setup on all servers that will be handling Lync. Since I am only using one, we do not need to do this. Go back to the Lync Server Deployment Wizard. This time click on the link to the left- Install or Update Lync Server System.

Install or Update Lync Server System

Install or Update Lync Server System

Click Run next to Install Local Configuration Store. Leave the default options on both screens, and click next.
Let the Wizard complete. Hopefully you will receive success on all the prerequisites.
NOTE: Make sure to always expand the prerequisites tab before each item and make sure you are in compliance.
Installing Local

Installing Local

Once complete, click Run next to the next item, Lync Server Components.

Click Next.

IIS Roles

IIS Roles

I get an error about IIS features. I remember when I added the Feature IIS, I left most of the boxes cleared by default. Lets enable all of that now.

Click Server Manager, and select Roles. At this point you will have IIS installed, so click on the link. Scroll down a bit and click Add Role Services. I then added all of the roles that the error message mentioned. I suppose you could add all, but why add extra stuff that you do not need?

IIS Role Services

IIS Role Services

Click Next, click Install.

It will complete (no reboot needed), and go back to your Lync Deployment screen, and re-run Setup Lync Server Components.

Click Finish once that completes without errors.

Run the next task: Request, Install, or Assign Certificates.

A box appears with a Default Certificate, which is unassigned. Click Request next to it. You could also click request, and formulate a CSR to an Offline CA. I will select send the request immediately to an online CA, and click Next.

Certificate Wizard
Certificate Wizard

It should automatically pull up your CA server, which in my case is my DC. I will click Next if this is correct. You can then specify alternate credentials, if you are not signed in as a domain admin account. I am, so I will leave this alone. Click Next.

Click Next pas the Alternate Template page.
Specify a friendly name. I used lyncfriendly
Ill let you decide what to put here, for OU and Organization. Consult the Lync Documentation if you need help with this. Click Next and fill out your locale.
Click Next twice.
Check the box next to your SIP Domain, and click Next.
SIP Domain

SIP Domain

Click Next.

Click Next again.

And Again, and let the wizard do it’s thing.

Certificate Request Completed

Certificate Request Completed

You will get a message about thumbprints, make sure the box is checked, and click Finish.

Online Certificate Request Status

Online Certificate Request Status

Now you will be ported to the Assignment screen. Click Next.

Click Next again- I won’t show you all of my company internal information. Once the wizard completes, click Finish.

Click Close, and select Run on the next object: Start Services.

On the wizard that opens, click Next.

Cross your fingers! Yay! It completed successfully. Click Finish.

Click on Service status to see if they are all running.

Lync Services

Lync Services

Close out everything, and open Lync Control Panel from the Start Menu. It should open and look like this.

Lync Control Panel

Lync Control Panel

Now I am going to end this God awful long post, and go about adding my users. If there is an area I could be clearer, please comment. If I did something wrong, please let me know! I posted this mainly for my own documentation purposes, and to help out the next guy who is not comfortable with certificates, pools, SIP domains, etc. Thanks for reading!

Update: I stumbled across this post, by Jeff Guillet. He is the author of some of the books I have read, and this post and tool are amazing. Thanks for the GREAT contribution Jeff!

http://www.expta.com/2011/01/introducing-lyncaddcontacts.html

A tool to add contacts to a users Lync over and over. Say you have a domain of 20 users who will use Lync (as I did). Adding 20 people, 20 times (as I did) takes forever. Use this tool to set up one client once, and then re-run it to perform the same actions on other clients. Ingenious.

 

UPDATE: When you first install the client, the initial sync can take a while. If you are like me, you need to get it up an running quick so you do not further disturb the network or desktops. There is a registry entry you can add. What I do is install Lync Client. Then I import the company contacts from the GAL to the users contacts list. Then exit the client.

Now open an elevated command prompt. Type this command:

reg add hklm\software\policies\microsoft\communicator /v GalDownloadInitialDelay /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f             (And that is a zero at the end).

Now wait one minute, and restart the Lync Client. It will now have all of the users contacts synced up and ready to add.

NOTE: This process DOES NOT WORK! I thought that maybe I could trick Lync 2010 to install on a DC, but the SQL failure got quite annoying, and I gave up. Instead, I will be installing both SQL 2008 and Lync 2010 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 member. I will get back to you on that configuration.

If you would like a walkthrough on how to install Lync Server 2010 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 member server, read this post here.

Do not attempt this install, it will not work.

I am going to install Lync Server 2010 on SBS 2008 SP2. This is a production server- I do not recommend doing this until you have planned and tested it first. I do not have a test server available, so it is going on a live server. The server also has Exchange 2007 SP2, and runs one Sharepoint site on WSS 3.0. Server traffic consists of Sharepoint Document Sharing, File and Print, Exchange Email, and Windows Internal Databases. We have no other applications running that use network or server bandwidth.

I am running a HP Proliant ML150 G5 Server, 8GB RAM, 2x mirrored 150GB HDD’s. This set up is VERY weak, and I am not sure as to the impact of the Lync Server- hopefully by the end of this post I will be able to inform you on what it is doing to my network. We have 18 workstations which will use the Lync Client, remote workers will not use it. We will also only be using Lyns for IM and Presence to start, no video, voice, or conferencing. My install will differ than yours if you are installing the Enterprise version, or have a need for A/V conferencing, phone system integration, or server pools. This will be a Single-Server install, or a stand-along server. It will host the Management Site as well.

Microsoft has a site with all of the information you need. I would suggest printing off and reading all of the planning and deployment guides, as well as watching the videos. The site is here.

Run the Lync Server Planning Tool, which can be downloaded here. It is pre-release at the moment.

I got the Lync Server 2010 and the Lync Client from my MAPS subscription. I will install and evaluate, and purchase licenses as we see fit. I personally do not need any license keys with the technology- how you get the disks and licenses is your problem. I burned two DVD’s- one with the server, and one with the client.

I will now run the Planning Tool, display the results, and go over some further documentation. After that, I will install Lync Server first, then one client to test. After that I will proceed to install the rest of the clients.

I am not vouching for this process, as it will consist of my troubleshooting problems that may arise during install. I do suggest you use this as a guide when you install, if you are in the same scenario- as it will be easier to understand that Microsoft’s technical documents.

run the installed Planning Tool. I usually participate in the Improvement Plan’s, if only because it stops alerts from being displayed in the SBS Console and BPA.

Lync Planning Tool

Lync Planning Tool

I selected to start from the beginning. I selected No for A/V conferencing.

I selected No for Web conferencing.

I selected No for Enterprise Voice.

I selected No for Archiving Server.

I de-selected both Federation check-boxes, as I do not use any External organizations, and I do not wish users to connect to public chats like Yahoo! or MSN.

I selected No for High Availability- I only have one server.

I left the selection alone for Shared WAN. We do not have remote sites as a part of our network, only our Local LAN will use this application.

Central Site

Central Site

I will name my site something appropriate- my companies name plus Lync. I suggest you do the same, and do not include any crazy characters, etc.

Fill in your user count. I only need 10 to start, and 18 to finish, so I will enter 20 to be safe.

For my internal SIP domains, I enter both my local domain name, and my remote domain name, which I use for RWW, OWA, and Exchange. they are company.local, and company.org.

I then select No for External User Access- this will only be used inside my office.

You will now see a topology of your setup. Thankfully, mine is REALLY simple.

Topology

Topology

Clicking on my site, then double clicking the icon, I see some requirements.

Requirements

Requirements

I don’t have enough RAM, or all the correct ports open for the software load balancing. I also do not have SSD’s, or enough NIC’s. Well, I have two, but one is disabled and not in use. These requirements are also planning for way more features than what I will be using. I will print this and proceed for now, and open ports or install services as they come up.

Keep in mind now that I am installing Lync Server 2010 on a stand alone production server with a low amount of RAM and not enough requirements met for install. Do this at your own risk. Back up frequently- a 2 hour restore is not to bad if you destroy your server.

Microsoft also recommends that you install Lync onto a child site of your AD Domain. I have such a small AD, that I will just stick it in there with the 40 users and other objects.

I have been reading Microsoft’s Guides, and a lot of their steps are for specific scenarios, and I get a hint that most of mine will be automatically configured- such as DNS SRV records for SIP domains. So I insert the DVD, and click on E:\Setup\amd64\Setup.exe

I get a pop-up about installing MS Visual C++ 2008, and click Yes.

Microsoft Visual C++ 2008

Microsoft Visual C++ 2008

You are then presented with the Lync Install screen. I changed the default path to D:, this is my application/data drive and has more space.

Lync Server Install

Lync Server Install

Click Install.

Check the box to accept the license, after reading it of course 🙂

License Agreement

License Agreement

The installer does it’s thing.

Core Components Install

Core Components Install

You then enter the Deployment Wizard screen.

Deployment Wizard

Deployment Wizard

This is taken from the help link under Prepare Active Directory.

To begin the installation of Microsoft Lync Server 2010, you must prepare the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) schema, forest, and domains that will host servers and users. The Lync Server Deployment Wizard will guide you through the steps required to prepare Active Directory Domain Service (AD DS), beginning with the schema and then into the forest preparation. After confirming that AD DS replication is successful, you then prepare each domain that will host users or servers.

Important:
To successfully prepare the schema, you must be logged in as a member of the Enterprise Admins group and the Schema Admins group. To prepare the forest, you must be logged in as a member of the Enterprise Admins group or logged in as the administrator in the forest root. For domain preparation, you must be logged in as a member of the Domain Admins group.

Now we click the button to prepare the AD. The next screen has a few options. Now, extending the schema is a huge deal. So, I decided to do a full server backup before I press any more buttons. And good thing- the last backup 6 hours ago failed for some reason. Ill look into those event logs later on. I will finish this backup, make sure it was successful, then proceed.

At this point, Windows Update popped up, with 14 new important updates to install. Booo. Ok, so I install those, and then reboot. My server is great, minus a few warnings that can “be safely ignored” according to Microsoft. Now I resume.

Click Prepare Schema, and Run, then click Next.

Prep AD Schema

Prep AD Schema

Once it completes, I clicked View Log. I then expanded the fields, and browsed the log. I noticed some errors in the log, though the action DID complete successfully.

Extend AD Schema Log

Extend AD Schema Log

I clicked finish, and then checked the deployment using the steps written here. As you can see from the screenshot, my schema was configured correctly.

ADSI Edit Schema

ADSI Edit Schema

I Then ran Prepare Current Forest, and left it set to Local Domain.

Universal Group Location

Universal Group Location

I wont post the screenshot of the log, because editing my personal information out of it would take ages, but you should take time to review it, and make sure everything was created and completed successfully.

You should verify this as well using the steps described here.

Now click Run under Prepare Current Domain, then next.

Prepare Domain

Prepare Domain

Once that completes, check that it was successful using the steps listed here.

Lync Management Shell

Lync Management Shell

Lastly, I will add my account to the CsAdministrators group, which will allow me access to the Management Console. Open ADUC, go to My Business, SBSUsers, and double-click your account, or the account you want to make admin.

Click the Member Of tab, and then click add. Type in CsAdministrators, and click ok.

CsAdministrators Membership

CsAdministrators Membership

I then Exited the Wizard, with everything complete.

I clicked Install Topology Builder, which is a pre req to deployment.

I re opened the Deployment Wizard, and clicked on Single Server Deployment, to the right.

Single Server Deployment

Single Server Deployment

The first screen gives me a message about SQL Server 2008. I have the default SQL 2005 Express installed. Not being comfortable with SQL Server Management, and having the knowledge that side by side installs of the same project can be tricky (And also that migrating my databases to a different SQL version can be hard), I decide to stop for the night. I will run a full backup, because right now everything is still working correctly. I will also contact Microsoft support chat and read my documentation to see the process for this step- I will get back to you in the morning.

Good morning. I did some research, and Lync Server will install SQL 2008 Express. I do not wish to migrate, so it will be a side by side install. In order for that to work, some workstation components of SQL 2005 Express need to be uninstalled.

Click Programs and Features in the Control Panel. Select SQL 2005 Express and click Change. Select Workstation Components. Uninstall everything that comes up when you get to the component screen. This is removing only the tools, not the database or database server.

SQL 2005 Workstation components Uninstall

SQL 2005 Workstation components Uninstall

Uninstall Success

Uninstall Success

Now I will pick up the Lync Server 2010 Setup via the Lync Server Deployment Wizard in the Start Menu.

Click on Prepare First Standard Edition Server. Click Next, and let the commands finish.

Single Standard Edition Setup

Single Standard Edition Setup

This step takes some time, over 20 minutes for me.

Install

Install

After some time, the setup completes, with a bright red item.

Setup Failure

Setup Failure

Checking the log, I see that SQL Backwards compatibility and Native Client are installed, but not SQL 2008 Express itself. What a pain. I think I will try to install SQL 2008 Manually through its GUI, then if needed, command line.

Navigate to C:\Program Data\Microsoft\Lync Server\4.x.xxxx\ and double-click on SQLEXPR_x64.exe.

That opens up the SQL 2008 setup. I then clicked Hardware and Software Requirements, and Configuration Checker.

SQL 2008

SQL 2008

In the tool, I received one warning and passed the rest. Fail.

SQL Install on DC Error

SQL Install on DC Error

After some reading, Microsoft states:

Installing SQL Server on a Domain Controller
For security reasons, Microsoft recommends that you do not install SQL Server 2008 R2 on a domain controller. SQL Server Setup will not block installation on a computer that is a domain controller, but the following limitations apply:

On Windows Server 2003, SQL Server services can run under a domain account or a local system account.

You cannot run SQL Server services on a domain controller under a local service account or a network service account.

After SQL Server is installed on a computer, you cannot change the computer from a domain member to a domain controller. You must uninstall SQL Server before you change the host computer to a domain controller.

After SQL Server is installed on a computer, you cannot change the computer from a domain controller to a domain member. You must uninstall SQL Server before you change the host computer to a domain member.

SQL Server failover cluster instances are not supported where cluster nodes are domain controllers.

SQL Server Setup cannot create security groups or provision SQL Server service accounts on a read-only domain controller. In this scenario, Setup will fail.

So I think I can get away with it, I just can’t use local accounts. So I will ignore this error, and click New SQL Server…..

New SQL 2008 Install

New SQL 2008 Install

On the window that appears, click install to install setup support files. It comes back with a few warnings, one for Windows Firewall. I will let you battle this one out yourself, but some information can be found here.

Click Next, and it will ask for a product key- which is greyed out. I have a full version of SQL 2008 Standard, but I wan’t to leave this Express- the less management and install I have with SQL the better, IMHO.

SQL Product Key

SQL Product Key

Click Next.

Accept the license and click next.

Select all products, leave the directory alone, and click Next.

Select All

Select All

Leave it at Named Instance, in this case SQLExpress. You can change this if you want- I do not.

Instance ID I also left alone. For the root directory, I moved it to the D:\ drive and created a new folder called D:\Program Files\SQL 2008 Root Dir\

Only to save space on my C:\ drive.

Instance Configuration

Instance Configuration

Click Next, and you should get a success message.

Success

Success

Click Next.

Now I am not going to use NT\Authority for SQL Server Database Service Account. this helps with least privileged, separation of duties, plus I do not think you can do the side by side install using NT\Authority.

So create a new user in Users ADUC, and use that account and password to set up this account.

Select that user, and enter the password, then hit Next.

Select Mixed Mode, and enter a strong unique password for sa. Add the SQL administrators using the add button on the bottom. I am the only one, so I clicked Add Current User.

SA

SA

Click Next. Check both Microsoft Reporting boxes (or not, if you wish), and click next. It should complete with 8 Passes, and no errors.

Click Next. Review your settings, and click Install when ready. It will take a while to complete. While the bar progresses, cross your fingers and hope the side by side install of SQL works, and doesn’t bork your system.

Success

Success

Everything succeeded, and you get a reboot message. Now this is a production server, and it is 11 AM on Friday. I can’t reboot, and wont continue untill I do reboot. Ill be back later tonight, when no one is in the office.

After reboot, everything is up and running just fine. No errors, SQL is automatic and started fine. Now its time to resume the Lync install. Double click the Lync Server Deployment Wizard from the Start Menu again.

Click Prepare Single Edition Server. Click Next and it will resume where we left off when it failed the first time. It failed again, this time while trying to create an instance RTC in SQL 2008. So I run this command from the command line:

“C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Lync Server\Deployment\cache\4.0.7457.0\SQLEXPR_x64.exe” /ACTION=Install /FEATURES=SQLEngine,Tools /INSTANCENAME=RTC /TCPENABLED=1 /SQLSVCACCOUNT=”NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService” /SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS=”Builtin\Administrators” /BROWSERSVCSTARTUPTYPE=”Automatic” /AGTSVCACCOUNT=”NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService” /SQLSVCSTARTUPTYPE=Automatic

So I check the event logs, and see that SQL Server Browser did not start, and a new instance could not be created. I go to services, and see that SQL Server Browser for SQLExpress (which is my 2008) is disabled. Enable that by right clicking the service, and selecting properties. Then change start type to automatic, and click ok.

SQL Service

SQL Service

I then realized that I did not have Management Studio Express installed, so I downloaded and installed that from here. I changed the SQL Server Agent Service log on account to the same account I set up for SQL.

Turns out that I can’t install the tools package, some sort of Digital Signature Error, which is going to be a pain. So… I wen to Add/Remove Programs, clicked on SQL 2008, clicked Change. Then added new features, blah blah blah. The information on how to do that is here, scroll to the comment at the bottom. Thanks guys.

Another reboot to continue, I am now up to three- not great fun on a production server. So I mucked around and added the SQL2008 account- the account I use to run both the Server Agent and the SQL instance- to some Administrator and SQL Admin roles, to no effect. Every time I tried to run the SQL Server Agent, I got the start stop message and an event id of  103, Service Control. I know that this is a permissions thing, so I change both of the services to Local Account, and now the services start fine- but the installation still fails.

At this point I am finally able to push the Management Console through. Instead of modifying an existing instance, which doesn’t allow you to add tools, I select new instance, then select Management Tools.

Management Tools Install

Management Tools Install

The install failed, and I am seeing messages for SQLExpress recovery, services will not start still, what the hell. I uninstall all SQL 2008 items, and start over. At this point I spend an additional 6 hours messing around with the innards of Lync and SQL 2008, only to come to the conclusion that I do not have the skill to perform this install. I uninstall everything, back to normal. I am now going to add a Windows Server 2008 R2 member to my domain, and repeat this install there. I will post that when it happens.

So the search service that comes with SBS 2008 is not installed by default. Desktop Search is, but not Server Search, which lets you index shared files and the like. Out of the box, WSS Search SHOULD work. In all three of my SBS set-ups, it has not worked, and this has plagued me for ages, so I finally set about fixing it today. I can’t tell you the exact reason that it is broken for me, but it is most likely caused by an update, service pack, hardware change, or just plain old incorrect permissions or WSS set-up.

First thing I did was install Windows Search Service.
Open up Server Manager, and select File System. Click Add Services on the right.
Click to check Windows Search Service.

Windows Search Service

Windows Search Service

This took about 15 minutes, and at the end an error was displayed. Closing the windows, I noticed that Windows Search Service was installed and running, and the service was also running under the Services Console.

Hrmmph. At this point I go into Sharepoint Central Administration, and Search still will not work. So now I set about making two new accounts to run the search.

I created WSS_Search, set a password, and added it to the group Administrators.

I then created WSS_Content, and added it to two groups:

SQL Accounts

SQL Accounts

These two accounts might differ from what you have. What we need is an account that has READ access to the Sharepoint Content Database. It can not be an administrator account, or a system account, though I believe it can be Local Service.

Now I tried my search and it still would not work. As a matter of fact, I could not start the search service at all now. So I go to Services Console, scrolls down to Windows Search Service. Right click it and select Properties. Make sure Local System is selected under the Log On tab. Exit out, and go to Windows Sharepoint Services Search. For this Log On, select This Account: and enter the information you used for the WSS_Search account. Change type to automatic, and click apply and start.

Log On Properties

Log On Properties

You will receive a message about the account being granted run as a service privileges.

So far all is well, though Sharepoint still wont Search. Open up Sharepoint Central Administration 3.0 under Administrative Tools.

Click Operations Tab, and then Services on Server.

Services on Server

Services on Server

Click on Windows Sharepoint Services Search.

Now fill in the fields.

  • Service account is WSS_Search, and password.
  • Content Access Account is WSS_Content and password.
  • Database server is grayed out, but should me by default np:\\.\pipe\MSSQL$Microsoft##SSEE\sql\query
  • Database name is grayed out, but it will be your Search database, such as WSS_Search_WIN-EUGSO7LO7PY
  • Authentication is whatever method you use. Default, it is Windows Authentication. This must be left alone for Microsoft##SSEE. If your database is different, configure the login that would be used to access the database.
  • You can change the time if you wish, I set mine to default every 5 minutes, as we do not have a ton of content on the server.
Search

Search

Click ok. Close all browsers.

Open a command prompt and type iisreset.

Restart both Windows Search and Sharepoint Search Services. Good to go- your site should now be searchable.

Top Droid X 2.2 Apps, Top Root Apps

Home Screen Home Screen
Home Screen

Now keep in mind, my phone is rooted running a custom ROM, and I am not against paying for applications- some of these applications only work for rooted Droids, and some of them do cost money. The two biggest things I use my Droid for: games, and work productivity such as calendars, email, and schedules.

If you would like to learn how to root your Droid X 2.2 click here!

Here are the apps! Click an item in this list to be taken to a description, screenshot, and an additional link to the application.


All of these screenshots were taken by me, but I claim no credit for any of these mobile applications. All credit and thanks to the application author. More information can be found by clicking the application title below.You can then download each application from the linked site using Barcode Scanner (Click Install on the linked page, and scan the square barcode that appears) or by searching the Android Marketplace.


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Applications
App Name Description Screenshot
AK Notepad Simply the best app for note taking, it provides very acute control over notes by allowing reminders, sync, save, and home screen posting. I do not use  any of the “extra” features, but I do use it for all of my note needs. AK Notepad
Angry Birds A VERY addicting and fun game- you must shoot various types of birds out of a slingshot in an attempt to slay the pig king and his henchmen. Tons of  levels available. Angry Birds
AnyRSS Reader A simple RSS Reader. Can access Google Reader. The reason I like this app is for the widgets, which display very nicely on the homescreen with  transparency, which matches all of my other apps. AnyRSS Reader
AppBrain App Market This is a market “replacement”. Recent changes have caused the app to actually link you to the market, but their sync all apps feature is amazing. With  it, you can factory reset your phone- then you install the AppBrain app first. Log in, and install all apps, and all of your old apps will be restored. Also lists “recommended apps” which is a very useful way to find apps that go well with the apps you already have. AppBrain App Market
Armored Strike Online A very well designed graphical tank game. You use a tank and factors such as pitch and wind speed to kill oponents. Play is online, against other players  around the world. There is a lite (free) version available here. Armored Strike
Astro File Manager A very nice file manager which gives you more control and access than the defaul file manager. With it you can reach normally hidden folders such as  system, root, and sbin. Very useful for copy and paste operations, as well as rooted phones. Astro File Manager
Bank of America I wont plug this, but if you bank with Bank of America, get the app. Bank of America
Barcode Scanner I do not use this to scan in barcodes when I am shopping, etc. I DO use this to download apps quickly from online, by scanning my screen- which takes me  directly to the app download on the market. Barcode Scanner
Barnacle Wifi Tether This app comes pre-installed on many custom ROMS, including Apex Focused which is what I am currently running. Not as nice as Wifi Tether, but it does  come with a ton of great options, controls, and security. Turns your phone into a mobile hotspot for free if your phone is rooted. Barnacle Wifi Tether
CacheMate for Root Users This app frees up cache used by processes running on your phone. I know it works because I monitor my CPU usage with another app. For rooted phones, good  app to keep battery consumption down. There is a lite version but it seems it was just taken off of the market. CacheMate for Root Users
Craigslist Notifications A browser for Craigslist- the best. You can set up searches by filter or keyword, and have your phone notify you when a new item is added. I got a  snowboard last week because I was the first person to call, thanks to this app. Craigslist Notifications
Documents ToGo While the default document previewer on Droid is ok, this one is better. With the paid version you can create edit, share, and print documents from your  Droid. Documents ToGo
Dolphin Browser HD What I consider the best browser for your Droid. Quick, sleek, customizable with many plugins and themes. Uses tabbed browsing, pinch to zoom, etc. Dolphin Browser HD
Handcent SMS A text message replacement app. Offers themes, color customizing, font packs. Make sure to disable your phone default notification for text messages if  you use this app, otherwise you get two for each message. Love the bubble style and bubble color changing. Handcent SMS
Jewels A classic Jewels game, with online play. I love that you can drag the jewels, where some other versions of the game require clicks. An amazing lack of  some of the bonus features and items, but meh. Jewels
Lightning Bug I use this for the rain setting to sleep when the traffic or construction is bad. Not necessarily the best, but the sound starts when I click the app and  the sleep times shuts it off without messing with my alarm. Lightning Bug
Mabilo Ringtones download user made ringtones, they have a ton. I use this as a backup ringtone finder for things I can’t get from Zedge. Mabilo Ringtones
Mint.com An app that displays your Mint.com account info on your phone. Great if you use Mint.com. Mint.com
Mototorch LED A flashlight app for Droid. Has a strobe light which I never use. It can also do morse code in case you ever get lost in the dark, on a mountain, but  have a decent charge going on your phone. Mototorch LED
Flixster Movies The best app for movies. Can show local theatres, all theatres, release dates, rating and Rotten Tomatoe ratings. Flixster Movies
NFL Mobile Live The link is not for a download. This app (this version of it) is for Verizon customers only. Go to your Android Marketplace and look under the Verizon  filter. NFL Mobile Live
Pandora Radio Plays online radio stations, can be set up to use customized stations using your account and the web site. Pandora Radio
RoadSync An adon for Documents ToGo. Do not download this app, it is very difficult to remove and the application does little. RoadSync
Robo Defense Tower Defense. Best. Game. Ever. Pay for it, it’s worth it. Free version is here– you can also read one of my other posts on  how to hack the configuration file to cheat. I do not suggest this- beat the game first. Robo Defense
ROM Manager The best app for a rooted Droid. It allows you to backup, restore, download, and install custom ROMS that are supported by your phone in seconds. To  support the author, buy the premium version here. ROM Manager
ShootMe This is what I used to take the screenshots for this article. There is no picture, and this is only for rooted phones. Much better than Drocap.
Slacker Radio this is a radio app, with more options than Pandora. I use it only to get news radio (ABC News), and i pay $2.99 a month for this station. Slacker Radio
SpeedX 3D A fun game, though not one of my favorites. I mostly use this game to show off my phone, as the accellerometer and graphics are nice. SpeedX 3D
StumbleUpon An app that displays StumbleUpon items. Sign up here, set your recomendations, and start viewing some awsome  content based on your likes and dislikes. StumbleUpon
SuperUser For rooted phones- this allows you to grant applications and proccesses su permissions, which enable editing of the OS and root. comes packaged with ROM Manager as well. SuperUser
SystemPanel The best monitoring and task killing app I have found. Shows usage trends, statistics, etc. Available for free here. SystemPanel
Terminal Emulator For rooted phones only, allows you to access your phones root through a Linux terminal. # su – Terminal Emulator
Titanium Backup A comprehensive backup program, which allows you to backup application states. For rooted phones only. Titanium Backup
Touchdown An email/calendar/task/contact interface that works well for Exchange connectivity. Better than stock Android Corporate Sync. Find directions on how to  get this for free on my blog here. Touchdown
Twitter I am not a fan of Twitter, but to stay connected, use Twitter’s application. Twitter
Uninstaller Pro A fast way to uninstall applications, removes some that the stock system can’t handle. Quicker than navigating to the stock application. Uninstaller Pro
Wallpaper Rotator Rotates your wallpaper on a customizable time frame. Can use Flickr pics or pics stored on your phone. Wallpaper Rotator
Winamp A music player. I prefer the stock music player, but got this one to mess around with Winamp sync features to play music remotely from home. Winamp
WordFeud Scrabble, played online across the world. Can play a bunch of games at once, with no timers, Tons of fun. Free version here. WordFeud
WordPress A nicely designed app to manage your WordPress blog or site. I use it to monitor this site. rooting my phone broke the ability to view site stats. Wordpress
Zedge Ringtones and Wallpapers In my opinion the best ringtone and wallpaper app out there. Lot’s of updated content. Zedge Ringtones and Wallpapers

UPDATE: I had some trouble with my phone, and had to do some major surgery- remove root, restore to 2.1 with SBF, upgrade to 2.3, re-root, etc. It was a pain in the neck But I downloaded and installed a new custom ROM, and so far I am VERY impressed! Check out: Liberty ROM for Droid x/2, courtesy of Kejar and Jrummy. Thanks guys! Here are some screen shots.

Homescreen

Homescreen, Liberty ROM, ADW Launcher, Minimalist Text

Notification Blind

Notification Blind

 

Liberty Built In Theme Menu

Liberty Built In Theme Menu

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