Windows Media Services and a Change of IP Address

A short while ago I changed the IP address configuration on my Small Business Server 2003 SP2 machine. The main reason for the change was to choose an oddball local LAN address that would not conflict when I establish a VPN connection from an external network (e.g. a wireless network). I also took the opportunity to consolidate the three IP addresses I had been using on the single NIC down to the more standard (for SBS) single IP address.

Bad Night at the Movies

What I neglected to check until today was Windows Media Services. I run WMS so I can stream short videos from my web site. Today I uploaded a new video and it wouldn’t play due to a network error. So I fired up Administrative Tools > Windows Media Services on the server.

First I tried the default test. In WMS, I went to Server > Getting Started and clicked on “Test my server”. The test window tried to play “mms://MyServer/encoder_av.wmv” but failed with the error “Windows Media Player Windows Media Player cannot play the file because a network error occurred. The server might not be available. Verifiy that you are connected to the network and that your proxy settings are correct.” Well I’m running this test on the server, so I think the server is available! In fact, the file plays fine if I open it directly in Windows Media Player, so this is definitely a WMS problem.

After considerable poking around, in WMS, I went to Server > Properties tab > Control Protocol and noticed that all three protocols were Disabled. When I tried to enable the WMS MMS Server Control Protocol, I got the message:

“Error Description:  The requested address is not valid in this context.
Error Code:  0x80072741” 

Not All IP Addresses Are in the Registry

When I changed IP addresses, I carefully checked the registry for occurrences of the old IP addresses to make sure I hadn’t missed any configuration changes. However, it turns out that WMS stores its configuration information in an XML file:

C:\WINNT\system32\windows media\server\ServerNamespace.xml

Sure enough, when I opened that file, I found a reference to a now-defunct IP address. Once I realized that was the problem, the solution was easy:  in WMS, I went to Server > Properties tab > Control protocol > WMS MMS Server Control Protocol, right-clicked, selected Properties, and changed the IP addresses to “Allow all IP addresses to use this protocol.” I made the same change to the other two protocols while I was at it. Once I re-enabled the MMS protocol and restarted Windows Media Services, my server streamed movies again!

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