Microsoft Update causing Print Spooler Problems – CVE-2019-1367

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Microsoft released an emergency update last week under CVE-2019-1367 which claimed to fix an Internet Explorer exploit. If you are now reading this post, I’m assuming that you have already noticed that having installed these set of updates, you now have print spooler problems?! CVE-2019-1367 v1.0 As most businesses probably have, we urgently rushed out … Read more

Remove Windows Server Disabled Roles and Features Payload Files

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If you are running a Windows Server environment and you are becoming increasing low on system drive space, then you may want to consider removing the built in payload files for Windows Features. Windows Server comes with the payload files readily available if you want to add any additional Features or Roles to your server. … Read more

VMWare vCenter Appliance stuck at localhost login screen

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If you reboot your VMWare vCenter Appliance, you may get into a situation where it reboots into the localhost login screen instead of the more familiar black and yellow/blue two tone layout with the management IP addresses shown like below: The first thing to do is not to panic. I have seen people get very … Read more

Windows Server 2019 Evaluation Product Keys

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Following on from our popular posts for evaluation product keys for Server 2008 R2, Server 2012 R2 and Server 2016, this post brings us fully up to date with the evaluation keys for Server 2019. This forms part of our evaluation and KMS product key series where we have shared with you all the product … Read more

Get OU Distinguished Name

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There are many reasons as to why you would need to identify an Active Directory Organisational Unit’s Distinguished Name.

Most techies out there will use an AD distinguished name when writing or using PowerShell scripts.

However, quickly finding what the Distinguished name of a particular OU is not immediately clear. You can click on the object tab for information, but not the distinguished name.

Using PowerShell to get the Distinguished Name

The simple solution on how to quickly find an OU’s distinguished name is to use PowerShell itself.

The information you will need first is:

  • OU Name
  • AD Integration for PowerShell

That’s it – once you have this, you can go ahead and run the below PowerShell script:

Get-ADOrganizationalUnit -Filter 'Name -like "*"' | Format-Table Name, DistinguishedName -A

The only part you need to change in this PowerShell script is the * wildcard. If you leave it as a wildcard, it will bring back the distinguished name for all of your OU’s.

To bring back just one particular OU distinguished name, then change this * wildcard to the name of your OU.

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Check for Thick Provisioned Disk Space in VMWare

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If you want to run a check against your VMWare infrastructure for virtual machines that have thick provisioned disks, you can use VMWare PowerCLI to do this quickly and easily.

Our step by step guide below will show you what you need to do to bring back the results that you need.

Check for Thick Provisioned Disk – Step by Step Guide

Download VMWare PowerCLI

The first thing that you need to do is download the VMWare PowerCLI utility from the VMWare website. You can do this by clicking the link below:

Download VMWare PowerCLI

Go ahead and install this onto a machine that is on the same network as the VMWare infrastructure.

Connecting to the vCSA

Once you have installed PowerCLI, run the utility as an administrator (elevated):

open powercli

This will now go through and install the modules that PowerCLI requires and you should be left with a console ready to enter commands:

VMWare PowerCLI Console

Now you will need to connect to the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA). To do this, run the following command:

Connect-VIServer -Server vCSA-1 -User admin@vmware.local -Password Pa55w0rd

where:

  • vCSA-1 = Your VCSA server
  • admin@vmware.local = administrator username with access to the vCSA
  • Pa55w0rd = Your administrator password

This should now show that you are connected to the vCSA.

Thick Disk Provision Command

Now that you are connected successfully to your local vCSA, you can run this command to get the Thick Provisioned Disks and which virtual machines that they are on:

Get-Datastore | Get-VM | Get-HardDisk | Where {$_.storageformat -eq "EagerZeroedThick" } | Select Parent, Name, CapacityGB, storageformat | FT -AutoSize

This will then output into a formatted table within the PowerCLI console, the full list of virtual machines, which disk it is, the capacity (GB) of the disk and the storage format.

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System Center Operations Manager Invalid Management Group Removal

Invalid Management Group Removal

We recently carried out some work for a client who had a completely ruined installation of System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).

Who had done what to it, we may never know, but it was clear that the only fix was to start again. This was not such a bad thing as they did want to change the name of their Management Group anyway – which secretly lead us to believe that someone had been messing and trying to carry this out, hence the mess of the installation!

We went ahead and carried out a completely new installation of Operations Manager as this is what they wanted, however, if you are an administrator of Operations Manager, you will probably know about the potential for an absolute nightmare here – the old Management Group and the new Management Group now being referenced on the servers and end users machines (although in this case, they only wanted servers being monitored by Operations Manager).

We managed to resolve this issue by using a PowerShell script. We did not write this PowerShell script ourselves and we apologise now for not giving the credit where it is due, but we cannot remember where we got it from – if it’s you, let us know and we will update with credit.

The plan is very simple, go into the Operations Manager server, check for error EventID 20046 in the Event Viewer (which will give you the name of a server trying to report with an invalid Management Group) then edit and run the PowerShell script to remove the reportedly invalid Management Group from that server.

PowerShell Script to Remove SCOM Invalid Management Group

The PowerShell script we used is below, note these variables that you must enter per server:

  • $ComputerName = The server name with the invalid management group
  • $ManagementGroup = The name of the invalid management group
param(
$ComputerName = "SERVERNAME",
$ManagementGroup = "MGMT GROUP NAME"
)

Function Remove-SCOMManagementGroup ($ComputerName)
{
$sb = {
param($ManagementGroup,
$ComputerName)
Try {
$OMCfg = New-Object -ComObject AgentConfigManager.MgmtSvcCfg
} catch {
throw "$ComputerName doesn't have the SCOM 2012 agent installed"
}
$mgs = $OMCfg.GetManagementGroups() | %{$_.managementGroupName}
if ($mgs -contains $ManagementGroup) {
$OMCfg.RemoveManagementGroup($ManagementGroup)
return "$ManagementGroup removed from $ComputerName"
} else {
return "$ComputerName does not report to $ManagementGroup"
}
}
Invoke-Command -ScriptBlock $sb -ComputerName $ComputerName -ArgumentList @($ManagementGroup,$ComputerName)
}
Remove-SCOMManagementGroup -ManagementGroup $ManagementGroup -ComputerName $ComputerName

Once the PowerShell script has completed, you either need to restart the Microsoft Monitoring Agent service (Service Name is: HealthService) on the affected machine or reboot it.

If you then go into your server Control Panel and then into the Microsoft Monitoring Agent applet, you should now see that you only have the corrent new Management Group on there and that the invalid old one has been removed.

System Center Orchestrator

Of course, if you know how to use System Center Orchestrator and you have it installed in your environment, you can setup a new Runbook to check for EventID 20046 and then trigger the PowerShell script from there.

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KB4457139 – Windows Server 2008 NIC Issues

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We have over the last week or so had problems with Windows Server 2008 servers where, although they seem to be connecting through the network without any problems, like filestores, the servers could not be remoted onto and when running an ipconfig would return no data.

You can see the number of Microsoft Updates that have been problematic for Windows users that have been released over the last few months by looking through our articles here.

A lot of the recent issues have been either network card or wireless related and it does seem very strange that this just seems to keep happening. Are Microsoft trying to push everyone onto Windows 10 and Server 2016? Surely they wouldn’t do that, would they?

KB4457139 – (Preview of Monthly Rollup)

So the update you should be looking out for now is KB4457139. This is a preview of monthly rollup for Windows operating systems. Below is directly from the updates KB page explaining exactly what the problems are in relation to this latest release.

Note that Microsoft have very kindly included a “workaround” – would be nice if they didn’t screw it up in the first place though wouldn’t it?!

Known issues in this update


Symptom Workaround
After you apply this update, the network interface controller may stop working on some client software configurations. This occurs because of an issue related to a missing file, oem<number>.inf. The exact problematic configurations are currently unknown.
  1. To locate the network device, launch devmgmt.msc. It may appear under Other Devices.
  2. To automatically rediscover the NIC and install drivers, select Scan for Hardware Changes from the Action menu.

a. Alternatively, install the drivers for the network device by right-clicking the device and choosing Update. Then choose Search automatically for updated driver software or Browse my computer for driver software.

We have just rebooted the servers with this update and they do seem to be fine after that, so not as bad as recent updates.

If you are still experiencing any weird issues with your machines, take a stab at removing this dodgy update and see if it helps.

How to Remove Problem Updates

If you need some guidance on what to do to remove these or any other updates, be it on a single machine or mass corporation remove, take a look at this post as we have added some instructions towards the end of the post that you may find helpful.

Who knows, in the future far, far away, we may be able to go a week without Microsoft releasing a dodgy update!

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Test your SMTP server using Windows Telnet Feature

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If you want to test your SMTP server is working correctly, you can use the telnet feature within Windows. The following guide will walk you through the steps to carry this out.

Telnet to test your SMTP server

Just open up an elevated command prompt then enter these commands in turn:

telnet yourmaildomainname 25
Telnet to test your SMTP server

This should then connect to your domain and you will see a message like this:

Test your SMTP server using Windows Telnet Feature 1

Then run this command:

helo techygeekshome.info

This should then give you a 250 response:

telnet to mail server

Then run this command for your sender address:

mail from: send@techygeekshome.info

This should give you a 250 OK response:

send telnet email from

Then run this command for the recipiant of the email:

rcpt to: receive@techygeekshome.info

Then type data and hit the Enter key. If this has worked, you should get a response with a 250 2.6.0 in there and an email address.

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Enable Windows Task Scheduler History

Enable Windows Task Scheduler History

If you have any tasks running through your Windows Task Scheduler, then you may notice an issue where the history of any of the tasks that have been setup, is not being shown. You will also see that the last status code is 0x0 which means that the task is actually running and completing successfully.

Task Scheduler History Disabled Option
Task Scheduler History Disabled Option

So why is there no history?

The reason that there is no history showing is that you have to enable it for Task Scheduler. To do this, you have two options; enabling using the Windows GUI or running a command line. If you are in a corporate environment and want to enable the Task Scheduler history on multiple machines, then the command line method will be useful to you for using with Group Policy or Configuration Manager.

Set Task Scheduler History Using Windows GUI

  1. Open an elevated Task Scheduler (right-click on the Task Scheduler icon and choose Run as administrator)
  2. In the Actions pane (right pane, not the actions tab), click Enable All Tasks History
Enable Task Scheduler History
Enable Task Scheduler History

Video Guide

Set Task Secheduler History Using a Command Line

  1. Open an elevated Task Scheduler (right-click on the Task Scheduler icon and choose Run as administrator)
  2. Run the following command:
wevtutil set-log Microsoft-Windows-TaskScheduler/Operational /enabled:true
Task Scheduler Enable History using Command Line
Task Scheduler Enable History using Command Line

Task Scheduler Commands

Below are some other commands you can also run in an elevated Command Prompt to check the status of your tasks.

Check current state of Task Scheduler

wevtutil get-log Microsoft-Windows-TaskScheduler/Operational

Keystroke-averse – abbreviated versions

wevtutil sl Microsoft-Windows-TaskScheduler/Operational /e:true
wevtutil gl Microsoft-Windows-TaskScheduler/Operational

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