Surface Woes

Earlier this year I opened a ticket with Microsoft to replace my Surface Pro 4 under warranty.  There was an intermittent problem, and I was hoping to be able to get it fixed.  Unfortunately the problem went away, and I continued to use my device as normal.

imageThis week I turned on the device, and it would not boot.  It turned on alright, but it spent hours in the ‘dots spinning in a circle’ pattern.  When I say hours, what I should say is overnight.  I hoped that the drive was self-repairing.  I don’t know what in the world possessed me to think that – something akin to a doctor hoping that a sick liver just regrows.  Yesterday I went to work troubleshooting.

The first place I went was Microsoft’s Surface Support.  It was there that I discovered that, like so many companies out there, Microsoft doesn’t even want to talk to you once the warranty is over.  I’m sure they would be happy to speak to me if I gave them my credit card… but I was not quite there yet. 

The one thing I did get out of that experience (and a bit of surfing and fishing around) was a link to download a Recovery Image for the Surface Pro, as well as instructions on how to use it.  More on that later.

From the research I did online, it looks like my hard drive is either (hopefully) corrupt or (nooo!) dead.  I boot into my trusty Windows To Go key (see any of the articles I have written on it here).  I open Disk Manager, and bring the internal drive online.  So far, so good.

I try to navigate to it.  Access Denied.  Crap.  That can mean a number of things went wrong, but I am not concerned with Ransomware; they haven’t asked me for anything, it is just not booting.

My big concern is that if the drive is not accessible, then there may be something wrong with the hardware… but all signs point away from that, and I expect that somehow something just went terribly wrong.

Fortunately, I have Easeus Data Recovery Pro on my Windows To Go key, so I am able to recover lost files.  Hey, wait a minute!  If I can do that, then chances are the drive is not dead, right?

Okay, great… I have recovered my files, and now it is time to try to restore the device to useable.  I go back to Microsoft’s Support page to download the Recovery Image.  You can only download the image once you have signed in with your Microsoft Account, and then only if you have a Surface Pro registered to your account.

image

Great… I have the Recovery Image.  Now what I need is another computer to create the Recovery Drive with.  Unless you actually have another Microsoft Surface Pro 4, you are going to have to have Windows create a Recovery Disk for itself, and then copy over the files with the ones I downloaded.  That isn’t a problem for me – I have several computers at my disposal, and I know that my corporate Dell laptop recently received the latest build of Windows 10 Enterprise.  It works just fine.

A word to the wise: You are going to need a 16 GB USB key for this to work.  It will work with a USB 2.0 device, but it……..will……..be……..very……..slow.  I don’t just mean rebuilding your computer either – it will be slow as molasses to create the device.  Proof? I started building on a USB 2.0 device.  I waited fifteen minutes, and then started the same process on a USB 3.0 device.  The USB 3.0 device was done before the USB 2.0 was halfway done.

Okay, it is time.  The moment of truth.  I connect the USB device to my Surface Pro 4, and I boot (holding down the Volume Down button.  The menus are a bit confusing, but I finally get to the button that says ‘Restore my PC to Factory Image.’  It goes through the motions, all the while keeping me appraised of just how many percent done it is (pretty useless, as long as there is forward progress), and when it gets to 100%, it reboots my device…

GETTING READY…

Hello Cortana!  I never thought I would actually be happy to hear your voice! 

So now, I have to re-install all of my software, but that is more time consuming than difficult, since most of my software and licenses are available from the cloud, and the rest are on one of my external USB drives.

…and for the fun of it, what are the first applications I re-installed (in order)?

  • Microsoft Intune
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • LastPass
  • Techsmith Snagit
  • Techsmith Camtasia Studio
  • Open Live Writer
  • Google Chrome

Yes, it is entirely possible that I no longer have my installable source file for Windows Live Writer (see article), and it looks like my newly formatted Surface Pro 4 will no longer have that trusted blogging software that I have been using for a decade (or longer).  In truth, I probably have it one one of my computer at home, but I don’t think it is worth the hassle to look, because Open Live Writer is just fine.

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Management Packs: Keep Up!

Congratulations! You have your System Center Operations Manager up and running.  You have imported the Management Packs that you need to monitor your organization.  All that’s left is to watch your dashboards and make sure everything is green, right?

Wrong.

imageManagement Packs are updated all the time.  That’s why they have version numbers.  As an example, the Windows Server 2016 and 1709+ Operating System (Discovery) Management Pack that I downloaded for a client in March was version 10.0.17.0, and is now at version 10.0.19.0.  Is it a big difference?  I don’t know… that is why we check the documentation and the web for clues.  According to the document Management Pack Guide for Windows Server 2016 and 1709 Plus.docx (available online, but also through your SCOM Console):

Changes in Version 10.0.19.0

  • Process monitoring is disabled by default: upon a “clean” installation of the management pack, the monitoring is disabled for all existing and newly added monitored servers, except for the case when the monitoring had been configured before via the wizard in the previous version of the management pack.
  • The following rules are disabled by default:
    • Process Monitoring: Health State Collection
    • Process Monitoring: Process Health State Subscription
    • Process Monitoring: Performance Collection
    • Process Monitoring: Process Performance Metric Subscription
    • Process Monitoring: Network Port State Collection
    • Process Monitoring: Process Network Port Subscription
    • Process Monitoring: High Handle Count
    • Process Monitoring: High Memory Percentage
    • Process Monitoring: High Processor Time Percentage
    • Process Monitoring: Number of Processes Collection
  • Elaborated a workaround for Handle Count increase issue (see details in Troubleshooting and Known Issues section).

Alright… Maybe these changes are important to you, and maybe they aren’t… but there is someone out there who spends his life writing SCOM Management Packs who thought they might be handy, and knowing about them is part of your job as a cloud administrator.

So it may be our job to know about these changes, but exactly how, short of spending our days combing the web, are we supposed to know when new Management Packs are released, and what changes have been made that may (or sometimes may not) be relevant and useful to our organizations?  Here’s how:

image

  1. From your SCOM Console, click on the Administration context.
  2. In the Navigation Pane, expand Management Packs.
  3. Click on Updates and Recommendations.

You will see a list of available updates and recommendations, and when the installed Management Packs were last updated.  In the Actions Pane there is an option to Get All MPs… This is one of those ‘Are you really sure?’ moments.  I prefer to see what each Management Pack update do before going that route.

In the Actions Pane there is another option to View Guide.  It is greyed out until you click on an individual Management Pack in the main window.  That is how you end up with the document that I mentioned earlier (Management Pack Guide for Windows Server 2016 and 1709 Plus.docx ).

Once you have decided that you do indeed want to install a new version, you can click on Get MP, and the Import Management Packs window pops up, downloading the new MP.

image

Once you have downloaded the new Management Pack, you still have to install them.  In the same window, click Install.  It will go through the process, and let you know when you are ready to go.

Unfortunately, in the Updates and Recommendations console you cannot select multiple updates to apply.  You can either download a single Management Pack, or you can click Get All MPs.  There is no in between.  However, in the Import Management Packs window you can look at the properties of an individual MP (you will see tabs for General, Knowledge, and Dependencies in the Properties window).  You can thus remove individual packs from the whole, rather than having to install everything.

Once you click Import, you can click STOP if you change your mind… but only until the individual pack you are importing is done.  Once it is important, you would have to roll back by re-importing the previous version (which I hope you kept somewhere!).

image

So now you know.  Management Packs are updated more often now in the days of Windows as a Service, so you are likely to see more updates to Management Packs than you might have a few years ago, but that does not mean you have to do this on a weekly basis.  For most organizations, every couple of months should do fine.  Remember… even if you are using an older Management Pack, you are still monitoring.

A BossDock PHEW! Moment…

USB-C-5K-BossDOCK-1I got to my office this morning and realized that my screens were unresponsive, as were my external keyboard and mouse.  Assuming the issue was with my external docking station, I disconnected it from my laptop and then reconnected it; I unplugged it from the power source, waited a few seconds, then plugged it in again.  Still nothing.  Crap.

…And then I realized that a docking station is only useful when it is connected to a functional computer.  I switched to my laptop keyboard and got the same response.  I performed a cold boot of my laptop, and sure enough, the dock worked fine.  It was my laptop (which I cannot recall when the last time I rebooted) that was the problem.

Phew!

(For those of you who are wondering why I would rather the $1500 laptop be the problem rather than the $200 docking station, it is simple… the computer belongs to my company, and if it stops working our Service Desk takes it for an hour to fix it while I go outside for a cigar.  Have a great weekend!)

Golden Exam?

I have a spreadsheet that I keep in my OneDrive that tracks the certification exams I have taken.  Over the years (starting in December, 2011) I have written a great many of them, Mostly for Microsoft but also a few VMware exams sprinkled in there. 

MCP LogoMuch has changed since I wrote my first exam (which, incidentally, was 70-215, which I failed the first time around).  I have an envelope that contains most (sadly not all) of the score reports from those exams, and looking back at the first one and comparing it to the latest one I see a lot of differences (aside from the fact that I passed my most recent exams).  The logos have changed, the report formats have changed, and for the online proctored exams there is a picture of me (in case I forgot what I look like).

One thing that has not changed since I passed my first exam (March 31, 2003) is the elation (and relief!) I feel when I see the words ‘Congratulations, you passed’ at the end of the exam.  It is one of the reasons I never loved taking beta exams, for which you would have to wait to receive your score report… often several months.

This week I took an exam that was, to me, completely unnecessary.  Exam 698: Installing and Configuring Windows 10 is a required exam for the MCSA: Windows 10 certification… unless you have a particular Windows 8 certification, at which point you only need to take Exam 697: Configuring Windows Devices.  I passed that exam last year, so I did not need Exam 698.  However, I am leading a study group this week, and I wanted to make sure I knew what I was talking about with regard to the exam.  I sat down at my computer Tuesday morning and passed it.  I then went back to work and did not give it another thought.

This morning I was cleaning up my paperwork, and I opened the Certifications spreadsheet to update it with my latest.  It turns out that is was the fiftieth exam that I have passed.  (We will not mention the number of exams I have failed).

Fifty exams is not a record by any means.  I know people who have likely passed a few hundred exams in their time.  For some, it would be a tremendous number.  For others, it would be a drop in the ocean.  For me, it is what I have done… and because it was that special number I will take a moment to be proud of myself… and then I will get back to work.

I have students and colleagues who as I write this are preparing to sit their first certification exam.  I am so proud of them.  Why?  Because I remember how stressful it was for me.  Pass or fail, they have taken that step, and that is something to be proud of.  Good luck friends!

What is in a Name?

Recently a client asked me to build a series of virtual machines for them for a project we were working on.  No problem… I asked what they should be named, and the client told me to call them whatever sounded right.

That did not sound right… or at least, it turned out to not be right.  Indeed, the client had an approved server naming convention, and when the manager saw my virtual machines named VM1, VM2, VM3, and so on… he asked me to change them.

If we were talking about a single server, I would have logged in and done it through Server Manager.  But there were fifteen machines in play, so I opted to use Windows PowerShell from my desktop.

Rename-Computer –ComputerName “VM1.domain.com” –NewName “ClientName.domain.com” –DomainCredential domain\Mitch –Restart

The cmdlet is pretty simple, and allowed me to knock off all fifteen servers in three minutes.  All I needed was the real names… and of course my domain credentials.

The cmdlet works just as well with the –LocalCredential switch… in case you aren’t domain joined.

image

That’s it… have fun!

Offline Files: Groan!

You’ve configured Folder Redirection in Group Policy, and it works as expected… as long as you are connected to the network.  As soon as you disconnect, things stop working.  That may be a real inconvenience if you are redirecting your Photos, but if you have redirected your Desktop folder to a network share, there is as good chance that your computer will be rendered unusable… that is, until you reconnect to your local network.

We came across this issue recently at a client’s site, and we spent a few aggravating hours trying to get things working, to no avail.  Remember, this is something that I have been doing since the days of Windows 2000, and the procedures have not changed significantly in that time.  I was baffled… until I realized that we were working with a File Server Failover Cluster, and that our servers were Windows Server 2016.

There is an option in clustered Server 2016 shares that is called Enable continuous availability.  If this option is checked (as it is by default), then even if you have done everything right… even if your Offline Files are properly configured, you are going to click on a file in that properly configured folder, and in the Details tab it will be listed as Available: Online-Only.

How do we fix that?  Simple… uncheck the box.

Capture

  1. In Server Manager, expand File and Storage Services, and then click on Shares.
  2. In your list of shares, right-click on the one where you are redirecting your files and click Properties.
  3. In the Settings tab, clear the checkbox next to Enable continuous availability.
  4. Click Okay.

Incidentally, the file share will only be listed under the cluster node that is the current owner.  Don’t worry about doing it at the Cluster Level, although if you prefer to do it in Failover Cluster Manager, you can perform the following steps to achieve the same results:

Capture2

  1. Connect to the relevant failover cluster.
  2. Navigate to Roles
  3. Click on your File Server Role in the main screen.
  4. In the Details pane below, select the Shares tab.
  5. Right-click the relevant share, and click Properties.
  6. In the Settings tab, clear the checkbox next to Enable continuous availability.
  7. Click Okay.

The Properties window will be identical to the one that you saw under Server Manager.

You shouldn’t have to refresh your group policy on the client, but you may want to log off and log on to force the initial synchronization.

That’s it… Good luck!

Not all Computer Docks are Created Equal…

When I first joined Cistel, I picked up a Dell Universal Dock (D6000) to use with my corporate Dell Latitude laptop.  It is a good little device, and it did the job just fine… until I wanted to work on my Surface Pro 4, at which point I would have to switch to my Surface pro port replicator (which they call the Microsoft Surface Dock).  Both have their advantages… the Surface Dock has two Mini-DisplayPort inputs which supports any display type you are willing to buy a dongle for, while the Dell has an HDMI port, a Mini-DisplayPort, and a 15-pin VGA port for those of us living large and long ago.  The Surface dock is proprietary, with a connector that works only for select Microsoft Surface devices.  The Dell has a USB-C connector, which allows a lot more flexibility… except that it won’t work on the Surface Pro (or any other device without a USB-C input, for that matter).

It really doesn’t matter which of these devices is better; they both do about the same thing… for their respective devices.  The fact that I cannot use either of them for both of my devices (well, all of my devices) is a bit of an annoyance.  I decided to go looking for an alternative.  I tried a few different devices that I didn’t quite love, until I found the BossDock from Juiced Systems.

JuicedI have written about a number of different peripherals from Juiced Systems before, most (but not all) of which were geared to my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (and prior to that, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3).   Their products have always been reliable and competitively priced.  With the BossDock selling for USD$200, it is again competitively priced to both of my other docks… but supports both USB-C and USB 3.0 interfaces, meaning that it will likely work on every laptop (or desktop, for that matter) that has been sold in the last five years.  How does it work with either device?  The cable that connects the dock to the computer is interchangeable.

So what do we have here?  The BossDock really is the boss… it features:

  • Compatible with both USB Type-C and Type-A Laptop/Desktop Computer
  • Supports resolutions up to 5K ( 5120×2880 @ 60hz ) when using dual Display Ports simultaneously
  • Dual 4K HDMI / Dual 4K Display Port / 4K HDMI + 4K Display Port Output
  • Supports Extend and Mirror Mode
  • Supports 5.1 Channel Surround Sound
  • Built in USB 3.0 GPU, Plug and Play Display
  • Separate Microphone Input and Audio Output
  • Super Speed USB 3.0, Transfer Speeds up 5Gbps and backward compatible with 2.0/1.1
  • Built In 10/100/1000 Bate-T Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port for uninterrupted network performance

It is compatible with all currently supported versions of Windows (both 32-bit and 64-bit), as well as Windows Vista and XP (but you have to download the software for those… big deal!).  It is also compatible with Mac OS X (El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Sierra, Lion, Snow Leopard). 

The front side has four USB 3.0 ports, along with the sound in and out jacks.  The back has two more USB 3.0 ports, as well as a 1GB Ethernet port, two HDMI ports, and two Display Ports.  Additionally on the back, there is the USB-C in (from which you would connect to your computer), the DC in (for power), and the on/off switch.  Yes, you can shut it down so it is not draining power when not in use. 

BossDock Front

BossDock Back

The dock is a little longer than the other two devices, at 8.5” x 3.5” x 1”, but weighs less than either of them, and does not require a heavy power brick like they both do.  In other words, if you want to travel with it you will not require frequent trips to your chiropractor for the pleasure.

While I do not really need it, I appreciate that the BossDock has a built-in USB 3.0 GPU, as well as 5.1 Channel Surround Sound. 

In short, I love the device.  When I switch from my corporate laptop to my Surface Pro, all I do is switch the cable out (USB-C to USB-C, versus USB-C to USB 3.0).  Bang, I am ready to go.  Both cables are included, as is the software & driver CD (although I did not need to use it, as both computers detected all of the devices and installed the necessary drivers automatically). 

As for performance, I am getting great response from all aspects.  The transfer rates advertised as up to 5Gbps are not quite there, but that is because the devices I am using are slower.  The graphics are great, video incredibly responsive, and the sound is clear as a bell. 

Now that I have the BossDock connected at my desk, I have been able to put two boxes into a drawer (unfortunately I still need to retain the power bricks for the laptops, as the BossDock does not power either device) and out of the way, and can sell them off if I want.  because really, all I need is the one… well, I might need another one to use at home Winking smile

What’s My WiFi?

A lot of changes have been made to Windows 10 over the nearly three years since its release as the last desktop operating system that Microsoft would be releasing.  Some of those changes have been substantive, others purely cosmetic.  Over the last few versions, they have done quite a bit to remove any of the Windows 7 look-and-feel to the operating system, or at least hiding it.  For those of us who have been using Windows for more than thirty years, it is often annoying that something we used to be able to do without thinking now takes a bit of a fight with the operating system in order to achieve.  As an example, it used to be pretty simple to find your WiFi password.  It is still possible in the GUI, but it is much more convoluted… and at that still requires dropping into the ‘Windows 7’ Control Panel in order to achieve.  (See below)

image

While there is not really a Windows 10 GUI way to glean the same information, there is a command line way to do it.  The command is:

netsh wlan show profile “NETWORK NAME” key=clear

This will result in the following output:

SNAGHTML1df3a914

Incidentally, this will not only work for the wireless network that you are currently connected to.  You can use the following command:

netsh wlan show profiles

to show all of the wireless networks that you have connected to, and then use the same command, like so:

image

image

(For the curious, the wireless network BELL570 no longer exists, and the password to my iPhone (which is not called Mitch’s iPhone) is not MyPassword.)

So now you see there are still ways to extract your wireless password, even if Microsoft is making it more arduous to do so.

Ironkey Fail: Time to change.

WTG keysThere is probably no good reason why I have four (4) military grade USB keys on my key ring with Windows To Go (WTG) configured on each one… but since 2015 I have written about four different devices, and I keep all of them.  Of course, they are not all always up to date… but when a new version of Windows 10 is released, I try to upgrade either some or all of them.  I skipped 1709, so I decided to take an afternoon and recreate all four keys on Windows 10 1803.

My Apricorn key worked just fine.

My Spyrus key worked just fine.

My Ironkey W300 (the one without hardware encryption) worked just fine.

My Ironkey W500 (the one with hardware encryption)… did not.

I spent a few hours trying to make it right, but to no avail.  I finally gave up (for now) deciding to come back to it later on.  And then I got an e-mail press release from Spyrus, claiming that ‘…SPYRUS Windows To Go Device Trial Pack with SEMSaaS Device Management to Replace Competitive Devices that Do Not Support Recent Windows 10 Updates’

Interesting… I decided to go through my archives and see if I would be able to create a Windows To Go installation with an earlier version of Windows.  Fortunately on one of my external hard drives I found an ISO for Windows 10 1703 Enterprise (remember that we need the Enterprise SKU for WTG!) and I spent a few minutes working on it last night.  Presto, it worked!

So the good news is: If you have an Ironkey W500 (or W700 I would think), it will still work with Windows 10 (1703 and earlier). 

The bad news is: your USB key which you spent hundreds of dollars on will only work with an operating system that will go out of support in a few months, and unless Kingston changes its policy (which seems to have been to ignore the Ironkey acquisitions and let the products die) then this is unlikely to change.

I do not know if that policy will change, or if there is something going on behind the scenes that we do not know about.  What I do know is that there is a control panel that the Ironkey toolkit installs to the install.wim file before you deploy it from the Windows To Go Control Panel, and that control panel does not seem to be compatible with Windows 10 versions later than 1703.

And so, I hate to do this, but I have to revise my previous statements.  I will give the Spyrus Workspace Pro a big thumbs up, and I will give the Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3z a big thumbs up.  The Ironkey W500, I’m afraid, is now a do not buy

KB4103723: DO NOT APPLY!

image

Hey folks, if you know what is good for you, do not apply this patch yet.  KB4103723 protects against a CredSSP vulnerability that has not yet been compromised.  However, it will break lots of things in your system, including RDP and Hyper-V connections.  Errors will include CredSSP errors when trying to connect via RDP (or Hyper-V Manager, or Failover Cluster Manager, or SCVMM).

Remote Computer: This could be due to CredSSP encryption oracle remediation.

Good luck!

Automated Virtual Machine Activation

Let’s face it… Microsoft wants you to use Microsoft, so when it can, it creates technologies that make it easier for you to do so.  Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) is one of those tools.

I remember when Microsoft got into the server virtualization game, it really had very little to compete with VMware, other than price.  That has certainly changed, and while Hyper-V is not completely where ESXi is, it is damned close… and there are some benefits, such as AVMA.

What is it?  Simple.  If your virtualization host is running Hyper-V, then your guest VMs do not need to activate to Microsoft… or even to a KMS Server for that matter.  They activate directly to the host.  That means that rather than having to keep track of (or worse, share) your Product Keys, you can simply share the AVMA keys.  The rest is done through the Data Exchange Integration Service in the Hyper-V stack.

The downside?  You have to have an (activated) Windows Server Datacenter Edition as your host.  In other words, it will not work with Hyper-V Server.  That is not a huge downside, but it is significant.

The keys are available for free on-line, and the activation is done against your host.  So use the following keys:

Windows Server 2016

Edition AVMA key
Datacenter TMJ3Y-NTRTM-FJYXT-T22BY-CWG3J
Standard C3RCX-M6NRP-6CXC9-TW2F2-4RHYD
Essentials B4YNW-62DX9-W8V6M-82649-MHBKQ

Windows Server 2012 R2

Edition AVMA key
Datacenter Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW
Standard DBGBW-NPF86-BJVTX-K3WKJ-MTB6V
Essentials K2XGM-NMBT3-2R6Q8-WF2FK-P36R2

(Notice that this works only for Server 2012R2 and later.  The feature was only introduced in that version.)

One thing you need to make sure of in the guest VM settings… You need to have Data Exchange enabled in the Integration Services context, as seen here:

Capture

…So now, you can include the AVMA key in your VM templates, and you will be all set.  But if you didn’t do that, try the following command:

slmgr.exe /ipk C3RCX-M6NRP-6CXC9-TW2F2-4RHYD

That will add the product key to your VM, and all that is left to do is activate it using the following:

slmgr.exe /ato

That’s it… Have fun!

 

Default Gateway Corrections

PowerShell.jpgThe default gateway setting in Windows (and every other networked operating system) is a simple setting that tells your network interface card (NIC) where to send traffic when sending it outside of your domain segment.  More often than not, it will be the .1 address of a network segment (e.g.: 10.0.0.1), but that is not always the case.

It is one of those settings that you set once and forget it… It almost never needs to be changed… until it does.  Network reconfigurations do happen, and changing the default gateway is simple to do in the graphical user interface via the Properties window of your network interface, simply by modifying the appropriate field in the  Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) properties.

But what if you need to do it for several machines?  Of course, PowerShell to the rescue!

First, you need to check what your NIC Interface Index is:

Get-NetIPConfiguration

This will give you an output that looks like this:

Get-Alias

As we see in this example, the server was moved from one network segment (10.128.43.x/24) to a new one (10.128.11.x/24).  Because of that, we need to assign a new Gateway in the proper network segment.

The Interface Index here lists as 3.  Remember that.

Before we add the new Gateway, we have to remove the old one.  Otherwise the NIC will have two gateways, and that can cause issues.

Remove-NetRoute -ifindex 3 -NextHop “10.128.43.1”

Notice that we put in 3 for the ifindex (the Interface Index), and the old gateway in quotes.

Now that we have a clean slate, all we have to do is configure the new default gateway, with this:

New-NetRoute -interfaceindex 3 -NextHop “10.128.11.1” -destinationprefix “0.0.0.0/0”

Again, we change our interfaceindex to 3, and our NextHop to the proper gateway.  When you run these two commands, you should get the following output:

Done

That’s all there is to it!  Of course, you may want to execute this script against a group of computers, but that’s for another time…

 

 

 

Replay: Not quite a Second Shot, rather like buying Exam Insurance.

Microsoft certifications are worth the money… but there is certainly money involved.  You are paying USD$165.00 to sit an exam, whether you pass or fail.

Some time ago, Microsoft started offering Second Shot vouchers.  As long as you pre-registered for it, you would get the chance to re-sit an exam in the event that you did not pass.  They were a great way to encourage candidates to try, and if they failed, they would be able to take the exam again at no extra cost.

The last time I wrote about these vouchers was nearly 6 years ago.  I do not know if they have come up since, but I don’t think I have taken advantage in a long time.

MindHubThere is now a program called Microsoft Exam Replay.  This is not a free offer from Microsoft, rather it is like buying an insurance program up front.  Instead of purchasing the exam outright, you purchase an exam voucher + retake from MindHub.  The cost? USD$230, or USD$65.00 more than the cost of the exam.  In other words, it is a bad investment if your confidence level is high… but if you are really uncertain, it may be worth your while to look into it.

Reading the on-line reviews, there is no consensus.  It seems they are like olives… you either love it or hate it.  I am not planning to take any exams in the near future, so I will not be trying them out.  However, if you are concerned, then better safe than sorry.

Microsoft Technology Roadshow

Azure-imageTuesday morning I stood up in front of a great audience of IT Professionals at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa.  The subject? Azure networking.

One of the slides that Microsoft gave me for the ‘Curtain Warmer’ contained a list of links for further information.  They are:

Azure Training:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-ca/training

Azure Certification:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/learning/certification-overview.aspx

Windows Certifications:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/learning/windows-certification.aspx

Productivity Certification:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/learning/mcse-productivity-certificatio.aspx

Mobility Certification:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/learning/mobility-certification.aspx

Windows 10 Support Extended

Team10I know, I am a couple of months late on this… on February 1st, 2018 Microsoft announced that it would be extending support on Windows 10 Editions 1709, 1703, and 1607.  That means that instead of having 18 months of support, you will have 24. The bad news? This applies only to the Enterprise and Education SKUs of the product.

According to Microsoft, this is the current support calendar:

Release Release Date End of Support End of Support for Enterprise/Education
Windows 10 (1607) August 2, 2016 April 10, 2018 October 9, 2018
Windows 10 (1703) April 5, 2017 October 9, 2018 April 9, 2019
Windows 10 (1709) October 17, 2017 April 9, 2019 October 8, 2019

For those of you not paying attention, End of Support for Windows 10 (1607) was earlier this week, as well as End of Additional Servicing for Enterprise, Education for Windows 10 1511.

For those of you who say that it is unfair that Enterprise and Education SKUs get longer support cycles, please remember that most customers who buy the Home and Pro SKUs are buying much fewer licenses, and the free upgrade (via Windows Update, as well as numerous other channels) makes it much easier to manage, as compared to Enterprise and Education license customers, where customers often buy tens (and hundreds) of thousands of seats, and need time to check software compatibility and to actually roll out (via their enterprise deployment tools) the myriad seats that they have.