Recovery Image Oopsie…

In a recent article I told you all how I had to recover my Surface Pro, and downloaded a Recovery Image from Microsoft in order to do so (See Surface Woes). As I went through the process of finding that image download, I could not help thinking that so much of the process seemed… outdated.  Don’t get me wrong, it worked… but it just felt like somewhere around the Surface Pro 2 era someone at Microsoft just gave up keeping up the information.

So how funny was it when I realized this morning that the Recovery Image, downloaded directly from Microsoft, was actually based on Windows 10 1703, released fifteen months ago?  I know Microsoft wants people to use their latest and greatest, especially when it comes to Windows 10.  Two builds have been release since (1709 and, most recently, 1803), so I wonder how difficult it would have been to update the Recovery Image to one of those.  My Surface Pro had been upgraded to Windows 10 1803 a few weeks ago, before the crash.

And so, having already done so once, and having spent several hours restoring my on-the-brink-of-dead device back to functionality, I have to spend another couple of hours watching the spinning circles of boredom before I can go back to using the device happily.

image

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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.

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!)

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!

 

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.

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.

 

Where is 1803?

Team10For those of you who have been eagerly anticipating the release of the latest release of Windows 10 (Version 1803), you know that it was slated to be released to the public April 10th, 2018.

Those of us who went to our sources (mine is https://my.visualstudio.com), or expected to see it appear in our Windows Update stream, we were met with disappointment.

It seems that someone at Microsoft discovered a ‘blocking bug’ – that is, a bug that is serious enough to delay the launch of the new platform – over the weekend.  Because of this, they are holding off on the release until the bug is fixed.

While Microsoft has not announced a new release date (I don’t think they ever officially announced April 10 as the old release date), we can assume that they are working hard and fast at getting it out the door.  My conservative estimates would expect to see it by the last week of April.

Fortunately, because Microsoft recently extended the support dates for the Enterprise and Education Editions of Windows 10 (see my article dated April 12, 2018), there is no pressing contractual reason for them to rush a less-than-satisfactory version of their flagship operating system out the door.  Let them take the time they need to get it right before releasing it to the public.

Incidentally, according to my sources, for whatever it is worth the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) build will be Build 17133.  This is one of those interesting tidbits to almost nobody, but will be important for the few who really need to know.

Windows Live Essentials… died quietly.

I have been blogging on WordPress for years, and before that I used a different platform… but it has been over a decade that I have been using Windows Live Writer to write my blog articles.  On occasion, I would write on the WordPress app on my phone or iPad, and sometimes even from the web console (www.wordpress.com).  For the most part, it has been Live Writer.

WIndows Live

They stopped upgrading Live Writer (and the rest of the Windows Live Essentials suite) a few years ago – it never made it onto Windows 10.  As I wrote in 2015, it would still work, as long as you jumped through Microsoft’s hoops (See article).

Microsoft cut support completely on March 22, 2017.  According to the official page:

As of this morning, March 22, 2017,

Windows Essentials 2012 download offline installer (Microsoft site) is no longer available.

(March 21, 2017 was the last date the offline installer was available.)

——————-

As this download is no longer available, further daily reports here on availability will cease.

The era is well and truly over, and I had not noticed it… Windows Live died quietly.

Fortunately, for those of us who saved the offline installer file (wlsetup-all.exe), it can still be installed, using the same instructions I wrote in the article in 2015.

If you do not have that file… well, I am sure that knowing the file name, you will be able to find a copy of it somewhere on the web.  I just want to remind you that files you get from untrusted sources will be just that… untrusted.  It is pirater beware, and yes… by downloading from untrusted sources, you are essentially pirating software (even though it was always free from Microsoft).

Before you ask, the answer is no… I have not yet moved onto a different blogging platform; I have not even looked into it.  I am just happy I tucked that old file into my Downloads directory whenever I last installed my Surface Pro 4… frankly, I only discovered the end-of-support when I reinstalled it recently.  I suppose I should look to see what else is out there, how I could make my blogging experience better.

Any suggestions?

R.I.P. Windows Live

Gone, not forgotten, and certainly missed.

SCOM Prerequisites: A Web of Confusion

Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) has several prerequisites that must be installed for each component, and frankly, some of those can be cumbersome to get around.  Of course, it is nice for the SCOM installation console to let us know that Report Viewer (a free download from Microsoft, link provided in the notifications window) is a prerequisite… but they do not tell you that System CLR Types for SQL Server 2014 are a prerequisite to Report Viewer, no link given (spoiler alert: it is a component of the SQL Server 2014 Feature Pack).

Of all the components, it is the SCOM Web Console that has the most prerequisites, and frankly some of them are easier to install than others.

WebConsole Prerequisites

We have our work cut out for us, it would seem… unless we use PowerShell!

Yes, we could much our way through the Add Roles & Features wizard in Server Manager… and if you are only installing it the once, then that is probably fine.  If you are a consultant and expect to be installing SCOM more than once in your client environments, I strongly suggest you grab these PowerShell scripts.

Of course, the Report Viewer Controls Check is still going to fail, but those prerequisites are really easy – the link for the Report Viewer is here, and I hope you took the opportunity to install the SQL Server 2014 Feature Pack before you do that.

Script:

Import-Module ServerManager

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core,Web-Static-Content,Web-Default-Doc,Web-Dir-Browsing,Web-Http-Errors,Web-Http-Logging,Web-Request-Monitor,Web-Filtering,Web-Stat-Compression,Web-Metabase,Web-Asp-Net,Web-Asp-Net45,Web-Windows-Auth,NET-HTTP-Activation,NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45 -restart

This should do it… you will need to reboot the server in order for a few things to register properly (ISAPI and CGI and all sorts of stuff), but when you restart the installer and check your prerequisites…

Prerequisites Passed

That’s what we want to see… so in a few minutes time (the web console really does not take a long time to install) you should be able to navigate to https://servername/OperationsManager and you will see…

WebConsole

Now go forth and script, my good man!

I am heading out of town for a week or R&R… See you next Friday!

It’s Good to be Back…

Okay, I never really left… but it was touch and go for a bit.  After having made the payment yesterday, I woke up Friday morning to an e-mail that I have now received eleven times.

Thanks for renewing your MCT membership!

While it is not quite the twelve year anniversary of my earning this distinction (I first achieved it July 21, 2006), it is the eleventh renewal.

A lot has changed in the past twelve years… in my life, to the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) program.  The least of the changes is the cost per year – we all complained when the cost jumped to USD$800 per year, and a lot of my brethren decided the benefits was no longer worth the cost.  Fortunately for them, Microsoft Learning created the MCT Alumni program.

Personally, while I consider the cost to be excessive, I still feel it is worth paying.  I have worked with several my clients because I was able to start by training their staff.  When I have free cycles, because I am able to teach Microsoft Official Curriculum courses, I can reach out to training centres (and brokers) around the world to offer them my services.  As well, there is a cachet to having the title.  ‘Hey, that guys is an MCT… he must know something.’

Until a few years ago, I was extremely involved in the MCT Community.  I was an MCT Regional Lead from 2012-2013 (see article); I volunteered as a proctor and facilitator for hands-on labs at events like TechEd and Ignite; I wrote myriad articles helping people to understand their certification paths.  All in all, I did what I could to help make the program better.

I have stepped back from all of that, as I have stepped back from most if not all of my community involvement overall.  I will always be proud of what I did, but I felt it was time for others to step up and take over.

MCT_logoMy MCT is not like that; while there is an MCT Community, I consider my MCT a vital tool in my professional toolbox.  Being able to teach courses, having access to the Microsoft course ware library and on-line labs for my own professional development, all of these are worth the price of admission right there… even if my company was not willing to cover the cost (which I am grateful that they are).

When I was an independent contractor, being able to train was a key component of my business.  Between my time as a contractor with Microsoft Canada (I could not have been an Evangelist if I had not been a trainer) and HP (I spent several months contracting to them, teaching System Center), as well as teaching courses through both Microsoft and other Learning Partners, I made a pretty respectable living.

Now that I am working with Cistel, I will likely spend most of my time consulting, implementing, reviewing, and so on.  But that does not mean that I will not occasionally be called on to teach courses, both internally and for our clients.  In the year since I started contracting with them before joining them full-time, both scenarios have happened.

While I enjoy consulting, I also truly enjoy teaching.  It is great to build and upgrade and improve upon systems, but it is also great to teach others to know and understand concepts, technologies, that they had not previously known.  Being with a company like Cistel, I have the opportunity to do both… as long as I maintain my Microsoft Certified Trainer status.

If you have ever sat one of my sessions – whether a class, a seminar, a user group presentation, anything – I am always happy to hear your thoughts, and just to stay in touch.

Thank you all!

Mitch Garvis, MCT

MCT_Logo New

I Made The Papers!

It has been a long time since I got a notification that an article I wrote made the top of anything, so this morning when this came across my Twitter feed I was quite pleased:

@vanessabruwer: The latest System Center Weekly Roundup! https://t.co/oT361QLUE6 Thanks to @USportsSG @MGarvis @ComtradeSoftw #sccm #sysctr

Yes, this put a smile on my face.  I will never again be recognized by the Microsoft MVP Program and I am okay with that… but once in a while, getting recognized for my writing feels good.  Thanks Vanessa!

Juiced Again!

About 2.5 years ago, I wrote an article called I’m Juiced… Because my Surface Pro 3 Got Juiced!  It was a play on words because I had won an adapter for my Surface Pro from Juiced Systems that was a 4-in-1 adapter custom-fitted to the Surface Pro 3, with two USB 3.0 ports, an SD Card reader, and a Micro-SD Card reader. I loved it, and was disappointed that when I upgraded to my Surface Pro 4 it did not fit (see article).

Fast-forward a couple of years, I started working at Cistel Technologies in Ottawa with one of the hosts of the show on which I won the adapter (The Universal Windows Podcast, previously known as SurfaceSmiths).  Colin and I were taking one day, and I lamented that it was too bad that I could no longer use the 4-in-1.  He told me that the company had started making them for the Surface Pro 4… and more than that, there were now several versions of it.  I got on that right away, because I seem to go overboard on these things… especially when the devices are so useful!

Surface Pro 4 4 in 1 Adapter

According to the company website, this adapter is “…a beautifully constructed adapter designed specifically for your Surface Pro 4. The adapter will not block or impair any ports or charging inputs. Extend your Surface Pro 4 capabilities with a low profile, travel ready, USB 3.0 hub.”  It has two USB 3.0 ports, one Micro SD input, and one Micro USB input to provide power to the adapter.  It measures 63×32.5×9.8mm, making it small enough to travel in whatever sleeve you carry your Surface Pro in, and yes… it also works with the Surface Pro 3.

Juiced 4in1This device works for me in a pinch, when I just need an extra USB slot, or I need to read from (or write to) a Micro SD card.  The Micro USB input allows me to boost the power to the adapter, so I can quickly and confidently charge two smart phones simultaneously.  It actually provides enough power to run a USB 2.0 docking station… but that dock would make the adapter redundant.

As you can see, just like with the previous iteration, it is angled properly to meld perfectly to the device.  Definitely a worthwhile investment.

Surface Pro 4 Multifunction Adapter

Juiced MFAIf you work in wired environments where you need an RJ-45 connection, this is the perfect adapter for you.

The Juiced Systems Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Multifunction adapter gives you two USB 3.0 ports, as well as an Ethernet input so you can connect to a wired network.  I do not spend a lot of time on wired networks, but there are a few places where I need to connect, and WiFi is not an option.  This device stays in my sleeve for that very reason.

Universal USB 3.0 Media Adapter

Juiced MediaThe USB 3.0 Media adapter is not contoured to specifically fit to the Surface Pro, rather it will work with any device with a USB port.  Its body is aluminum, unlike most such adapters which are usually cheap plastic.  You can feel this device is stronger and more durable than most.  According to the product page: “The adapter is designed for on the go productivity for all of your laptops media needs.”  I don’t know about that, but with two USB 3.0 ports, an SD Memory Card reader, a Micro SD Memory Card reader, and a Micro USB input to add power, it certainly does extend the functionality of my Surface.  This one includes a Micro USB cable to plug in so you can boost the ports.  While this device is not designed specifically for the Surface Pro 4 like the other ones, I definitely look to this one as my go-to adapter.  If I have to choose between the three that I am reviewing, this is the one I go to.  No, it does not have the Ethernet port… but I usually don’t need it, and the multiple USB ports plus the full-size and Micro-SD card readers make my life as a photographer much simpler.

Juiced Media 2

All three of these adapters – along with dozens more – are available online from Juiced Systems, and are definitely worth the investment.  In this day and age where our devices – and especially our tablets – are offering fewer and fewer ports, and we have more and more devices, then having the ability to add the ports we need this easily can make our lives easier.

All three devices retail for $29.99, and ship pretty quickly.  I strongly recommend you try them out.  You will not be disappointed!

SCOM Management Packs: Removing Foreign Languages

When you go to add Management Packs (MPs) to System Center Operations Manager, there is that temptation to be lazy and just add everything.  This will clog your environment with a lot of things you do not need… including MPs in languages that you likely do not speak, read, or care about (within the context of your SCOM environment).

Once you realize this is a lousy idea, it is usually too late… you’ve already done it.  You will want to clear out a lot of things… starting with those foreign languages.

You can delete them one by one of course… right-click on the MP, click Remove (or Delete).  This will be reasonably time consuming… so when this happened to me some time ago, I went looking online for a better solution.

John Savill, an IT writer and Microsoft MVP whom I have known and respected for many years, created a great script that I found.  I found it again recently in an article he wrote for IT Pro Today.  Essentially, it removes every MP that has a geo-tag (.KOR for Korean, .ITA for Italian, and so forth).

From the Operations Manager Shell, enter (or cut and paste) the following:

Get-SCOMManagementPack | where{($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.CHS”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.KOR”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.CHT”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.ITA”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.JPN”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.RUS”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.FRA”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.PTB”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.DEU”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.ESN”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.HUN”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.NLD”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.PLK”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.PTG”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.SVE”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.TRK”) -or ($_.Name.Substring($_.Name.Length -4,4) -eq “.CSY”)} | Remove-SCOMManagementPack

(Note: John’s original script excluded a number of languages; I have modified the script to include Hungarian, Dutch,  Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, and Czech. I do not know if these are languages that were added to Management Packs recently, but I found several with these and wanted to remove them as well.)

Depending on how many foreign language MPs you have, it might take some time… After all, it is going through and removing them individually the same way that you would… but without having to right-click, click, confirm, repeat.  So be patient… it is working!

(Note: While it is working, you will not be able to access the Operations Console… at least, not from the same system you are running the script on.)

RemoveSCOMMPs

The article I found it in is here, and while it was originally written for SCOM 2012, it works just as well for SCOM 2016.

Thanks John!

Operations Manager: How to List What Management Packs Are Installed?

A client asked me recently how to determine what Management Packs he had installed in his System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) infrastructure.  I told him to open his Management Console and navigate to Administration – Installed Management PacksIt was a short conversation.

SCOM Installed MPs

Easy peasy, right?  Here’s a list, go with G-d.  Twenty minutes later, my phone rings again.

“Mitch, how can I export that list so that I can include it in our Infrastructure Documentation?”

Aha… That is a different kettle of fish.  For this, we will go into the Operations Manager Shell, essentially the PowerShell console for SCOM.  The command most people seem to recommend, to stick to pure PowerShell scripting, would be:

Get-SCOMManagementPack |ConvertTo-Csv | Out-File c:\MPs\InstalledMPs.csv

This will give you a .CSV (comma separated values) file with the following information:

  • Name
  • TimeCreated
  • LastModified
  • KeyToken
  • Version
  • ID
  • Identifier
  • VersionID
  • References
  • Sealed
  • ContentReadable
  • FriendlyName
  • DisplayName
  • Description
  • DefaultLanguageCode
  • ActiveLanguageCode
  • LockObject
  • Store
  • SchemaVersion
  • OriginalSchemaVersion
  • Registry
  • Extensions
  • LifetimeManagers
  • Features
  • ImageReferences
  • EntityTypes
  • ManagementPacks
  • Presentation
  • Monitoring
  • DerivedTypes

…in other words, way more information than we need.  I generally cheat and use the following (from my Batch File days):

Get-SCOMManagementPack >”c:\MPs\InstalledMPs.txt”

This creates a text file with exactly what would be displayed if I ran this cmdlet on the screen…

SCOM Installed MPsTXT

Ok, that is a lot more useful than the whole CSV list, but I might want to select only the columns I want, and not the ones that PowerShell thinks I want.  Let’s try this:

Get-SCOMManagementPack | Select-Object Name,FriendlyName,Description | ConvertTo-Csv | Out-File c:\MPs\InstalledMPs.csv

Now I have a usable file (.csv imported into Excel is a lot more useful than a text file that I can only manipulate in Notepad), that has exactly the information I want… in this case, I have the Name, the Friendly Name, and the Description.  My output might now be formatted to look like this:

SCOM Installed MPs-Formatted

Much better, don’t you think?  If we are doing this for the sake of documentation, we should be able to make it as legible as possible.

Of course, you can choose your objects (columns) as you choose… just replace the names in my Select-Object entry with the ones you want (from the list above, separated by commas).  Then you can import your list into Excel.  Do not try to open the file in Excel by double-clicking… that will not do anything with your CSV formatting, and it gets ugly.

Have fun!