O R G A N I C / F E R T I L I Z E R: 06.12

Jun 25, 2012

a guest post? not quite...

i received this interesting request from "sarah" asking if i had an interest in a guest blog post. isn't that interesting? here's the email:

Hi Marcus,

I'm getting in touch with you because I'm interested in writing an article for your blog. I came across your blog post marcusoh.blogspot.com while writing for a website on music production. During my research, I've found an increasing focus in terms of design as the tools and technology available today improve our ability to customize how create music and collaborate as musicians

Please let me know if you'd be interested in an article this topic. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


as you know, i write tons on music, music theory, musical collaboration, and such. NOT. if sarah's "research" on the purpose/scope/focus of my blog is any indication of her research in music, i wouldn't be interested even if i did have a topic that was germane to her research. this, by far, is the best giveaway though:


smtp.com? oh boy. a short perfunctory search revealed that sarah not only dabbles in music research but also childhood psychology and development as indicated in this blog post i found.

Jun 22, 2012

enumerating dns records with powershell

here's a way to list dns records with powershell going through wmi. keep in mind the dns class does not appear to support wildcards. :(

get-wmiobject -ComputerName servername -Namespace root\microsoftDNS -Class MicrosoftDNS_ResourceRecord -Filter "domainname='mydomain'" | select textrepresentation

i haven't figured out how to loop through subdomains and dump them out yet. :/ it's a start. hopefully you guys have something better you can share.

Jun 21, 2012

windows phone 8 for business

i have spent most of this morning listening to the windows phone summit keynote in the background. i started paying a lot more attention when the windows phone 8 for business part came up. it's not too awful. this speaker is pretty good!


if you missed the video, it's located here: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Phone/Summit

the stuff for business (as in manageability, encryption, etc) starts ~28 minutes in. big news is the windows phone and windows 8 os share a common core, thus providing some really interesting benefits. here are the key items:

  • complete security platform: encryption and secure boot covered by bitlocker
  • flexible app distribution: signed applications deployed by internal application store instead of marketplace (think sideload-esque) supporting on-premise intranet or cloud
  • device management: covered by the same technologies that manage windows os
  • deep voip integration: skype or cell looks identical -- could mean reduced minutes plan
  • company hub: company-personalized application to highlight apps, provide news, provide alerts, self-service profile capability

by the way, the consumer video demo around ~1:03 is REALLY cool. the other demo around ~1:25 is pretty cool, too. the current inrix app, by the way, is pretty stellar for traffic information.

Jun 19, 2012

xian network manager 2012

if you're an opsmgr admin, you either have used or have heard of jalasoft. they've been in the market for quite a while now -- nearly 10 years maybe. anyway, i just wanted to help them get the word out that their 2012 product has released. anyway, i don't have opsmgr 2012 deployed yet so understanding the functional limitations with network discovery is at a bit of a loss right now.

the product screenshots look kind of compelling though. the use of a concept called "netflow" seems to stick out -- which appears to be a kind of way to view traffic patterns and determine  endpoints pushing around a lot of packets.


this seems to be a pretty good definition of netflow according to my friend glenn graham:

Similarly, NetFlow-enabled routers and switches capture measurements of the network traffic at points in the network and transmit this captured data in the form of User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) packets to a NetFlow collector for further processing, analysis and archiving.

it definitely appears worth a look. check it out: http://www.jalasoft.com/xian/networkmanager

Jun 18, 2012

ad replication status tool

by now, if you haven't heard of it already, you probably will soon enough. microsoft released a new tool which outputs the replication status of your AD infrastructure. anyway, it's like viewing the same data ... a little more visually. i would love to see more dataviz ... but it's a great start. here's an overview from the download page:

The Active Directory Replication Status Tool (ADREPLSTATUS) analyzes the replication status for domain controllers in an Active Directory domain or forest. ADREPLSTATUS displays data in a format that is similar to REPADMIN /SHOWREPL * /CSV imported into Excel but with significant enhancements.

Specific capabilities for this tool include:

  • Expose Active Directory replication errors occurring in a domain or forest.
  • Prioritize errors that need to be resolved in order to avoid the creation of lingering objects in Active Directory forests.
  • Help administrators and support professionals resolve replication errors by linking to Active Directory replication troubleshooting content on Microsoft TechNet.
  • Allow replication data to be exported to source or destination domain administrators or support professionals for offline analysis.

get your copy of the tool here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30005

Jun 13, 2012

winnate – using windows 8 with cisco vpn

are you having the same connection issue i was when trying to use the cisco vpn client? here’s what the message looks like:


the message states: Reason 442: Failed to enable Virtual Adapter.

this is the second time i’ve had to do this so i figured capture it. anyway, found the steps here: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/6fe817f3-27fe-4068-995a-aced4508ee3e

anyway, it looks like the vpn client tries to enable the virtual adapter by its display name. the installation does some funky crap with the display name:
  • broke: @oem8.inf,%CVirtA_Desc%,Cisco Systems VPN Adapter for 64-bit Windows
  • good: Cisco Systems VPN Adapter for 64-bit Windows

once you remove the crud and try again, it works. here’s the actual steps that raman posted:
Open Registry editor by typing regedit in Run prompt
  • Browse to the Registry Key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Services\\CVirtA
  • Select the DisplayName to modify, and remove the leading characters from the value data up to "%;" i.e.
    • For x86, change the value data from something like "@oem8.inf,%CVirtA_Desc%;Cisco Systems VPN Adapter” to "Cisco Systems VPN Adapter”
    • For x64, change the value data from something like "@oem8.inf,%CVirtA_Desc%;Cisco Systems VPN Adapter for 64-bit Windows” to "Cisco Systems VPN Adapter for 64-bit Windows”
  • Try connecting again

    self-study guide for system center

    here's some more good stuff scott wrote for use as study guides. excellent materials ...

    system center 2012 self-study guide (complete edition)


    the individual parts...

    system center 2012 self-study guide (overview)

    system center 2012 self-study guide (advisor and app center)

    system center 2012 self-study guide (configmgr)

    system center 2012 self study guide (data protection manager and endpoint protection)

    system center 2012 self study guide (operations manager)

    system center 2012 self study guide (orchestrator and service manager)

    system center 2012 self study guide (unified installer and virtual machine manager)

    Jun 12, 2012

    checking dns forwarders of all domain controllers

    • connect to the ldap provider

    $dcs = [adsi]LDAP://ou=domain controllers,dc=mydomain,dc=com

    • get a list of all dcs

    $dcs = $dcs.psbase.children | select -ExpandProperty name

    • query the dns class
    $dcs | % { Write-Output $_ ; (gwmi -Namespace root\microsoftdns -ComputerName $_ -Query "select forwarders from microsoftdns_server").forwarders }

    configuration manager 2012 service pack 1

    the announcement of enhancements for configmgr 2012 with sp1 was delivered yesterday at teched. here's a rundown from the slides (since i am not there):

    • Platform Support:
      • Windows 8
      • Windows 8 tablet (Intel SoC) support
      • Mac OS X
      • Linux and Unix
        • Hardware Inventory:
          • 16 core classes viewable through Resource Explorer
          • Extensible model – supports custom classes and pluggable providers
          • ARP shows all native installed software (e.g. rpm’s or pkg’s)
          • Create collections of Linux/UNIX computers
        • Software Deployment
          • Using the Package and Program model
          • Deploy/patch software, deploy OS patches and run maintenance scripts that target a collection
        • Secure and Authenticated communications
        • Consolidated reports
    • Operating System Deployment:
      • Windows To Go support
      • BitLocker changes:
        • TPM and PIN
        • Used Space BitLocker
      • Prestage media now supports additional content types:
        • Before: WIM
        • Now: WIM, Applications, Drivers, Package/Programs
    • Application Delivery:
      • Metro style applications
      • Deep link applications
      • Network cost support
    • Flexible hierarchy management:
      • Ability to add a new Central Administration Site
      • Migration between ConfigMgr 2012 hierarchies
    • Hierarchy easier to control:
      • When: Schedule replication for a given link
      • What: SQL Server distributed views
      • How much: Compression for SQL Server data
    • Setting Management: User Profile and Data Management
      • Client Side Caching
      • Roaming User Profiles
      • Folder Redirection
    • PowerShell Provider Cmdlets:
      • Scope: Tasks exposed in the Administration Console
      • How:
        • Suitable experience for administrator (not the SDK)
        • Align with PowerShell general conventions


    here's a summary slide from the deck which is available at the teched site under the myteched section. look for MGT309. :)


    opsmgr is running around crashing servers

    okay, calm down. i'm totally sensationalizing the actual issue. had a domain controller go sour this morning, basically no longer advertising sysvol. here's a sample of the event:

    Event Type:      Error
    Event Source: Application Error
    Event Category: (100)
    Event ID: 1000
    Date: 1/1/2012
    Time: 12:00:00 PM
    User: N/A
    Computer: <Computer Name>
    Faulting application svchost.exe, version 5.2.3790.3959, faulting module netman.dll, version 5.2.3790.3959, fault address 0x0000000000008d4f.

    it isn't immediately obvious, but this problem is actually caused by opsmgr (as in the blog title implies). to be absolutely fair, opsmgr isn't actually at fault. however, it pounds the crap out of netman.dll which exposes a bug, causing the failure of the server service. when you lose the server service, you lose any process running spawned from svchost. that's a lot of stuff.

    here's the full article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2670298. it also links back to kevin holman's blog. ;-)

    Jun 11, 2012

    windows 7 and wmi repair

    a friend sent me an im today asking if i had experienced a situation with windows 7 that generally acted "funky", seemingly hanging applying settings, and such. what he determined from trace evidence is that wmi initiated a repair, but it wasn't initiated by an admin.

    i told him i could have sworn i had seen where windows 7 behavior changed and initiated a self-repair when it found certain conditions to be true. (i, of course, cannot find this anywhere now so if you know where it is, please leave a link in the comments!)

    long story short, windows 7 does initiate a self-repair. it isn't immediately evident in this article, but this article talks about a hotfix which suppresses unnecessary full diagnostics -- which can be cpu intensive, causing the problems my friend experienced. from the article:

    When you perform one of the following operations on a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7, the operation may take a long time to complete:

    • Start the computer
    • Log on to Windows

    For example, the computer takes three or more minutes to start.

    here's the article if you're interested: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=2617858

    Jun 4, 2012

    self-study guide for powershell

    here's another great study guide from the same friend. sharing is caring!


    Top Level Site for PowerShell: http://www.microsoft.com/powershell


    Windows PowerShell Training

    • Windows PowerShell Getting Started Guide
    • Scripting with Windows PowerShell
    • Windows PowerShell Owner’s Manual
      • Getting Started with Windows PowerShell
      • Customizing the Windows PowerShell Console
      • Windows PowerShell Shortcut Keys
      • Piping and the Pipeline
      • Running Windows PowerShell Scripts
      • The Windows PowerShell Profile
      • Windows PowerShell Aliases
    • Windows PowerShell User’s Guide
      • Windows PowerShell Basics
      • Object Pipeline
      • Windows PowerShell Navigation
      • Working with Objects
      • Using Windows PowerShell for Administration
      • Introducing the Windows PowerShell ISE
      • Appendix 1 – Compatibility Aliases
      • Appendix 2 – Creating a Custom Windows PowerShell Shortcut
    • Windows PowerShell Webcasts/Podcasts (a list of 76 different PowerShell presentations in multiple formats – to see the entire list select “MORE” on right-hand side opposite the heading that reads “IT Professionals (76)”)
      • Introduction to Windows PowerShell
      • Using Windows PowerShell 2.0
      • Windows PowerShell Basics for IT Professionals (2-part series)
      • TechEd 2011 Birds-of-a-Feather (Sessions 04): PowerShell: Best Practices From The Field
      • Managing Web Infrastructure Systems with Windows PowerShell 2.0
      • How Do I:
        • PowerShell – The Basics
        • PowerShell Variables
        • PowerShell Scripts and the Command Line
        • PowerShell and WMI
        • Creating Output with PowerShell
        • PowerShell – Object Manipulation
        • Pipelining
    • TheVBScript-to-Windows PowerShell Conversion Guide


    PowerShell Podcasts

    These audios offer Windows PowerShell tips, news and interviews that you can listen to at your convenience.


    Useful PowerShell Blogs

    This is a sampling of some of the blogs that are being written on the subject of Windows PowerShell.  Some of these are independent blogs and their contents are not reviewed or controlled by Microsoft.


    PowerShell Scripts

    This section represents links to actual PowerShell scripts that have been developed for review and reuse.  These scripts are intended to keep administrators from having to “start from scratch” when developing scripts.  While they will almost certainly require some modification, the intent is to give admins a starting point to learn how to do various tasks related to PowerShell in their own environments.



    PowerShell Forum

    This forum is a place where administrators can ask question, read discussions among technical professionals, and engage with the online PowerShell community.


    PowerShell Tools


    PowerShell Books

    The following is a partial list of books that have proven useful as PowerShell resources, both to the new admin and the experienced developer.  This is not intended as a complete list of PowerShell books, but is intended only as a sample for the admin looking to start building his or her library.


    Additional PowerShell Resources

    A variety of external resources offered to the PowerShell community in the form of blogs, sample scripts, wikis, forums, etc.


    PowerShell v3 (beta)

    These resources are specifically designed to help prepare for the newest version of PowerShell to be released in the near future.

    self-study guide for system center endpoint protection

    whether you call it forefront endpoint protection (fep) or system center endpoint protection (scep), you might find these resources valuable as a means of getting up to speed. a good friend of mine created this awesome guide. anyway, sharing is caring. here you go...



    Top Level Site for SCEP: http://www.microsoft.com/fep


    Forefront Training

    Featured Videos


    Microsoft Forefront Virtual Event (TechNet Edge)


    Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 (TechNet)

    • What’s New in FEP 2010 Update Rollup 1
    • Release Notes
    • Overview
    • System Requirements
    • Getting Started
    • Planning and Architecture
    • Performance and Scalability
    • Server Installation
    • Client Deployment
    • Operations
    • Troubleshooting
    • Technical Reference


    System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection

    • System Center Endpoint Protection 2012
      • What’s new in Forefront Endpoint Protection 2012?
      • Endpoint Protection (TechNet)
        • System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection Privacy Statement
        • Information and Support for System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection
        • Endpoint Protection Client Help
          • Why do I need antivirus and antispyware software?
          • Getting started
          • Scanning for viruses, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software
          • What’s real-time protection?
          • How do I know that Endpoint Protection is running on my computer?
          • What are virus and spyware definitions?
          • How do I remove or restore items quarantined by Endpoint Protection?
          • What is the Microsoft Active Protection Service Community?
          • Troubleshooting
          • Glossary
    • Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager
      • Introduction to Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager
      • Planning for Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager
      • Configuring Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager
      • Operations and Maintenance for Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager
      • Security and Privacy for Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager
      • Technical Reference for Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager


    Forefront Webcasts/Podcasts

    These videos and audios offer Forefront Endpoint Protection tips, news and interviews that you can listen to at your convenience.


    Forefront Forums

    These forums provide administrators opportunities to engage in discussions related to Forefront Endpoint Protection.  It is a place where questions can be asked/answered, where you can review conversations on relevant topics by other administrators, and where you can interact with other IT professionals.


    Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 Support

    On this site, you can search an extensive database for answers to technical issues.  This site allows you to locate relevant Knowledge Base (KB) articles, as well as enabling you to search by events or error codes.



    Here, administrators can download both FEP 2010 as well as the FEP 2010 Security Management Pack for use with System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)


    Useful Blogs

    These blogs are where experts in Forefront technologies post their thoughts, relevant information, news, and general guidance.  They are very useful methods for administrators to remain up to date on the latest information related to Forefront Endpoint Protection.


    Forefront Classroom Training

    This section lists the various training classes available for Forefront Endpoint Protection.  These classes are available through Microsoft’s training partners.

    • Course 50509A: Implementing Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 (2-day instructor led)
      • After completing this course, students will be able to:
        • Articulate the value proposition and key features of FEP 2010.
        • Understand the protection technologies built into the FEP client to protect desktops, laptops and servers from malicious code threats.
        • Understand the fundamental concepts of System Center Configuration Manager 2007.
        • Understand the FEP server components and how they are integrated into a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 infrastructure.
        • Understand how to manage FEP client policy and definition updates.
        • Understand the FEP client architecture and how the client can be deployed across an organization.
        • Understand the various options for monitoring, alerting and reporting on the health and malware activity of FEP clients.
        • Understand how FEP can leverage System Center Operations Manager 2007 to provide real-time monitoring of high value endpoints.

    Jun 1, 2012

    upgrading to windows 8 release preview

    i saw some tweets a couple of days ago referencing a release preview blog that was posted and pulled because it posted early. well, i looked off and on for an announcement about it yesterday but ended up missing it because i was out.

    long story short, if you missed it too, it's available now. :) now, consider your options before you move forward. there is no going back to what you had before so be prepared. the only going back is reinstalling.

    speaking of reinstalling, if you're upgrading from xp, vista, or 7 the good news is there are some things that you can keep. windows 7 is the friendliest in that respect. if you are running one of the earlier windows 8 previews, put on your sad panda face because you will not be keeping anything relative to programs, windows settings, or account info. that detail is available in the faq.


    this morning i'm taking the plunge and installing the release preview. that means i'll be spending the weekend reinstalling apps. :) joy. good luck. if you're doing the same thing, let me know if you run into anything worth mentioning.