How to remove the Open File Security Warning Prompt during Driver Deployment or User Login when using MDT or SCCM

Security Warning with DriversDuring a deployment of Windows or even after Windows is deployed you see an Open File – Security Warning prompt when a .EXE runs (similar to the one on the right).

This happens because when you download an .EXE, .ZIP, or .CAB Internet Explorer (as well as Firefox and Chrome) saves what is called a Zone Identifier, telling the Operating System the file came from the internet and not a trusted zone.  In certain deployments this can happen several times when a user logs in to load all of the applications into the system tray, some of them being igfxtray.exe, apmsgfwd.exe, apntex.exe, apoint.exe, gfxui.exe, hidfind.exe, hkcmd.exe, igfxpers.exe.

To get around this we need to remove the ZoneIdentifier, we can use a small utility from SysInternals to do it.  Download Streams, copy it to your MDT or SCCM Server and run the following changing the path to a location containing your drivers;

streams.exe -s -d "E:\MDTDeploymentShare\Out-Of-Box Drivers"

Make sure you run that in an Administrative command prompt and accept the license agreement on the first run. Hope that helps.

Getting a machine product name and serial number using WMIC for use with MDT or SCCM

wmic csproduct get name outputQuick post today, I organise my driver folders into manufacturer and model and then use a task sequence to pick machine specific drivers. Getting the exact model name helps and one day to do that is via a WMI query. It’s a command I try to use quite a bit (and tend to forget the command half the time).

wmic csproduct get name

The result should give you the exact name returned by WMI and allow you to use it as a variable in your task sequence. Then, just plug in your model you are targeting into an MDT or SCCM task sequence condition. For an SCCM example;

SELECT * FROM Win32_ComputerSystem WHERE Model LIKE "%OptiPlex 9020%"

Another useful one is;

wmic bios get serialnumber

This one shows the machine serial number and if you’re not using SCCM can be useful for warranty claims.

Enable a user to Change their Password if it has Expired using OWA for Exchange 2010 and 2013

OWA Change PasswordIf you work in a place with a lot of remote users and a password policy with expiration set then you need to give your users a way to reset their passwords.  Microsoft ISA / TMG configured with forms based authentication were able to do this out of the box.  The good news is Exchange 2010 and 2013 also have the capability, it just needs to be enabled. Change the following registry entry at your own risk.

Go to the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeOWA and then create the following REG_DWORD value if it doesn’t already exist ChangeExpiredPasswordEnabled. Once created set the DWORD value to 1.

Once you have done that simply recycle the OWA Web Application under IIS or give IIS itself a restart and your users will now be prompted to change their passwords if they are expired instead of having to call the IT helpdesk.

Troubleshooting 4.3.1 Insufficient System Resources Error for External Mail Flow on Exchange 2013

EdgeTransport.exe.config QueueDatabasePathI’ve recently been contracting out to an educational organisation assisting with their BAU work as well as helping them modernising some of their processes and server environment. I was recently given a trouble ticket where I had to troubleshoot slow external mail flow. They have an ancient spam filtering appliance coupled with an Exchange 2013 deployment. My first look was onto the appliance, after checking out the inbound mail queue I could quickly see e-mails sitting there with the following response code;

452 4.3.1 Insufficient system resources

The above response code, which indicates a temporary failure generally means that Exchange is running out of resources and you’ll have the Exchange back-pressure issue where the Transport service will reject message submission because there is not enough free disk space (which is by default 10%). From the information I had their databases sat on another disk with at least 50% free space. Going through the even log I could find no trace of this. Their Mailbox Database servers were also Transport servers so they performed messaging queuing that meant I had another database that should be taken into consideration, which is the Message Queue database. By default it sits in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\ directory and is not easily configured to be moved like a standard mailbox database using PowerShell.

As I was unsure of their environment, I quickly navigated to EdgeTransport.exe.config file located under the Bin directory and found the value of QueueDatabasePath pointing to their C drive which had only around 5% free space. I then quickly cleared out some log files that are not required and wrote up a PowerShell script that will run nightly until more space is provisioned on those servers.

Moral of the story is always give your Exchange servers plenty of free space to prevent such issues.

Finding the location of a device using an IP or MAC Address in HP intelligent Management Centre IMC (like you could in ProCurve Manager)

Find a device using IMCI was out at a client recently helping to clean up their iMC implementation and make some recommendations regarding their network setup. I was asked if you could look up Switch and Port number location of an end user device like you could in ProCurve Manager (PCM). Sure you can, the feature has been around since HP Intelligent Management Centre 5.1 and to find it you simply need to go to;

Resources > Terminal Access > Real-Time Location.

You then just need to type in either an IP Address or MAC Address of the device and click OK. Results usually come back almost instantaneous (unlike PCM).  There isn’t any special configurations needed so long as iMC is talking to your switches.

PowerShell Script to Install Updates Offline in a WIM image using DISM

WSUS Offline Downloader in actionI’ve been helping out a customer build a new MDT deployment environment and move away from Ghost and the 90’s. As they are not going to be implementing Systems Center Configuration Manager and SUP to automatically maintain their images offline any time soon, we need a way to keep their image up to date with updates, without having to re-build it every time.

I knew you could already do offline servicing with DISM but wanted to make it nice and easy for them. I’m using WSUS Offline Update to download all of the updates in one shot, you could also use WUD but their lists haven’t been updated for a while.  I copied the zip and extracted it to their deployment server and downloaded all of the updates for Windows 7 x64 SP1 and saved them all to a single updates folder. I then built up the below PowerShell script to offline service their image and apply the updates downloaded.

$UpdatesPath = "E:\Updates\*"
$MountPath = "E:\MDTDeploymentShare\Operating Systems\W7X64SP1\Mount"
$WimFile = "E:\MDTDeploymentShare\Operating Systems\W7X64SP1\REFW7X64.wim"

DISM /Mount-Wim /WimFile:$WimFile /index:1 /Mountdir:$MountPath
$UpdateArray = Get-Item $UpdatesPath
ForEach ($Updates in $UpdateArray)
DISM /image:$MountPath /Add-Package /Packagepath:$Updates
Start-Sleep –s 5
Write-Host "Updates Applied to WIM"
DISM /Unmount-Wim /Mountdir:$MountPath /commit
DISM /Cleanup-Wim

If you have 100+ updates this process can take a while so sit back and drink a coffee while you run the script. Hope that helps.

Activating Windows 8.1 clients on a KMS Host running Windows Server 2008 R2

I was recently helping out a friend who had a KMS server activating their Windows 7 machines but when they started moving their fleet to Windows 8.1 they saw they couldn’t install the KMS Host product key for Windows 8.1 recieving the following error:

0xc004f015: The Software Licensing Service reported that the license is not installed. 

To allow Server 2008 R2 to activate newer versions of windows you need to install KB 2885698. The update adds support for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 clients to Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012 KMS hosts (see Windows Server 2012 R2 & Windows 8.1 KMS Service Activation).

Once you install the update you will need to restart the server (so do it out of hours if it’s on a DC or something critical). Once you’re back up and running, you simply need to issue the install product key command with your new KMS Host key.

slmgr.vbs /ipk YOUR-PROD-UCTK-EYHE-RE33

And your clients will begin activating once you hit the 25 client minimum. The key will continue to activate lower versions of Windows and if you install a Server key, it will do both Server and Client editions.