Introducing Windows Server 2019 Essentials

With the release of Server 2019 Essentials, the end of an era has been reached. Gone are the wizards and tools designed for the small business owner.

Gone is the Remote Web Access feature.

Gone is the Essentials Connector.

Gone is Client PC Backup.

Gone is Office 365 Integration.

Gone, is the Dashboard.

Gone, indeed, is the Essentials Role.

All that remains of Essentials, is the name Essentials and the licensing limits of the Essentials SKU, of 25 client access licenses.

What we are presented with, is now more in line with Windows foundation server from several years ago.

Office 365 Password Policy returns Empty Values in PowerShell

o365-logo1Regular readers will be aware of a script I wrote some time ago to remind people to change their password, sending them an email when it was due to be changed. I wanted to extend this up to Office 365 but at the time, when I checked it out the relevant data was not exposed by using the Get-MSOLPasswordPolicy cmdlet. Or so I thought.

Whilst chatting with co-conspirator Tim Barrett yesterday he sent me a link to Spice Works where someone named bbeckers had indeed published a modified version of my original script that was talking to Office 365, and, to my surprise was dated back in 2016.

Of course I wanted to try it out, but on my production tenant, the information returned from Get-MSOLPasswordPolicy was an error saying ‘You do not have permission to call this cmdlet’

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Quick Fix : Clean-up Duplicate Remote Web Access Certificates

SSLI noticed this thread in the forum a while ago, and setup a Lab network to reproduce it. Sure enough after a few days, my local machine certificate store is full of duplicated certificates.

The issue only seems to affect Essentials 2016 and only if you are using the free remotewebaccess.com certificates.

The issue is also discussed here on the MCB Systems blog.

Unfortunately for me work took over and i was not able to spend any more time on it, and with responses from Microsoft for any Essentials related issue being, shall we say, pedestrian, i wont be holding out any hope of a fix soon.

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Windows Server Essentials Connector An Unexpected Error Occurred

mslogo1Just recently i decided to rebuild my lab setup, which sits on a physical server in my office.

Unfortunately after painstakingly moving VHDs around my system to adjust disk space and rebuild arrays, i managed to format the wrong disk and lost it all! Being a lab setup i had not backed any of it up either.

Not the end of the world of course, more annoyed with myself than worried about the test VMs i lost.

Anyway, i noticed a thread in the TechNet forum (at least two actually) mentioning slow network performance with WIndows 10 after the latest update, and that removing the Essentials connector would remedy it.

So i set about building a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials VM and a Windows 10 client. When trying to launch the connector I received this error:

An Error Occurred

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Customising the Windows 10 Taskbar

I wrote a series of guides about basic configuration of MDT and how you could customise the Start Menu, and with some further trickery, the Taskbar. I was never particularly happy with that section as it involved using a script to edit the registry after a user had logged in for the first time. Which, when talking about automation or consistency leaves a bit to be desired.

Recently I have fielded a few support calls where Windows 10 users have received a new device and started using Windows Mail, instead of Outlook even though that was installed and configured on their machines. The problem here is that Windows Mail is on the taskbar by default, as well as being on the Start Menu with a nice live tile saying ‘use me for your email’.
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Solarwinds MSP Script Check – Spectre

Ah, Mr Bond I have been.. no that’s a different Spectre.

If you are reading this then you will know what Spectre is. It is of course a new, vulnerability announced in nearly every device on the planet. Possibly some on Mars and the ISS as well. Definitely on many you look after.

Skipping over the technical details of the problem, which are covered in far greater detail and by those with far superior expertise elsewhere, I wanted to focus on a quick check I implemented for our MSP clients.

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Quick Fix: Fortinet SSLVPN 98% Error Unable to Establish the Connection

photoThis one puzzled me for several hours this week. After making some changes to the structured cabling we were alerted to an issue preventing SSLVPNs from connecting.

Anyone attempting to connect saw the progress stop at 98% received an error similar to :

Unable to establish the VPN Connection (E=98,T-981066010,M99,R10)

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