Howto deploy a Federated Search Connector in Windows 7

Howto deploy a Federated Search Connector in Windows 7

Yesterday we had a kickoff for an Early Adopter e-cigarette vapers in the Windows 7 Community @ Microsoft in the Netherlands.
One of the presentations was about Federated Search and how this nice option will make our work much easier.

Some people were wondering how to deploy a Federated Search Connector in an Enterprise Environment, but nobody seems to know the answer. Reason for me to find out how to do this.

As for most solutions, it is not the only or the best solution, but because I like Group Policy Preferences (GPP) so much I developed a way to deploy a search connector using GPP.

In this example I will deploy the Youtube connector.
(Look for more connectors on : http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/742-windows-7-search-federation-providers.html)

On an admin PC just doubleclick on the downloade file, this will install the Search Connector on your PC, in fact it will install it in your user profile.

Now we need 2 files from your profile, first look up C:\USERS\<YOUR USERNAME>\LINKS\YOUTUBE.LNK
Before you copy this file right click it, choose properties and change the targetlocation to : C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Searches\Youtube.searchConnector-ms

Now copy this file to for example your NETLOGON share.

After that copy the file C:\USERS\<YOUR USERNAME>\SEARCHES\Youtube.searchConnector-ms to the NETLOGON share.

We’ve got the files that we need to deploy it to our users.

Logon to your domain controller (or the machine that you use to manage Group Policy) and open the Group Policy Management Console.
N.B. To manage Group Policy Preferences you need a Windows Server 2008 (R2), Windows Vista or Windows 7 machine.

Open your User policy and expand the User Configuration node.
Now go to Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Files.

Add these 2 files :

 

If you close the file screens, the preference screen will look like this (except for my domain name ;)

Now the only thing you have to do is wait until the user policy is refreshed ( a user does not have to take any action and will see the search provider automaticly)
And if you cant wait, just use the good old GPUPDATE.

Thats it for now, please enjoy.

Regards,

Erik

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If Windows Vista Update fails with error 80245003

Maby you have this problem: You try to update your Windows Vista RC1 / RC2 desktop and you get the error that you cannot update with error 80245003

Then you can try this what i found on the net:

Rename the SoftwareDistribution folder (it will be recreated next time you visit
WU again)
You will lose your history but that’s not important.
Click Start, Choose Run.
In the Run box, type services.msc.
Click OK.
Right-click the Automatic Updates service.
Click Stop.
Stopping the service will take a moment.
Rename the “SoftwareDistribution” folder:
a. Click Start, click Run, type %systemroot%, and then click OK.
b. Right-click the SoftwareDistribution folder, and then click Rename.
c. Type SoftwareDistribution.old, and then press ENTER to rename this folder.

Click Start. Choose Run.
In the Run box, type services.msc.
Click OK.
Right-click the Automatic Updates service.
Click Start.
Starting the service will take a moment.

This worked for me.

This worked for me.see ya

Jeroen Jansen

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Running MS Virtual PC 2004 smoothly on Vista

Though it’s easy to install VPC2004 on the Vista beta builds, getting it to run smoothly is another story. This is how I got mine working with acceptable performance and behaviour

1. – Use the latest Vista beta (build 5456). This build is noticeably faster than 5384, but at the cost of some stability. If you’re using a Dell Latitude D810, don’t install the Dell modem and WLAN drivers with this build because they will break things or make your system BSOD. Also, don’t enable your WLAN/Bluetooth radios while Vista is running, your system will BSOD also. The things you have to put up with for a fast build….

2. – Install Virtual PC 2004 with SP1. This is important, don’t install Virtual PC 2004 RTM and then  upgrade to SP1; use the SP1-integrated version.

3. – Install Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise. Only install the Virtual Server services; don’t install the documentation, VMRC or Web Console. You now get the latest VMM.SYS and the Virtual Machine Additions that work with Windows 2003 SP1. If you want to run Vista on your Virtual Machine, you should download the “Virtual Machine Additions for Beta 2″ from the Microsoft Connect site. You can find this in the “Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 beta” program.

4. – Change the Startup Type of the “Virtual Server” service from Automatic to Manual and stop the service if it is running.

5. – Download the Virtual PC hotfixes zipfile here and extract the following file: vpc2004qfe899525_msdn.msp.

6. – Ensure that you don’t have any virtual machines running and that you do not have the Virtual Machine console started. Run the vpc2004qfe899525_msdn.msp update.

7. – Apply the following instructions from the KB899525 hotfix article:
I. Navigate to %root%\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Virtual PC.
II. Right-click the Options.xml file, and then click Edit.
III. Add the following code to the file.

<virtual_machines>
<enable_idle_thread type=”boolean”>true</enable_idle_thread>
</virtual_machines>

Now your virtual machines should run smoothly!

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Automate 3rd party software, drivers and BIOS updates with the new System Center Update Publisher 2011

With System Center Update Publisher (SCUP) Microsoft provides a platform for adding 3rdparty updates to your conventional WSUS updates. Until last week SCUP 4.5 was available for adding 3rd party software, driver and BIOS updates to a WSUS server. With SCUP you can either use a catalog file to import multiple updates from a vendor’s website at once or just simply add your own update packages to SCUP to deploy it in your enterprise environment as they were Microsoft updates. Now, with SCUP 4.5 there were some issues which are resolved within SCUP 2011. Some of the issues include the following:

  • Limited configuration options for download behavior (i.e. metadata only vs full content)
  • Expired updates cannot be removed from the updates server easily
  • Approval and publishing updates requires multiple steps to be taken

With SCUP 2011 you now have a so called ConfigMgr integration. This integration option can be used to regulate download behavior for an update. In general you probably want clients to download only metadata from SCCM/SCUP if only a few clients request an update. When the number of clients increase it would be better to download full content so that clients will use common distribution points instead of an internet location to download the update to avoid unnecessary bandwidth utilization. With the thresholds you can regulate this now.

Expiring and removing updates properly was a hell of a job if an update was removed from a vendor’s catalog. In SCUP 2011 you can use a new Software Update Cleanup Wizard for this. So now, expiring a software update that exists on the update server but is not in the SCUP repository is an easy job.

SCUP 2011 has a Publish tab where you can bundle updates that you want to deploy to your clients. This is a new feature that makes it somewhat easier to manage and administer the SCUP update repository.

What I like the most about SCUP is that you are able to deploy software with the WSUS functionality available. In large enterprise environments normal software distribution requires lots of steps to be taken by various departments for each individual software update. These steps include scripting, testing, configure SCCM packages, collections, advertisements, etc. New software updates like Adobe’s Flash Player are being released very rapidly. It requires that you’ll have to execute the same procedure over again to deploy it in your enterprise. Using SCUP and Adobe’s update catalog instead will save you a lot of time.

Installing drivers, BIOS, hardware utilities and firmware for instance on Dell systems is an easy job using SCUP. Minor disadvantage is that you will need the OpenManage client running on client systems to provide some necessary WMI classes. These extra classes will be used to identify the hardware peripherals. WSUS uses this information to compare with the catalog logic rules:

s002

 

With SCUP you can use the logic which comes with the catalogs to deploy a software update bundle that include multiple updates at once. Compare the logic within the catalog with the queries you normally use in SCCM collections for grouping the client systems what you’ll need for targeting the software.

You can also create your own updates. As an example i’ve added the Google Chrome browser installer as a required update with Adobe Flash Player as a prerequisite :-)

s003

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HOWTO: Bitlocker Status Reporting in SCCM 2007

I recently had to come up with a solution that will enable administrators to build reports for client’s bitlocker status. To do so i found a few articles on the web that pointed me in the right direction, however i didn’t found a complete howto for it so that’s a good reason for me to post a complete one.

To enable bitlocker status reporting in a centralised management environment with SCCM you need to follow some steps because bitlocker is not integrated that far (yet??) in the Windows OS. First, let’s first take a look at the status information that bitlocker provides:

  • Volume name, example: C: [OSDisk]
  • Disk size, example: 148,75 GB
  • BitLocker Version, example: Windows 7
  • Conversion Status, example: Fully Encrypted
  • Percentage Encrypted, example: 100%
  • Encryption Method, example: AES 128 with Diffuser
  • Protection Status, example: Protection On
  • Lock Status, example: Unlocked
  • Identification Field, example: None
  • Key Protectors (Note: multivalue), example: TPM, Numerical Password

You can check the above on clients using the commandline tool manage-bde.exe -status on Windows 7 clients. For Vista clients use cscript manage-bde.wsf -status.

Step 1. Modify and deploy SMS_DEF.MOF

We want bitlocker status information to be inventoried to SCCM. A proper way of doing that would be to add the bitlocker class to the SMS_DEF.MOF file on the management point (found in %SCCMinstallpath%\inboxes\clifiles.src\hinv). Make a copy of this file and edit with your favorite app. Add the following lines at the end of the file:

#pragma namespace (“\\\\.\\root\\cimv2\\SMS”) //make sure to use normal quotes!
#pragma deleteclass(“SCCM_BitLocker”,NOFAIL)
[ SMS_Report     (TRUE),
SMS_Group_Name (“SCCM_BitLocker”),
SMS_Class_ID   (“CUSTOM|SCCM_BitLocker|1.0”) ]
class SCCM_BitLocker : SMS_Class_Template
{
[SMS_Report (TRUE), key ] string Drive;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string DriveLabel;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Size;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string BitLocker_Version;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Conversion_Status;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Percentage_Encrypted;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Encryption_Method;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Protection_Status;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Lock_Status;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Identification_Field;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Key_Protectors;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Automatic_Unlock;
[SMS_Report (TRUE)] string ScriptLastRun;
};

[edit] Make sure to replace any fancy double quotes with normal quotes after copying because otherwise compiling or parsing will fail. Or download this file: bitlocker_mof.

You should check the file for errors with mofcomp.exe -check SMS_DEF.MOF. To enable the MOF file on a single client run the following command on the client mofcomp -class:forceupdate %pathtofile%\SMS_DEF.MOF. Copy the edited file back to enable it on your ConfigMgr site.

Step 2. Install Bitlocker

Create and link a GPO to apply on the bitlocker clients that contain the following settings (or similair based on your own requirements):

Machine | Administrative Templates | System | Trusted Platform Module Services
Turn on TPM backup to Active Directory Domain Services Enabled
Machine | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | BitLocker Drive Encryption | Operating Sytem Drives
Choose how BitLocker-protected operating system drives can be recovered Enabled
Allow data recovery agent Disabled
Configure user storage of BitLocker recovery information: Require 48-digit recovery passwordAllow 256-bit recovery key
Omit recovery options from the BitLocker setup wizard Enabled
Save BitLocker recovery information to AD DS for operating system drives Enabled
Configure storage of BitLocker recovery information to AD DS: Store recovery passwords and key packages
Do not enable BitLocker until recovery information is stored to AD DS for operating system drives Disabled

Enter the BIOS on your client or use tools like the Dell client configuration utility to turn on TPM, clear the TPM and activate it. After doing this enable bitlocker encryption on the machine. You can use any method to achive this.

Step 3. Add Bitlocker status to WMI & run hw inventory

Although there are multiple ways of manipulating bitlocker through WMI you still need a script to read, update and store bitlocker status information in the WMI repository (see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa376409.aspx). This is because Managed Object Format (MOF) files are not installed as part of the Windows SDK and therefore the included classes are not added to the WMI repository automatically by Windows itself.

[update: A handy colleague wrote a powershell version of the script for adding the bitlocker status into WMI with some nice enhancements. All credits go to Daniel Last.]

The scripts (use only one):

  • VBS version: UpdateBitlockerStatus.vbs
  • Powershell verion: Bitlocker_Status.ps1 Bitlocker_Status_v1.1.ps1 [update]

Run the script and after that initiate a hardware inventory on the client. Note that the powershell version of the script already triggers a hardware inventory. Additionally, the powershell script need to be run with the powershell execution policy to be set to RemoteSigned. Do this using the following cmdlet: Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

[edit] You could trigger the inventory in the vbscript by adding this line: WshShell.Run “WMIC /namespace:\\root\ccm path sms_client CALL TriggerSchedule “&Chr(34) & “{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001}” & Chr(34) & ” /NOINTERACTIVE”,,true

After a while you will find 2 new tables and 1 new view in the SCCM site database:

Step 4. Create the Report

I created a report in SCCM with the following query:

SELECT     v_R_System.Name0 AS Computername, v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.Bitlocker_Status0 AS [Bitlocker Status],
v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.BitLocker_Version0 AS [Bitlocker Versie], v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.Conversion_Status0 AS [Converstion Status],
v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.Drive0 AS Drive, v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.DriveLabel0 AS DriveLabel, v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.Encryption_Method0 AS [Encryption Method],
v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.Identification_Field0 AS [Identification Field], v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.Key_Protectors0 AS [Key Protectors],
v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.Percentage_Encrypted0 AS [Percentage Encrypted], v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.Protection_Status0 AS [Protection Status],
v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.ScriptLastRun0 AS [Script Last Run]
FROM         v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0 INNER JOIN
v_R_System ON v_GS_SCCM_BitLocker0.ResourceID = v_R_System.ResourceID

And there it is, the Bitlocker report (note: old screenshot based another query but more or less similar):

Tested on SCCM R2 with a Windows 7 Enterprise bitlocker client.

Feel free to comment on this post.

Regards,
Douwe van de Ruit

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