Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Windows HotFixes for Skype for Business Installation

Hi folks,

Just a short post on the installation of Skype for Business server. The hotfix from KB2982006 is listed among prerequisites server installation. However when the update is downloaded during the installation you will the message saying"This update is not applicable to your computer".

According to this article two more updates are needed for successful install of this hotfix. Below is sequence that the updates should be install in: first you install KB2919442, then KB2919355, which is the biggest one and finally KB2982006. You will need to reboot your server after the second and the third updates and your server is ready for installation.


Retrieve BitLocker Recovery Password Information PowerShell

Hi folks,

I have recently spend quite a time investigating BitLocker technology and also implementing it for Exchange servers to protect drives on servers according to Microsoft's preferred architecture about which you can read here. You can also read this article on how to plan and implement BitLocker. So apart of this I will not comment much on this because this subject is covered there quite well.

When configuring BitLocker on your computer or server drives you can chose to backup your recovery keys to the AD. This is very handy as you can easily retrieve them when needed from the AD. And if your AD environment is tightened well enough you can keep it secure.

Now how do you check whether your BitLocker keys have been backed up to the AD or not. Obviously you can do it by using ADUC tool. However, if you are looking to create a dump of these keys ADUC may not be a very handy tool to use. After some investigation I have found this and this articles which were the major sources of my inspirations. Capitalizing on them, I have put together the below code which retrieves information on the recovery keys from AD and dumps them to CSV file which can be later processed by Excel.

$usrInput = $(Get-WmiObject Win32_Computersystem).name
$objComputer = Get-ADComputer $usrInput
$objADObject = get-adobject -Filter * | Where-Object {$_.DistinguishedName -match $objComputer.Name -and $_.ObjectClass -eq "msFVE-RecoveryInformation"}
$objADObject |select DistinguishedName,Name,ObjectClass |Export-Csv D:\Scripts\RecPwd-Report.csv

I hope you will find this little script useful for your BitLocker adventures as it applies to any Windows Server or client box.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Fixing Broken BackEnd Site

Hi folks,

I would love to share with you my recent experience that I had with Remote PowerShell on an Exchange 2016 box. As you well know since Exchange 2013 Exchange server is using 2 web sites in IIS: Default WebSite and BackEnd. The prior is listening on ports 80 and 443 while the latter is listening on ports 81 and 444.

In my case when I launched Exchange Management Shell I was greeted with the below error:

My investigation led me to the following error events in System log

And Application log:

The errors were pointing to the BackEnd site where actual data rendering and processing for all protocols including PowerShell. As I was looking for solution of this problem this post and this TechNet article. According to it we need to retrieve information of all certificates that are used by IIS. We will need to use the below command for it.

netsh http show sslcert

You will get output as below:

When retrieved we will need to record certificate hash and application ID (appid) for Usually I prefer to dump the above command to a test file to make it easier. Also I was not able to find a certificate which was listed for in the certificate store of the affected server. So the certificate needs to be removed and replace with the existing one which is used for the Default Web Site.

After this  you will need to delete cert for the back-end site represented by by running the below command:

netsh http delete sslcert ipport=

After cert has been removed we will need to configure certificate for our back-end web site to use the same certificate that is used  by the Default Web Site. In the output above it is presented as
Let's imagine that certificate hash for  is 1234567890abcdef3456787asabaec4e8ba and application id is  "{1abc2e345-a14b-4c22-b022-59fc885b0974}"

netsh http add sslcert ipport= certhash=1234567890abcdef3456787asabaec4e8ba appid="1234567890abcdef3456787asabaec4e8ba"{1abc2e345-a14b-4c22-b022-59fc885b0974}"

Make sure that all the brackets and quotes are in place.

I hope you will find this article helpful.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Exporting Mailboxes in Multi-Domain Environment

Hi folks,

Just wanted to share with you about an issue I have recently encountered. In the AD forest which has multiple domains when remotely connected to Exchange server via PowerShell and running New-MailboxExportRequest command you may experience the issue as below:

Basically, PowerShell will complain that it can't find mailbox on a DC from the same domain as Exchange server is. And this is because that by default EMS is by default talking to the same domain where Exchange servers are located and where it was launched. As I previously posted to see mailboxes cross forest you will need to execute this command:

Set-ADServerSettings -ViewEntireForest:$true

However, in this case it doesn't become a magic bullet to solve the problem.

Google-ing took me to this thread on MS TechNet forum. According to it in addition to seeing the whole forest you also need to talk to a domain controller in a child domain where your mailbox is located. So imagine and in the forest you have a domain which has Exchange mailboxes the code for exporting mailbox to PST file will be as follows;

Set-ADServerSettings -ViewEntireForest:$true
New-MailboxExportRequest –FileName \\servername\pst\test.pst -DomainController

I hope you will find it useful.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

And Back to the Subject of ActiveSync Devices Reporting

Hi folks,

I have already shared with you about creating reports for Exchange ActiveSync devices using PowerShell. You can read this post about it.

I have recently discovered this reporting script for reporting ActiveSync devices published here by Paul Cunningham. All the information about it can be found in the article as well as in this Paul's post. The script is amazing and perfectly fits the purpose.

However, there're couple of the things that are missing in the script. First, if you have a multi-domain forest it is possible that not all of your mailboxes are retrieved and added to the report. To fix it you will need to edit the script and add the following line:

Set-AdServerSettings -ViewEntireForest:$true

I have added this line after the section which loads Exchange 2013 management shell as below:

This script is also good for creating ActiveSync reports from Office 365. However when trying to run this from my Windows 10 laptop I would be greeted with error like below:

This is quite easy to fix. Simply remove the whole section which loads on-premises EMS and run script from the remote PowerShell session connected to Office 365 endpoint. To be clear this is what you need to remove from the script to run it successfully against the cloud:


Creating Reports from Admin Audit Logs

Hi folks,

In this post I would love to share with you some of experience that I had with Audit logs in Exchange. You well know about admin audit and mailbox audit logs available in Exchange and their usage so I won't spend too much time discussing them, but rather jump into some examples of retrieving info from admin audit logs.

So I once was requested about preparing report on who removed user mailboxes and also who added extra permissions to them. The 2 below lines provide code which retrieve when the commands which remove and disable mailboxes and also that assign permissions to the mailbox and also who ran them and when.

Search-AdminAuditLog -Cmdlets Disable-Mailbox, Remove-Mailbox -StartDate 09/20/2016 -EndDate 09/22/2016 |select ObjectModified,CmdletName,@{N="CmdletParameters";E={$_.CmdletParameters}},Caller,ExternalAccess,Succeeded,RunDate,OriginatingServer,ObjectState |export-csv C:\Reports\Lost-MBX-Report.csv

Search-AdminAuditLog -Cmdlets Add-MailboxPermission, Add-ADPermission -StartDate 11/18/2016 -EndDate 11/21/2016 |select ObjectModified,CmdletName,@{N="CmdletParameters";E={$_.CmdletParameters}},Caller,ExternalAccess,Succeeded,RunDate,OriginatingServer,ObjectState |export-csv C:\Reports\AD-Perm-Report.csv

There is also a nicer way to create reports from Admin Audit Logs and this article was very helpful as it points to this script which allows creating quite a nice and readable reports. Imagine you were requested to generate a report on which databases mailboxes have been moved. You will need to execute the code below which will generate reports similar to the ones that are generated by one-liners above:

$AdmSearch = Search-AdminAuditLog -Cmdlets new-moverequest,New-MigrationBatch
$AdmSearch | .\Get-SimpleAuditLogReport.ps1 –agree |Export-csv MigrationCmdlets.csv

The most valuable information is that the full command is being reported which gives you a good picture what was exactly happening in your environment.

Of course you can modify your request for admin log search to anything you like or need. Just use this article for more information.


Reinstalling Failed DAG Node from Scratch

Hi folks,

Just wanted to share with you about another scenario which you may face when you work with DAGs. Sometimes you can have your Exchange servers dead which you need to reinstall . There're 2 options of doing it. The first one is using /RecoverServer parameter while in the other case you will need to scrap all the Exchange server related information from AD. In this post I will cover the second scenario.

First, you will need to remove all the database copies from the failed server. You will need to run command as below:

Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus -Server Server01 |foreach {Remove-MailboxDatabaseCopy -Identity $_.Name}

After this server should be removed from DAG. Since server is offline and can't be accessed by the cluster service you will need to use the -ConfigurationOnly parameter and command will be as below:

Remove-DatabaseAvailabilityGroupServer -Identity DAG01 -MailboxServer Server01 -Confirm:$false -ConfigurationOnly

After this you will need to verify that the server has been indeed removed from DAG by running the below command:

Get-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup DAG01 |select Name,Servers |fl

After DAG server has been removed it should be evicted from cluster:

Get-ClusterNode Server01 |Remove-ClusterNode -Force

Finally, we will need to clean up AD object for Exchange server. For this purpose ADSIEDIT tool will be needed. You will need to connect ADSIEDIT to Configuration partition and then navigate to the server object, something like below:

CN=Server01,CN=Servers,CN=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT),CN=Administrative Groups,CN=CONTOSO,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=com

Delete server object and click Yes for deleting container object. Please don't forget to be extremely careful when using ADSIEDIT, because one wrong mouse click can destroy your Exchange org and you will need to restore AD from backup authoritatively which is not a lot of fun.

Finally, in this scenario we will need to delete computer object of a dead Exchange server. Merely resetting password for it is not enough. And this is because when Exchange is installed it registers a bunch of Exchange-related SPN records. You can see it as below:

setspn -l SERVER01
Registered ServicePrincipalNames for CN=SERVER01,OU=Servers,DC=contoso,DC=com

If brand new computer object is not created Exchange installation may fail or in case of its success, services may fail starting, therefore I highly insist that it is deleted before the OS is re-imaged.

I hope you will find this post helpful for your dealings with Exchange servers.