Creating an Image of a Computer over the Network

This was unique one.  Had a user that kept running out of disk space.  Plan was to image her drive to a bigger drive (150GB SATA to 500GB SATA).  Problem? She works past 5PM, no upcoming vacation.

DISK2VHD to the rescue!  We can use this program to dump a copy of the disk to a VHD file to a network location after hours.  Imaging 109GB over 1Gigabit network took about 2 hours.  Note that Windows 7 can mount VHDs, but not VHDXs.  If you are an idiot like me: you can convert a VHDX file back to a VHD file using the command Convert-VHD within PowerShell on Windows 10.

Now we mount the VHD as a drive in Windows using the disk management snap-in (diskmgmt.msc).  Then I used AOMEI’s Backupper to do a disk to disk clone. The resulting copy needed a partition resize to use all available space on the new disk, so I had to blow away the 300MB Bitlocker partition at the end to expand it in disk management (we don’t use Bitlocker on desktops).

Pop in it and boom: works!

This also works for P2P conversions.  I took a guy from an Optiplex 745 to Optiplex 3020 using the same method.  Upon booting Windows, I got the the famous 7B BSOD.  I used the P2P adjust feature from Paragon’s Hard Drive Manager 15 Professional and was up and running after adding the correct drivers.

-Soli Deo Gloria

 

PowerShell Code to Replace Plain Text with in a Group of Files

Here’s some PowerShell code I wrote to replace the license server for Minitab 19:

# Ignore errors

$erroractionpreference = 'Continue'

# Change Minitab

$configFiles = Get-ChildItem "C:\ProgramData\Minitab" -filter *.ini -recurse -exclude *.dll, *.exe

foreach ($file in $configFiles)
{
 (Get-Content $file.PSPath) |
 Foreach-Object { $_ -replace "XXLIC02", "XXLIC09" } |
 Set-Content $file.PSPath
}

– Soli Deo Gloria

GPO: Enable the Policy to Disable the Setting

Got to love Group Policy sometimes.  We wanted to disable the setting “Access data sources across domains” under Internet Explorer>Security>Local intranet>Custom Level.  So of course we set the GPO “Access data sources across domains” to disabled and …it doesn’t work!  Users can still toggle the setting and we are still getting pop-ups in Internet Explorer.  The solution?  Enable the policy so you can disable it.  Yup!  Set it to enabled, then click the dropdown box and pick disabled.

Is this some voodoo Vulcan logic being used here?

– Soli Deo Gloria

Enable Dell TPM Chip with Powershell

Here’s some Powershell code I used to enable the Dell TPM chip with Dell Command.  The Get-Laptop function was provided by https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/heyscriptingguy/2010/05/15/hey-scripting-guy-weekend-scripter-how-can-i-use-wmi-to-detect-laptops/

The –% option (that’s dash-dash%) basically just says “Powershell, just pass these arguments along and don’t try to interpret them”.  This functionality requires Powershell v3 or later.

Probably would have been better to use Start-Process and check if the exitcode is not zero.  Note to use Dell Command to turn on the TPM chip you need to set a BIOS password and for 64-bit systems you need to use the 64-bit version of CCTK.

Function Get-Laptop
{
Param(
[string]$computer = "localhost"
)
$isLaptop = $false
if(Get-WmiObject -Class win32_systemenclosure -ComputerName $computer |
Where-Object { $_.chassistypes -eq 9 -or $_.chassistypes -eq 10 `
-or $_.chassistypes -eq 14})
{ $isLaptop = $true }
if(Get-WmiObject -Class win32_battery -ComputerName $computer)
{ $isLaptop = $true }
$isLaptop
} # end function Get-Laptop

If(get-Laptop) {

.\cctk.exe –% –setuppwd=secretpassword
.\cctk.exe –% –tpm=on –valsetuppwd=secretpassword
.\cctk.exe –% –tpmactivation=activate –valsetuppwd=secretpassword
.\cctk.exe –% –tpm
.\cctk.exe –% –tpmactivation
.\MbamClientSetup.exe –% /q /acceptEula=Yes
}

else { # do nothing }

}

-Soli Deo Gloria

Deploy Infor XA Client with PowerShell

Here was a fun installer to get working silently.  This one uses something called InstallAnywhere.  It is a java based installer and if you Google InstallAnywhere silent, you will happen upon several command line options.  The correct set for this version of the installer (2009 version) can be found here.

Here’s the command to install it silently:

xaclient_Hgenas400_P36001.exe -i silent

We can also record settings into a file and play those back.  To record:

xaclient_Hgenas400_P36001.exe -r C:\temp\powerlink.properties

Finally, we end up with this to install silently:

xaclient_Hgenas400_P36001.exe -i silent -f powerlink.properties

The installer launches the program at the end: I didn’t see any settings to turn that off.

The PowerShell code starts off pretty boring:

$p = start-process .\xaclient_Hgenas400_P36001.exe -ArgumentList '-i silent -f powerlink.properties' -Wait -Passthru
icacls *.lnk /grant:r everyone:RX
copy-item *.lnk -Destination C:\users\public\desktop

We kick off the installer, tell PowerShell to wait for the process to end and return an object (-Passthru), grant Everyone read and execute rights to the icon and then copy that icon to the the system shared desktop.

If you execute this code, however, the PowerShell script never progresses. This is because the installer runs the full program as a child process from the installer and until the program is closed, it waits for the installer’s termination forever.

The program is Java based and executes two processes: Infor XA Power-Link and javaw.  We can create a loop waiting for these two processes, then kill them:

Do {

$status = Get-Process -Name "Infor XA Power-link" -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

If (!($status)) {
Write-Host 'Waiting for process to start' ;
Start-Sleep -Seconds 2
}

Else { Write-Host 'Process has started' ;
$started = $true
Stop-Process -name "Infor XA Power-Link"
Stop-Process -name javaw
}

}
Until ( $started )

I picked 2 seconds to keep checking the process list and not hammer the CPU.  So obviously for this to work, we need to remove the -Wait and -Passthru options from Start-Process, but then how do we check if the program installed OK?  We can check if the program executable exists and then return the proper exit code:

if (Test-Path('C:\infor\ERP XA Client\Infor XA Power-Link.exe')) {
$LASTEXITCODE = 0
exit 0
} #end if

else {
$LASTEXITCODE = 1
exit 1
} #end else

Anything other than exit code 0 is usually a failure (MSIs usually return exit code 3010 to indicate a reboot).

Using the exit command with a specific number seems to pass the exit code properly back to SCCM.  Based on my Google-fu: it’s then best to wrap your PowerShell script in a batch file and then fire that from SCCM to get the exit code of any non-native command ran from within a PowerShell script:

powershell -executionpolicy bypass -file .\install_powerlink.ps1
echo %errorlevel%
exit /b %errorlevel%

  • Soli Deo Gloria

Get a Windows 10 Activation Ticket

The clock is ticking before the Windows 10 free upgrade ends on July 29th.  If you are still on Windows 7/8.1 and don’t want to upgrade by July 29th, there’s still hope!

See the following thread to save your Windows 10 activation ticket/token:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/3i93mp/no_need_for_a_full_upgrade_to_install_10_from/

  • Soli Deo Gloria

Copying Files to Multiple Locations At the Same Time

Need to copy a set of files or folders to a bunch of different locations?  Try MultiRobo.  This is a GUI and multi-threaded version of robocopy.  You can even save profiles so if you have copy the same set of files periodically to the same locations, you just open the profile and click Run and away it goes!

Great for copying updated WIMs with MDT.

-Soli Deo Gloria

Powershell: Delete an Icon from All User Profiles

Started to learn Powershell recently and already found something really neat.  I’m working on deploying Smartdraw 2016 silently and it loves to put an icon on the desktop of the user that it installing the program, not in C:\users\public\desktop where it belongs.  Now, with SCCM, this use to be very tricky, because when running installs they run under the SYSTEM account and not as the logged in user and the native DEL /S command within the native CLI will do it, however, there’s no way to specify just one folder to delete from: it will search all folders under all of the user profiles.

Based on a tip from https://www.sapien.com/blog/2014/10/16/delete-desktop-icons-a-windows-powershell-tip/, we can do this instead:

Remove-Item "C:\users\*\Desktop\smartdraw ci.lnk"

which basically just searches the desktop folder of each user profile instead of all folders in each profile and deletes the now defunct Smartdraw CI icon from each desktop folder.

And now instead of looking for the uninstall productcode string to feed to MSIEXEC /x to remove Smartdraw CI: the PowerShell App Deployment Toolkit includes this nifty cmdlet do all of the heavy leaving all in one line:

Remove-MSIApplications -Name 'Smartdraw'

  • Soli Deo Gloria

Missing Drivers

Missing drivers are the bane of every tech, but I have two solutions for you and they are both free!  The first one is called Driver Solution Pack. The second one is Snappy Driver Installer.  The cool thing with SDI is that you can set a filter to “drivers not installed”, then you can extract those to a folder and import those into your deployment solution such as MDT for each make/model you have.

Don’t forget about SIV or the System Information Viewer…great program to find information on devices that are missing drivers.

  • Soli Deo Gloria