Failed to Apply Cumulative Update on Server 2016

These errors are always fun to track down. Last month, I had a Windows Server 2016 VM that would always roll back the latest cumulative update for the OS. I tried the usual tricks of running sfc /scannow, dism, safe mode, etc. and nothing worked. I gave up and moved on to something else. Now again this month I had even more servers doing the exact same thing.

After some Googling, I did a deep dive into the logs under C:\windows\logs\cbs\ and looked for the word “error” around the time I tried applying the update and then found this:

Error [0x01803e] CSI 000000f5 (F) Failed execution of queue item Installer: HTTP Installer ({86fee01a-954a-11df-bc0c-cea7dfd72085}) with HRESULT HRESULT_FROM_WIN32(1058). Failure will not be ignored: A rollback will be initiated after all the operations in the installer queue are completed; installer is reliable[gle=0x80004005]

This did ring a bell as months earlier I had found a dev box that would not patch and it ended up that http.sys was disabled on that VM as well (but it was enabled on the prod box???). The common thread between all 3 VMs was that they were all running Apache Tomcat. The web developer had disabled the http.sys driver as this can “hijack” programs from listening on port 80, so to prevent this they just disable it, which also causes PowerShell remote management, printer spooler and branchcache services not to run (because they all rely on the http.sys driver running).

The fix is simple: enable the http.sys driver, run the patches, then disable http.sys:

sc qc http
sc config http start= auto

After patching we can run these commands to set it back to disabled and restart again:

net stop http /y
sc config http start= disabled
sc qc http

Let me just rant and say Microsoft does a very poor job of telling us why the patches failed to apply. They don’t even give a hint of where to go look for the log files.

  • Soli Deo Gloria

Disabling the “Fix Apps That are Blurry” Prompt in Windows 10

I was asked to try to suppress this error message popping up on our kiosk display monitors. When Windows 10 detects that a non-optimal display resolution is being used, it offers the end-user some help. I get why Microsoft is doing this: it is in their best interest to try to help the end-user fix problems on their own whenever possible. However, in this case, it’s a kiosk computer with no keyboard or mouse. No one will ever be able to answer the prompt and due to the size of the display, it’s always going to use a non-optimal display resolution. The prompt doesn’t offer an option “Never ask again”. Off to Google, we go!

Well, that wasn’t so easy, but I’ll get to the punchline and tell you the solution.

reg add "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop" /v IgnorePerProcessSystemDPIToast /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

That command prevents the “fix the blurry” prompt from ever rearing it’s ugly head again. Now the fun part is…where is that documented? It’s nowhere documented at Microsoft’s site. In fact, go ahead and Google IgnorePerProcessSystemDPIToast. You will find very little information on this word. At the time of this posting, that was exactly 7 hits on Google. 7…out of billions of web pages!

One of the more intriguing results was this web site with a bunch of undocumented hacks for Windows 10.

  • Soli Deo Gloria

A Very Powerful Freeware File Manager

I recently stumbled upon Altap Salamander. At work, there is a folder with 13000+ sub-folders (don’t ask) I have to work with periodically. Using the built-in Windows file explorer won’t work due to the desktop.ini problem where all you see is a bunch of My Documents folders and not a list of username named folders. I frequently use XYplorer for file operations, however, it would lock-up if I went too deep into the folder structure. At that point, I would usually copy and paste the direct folder path into the native Windows file explorer while RDPed into a server to work around the lock-up issue.

The other issue with the native Windows file explorer is the refreshing view glitch. If Windows file explorer detects any change in the folder list it redraws the folder display view and re-enumerates the folder list starting at folder 1. What a pain!

This is where Altap Salamander comes in to help us. It appears it was a piece of freeware that was created in 1997, then it converted into commercial software and just recently was transitioned back to freeware as of July 2019. You can navigate to any UNC path by going to Commands>Change Directory. This file manager correctly displays and handles folders with large numbers of sub-folders. The software has interesting features including being able to calculate folder sizes,
batch file renamer, advanced file search (including filters on size and date), file type filter view and directory comparison just to name a few. I was able to go to another computer and run it from a remote UNC path, so the program appears to be fully portable and does not require admin installation.

This file manager also lets you see hidden folders that Windows file explorer will hide from you, as I explained in this 2006 blog post and yes, everything I wrote then still holds true today 13 years later (well, kind of, C:\documents and settings is now C:\users, but you get the point)

  • Soli Deo Gloria

System Center Orchestrator /Operations Manager 2016 & TLS 1.2

I deleted and re-wrote this blog post since the other one was out of date.  The backstory to this post starts back in July 2018 when we disabled TLS 1.0 across the whole organization.  Much fun ensued and we were running around trying to update the SQL native client and other software to get TLS 1.2 compliant.  One of the things that stopped working were the integration packs that we installed on System Center Orchestrator (SCORCH).  

I opened a premier support case with Microsoft and the first solution was to re-enable FIPS.  However, we later found out that enabling FIPS is really re-enabling TLS 1.0.  We left the registry entries that disabled TLS 1.0 and the ones that enabled FIPS.  The case was left open for Microsoft to figure out how to get TLS 1.2 working. The November 2018 security patches came out from Microsoft and the integration packs on SCORCH broke, AGAIN!  Another premier case was opened with Microsoft. 

After 2 hours of running Procmon and Wireshark, a solution was found.

Here are the steps you need to take:

On the SCORCH server:

1. Remove the SCOM console (If Any).
2. Uninstall SM and OM integration packs from control panel.
3. Reboot the server.
4. Un-deploy the existing SCOM IP from the designer/runbook servers.
5. Unregister the IP. 

6. Download and install the 
System Center 1801+ – Orchestrator Integration Packs (yes, even for SCORCH 2016!)
7.Re-register the IP and redeploy it (NOTE: Before re-registering the IPs again, make sure that the “Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Core.dll” and “Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.OperationsManager.dll” are no longer present in either “c:\windows\assembly” or “c:\windows\microsoft.net\assembly\gac_msil”).

8. Re-install SCOM console (be sure to apply latest UR)

Add these registry entries to each SCOM server: 

reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NETFramework\v2.0.50727" /v "SchUseStrongCrypto" /t REG_DWORD /d 00000001 /f

reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\.NETFramework\v2.0.50727" /v "SchUseStrongCrypto" /t REG_DWORD /d 00000001 /f

Add these to each SCORCH server (management/runbook):

reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NETFramework\v2.0.50727" /v "SystemDefaultTlsVersions" /t REG_DWORD /d 00000001 /f

reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\.NETFramework\v2.0.50727" /v "SystemDefaultTlsVersions" /t REG_DWORD /d 00000001 /f

reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NETFramework\v4.0.30319" /v "SystemDefaultTlsVersions" /t REG_DWORD /d 00000001 /f

reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\.NETFramework\v4.0.30319" /v "SystemDefaultTlsVersions" /t REG_DWORD /d 00000001 /f

Enjoy TLS 1.2 with SCORCH/SCOM.  Note you can check for TLS 1.2 communication by loading Wireshark on the SCORCH management server, then go into the IP pack for SCOM and do a test connection and look for TLS 1.2 in the log.

  • Soli Deo Gloria

Bypassing Choose Privacy Settings Screen – Windows 10

This was a fun one to track down.  When we did in-place upgrades on Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 1703, we never got this “Choose privacy settings for your device” screen.  However, going from 8.1 to 1803, this screen will appear once for the first user who logs in with local administrative rights (even though we define certain privacy settings through GPO):

Trying to track this down was hard, but I was inspired by this post on Reddit.

The first stab I tried was logging in as a regular user, running ProcMon and then trying to filter on the registry write operations, but even then, it was too much noise (60K+ events).  I then tried another approach.  When you click the Accept button, there’s a UAC prompt that comes up with a title of “User settings: OOBE”.  I made note of the word “OOBE” and cancelled it making changes. I ran Process Explorer as admin logged in as a regular user, then switched over to logging in as an administrator until I got the privacy screen, switched back to the regular user and then did a search for “OOBE” in the process list.  One of the processes that came up was svchost.exe and it had the following key open:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OOBE\Stats

I drilled around in this parent key and found this setting:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OOBE\PrivacyConsentStatus

Ah ha!  It was set to REG_DWORD 2, so I set it to 1 and tried logging in again as an administrator.  No prompt to set privacy settings!  I deleted the whole PrivacyConsentStatus key and the prompt still did not show up.  I went back and set PrivacyConsentStatus to 2, logged off and back on, privacy settings page showed back up, I clicked the Accept button on the privacy page and then went back to this registry key to see the results.  PrivacyConsentStatus was set back to 1 and a new entry called PrivacyConsentSID was created with a REG_SZ value with my user account SID.  I deleted PrivacyConsentSID and it seemed to have no effect on the system.

The fix is simple: copy the following into a REG file and then fire it towards the end of OSD

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OOBE]
"PrivacyConsentStatus"=dword:00000001
  • Soli Deo Gloria

Dell XPS 13 9350 – The Path to Windows 10

Attempts to do an in-place upgrade on a XPS 13 9350 Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 resulted in lockups around 71%.  The issue appears to be the WiFi driver or more specifically BCM.sys.  If this driver is removed before the Windows 10 upgrade: the upgrade goes flawlessly.

First step is to get a copy of the Windows Development Kit or WDK from Microsoft to obtain the devcon executable.

Next, go into the device manager and get the VEN/DEV id:

Now we remove it!

devcon /r remove "PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_7110"

Now proceed on with the rest of your task sequence.

  • Soli Deo Gloria

Your System Administrator has blocked this Program

This was an interesting one.  I was converting some computers over from an older domain to a new one and was getting this logged in as a non-admin user when trying to change the domain membership:

Attempts to do a runas on Command Prompt ended up with this even more bizarre error message:

At first I thought it was the OS being corrupted on the computer, but I encountered this error on more and more computers.  If I logged in as a user with administrator rights, everything worked fine.

After digging for a while, I figured this had to be a UAC policy as we don’t use AppLocker.

The issue: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc232762.aspx

ConsentPromptBehaviorUser

Key: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
Value: “ConsentPromptBehaviorUser”

0x00000000
This option SHOULD be set to ensure that any operation that requires elevation of privilege will fail as a standard user.

0x00000001
This option SHOULD be set to ensure that a standard user that needs to perform an operation that requires elevation of privilege will be prompted for an administrative user name and password. If the user enters valid credentials, the operation will continue with the applicable privilege.

The previous IT staff (who are no longer here) had set a policy disabling UAC elevation.  Doing so causes all kinds of crazy error messages like this one.  Why would they do that?  Well, the one guess I can come up with is that they didn’t want help desk calls from people encountering a UAC prompt. Of course, this also interferes with any IT staff attempting to do any work as all attempts to elevate to admin are blocked.

Some users had admin rights and some didn’t…the ones that didn’t were the ones where this issue was popping up on.  Thankfully, this policy isn’t set in the new domain.

  • Soli Deo Gloria

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 a 1 Gigabit 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

 

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