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:


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


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
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Get Any Edition of Windows 10 Without Access to VLSC

This is a neat little trick I found on the Internet.  If you don’t have access to VLSC and still need to get access to the Enterprise or Education editions of Windows 10, you can use the Media Creation Tool to download them.

Run the following.

MediaCreationTool1803.exe /Eula Accept /Retail /MediaArch x64 /MediaEdition Enterprise

<insert valid Win 10 KMS>.  You can find generic KMS keys here:

Now you can extract the image you want out of the ESD file as a WIM file.  Number 3 is currently the Enterprise SKU:

dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:install.esd

dism /export-image /SourceImageFile:install.esd /SourceIndex:3 
/DestinationImageFile:install.wim /Compress:max /CheckIntegrity

Remove pid.txt under sources and check licensing status of machine with the following command after installing the OS:

slmgr /dli

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Reset the State of Software Center

I recently had to pull Firefox out of Software Center and then made a new Firefox application.  Both the old Firefox and the new Firefox were listed on a particular machine even though I had retired and deleted the old Firefox application.  No matter what I did, the old software persisted!  After some reading: it appears that SCCM tracks Software Center events in WMI.  Even if you remove and reinstall the SCCM client, the “ghost software” remains.  I was able to finally clear off the software icon by doing a complete policy reset using the following WMIC command on the client and then waiting:

WMIC /Namespace:\\root\ccm path SMS_Client CALL ResetPolicy 1 /NOINTERACTIVE

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A Tale of Two Site Codes

This was an interesting problem.  We are cutting over clients to a new SCCM server with a new site code.  Around 100 clients kept going back to the old site code.  Peeking in LocationServices.log, it kept saying “Group Policy Registration set site code”.  Say what?  We don’t have any GPO like that.

After doing some Googling, I stumbled on this article: and sure enough: GPSiteAssignmentCode was defined!  Someone in the past had made a GPO setting the site code, nuked it, but unfortunately it tattooed the computers forever leaving the old site code.

Solution?  PSEXEC, a list of computers in computers.txt, Notepad++ (to trim trailing spaces) and reg delete:

reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\SMS /f

Then you can do something like psexec @computers.txt -c ccm.bat where ccm.bat holds your ccmsetup command line.

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Bomb Out Task Sequence if Laptop is Not Connected to Ethernet

You would think this would be an easy thing to do in Powershell, but I couldn’t find anything. This WMI code will look for an active Ethernet connection and return errorlevel 0 if it finds an active Ethernet connection and 1 if it does not:

wmic.exe nic where "NetConnectionStatus=2" get NetConnectionID | find "Ethernet"

This has to be put into a batch file and then fired as part of the task sequence.

Why do this?  Well, we want to push Windows 10 through Software Center, however, we don’t want user’s with laptops doing this over the WiFi network.

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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:


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

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

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.

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0x80004005: An error occurred while retrieving policy for this computer

Started a new job recently and one of the techs was having a problem imaging a laptop with a recently replaced motherboard.  We would PXE boot the laptop and then WinPE would bomb out in 10 seconds stating “0x80004005: An error occurred while retrieving policy for this computer”.

Nothing interesting was found on the SCCM side, however when I finally found the SMSTS.LOG in X:\Windows\temp\SMSTSLOG, I didn’t even have to open the file to figure out the problem: it was dated 2016!  Yup: it was a date and time issue.  If your computer skews too far from the current date and time, SCCM won’t talk to your computer.

You can use the commands date and time within cmd (hit the F8 key…you did enable this functionality, right?) to set the correct date and time.

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Create a Custom Installer Using Powershell

We run a program called QATRAX which doesn’t come as a MSI file for installing it.  The program has many sins: one of them being that it can only be installed to C:\program files\traxstar (it’s a x86 program) and it has to have write access to this folder.  Attempts to use a re-packager to convert this to a MSI file have failed, because all repackagers detect it should really go in C:\program files (x86), but of course that won’t work.

The program was made in the 1990s, so figuring out what files it copies to to system is quite easy.  You can use a tracing utility such as Process Monitor to watch for install changes.

# copy qatrax support files
copy-item *.dll C:\windows\syswow64 -Force

We could add registry entries using Powershell code line-by-line, but doing a registry export to a REG file and then import it is far easier in my opinion.

# import qatrax registry settings
regedit /s qatrax.reg

One thing to note is that we need to create an uninstall string manually so it shows up in Programs and Features as being installed.  This will also report back to WMI that the program is really installed to help with software inventory.  You should be able to get this from a system with the software already installed.

"UninstallString"="C:\\Program Files\\TraxStar\\uninstall.exe TRAXSTAR"

The program also has no native way of switching between dev and prod environments, so I wrote another wrapper that overwrites the values in the registry with certain IP addresses depending on which environment the user wants to be in.

# set everyone full-control to traxstar registry key. this is a hack to allow
# switching between dev and prod environments
$acl = Get-Acl 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\TraxStar Technologies LLC'
$rule = New-Object System.Security.AccessControl.RegistryAccessRule ("Everyone","FullControl","Allow")
$acl |Set-Acl -Path 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\TraxStar Technologies LLC'

Make a folder in C:\program files

# create install folder (and yes, traxstar has to be in the x64 folder even though it's
# x86 or it will break
mkdir "C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient"

Grant everyone rights to write to this folder

# qatrax requires write access to its own folder
icacls 'C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient' /grant:r everyone:f

Copy files to C:\program files

# copy qatrax files to program install folder
copy-item qatrax.exe "C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient"
copy-item traxlaunch.exe "C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient"
copy-item uninstall.exe "C:\program files\traxstar"
copy-item *.log "C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient"

Build out the start menu

# create start menu items
mkdir "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\QATrax"
icacls *.lnk /grant:r everyone:RX
copy-item *.lnk "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\QATrax"

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PowerShell Code to Find Default Printer

Here’s some code to query what computers have a certain default printer with PowerShell:

$PrinterNameSeek = "\\XXXXXXX01\XX_OFFICE_CLR_01"

$DefaultPrinterObject = Get-WmiObject -Query " SELECT * FROM Win32_Printer WHERE Default=$true"
$DefaultPrinterName = $DefaultPrinterObject.Name.ToUpper()

write-host $DefaultPrinterName

if ($DefaultPrinterName -eq $PrinterNameSeek)


write-host $env:COMPUTERNAME
write-host $env:username

out-file \\XXXXXX\logs\$($env:COMPUTERNAME).$($env:username).XX_OFFICE_CLR_01.txt


This will need to be run as the end user to use $env:username, but if your ExecutionPolicy doesn’t allow it, you can remove it.

After running this for a few days: you can do a “dir *.* > list.txt” and then import this into an Excel spreadsheet using the import data from text file feature.

  • Soli Deo Gloria