Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Change Windows 10 Edition with ConfigMgr

I dont know how I missed this recently, but this a great feature that I have history around. Simply put, ConfigMgr lets you change the Windows 10 Edition. This is pretty exciting for those of us with Software Assurance for the Workstation OS.

Around the Vista and 7 timeframe, my firm renewed our EA to include Enterprise Edition so I of course wanted to change from Professional to Enterprise on the existing systems to use those features. Easier said then done. On the consumer side, Microsoft had Windows Anytime Upgrade where you can go from Home all the way up to Ultimate, however on the corporate side not anything easy. A software refresh was the official solution after several conversations including with Michael Niehaus. While the pirates figured it out, but I could not really use that process at my firm. So we used attrition to get us over to Enterprise back then.

Fast forward to today and it is so much easier. Much work has been done by Microsoft to allow easier switching of corporate editions starting in Windows 8 with yet more improvements in Windows 10 today. With Windows 10 (1607) you can change the (KMS) key of a Professional install to Enterprise and without restarting your instance it is now Enterprise with all those features. Future changes look to change the edition when you first log in to the system!

They took it one step further by having ConfigMgr do this for you in at least 1606 Current Branch via a compliance setting. You can uplift to several higher editions.

In my environment we track everything via SCCM and have all sorts of Windows 10 collections and we actually have a few Professional Editions for whatever reason. So this will be deployed to that Professional Collection only.

Setup is simple, just navigate to \Assets and Compliance\Overview\Compliance Settings\Windows 10 Edition Upgrade in the SCCM console. Right click and select Create Edition Upgrade Policy.

Being a large Enterprise, we use ADBA for license provisioning so I entered a KMS key but you can use your firms MAK if you prefer. Microsoft provides the KMS client keys here. The screenshot is the Enterprise KMS so steal away.

After selecting Next you deploy this like any other complance setting by right clicking it and selecting Deploy.

All Done. I went from a few dozen Professional down to 1 quickly. I'll have to look at the one at some point.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Domain re-join shortcut trick

We've all had it. A system with domain authentication issues. Usually its the Secure Channel.

or way back

 but sometimes its worse like the machine object being "accidentally" deleted.

For me to resolve these, I just login with cached credentials and run some PowerShell like

 Test-ComputerSecureChannel -repair  

or in worse case when the object is not present

 add-computer -Domainname –cred “MYCOMPANY\kevin.fason”  

No matter how many times I lead these tech horses to water they just wont drink up PS1 cmd-lets.  I notice my techs will just rejoin it to the domain via the GUI. They MUST use the mouse for whatever reason. The accepted way is to remove it from the domain and make it a member of a workgroup, then join back to the domain with reboots in between and enabling a local admin account etc.

Instead of going through all that, did you know you can just enter the NetBIOS name of the domain? The system perceives this as you moving the system from one domain to another, even though its technically the same one, your just using the legacy NetBIOS name vs the FQDN of the domain.

Here is an example normally showing the FQDN of the domain:

Just change it to the NetBIOS and select OK. One reboot. all done. After the reboot it will revert to the FQDN domain name.

If you do not know what it is you can open a command/powershell prompt and type 'set USER' and it will tell both names via the USERDNSDOMAIN (FQDN)and USERDOMAIN (NetBIOS) variables. 

Or if you must use that mouse, you can open ADUC, right click the domain and select properties. Right on the general tab you will see it listed under 'Domain name (pre-Windows 2000).

Who knows how long this will work as forest/domain functional levels are uplifted.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

ConfigMgr Upgrade Readiness Connector Setup

NOTE 07.27.2017 - I thought I posted this a while back so hopefully the steps and screenshots are still valid. I'll go validate when I have some time.


We are using Windows Upgrade Readiness to accelerate our transition from our legacy versions of Windows to 10 v1607. As we recently updated ConfigMgr to 1610 I wanted to make use of the connector available in SCCM for it.

To give a brief overview, we have the Readiness Scripts Deployment folder (with our info) in an SCCM package with the deployment set to run the BAT file. The deployment has a recurring assignment schedule to run once a month, the week before our monthly patch cycle. Its ran on all workstation OS' including Windows 10) as it is expected to be used well past our 7/8.1 migration to 10 but also from one build version to another in Windows 10 itself as Readiness lets you pick the destination version to work against. Quite handy. Definitely keep up on the teams blog if you use it and the team itself is great with communication and interaction with the world. I've had great conversations with them over this offering.

Here is a sample of the end result that you can see in the ConfigMgr console.I'll cover this more later.

So for the setup of the connector, the documentation was a bit more generic then I would have liked, especially around the OMS and Azure bits, so I did struggle a little on it so here is how I set it up. There are three basic steps to it:

  1. Create an Application in Azure for SCCM to use, think of it as the username/password
  2. Enable permissions to the OMS instance Upgrade Readiness is in
  3. Setup the ConfigMgr to Windows Upgrade Readiness connector

This assumes you have Readiness already setup in OMS. I prefer the older manage web console to the newer portal one so thats where I perform the first step.

Step 1

Log in to the Manage portal and navigate to Active Directory on the left pane. Then click on your AD instance under name.

After that you select APPLICATIONS at the top

Then select Add at the bottom

Choose Add an Application my organization is developing

Give it a useful name such as ConfigMgrUpgradeReadiness and click on the right arrow.

Now you have to create two URLs, neither of which are used so enter whatever you want

Now you can create the Client ID and key that ConfigMgr uses to pull data. You can think of this as the username and password that ConfigMgr uses.

Select your newly created Application and click Configure at the top. This takes you to its customization.

Two parts here. First is  to copy the CLIENT ID somewhere as you will need it. Second is to select the duration of the key as 1 or 2 years. Once saved it will show you the key. you will want to copy the key as well. I would suggest you retain the client ID and key somewhere such as a password manager as you may need it long term. If not then you have to come back here and generate a new one.

Note that you only get ONE opportunity to copy the key. Once you leave this page the key will not be shown (as above) and you will have to generate a new one. You are now done with overall step 1.

Step 2

For step two you need to give this app the correct permissions. This was removed from the manage portal a while ago so over to the new portal. Select Resource Groups on the left pane.

As shown below you will select the Resource Group the Upgrade Readiness is located in (mms-eus in this example) then Access Control (IAM) on page 2 and finally +Add on page 3.

You will then select or search for the name of the Azure AD app you created earlier and grant it Contributor rights. This was my struggle. I originally thought you had to give rights to the domain SCCM service account thinking it was what ConfigMgr accessed OMS with. This is shown above highlighted in yellow.

Step 2 is complete and its onto Step 3, setting up the connector in ConfigMgr.

Step 3

For this you goto the SCCM Console and navigate to \Administration\Overview\Cloud Services\Upgrade Analytics Connector. Note it has not been updated to 'Readiness' yet.

Simply right click Upgrade Analytics Connector and choose Create Connection to Upgrade Analytics.

Enter the relevant information you saved from step 1 above which is the Client ID and secret key along with your Azure Tenant name, generally Once done select Verify then Next.

Note this screenshot is AFTER I already entered it and you'll see the Client secret key: field is blank. If you ever go into here you will have to re-enter the key. You remembered to save it right?

If you setup the permissions correct you will be shown with the required information. This screenshot is post setup also.

Thats it., SCCM will now pull from Windows Upgrade Readiness. You can view information about it in the DMPDownloader.log located in your SCCMInstallFolder\Logs. While I suggest you save the key and Client ID somewhere, it is located in this log file but the logs may have rotated by the time you need either of them.

This is a sample of a normal run. The last line I do not like and wish it could be changed. Upgrade Readiness updates daily, however SCCM will download from it only once a week (10080 minutes) so your data is that old.

Final Thoughts

Once it has imported into SCCM you can act on it. Just goto \Monitoring\Overview\Upgrade Analytics. Per my initial screenshot, it shows readiness information for the All Workstations collection I've created. Just select any collections in your environment that are device based to work against.

At the bottom you can select the pull down and create collections based on the "buckets" that are in Upgrade Readiness. I have created several that in turn have the in-place TS advertised to them as available. It does create these with 'All Systems' as the limiting collection so I have changed that to use more appropriate ones to coordinate with any implementation schedules.

My firm has a small team that spends time every few days in the Upgrade Readiness OMS website so as systems are marked as ready in the Readiness tool then flows via the connector into ConfigMgr Collections to get Windows 10 in-place advertised to that endpoint as being available. Awesome right?

I created a UserVoice to request the 10800 min interval (week) be changed to a day or allowed to be configured. This makes more sense as the Analytics updates daily.