This section looks at what is new in the world of software (Operating Systems included) and how to take best advantage of what is out there.

While iterating through an issue with our Ruckus SmartZone (with Ruckus R510 Access Points) controllers I was looking for a way to see when the Access Points had applied the new configuration; lone behold it’s quite easily done through both the CLI and the GUI.

Anyone who has used the new SmartZone controllers will know all too well that’s it’s not the fastest GUI to work with – thus if you have the option I’d suggest you go with the CLI method which is very responsive (and much more consistent!).

Via the CLI

Via the GUI

For a little while now we’ve had issues with the uniFLOW Server service (version 5.3) not starting in a timely fashion (2hrs+).

After a harrowing tale of working with their support going in circles looking at issues with SQL Server and suchlike we worked out that the issue seemed to be caused by stale files at ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\NT-ware Shared\ActiveJobs’ some of which were many months old or 0KB in size.

Ultimately the solution was to stop the Uniflow Service (force quit it using Task Manager if it’s still in a broken ‘starting’ state) and then delete the contents of that folder with the exception of the readme_activejobsfolder.txt file (which mentions that you shouldn’t do anything to these files!) and then start the uniFLOW Service service (which started up in a few minutes).

While provisioning some new Ruckus R510 WAPs onto our SmartZone 100 ( we’ve had a number of cases where the WAPs will reboot for their firmware update but will not proceed beyond that point. In particular the PWR and CTL lights stay lit but the radio lights do not come on at all.

Looking in Access Points > Affected WAP > More > Tunnel Diagnostics (we’re using AP tunnelling) I note errors along the lines of

ifconfig: gre1: error fetching interface information: Device not found

cat: can’t open ‘/proc/rksgre/gre1/stats’: No such file or directory
cat: can’t open ‘/proc/rksgre/gre1/cache’: No such file or directory
cat: can’t open ‘/proc/rksgre/gre1/cfg’: No such file or directory
cat: can’t open ‘/sys/kernel/debug/qca-nss-drv/stats/*’: No such file or directory

The solution thus far has been pretty simple – factory reset the WAP by pressing and holding the RESET button in the back for 6+ seconds. It’ll go through a process of about 5-10 minutes and thus far have been coming back in a functional state.

Today I had the pleasure of presenting at the Oxford ICTF Conference on Multi-Factor Authentication and Password Stores with Smart Cards and YubiKeys, the video recording is online now here – and the presentation can be downloaded through the link below.

A special shout out goes to the Yubico press office for providing a set of YubiKey 4s, YubiKey NEOs and Security Keys which helped fuel a very lively Q and A session!

  Presentation.pdf (5.5 MiB, 319 hits)

Having recently changed from using PowerShell ISE to VS Code I’m still discovering all the super awesome new features of it (be sure to get a copy of the Keyboard shortcuts from this page – To get started I’ve changed the default new file language to PowerShell (not that you can’t change it to anything else though!).

To do this follow the short guide in the screenshots adding in the line shown in the gist below.

In putting together a small RDS (Session Based) environment on Server 2016 today today I kept running across the error message below during the installation.

Failed: Unable to install the role services.

After much back and forth between forums and event viewer it turns out our default policy to disable TLS 1.0 on servers was the issue. Enabling TLS 1.0 (through the registry or with the fantastic IIS Crypto – ended up sorting the issue for us.

Thanks to the organising committee of the (Oxford and Cambridge) College IT Conference 2018 held at the RAF Museum (Hendon) for the invite to talk about PowerShell and Server Core! As promised the video from the presentation is now up on YouTube; in addition the slides as PowerPoint and PDF can be seen below.

  Presentation (PowerPoint) (28.5 MiB, 242 hits)

  Presentation (PDF) (4.9 MiB, 253 hits)

30/03/2018 Update

Microsoft have published this blog post – which clarifies the difference between the Long-Term Servicing Channel (Server 2016/2019/so on) against the Semi-Annual Channel. Do have a read!

With thanks to the 50 staff from across the University for attending please see below the links to the videos and PowerPoints of the day!

Direct link to Playlist –

Slides as PowerPoint

  1 Intro (4.3 MiB, 417 hits)

  2 MDT (85.2 MiB, 490 hits)

  3 PowerShell (27.5 MiB, 384 hits)

  4 PRTG Network Monitor (47.5 MiB, 411 hits)

  5 OpenVAS (32.9 MiB, 360 hits)

  6 WSUS and Chocolatey (60.3 MiB, 406 hits)

  7 NPS and VLANs (10.7 MiB, 460 hits)

Slides as PDF

  1 Intro (2.0 MiB, 375 hits)

  2 MDT (2.2 MiB, 487 hits)

  3 PowerShell (1.8 MiB, 441 hits)

  4 PRTG Network Monitor (3.2 MiB, 440 hits)

  5 OpenVAS (2.3 MiB, 434 hits)

  6 WSUS and Chocolatey (2.9 MiB, 473 hits)

  7 NPS and VLANs (1.4 MiB, 436 hits)

Stay tuned over the coming days for the scripts that are mentioned through the video which will be linked to from this post.

One of the often forgotten about features of gpresult is that it can output reports as HTML format (in a similar format to Group Policy Modelling) as well as to the command line – simply use the /h switch followed by a path. This includes much more useful data including how long it took to apply various aspects of the policy.

In the example below we can see that Group Policy Infrastructure took much longer to apply than expected (normally only a second or two), you can then dig into the cause by clicking the View Log link to the right which pops out even more detail to dig through. In this case the cause of the slow policy application appeared to be old ADM files (Windows XP era) being included with the policy; deleting the files resolved the issue.

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series A Windows SysAdmin installs and uses OpenVAS

In my environment all of our network connected devices are configured to respond to PINGs; this mainly comes about from using PRTG Network Monitor to confirm that devices and services are up even in the most simple of fashions. The same also applies to client PCs which through Group Policy are configured to reply to PING. Thus to save OpenVAS some work while doing it’s scans I’ve got a custom scan configured (which will be used in later blog posts) that will only scan hosts which reply to PING.

Have a look at the screenshot sequence below to see how to configure such a scan.