Category: Windows 7

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Windows SpeculationControl PowerShell

Use PowerShell to verifying protections again speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities CVE-2017-5754 (Meltdown) and CVE-2017-5715 (Spectre)

As you might have seen in the last couple of days, there are huge news about some security bugs in CPUs from different vendors (not just intel). The Microsoft Security Response Center released a PowerShell Module on the PowerShell Gallery called SpeculationControl, which verifies if your system is protected or not.

Microsoft is aware of a new publicly disclosed class of vulnerabilities that are referred to as “speculative execution side-channel attacks” that affect many modern processors and operating systems, including chipsets from Intel, AMD, and ARM.

Note This issue also affects other systems, such as Android, Chrome, iOS, and MacOS, so we advise customers to seek guidance from those vendors.

Microsoft has released several updates to help mitigate these vulnerabilities. We have also taken action to secure our cloud services. See the following sections for more information.

Microsoft has not yet received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities have been used to attack customers. Microsoft continues working closely with industry partners including chip makers, hardware OEMs, and app vendors to protect customers. To get all available protections, hardware/firmware and software updates are required. This includes microcode from device OEMs and, in some cases, updates to antivirus software as well.

Enabled protections will show in the output as “True” like in this screenshot here

Windows SpeculationControl PowerShell

So make sure you patch your systems, for Windows and Windows Server are already patches available and the Surface Familiy already got some firmware updates.

Also check out Mike F Robbins (Microsoft MVP) how he explains how to use the SpeculationControl PowerShell module on remote machines.



Surface Precisiaon Mouse Box

Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse Review

Last week I got the Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse delivered. The Surface Precision Mouse will become the replacement mouse for my Microsoft Sculpt Mouse, which I used for the last couple of years. Now I want to give you some impressions about the Surface Precision Mouse, since I am very happy and very surprised about the feature set.

Surface Precision Mouse

First of all the Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse feels awesome, very high quality and it is very comfortable in your hand. It feels very precise and you get very quickly used to it.

Now let me write about some extra features you might didn’t know about. You first get a button to configure the scroll wheel in two different speeds, one feels very light and fast and the other one is slower and is more resistant, so you can choose what you like more and switch between them, depending on your task.

Microsoft Surface Percision Mouse Settings

Of course you get some extra buttons which you can customize with different shortcuts, for example to open the Windows 10 Tasks View or other applications. You can also customize the buttons depending on the application you are working with.

Surface Precision Mouse Bottom

By already having the perfect mouse, in terms of feeling, comfort, precision and customizability, you get a really cool extra feature. The Surface Precision Mouse gives you more multi-tasking power by allowing you to work seamlessly across up to three computers, supports both Bluetooth and wired USB connections. You can pair your Surface Precision Mouse with three different devices and you can manually switch between them with the button on the bottom of the mouse, or you can use something called Smart Switch.

Microsoft Surface Percision Mouse Smart Switch

Smart Switch on the Surface Precision Mouse can be enabled by using the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center. It allows you to setup the workplace layout in the app and now you can move the cursor to the border of the screen and the mouse will seamlessly switch to the other device. So if you are working on your desktop and you have your notebook right next to it, you can easily move the mouse from one device to the other.

Overall I am super happy with the new device!

 

Surface Precision Mouse Specs

The mouse also works with Windows 7, Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and macOS devices as long as they support Bluetooth 4.0 or higher.

 
InterfaceUSB 2.1, Bluetooth® Low Energy 4.0/4.1/4.2Dimensions4.8 x 3.05 x 1.7 (122.6 mm x 77.6 mm x 43.3 mm)
Wireless Frequency2.4GHz frequency rangeWeight4.76 ounces (135 grams) including rechargeable batteries
Buttons6 buttons, including right and left click and scroll wheel buttonBatteryRechargeable lithium ion battery (included)
DesignErgonomic design with side gripsBattery LifeUp to 3 months
ScrollingSmooth or magnetic detent customizable horizontal and vertical scrolling1ColorGray


Microsoft Azure Backup Agent

Download the Azure Backup Agent

Microsoft works heavily on their Microsoft Azure Recovery Services and releases new features for its Azure Backup software. Some of these new features need a new version of the Azure Backup Agent, or MARS Agent, to work.

Now if you install a new recovery vault in Azure to get started with Azure Backup you will find a link to download the Azure Backup Agent or sometimes you will see warnings in the Azure Backup MMC console with a link to a newer version of the Azure Backup Agent. But if you just want to download the latest MARS Agent, sometimes it is pretty hard to find, so let me help you with this link:

Download Azure Backup Agent

You can also use that file to updated an existing Azure Backup Agent.

By the way, Microsoft Azure Backup now supports Windows System State Backups to Azure.



Open website from PowerShell

Open website from PowerShell

If you want to directly open a website from the PowerShell console, you can use the Start-Process cmdlet. This will open the website in the default browser:

You can also use “Start” which is an alias for Start-Process:

Yes this is a very short post, but I hope this was helpful and you can now open a website from PowerShell.



Installation Windows Server 2016 VPN

How to Install VPN on Windows Server 2016

This post shows you how you can install a VPN Server on Windows Server 2016 Step-by-Step. It shows you how you can easily setup a VPN server for a small environment or for a hosted server scenario. This blog post covers how you can use Windows Server VPN.

This is definitely not a guide for an enterprise deployment, if you are thinking about a enterprise deployment you should definitely have a look at Direct Access.

I already did similar blog posts for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

You can simply follow this step by step guide:

Install the Windows Server VPN Role

First install the “Remote Access” via Server Manager or Windows PowerShell.

Install Remote Access Role VPN

Select the “DirectAccess and VPN (RAS)” role services and click next.

DirectAccess and VPN (RAS)



diskpart-usb-drive

Create a USB Stick for Windows Server 2016 Installation

If you have download the latest version of Windows Server 2016 you can create a USB stick to install it on a physical server. This blog goes through how you create a USB Stick for Windows Server 2016.

For UEFI Systems:

  • The at least a 8GB USB drive has to be formatted in FAT32
  • The USB needs to be GPT and not MBR
  • Copy all files from the ISO to the USB drive

diskpart-usb-drive

This is it, and here is how you do it:

First plugin your USB drive to your computer. The USB drive should be bigger than 6GB.

Open a CMD prompt or PowerShell using the Run as Administrator option and open diskpart. Now you can do list all this by using

Select the USB disk, in my case this was disk 1

Clean the disk. Be careful this will remove all files and partitions on the USB media.

Now convert it to GPT

Create a new primary partition. But make sure the partition is not greater than 16GB otherwise it can be formatted with FAT32.

Format the partition with FAT32

Assign a drive letter to the volume

now you can exit the diskpart and copy all files from the Windows or Windows Server to the USB drive and boot it. This works with Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016 or even Hyper-V Server in the same editions.

For MBR systems:

  • The at least a 8GB USB drive has to be formatted in FAT32
  • The USB needs to be MBR
  • Partition need so be set active
  • Copy all files from the ISO to the USB drive

diskpart-usb-drive-mbr

 

This is it, and here is how you do it:

First plugin your USB drive to your computer. The USB drive should be bigger than 6GB.

Open a CMD prompt or PowerShell using the Run as Administrator option and open diskpart. Now you can do list all this by using

Select the USB disk, in my case this was disk 1

Clean the disk. Be careful this will remove all files and partitions on the USB media.

Create a new primary partition. But make sure the partition is not greater than 16GB otherwise it can be formatted with FAT32.

Format the partition with FAT32

Set Active

Assign a drive letter to the volume

now you can exit the diskpart and copy all files from the Windows or Windows Server to the USB drive and boot it. This works with Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016 or even Hyper-V Server in the same editions.

 

Important:

If Install.wim is larger than 4GB, you cannot copy the file to the drive, because of theFAT32 based partition limitation. The solutions for this is to split the wim file into smaller files.

split wim file using dism (you may have to change the drive letters):

 



FindTime for Outlook – Doodle for Business

Scheduling meetings can be a real pain you have to do calls, ask people and check calendars which can be a huge time effort. Lucky there are solutions like Doodle to schedule meetings and a lot of us are using Doodle in our personal life which is great, but it could be a lot better, especially if you are using it for business meetings. Microsoft released a Outlook solution for this a couple of months ago called FindTime for Outlook. But since not a lot of people seem to know about FindTime I decided to write a quick blog post about it.

FindTime is a Office Plugin for Outlook which allows you to schedule and plan meetings. To use FindTime just do the following steps:

  1. Install FindTime
  2. Restart Outlook and the Plugin will automatically appear (btw. Works with Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, Outlook for Mac and Outlook on the Web)
  3. Compose a new email or reply to an existing email
  4. Click “New Meeting Poll” in the Message tab of the email. This will open a new poll and will automatically check if people in your organization are available or not, depending on there calendar. External people will just show up in grey.
    FindTime New Meeting Availability
  5. You also have different options from Online Meetings (using Skype for Business) or meetings in different locations. People will then get the link to vote for the meeting date. You also have different options like Notifications when someone votes, Auto scheduling of the meeting if everyone required has voted and more.
    FindTime Send Invite
  6. People can now vote on the FindTime website. People can also use preferred dates and can see how others have voted. You can schedule the meeting manual or you can set the option to auto schedule, this will automatically send the invites after everyone required for the meetings has voted.
    FindTime Meeting Voting

For me FindTime for Outlook is a huge time saver if you have to schedule meetings and appointments with other attendees. So make sure you have a look at it, the only thing your organization needs, is a Office 365 subscription.