Sunday, July 29, 2018

Deployment Tips – Micro Focus / Novell Open Enterprise Client

Just a quick link if you need to deploy Micro Focus (formerly Novell) Client.
It’s a nice and detailed website from Micro Focus on how to silently install, generate response files, etc.

Thumbs up to Micro Focus, would love other big companies do the same.

Novell Client - Understanding the Client Install Manager (nciman.exe)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Windows 10 – Centralized File Type Association

I want to believe that there was a really good reason why Microsoft done this but…well…not figured out exactly why.

In Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a lot of native apps that allows users to install let additional software and one of the great examples is the ability for Microsoft Edge to open PDF files.
Although this is very helpful for a lot of people, in some cases, specially enterprises, this is not the ideal thing, and a some work need to be done first, not to rely on Adobe Acrobat Reader.

That said, if you need to make sure Adobe Acrobat Reader its your users default PDF reader well…there’s some things you’ll need to do.

I’ll use PDF files as an example because this is the most common one nowadays.
Although there’s more than a way to configure file type association, I believe this is the most flexible approach because you can change the configuration in a very easy and centralized way.
What you’ll need:

  • A XML file with the file types association
  • A centralized share where the XML will be downloaded for your users
  • Change/Create a GPO

What you need to do:

  • The XML file will contains information about:
    • file type (extension)
    • the default app to open the file type
    • the program id
  • You can create the xml from scratch, or you can export your current configuration with DISM:
    DISM /online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations:C:\Temp\defaultappassociations.xml
  • If you export the xml file, now you just need to cleanup the line you don’t need and keep the ones you need (in this case, PDF)
  • Here’s an example of how it looks like:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
       <Association Identifier=".acrobatsecuritysettings" ProgId="AcroExch.acrobatsecuritysettings" ApplicationName="Adobe Acrobat Reader DC" />
       <Association Identifier=".fdf" ProgId="AcroExch.FDFDoc" ApplicationName="Adobe Acrobat Reader DC" />
       <Association Identifier=".pdf" ProgId="AcroExch.Document.DC" ApplicationName="Adobe Acrobat Reader DC" />
       <Association Identifier=".pdfxml" ProgId="AcroExch.pdfxml" ApplicationName="Adobe Acrobat Reader DC" />
       <Association Identifier=".pdx" ProgId="PDXFileType" ApplicationName="Adobe Acrobat Reader DC" />
       <Association Identifier=".xdp" ProgId="AcroExch.XDPDoc" ApplicationName="Adobe Acrobat Reader DC" />
       <Association Identifier=".xfdf" ProgId="AcroExch.XFDFDoc" ApplicationName="Adobe Acrobat Reader DC" />
       <Association Identifier="acrobat" ProgId="acrobat" ApplicationName="Adobe Acrobat Reader DC" />
  • Now, just to make sure everything is fine, open the xml file just to check if opens the right way, because copy+paste may sometime not be a good friend.
  • Now that you have your xml file, you’ll need to put it on a network share
  • Next, create a Group Policy Preference (GPP) to copy the file to your machines. The file must be copied to a location where users have read permission (and just read permission).
  • And now the last step. Making sure Windows knows that there’s a file type association xml file to read.
  • Open or create a GPO, and navigate to:
    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer
  • Edit “Set a default association configuration file”
  • Now you’re going to add the path where the xml file is on your clients

And…you’re done.
This will take effect when users logoff/logon again.

Because of the way Windows 10 monitors and analyzes file association hijacking the first time a user tries to open a PDF file, there will be a prompt about it like the one below, this happens only once:

And…that’s it.
This looks more complicated than it is but…for me, the main issue is how a new Windows 10 version can easily break the configuration, which means, another thing for your checklist when moving to a new Windows 10 Feature Update.

Last but not least, here are some other approach or other ways to explain how to configure Windows 10 file type association:

TechNet Blogs - Windows 10 – How to configure file associations for IT Pros?

4SysOps - Default File Associations in Windows 10

MSDN Blogs - Making file type associations enterprise ready

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Adobe Reader DC Black Cursor Instead of Mouse Pointer (Solved)

Here’s just a quick tip for something that happened to me yesterday.
For some strange reason, Adobe Reader DC started to show up a black square instead of a mouse pointer when over blank areas in a PDF document.

To solve this…errr…strange behavior do the following:

  1. Close Adobe Reader DC

  2. Navigate to:

  3. Locate and delete a file named:

Now open Adobe Reader DC and your mouse point is back!

Microsoft Inspire 2018 – Day Two Keynote

Here’s the 2nd day keynote of Microsoft Inspire 2018:

Monday, July 16, 2018

Microsoft Inspire 2018 – Day One Keynote

Although it doesn’t generate has much hype has Build conference, Microsoft Inspire it’s a very interesting conference where Microsoft partners can get insights about last year and the future and…get inspired by others to develop new solutions and mainly where Microsoft thinks are the key success factors for they’re partners.

Here’s the day one (of three) keynote:


Sunday, July 8, 2018

All “ms-settings” commands for Windows 10 v1709

Ok ok, Windows 10 v1803 is out for some time, but lots of enterprises still use v1709 or at least are on the deployment phase with this version.

One of the most awkward thing I’ve found on GPOs for Windows 10 it’s the way to hide or disable Windows Settings icons, like I’ve explained on a previous post (FrontSlash Blog - Win10 - GPOs - Hiding pages in Settings app)

But…well…not much to do here.

Because Microsoft implements new features twice a year, also with these new features the Settings app get new icons.
To save you the trouble to search all of them, here’s a nice post from Winaero with ALL the “ms-settings” you can use in your GPO:
Winaero - ms-settings Commans in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Removing Tiles from Action Center for All Users

SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ActionCenter\Quick Actions\UnpinnedByDefault

Avoiding the “Download language type features” Annoying Popup in Your Golden Image

You’ve created you’re perfect golden image, everything installed correctly, all the Microsoft hotfixes are installed, no missing drivers and…after a while you get a popup stating that you need to “download language typing features”…

Just to get things a little bit more frustrating, you’re machines are behind a proxy and cannot download this additional features.

This is a common scenario on enterprises, specially and foremost on enterprises outside U.S.

To strip out Windows from being a large ISO/WIM file, Microsoft decided to add some additional features with an “on-demand” installation. This means that some features that can be activated in the O.S. may need to download they’re source files from the Internet.
This happens if you want to activate .NET Framework 3.5 for example.

Now, to avoid this from happening follow the steps bellow.
Keep in mind that this is an example for enterprises with Microsoft VLS. If not an enterprise, the main difference is that you should find the direct download path on the CBS.log file also.

  1. First thing you need to know, is exactly which files Windows needs to download. For this one you need to take a look at this file:

  2. Now search for something like “Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-“. If you look closely to this log file you’ll notice that this file could not be downloaded or some kind of error.
    Usually there are 2 files you need. the “Basic Language” and “OCR” features

  3. Now that you know what you need, go ahead to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center website and download the following ISO:

  4. When you mount the ISO, you’ll find the files you need as a *.cab file.

  5. Copy the files you need and now you just need to had them to your golden image.

  6. To install this cab files you just need to run this DISM commands, like in this example:
    DISM /Online /Add-Package /’re done!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Tips & Tricks – Easy Logging Reading with CMTrace

Have you ever opened a *.log file with notepad and wished to have something else that could format everything for you, and that could also automatically show you error lines or warnings?
Than CMTrace it’s the perfect tool for you.

Bundled with SCCM 2012 R2 Toolkit (and also in previous version I believe), you’ll find CMTrace tool that does the job for you.

Download it here:
TechNet - SCCM 2012 R2 Toolkit

MDT – Adding Windows Store for Business Apps in MDT

Here’s a very nice, although old article, from Michael Niehaus about adding Windows Store for Business Apps directly in MDT.

This is particularly useful if your company is already creating apps and you want them to be loaded directly in your golden image, instead of downloading from Store afterwards.

TechNet - Using the Windows Store for Business with MDT 2013

HP SoftPaq Unpack Switches

Here’s a quick tip for unpacking HP SoftPaq drivers:

* "SPxxxxx.exe is the SoftPaq filename to unpack

* "-pdf" is a runtime switch that overrides the build parameters

* "-f" is a runtime switch that overrides the default path set at build time

* "-s" instructs the package to unpack in silent mode, skipping the Welcome, License, and Directory screens

* "-e" instructs the package to extract only, that is, do not run the component installation program.

One example:

SP4242423.exe -pdf -f -e C:\Temp\drivers\