I recently overhauled a script that I wrote to take advantage of the parallel processing functionality that is included in Microsoft Powershell 7. The results have been excellent with script runtimes being reduced from over an hour down to roughly 5 minutes. Learning the ins-and-outs of using parallel processing was a bit of a chore that I will discuss in a later article, however the first hurdle that had to be mounted was simply getting Powershell 7 installed and figuring out how to make use of it. Quickly getting up and running with Powershell 7 is what this article seeks to address. (more…)

The current state of the world has caused some unique stresses on IT infrastructure. For IT departments servicing internal teams, remote access infrastructure in particular has felt the brunt of the blow. To that end, I spent a couple of weeks testing out enterprise VPN solutions.
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In my line of work we often evaluate new ways to do things, specifically new platforms for server hosting, disaster recovery, backups, etc.

One of the requests that often comes from vendors is “How big is your environment?”

Microsoft has the rather excellent “MAP” tool however I find it to be a bit slow, somewhat complex, and often returns a lot more information than I want… and not always everything I need.

To that end, I wrote the following powershell function and it has been a major help in automating these inventory requests:
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A colleague of mine recently solved one of the biggest pain points I have dealt with regarding Office365 – that is, Microsoft’s seemingly hit-or-miss modern authentication.

Symptoms look like this:
1. Outlook client can’t connect and/or authenticate for end-users
2. Turning on Azure MFA for an end-user ruins their life (and yours) because all office applications, teams, etc. break.
3. Admins have an impending sense of “dread” when setting up systems for new users because 80% of the time they are going to spend hours sorting out the above issues.
4. You call Microsoft Support complaining of these issues and they are eventually stumped and tell you to rebuild the desktop/laptop from scratch… great for end-users that deal with this issue 1 year into the job and rather like their systems as-is… -or- MS Support tells you to pop a registry key into the end-user’s system which just disables Modern Authentication all together – which may fix Outlook but leaves many many other things broken…
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I won’t go into great detail here but in short, if VSSAdmin is not letting you delete shadow copies and is throwing this message:

Error: Snapshots were found, but they were outside of your allowed context.  Try removing them with the backup application which created them.

There is another (less safe…) program called DiskShadow which will.

It’s built into windows server… and using it to get rid of pesky shadow copies that won’t otherwise goes away looks like this:

C:\DiskShadow
DISKSHADOW> Delete Shadows All

and away they go…

One of the best blog articles I came across that details both VSSADMIN and DiskShadow tool and why VSSAdmin sometimes falls short is here:
https://danblee.com/diskshadow-vssadmins-best-friend/

Cheers!