Latest Event Updates

Windows 10 News You Can Use – Dec 2016

Posted on Updated on

This my inaugural edition of “news you can use” for Windows 10.  I originally set out to compile and share these bits of information that I see come through the wire, with the hopes that it would be beneficial to you as well.   

  1. Did you miss Microsoft Ignite in September?  No worries, the sessions were recorded and are available online.  Here is a catalog of the related Windows 10 sessions.  Optionally, you also download all of those sessions (decks and videos) directly from my OneDrive!
    Download: https://1drv.ms/f/s!Auu_dRzvdA2Ohu41JASZ_8XW-7S6LA
  2. Have you heard of the new Upgrade Analytics service to help in your application compatibility planning and readiness?  If not, recently a Microsoft Mechanics video (6 minutes) was created to highlight and showcase the technology.
    Read more and watch: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mt743627
  3. The Windows 10 IT Showcase is about how Microsoft IT used the materials in this program to support the Windows 10 deployment to all employee devices within the Microsoft global enterprise. Now, you can use them to facilitate employee adoption, promote best practices, and ensure a direct path to productivity with the best Windows ever.
    Read more: https://www.microsoft.com/itshowcase/windows10deployment
  4. Updated GPO settings reference for Win10/Server 2016.
    Read more: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=25250
  5. The Win10 Anniversary Release (1607) has been officially declared as a Current Branch for Business (CBB).
    Read more: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mmpc/2016/11/01/our-commitment-to-our-customers-security
  6. Microsoft has announced the new Unified Update Platform (UUP) that is under development and coming to new branches of Windows 10.  The community and customer benefits of UUP is the reduction you’ll see in download size on PCs.  We have converged technologies in our build and publishing systems to enable differential downloads for all devices built on the Mobile and PC OS.
    Read more: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/11/03/introducing-unified-update-platform-uup
  7. Windows is the only platform with a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible. And we take this responsibility very seriously. Recently, the activity group that Microsoft Threat Intelligence calls STRONTIUM conducted a low-volume spear-phishing campaign. Customers using Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 Anniversary Update are known to be protected from versions of this attack observed in the wild. This attack campaign, originally identified by Google’s Threat Analysis Group, used two zero-day vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and the down-level Windows kernel to target a specific set of customers.
    Read more: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mmpc/2016/11/01/our-commitment-to-our-customers-security
  8. Configuration Manager 1610 released and contains new features
    Read more: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/enterprisemobility/2016/11/18/now-available-update-1610-for-system-center-configuration-manager
  9. The next Win10 branch release was announced as the Creators Update and is due to arrive in the spring of 2017.  Included is the introduction of the Surface Studio and Surface Dial device!
    Read more and watch demo: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/10/26/empowering-a-new-wave-of-creativity-with-the-windows-10-creators-update-and-surface-studio
  10. While it’s not really “news for Win10”, are you scrambling for the perfect gifts for the geeks on your list this holiday season? Just don’t know where to start? Lucky for you, the Microsoft elves have spent 2016 putting together the ultimate list of the year’s best tech, toys, and tools and collected them here in the Holiday Gift Guide for Geeks 2016.
    Read more: https://info.microsoft.com/holiday-gift-guide-2016.html

Automating Web URLs as Start Menu Links

Posted on Updated on

In my previous post on Creating Web URLs as Start Menu Links, I outlined details how to manually create links to URLs (as seen in the images below).  While this does work, most folks in the systems management community would prefer to automate this link creations.  The following PowerShell script can be used to create a custom start menu link for all users.

Note that a problem that you may encounter is the link not being displayed in the grouping.  This could be caused by having two .lnk files with the same target path pointing to the same URL.


# Create a Shortcut with Windows PowerShell
$oWScriptShell = New-Object -ComObject WScript.Shell
$sTargetFile = "C:\Windows\explorer.exe"
$sShortcutFile = $oWScriptShell.SpecialFolders("AllUsersPrograms") + "\Links\t3chn1ck.lnk"
# Note: to open URL in a specific browser like Edge, add in front of the URL Microsoft-edge:
$sURL = "http://t3chn1ck.com"

#Delete existing shortcut if exists
If (Test-Path $sShortcutFile){
Remove-Item $sShortcutFile
}

$oShortcut = $oWScriptShell.CreateShortcut($sShortcutFile)
$oShortcut.IconLocation = "explorer.exe,20"
$oShortcut.TargetPath = $sTargetFile
$oShortcut.Arguments = $sURL
$oShortcut.Save()

urldemo5 urldemo4

Creating Web URLs as Start Menu Links

Posted on Updated on

If you’re looking for a quick and ‘easy’ method to create shortcut links to website URLs that are part of a user’s start menu…and that can be found by Windows search…follow this simple process.

  1. Create a generic program shortcut to %windir%\explorer.exe. An easy way to do this is just browse to the executable file, right-click, and select Sent To > Desktop.urldemo1
  2. Modify the properties of the .lnk file to have:
    • The URL after the name explorer.exe; note that prefacing the URL with http:// or https:// maybe necessary.
    • Change the icon to be more website looking (optional)
    • Change the name of the shortcut to something ‘friendly’ (on the General tab)urldemo2
  3. Copy the shortcut to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\CustomLinkDirectoryName\urldemo3

Now the URL shortcut will be listed in the start menu for all your users!  An added bonus is that this link will open in whatever is the user’s default browser as well.  These links can then be distributed and managed by a systems management tool such as ConfigMgr.

To automate this process using PowerShell, see my post Automating Web URLs as Start Menu Links.

urldemo4   urldemo5

 

 

Resources on Windows 10 for IT professionals

Posted on Updated on

If you’re an IT professional that is seeking to learn more about Windows 10, how to deploy and manage Windows 10 in your environment, or just simply trying to “keep up” with all the advances of the product, then the following resources will be helpful to you.  This page may be updated periodically as I come across new resources available to help.
[Updated 10/5/16]

Windows 10 Full Device Wipe via PowerShell

Posted on Updated on

One of the new capabilities of Windows 10 is the ability to manage it like a mobile device using Configuration Service Providers.  One of those functions is the ability to perform a full wipe (restore to factory default) of the device using the RemoteWipe CSP.  While this capability can be accomplished using a MDM provider such as Microsoft Intune, you may at some point have the need to demonstrate it without a device being managed.

!!! WARNING !!! CAUTION !!! DISCLAIMER !!!
Using the script below will cause the Windows 10 system to immediately perform a reset of Windows to factory default.  No data and no applications are saved.  Use extreme caution when testing this script.  Setting it up for deployment with a tool (such as ConfigMgr) could come with extreme consequences if incidentally deployed.
!!! WARNING !!! CAUTION !!! DISCLAIMER !!!

Now that you’ve been fully warned, to demonstrate how to use the RemoteWipe and invoke the doWipeMethod, please reference the example script at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dn948434.aspx.  Also, it could be good to add a user input for a “password” to continue and it can easily be added to front of the script.  For example:

$pass = Read-Host 'Enter the password to perform a full wipe of Windows 10 to factory defaults.'

if ($pass -eq '1-2-3-4-5') {
    write-host -ForegroundColor Green 'Password accepted ... That''s amazing. I''ve got the same combination on my luggage!!' }
else {
    write-host -ForegroundColor Red 'Wrong password, terminating script'
    exit
}

 

Testing Windows 10 Assigned Access

Posted on

Based upon the information in article Set up a kiosk on Windows 10, it is possible to quickly setup a Windows 10 UWP app to run with Assigned Access.  From that article, I’ve outlined (below) the quick-start steps for testing purposes.

  1. Login to Windows with an account that has local admin rights.
  2. Create a local user account (such as “kiosk”) with a password and do not grant the account local admin privileges.
  3. Sign out of Windows.
  4. Login to Windows with the kiosk user account so that it builds the profile.
  5. If the tablet has physical keyboard capabilities, then change that user to use Tablet Mode and log out.  Otherwise, skip this step.
  6. Login to Windows with the local admin account.
  7. Edit the registry to enable auto login of the kiosk account.
  8. Use the PowerShell script in this article to get the AUMID for the UWP app.
    • If you’re just looking for a quick example, use the MSN News app with ID – Microsoft.BingNews_8wekyb3d8bbwe!AppexNews
  9. Based upon the information in the previous step, run a PowerShell command in this article to set the kiosk user to have assigned access to your UWP app.
  10. Verify that the user was properly assigned to launch the application by:
    • Start > Settings > User accounts > Family and other users
    • Under the “Other Users” section, select “Set up assigned access”
    • Ensure the user shows the application (see attached image as an example)

Also, to sideload a UWP application, see this information: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/packaging/packaging-uwp-apps#sideload-your-app-package.

More information on best practices for developing UWP apps for Assigned Access: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/mt633799.aspx

Windows 10 End-User Training Videos

Posted on Updated on

I’m frequently asked if there is any public materials to help an organization do their own internal “training” for their end-users on how to use some new features and capabilities of Windows 10.  Below is a collection of helpful resources that are available as videos which can be delivered via different scenarios.

Additionally, the Windows 10 Readiness Kit [materials for print] helps you to inform, educate, and communicate with your employees about Windows 10.