Latest Event Updates

Windows 10 News You Can Use – April 2017

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For this month’s edition of Windows 10 news that you can use, I’m excited to share that the Windows 10 Creators Update (aka RS2, aka 1703) has arrived!  Announcement: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/03/29/windows-10-creators-update-coming-april-11-surface-expands-markets.  Additionally, there is a webcast on April 27th, which will cover changes and new features in further detail – register for it at https://aka.ms/w10itpro/new-in-v1703-webcast.

For the rest of this month’s news:

  1. The Microsoft Edge security team employs a layered strategy to protect you from vulnerabilities that could be used to compromise your device or personal data.  In this post, we’ll explore some of the significant improvements we’ve made in the Windows 10 Creators Update to strengthen our next line of defense: the Microsoft Edge sandbox.
    http://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2017/03/23/strengthening-microsoft-edge-sandbox
  2. If you upgraded in-place to Win10 x64 from Win7 x64, then it’s highly likely the disk is in the MBR format. With the release of the Win10 Creators Update (v. 1703), the disk conversion MBR to GPT tool is now ready to be used so that you can convert BIOS to UEFI.
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/deploy/mbr-to-gpt
  3. Win10 virtual hands-on labs let you try out Windows 10 setup, deployment, and management scenarios using a cloud-based private virtual machine environment. Each lab presents you with a series of instructions, and access to one or more virtual machines, with no additional software or setup required.
    https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2017/03/02/get-free-hands-on-experience-with-windows-10-virtual-labs
  4. Easy to follow Win10 technical demonstration videos – Explore the new features and improvements in Windows 10, and find tips and tricks to simplify deployment.
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dn708062
  5. Windows Defender Antivirus protection evaluation guide.  Related, if you would like a demo or to personally test out the Block at First Sight capabilities to protect against zero-day malware, then let me know so that I can provide you with instructions to mimic polymorphic malware.
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54795
  6. Features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Creators Update 1703. This list is intended for IT professionals who are updating operating systems in a commercial environment.
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4014193/features-that-are-removed-or-deprecated-in-windows-10-creators-update
  7. On-demand video for Best Practices on Win10 deployment.  Refresh your memory on what Windows as a Service means, and understand how it applies to your own business. Get an overview of the management features and integrations in Windows 10 that make it simpler but also more flexible, such as In-Place Upgrade, Dynamic Provisioning, Azure Active Directory, and Mobile Device Management. Learn more about App-V and UE-V, which makes management of applications and settings more streamlined.
    https://info.microsoft.com/en-us-wbnr-Windows10DeploymentBestPractices-register.html
  8. Windows 10 Deployment and Management Lab Kit updated and good through June 1, 2017.  Note this is still using Win10 1607 as that is the CBB.
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-10-deployment-and-management-lab-kit

 

Inventory of systems that are using Offline Files

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If you need a mechanism by which to identity or inventory systems that have cached files using Offline Files, you can retrieve details through WMI in Win32_OfflineFilesItem.  ConfigMgr inventory can be easily expanded to collect this data for reporting.  Below is an example screen shot from my lab on a Win7 system that has a cached offline file.  Be aware, and keep in mind that you may risk exposing confidential information based upon the server or file name. 

 offlinefiles_wmi

 

p.s. happy Pi day

Windows 10 News You Can Use – March 2017

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This March 2017 edition of “news you can use” for Windows 10 is chalked full of many resources as it was an active month in February!  To help break apart such a large list, I have split it into three sections – Win10 news and resources, combating new security threats with Win10, and training / how-to guides.

Windows 10 News & Resources

  1. Signup for the new Win10 IT Professional insider newsletter! Get the latest news, resources, tools, and guidance to help you explore and deploy Windows 10; migrate from Windows 8.1 or Windows 7; and manage your existing Windows client infrastructures successfully—and with less effort.
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/ee837411
  2. Windows 10 security experts share how to stay ahead of the catalysts shaping the cyber landscape
    http://blogs.windows.com/business/2017/02/13/security-trends-windows-10
  3. FastTrack for Windows 10 announced
    https://blogs.windows.com/business/2017/01/23/get-fasttrack-deploy-windows-10
  4. The whitepaper on the “total economic impact” of Windows 10 was updated and refreshed in December 2016.  This Microsoft-commissioned report by Forrester demonstrates how deploying Windows 10 can help reduce costs and provide significant benefits to your organization. The report found an ROI of 233% with a payback period of only 14 months. Download now to read more!
    http://wincom.blob.core.windows.net/documents/Windows%2010%20TEI%20Study.pdf
  5. Infographic: Simplify Windows 10 management and lower TCO
    https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Infographic-Simplify-37e77674
  6. For those using and creating Provisioning Packages, the Windows Image Configuration Designer is now available as a universal application.  So it’s not necessary to download and install from the Windows ADK!
    https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9nblggh4tx22

Windows 10 and Surface stomp on security threats with new enterprise innovations

These are key announcements from blog post: https://blogs.windows.com/business/2017/02/10/windows-10-surface-stomp-security-threats-new-enterprise-innovations

  1. NSA adds Windows 10 and Surface to list for classified use – Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book have been added to the NSA’s Commercial Solutions for Classified Programs (CSfC) list. Additional information on the NSA site: https://www.nsa.gov/resources/everyone/csfc/components-list
  2. Enhanced security capabilities with Surface Enterprise Management Mode (SEMM).  SEMM will protect PCs at the UEFI level – “so a lot of the attacks you would expect attackers to use in order to just re-enable the camera without the user knowing, won’t even work, because the device is disabled at a fundamental, hardware level”.
  3. Extending device management in Windows 10 using MDM software, administrators will be able to apply settings and configurations from the Security Baseline Policies list. Previously, those settings were only available through Group Policy.
  4. New MDM Migration Analytics Tool designed to help customers figure out migrating from Group Policy to MDM. It scans a system for all of the policies applied to it, tries to map those policies to their MDM equivalents, and spits out a report of the results.
  5. The quest for No More Passwords with Windows Hello – Now available with on-premises Active Directory not just Azure AD.
  6. Additionally, the Dynamic Lock feature in Windows Hello connects a user’s smartphone to their Windows 10 device, and automatically locks the device when the phone’s Bluetooth signal drifts far away.
  7. The Upgrade Analytics “tool” is being rolled into a suite of tools called Windows Analytics.  Upgrade Analytics itself is being rebranded as Upgrade Readiness.
  8. Windows Analytics will now include  Update Compliance – free insights that provide a holistic view of Windows 10 update compliance for both monthly quality updates and new feature updates. This free resource will help organizations monitor deployment progress, identify issues and provide insights about their fully-patched, secure Windows 10 device environment.

Windows 10 Training and Guides

  1. New how-to articles and guides available from Microsoft!
  2. Stop malware with Windows 10 Device Guard
    https://mva.microsoft.com/en-US/training-courses/dropping-the-hammer-on-malware-with-windows-10-device-guard-16926
  3. Microsoft Mechanics video: A look at Advanced Threat Analytics in the datacenter
    https://youtu.be/RAS-TI6PUrg

Windows 10 News You Can Use – February 2017

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  1. NSS Labs reports showing that Microsoft Edge (in Windows 10) blocks more phishing sites and socially engineered malware than Chrome or Firefox. Available for download from http://www.nsslabs.com/browser-security.
  2. New evidence and stories on enterprise detection and response (EDR) against threat actors:
  3. Microsoft IT Showcase – Windows Defender ATP for EDR helps detect sophisticated threats https://www.microsoft.com/itshowcase/Article/Content/854/Windows-Defender-ATP-helps-detect-sophisticated-threats
  4. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) – Virtualization of Win10 in the cloud, fast provisioning and flexibility
  5. Two new videos in the Win10 IT pro series have been published online!
  6. Windows Hello supports a growing variety of secured companion devices
    https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/01/12/windows-hello-supports-growing-variety-secured-companion-devices
  7. BIOS legacy to UEFI conversion tool.
    • Although not specifically called out in the 15007 Build Blog, it looks like the In-Place UEFI tool announced in December has rolled out in 15007.
    • See below and also this Blog from a partner.
    • This is available on the fast build of the latest release. Let us know what you think!
  8. Windows 10 achieves FIPS 140-2 compliance.
    http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/STM/cmvp/documents/140-1/1401val2017.htm

Windows 10 News You Can Use – January 2017

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Happy new year to one and all!  Welcome to my first 2017 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.

Windows 10 News You Can Use – Dec 2016

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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

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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