Review – Microsoft Systems Center Endpoint Protection Cookbook

System endpoint security is a critical aspect of modern day computing and we all have had our fair share in dealing with malware infections, and in some cases ransomware and cryptolocker attacks in our organizations. Microsoft has made great efforts in mitigating these security risks by providing a superior product called System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) for enterprises and Windows Defender which by default is included with Windows 10.

A System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr or SCCM) or a Microsoft Intune administrator is familiar with SCEP as it is the way to administer and manage SCEP in the enterprise. However, there are many aspects and intricacies of SCEP one is not aware of and has not fully utilized, and should. While I was dealing with some SCEP updates and anti-malware policies in my organization, I came across this awesome book written by Nicolai Henriksen, a Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility. I decided to write a non-biased review of this book and credit the wonderful information contained within it.

Nicolai’s SCEP cookbook is well written and vetted by another well respected Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility, Ronni Pedersen, who I often interact with on social media on all things ConfigMgr. This book is shy of 200 pages and is laid out in eight easily digestible chapters and covers everything you need to know about SCEP from soup to nuts. You’ll learn how to plan and get started with SCEP, configuration, operations and maintenance, updates, security and privacy, configure advance protection, troubleshooting, and malware handling to name a few. It’s an information filled book with great tips and how to’s, and I particularly enjoyed how Nicolai included little segments throughout the book with tidbits such as “Getting ready….”, “How it works….”, and “How to do it….” which was perfect for my learning and understanding of the various concepts presented.

The Table of Contents of this book:

As a ConfigMgr admin who has been working with the product for a number of years including working with System Center Endpoint Protection, I have learned things that I didn’t know, picked up some tips and tricks, have a better insight and understanding of SCEP, and I have gained a great reference for the product. I highly recommend this book to all ConfigMgr and Intune admins. This book is available for purchase in Kindle and Paperback format on Amazon. If you would like to connect with Nicolai and have some feedback or suggestions, you’ll find him on Twitter as @nicolaitwitt.

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Tips for IT admins In Windows 10 Get Started App

get-started-app

In Windows 10, version 1607 aka the Anniversary Update, Microsoft added a new section to the Get Started app targeting enterprise IT professionals called “Tips for IT Administrators.” This is only available with the Enterprise edition of Windows 10 version 1607 or later.

This tool enables a Windows admin to quickly access step-by-step instructions on common enterprise IT tasks, for example:

  1. Change the default browser
  2. Create a private store
  3. Work with Windows Update for Business
  4. Links to deployment and management tools, including Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)

To access Tips for IT Administrators:

  1. Press the Windows logo key, search for Get Started, then press Enter
  2. Go to Browse topics and select Tips for IT administrators

If you would like to see additional topics added to the Tips for IT Administrators section and have ideas or feedback for the Get Started app, send an email to: winpro@microsoft.com.

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How To Fix: Bitlocker Recovery Key Prompts On Every Reboot

windows-10-bitlocker-featured

There are few reports of users having Bitlocker issues following the October 2016 patches.

The issue: On every reboot, the Bitlocker recovery key is required which is quite disruptive and cumbersome. As a workaround in order to solve this issue, the following steps can be taken:

On the next reboot and once in Windows, reset Bitlocker by disabling and re-enabling it.
In administraive command prompt, do the following:
manage-bde -protectors c:-disable
then do this:
manage-bde -protectors c:-enable

At this time, I’m not certain on which patch is causing the issue but I wanted to share this info to help. You can also discuss in this TechNet post.

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How To Reset WSUS Server

3d human try to press a button

Sometimes, for various reasons, one must perform a WSUS reset function to make the WSUS server happy again. The reset process forces a resync of each update in the WSUS server with Microsoft services. This task can take a long time to complete as each update will be re-evaluated and re-downloaded, so be patient.

Here’s the command to run from an administrator command prompt::
%SystemDrive%\Program Files\Update Services\Tools\WsusUtil.exe reset

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Repair Windows Update Agent

Windows-Update

Every now and then, you may discover a computer system that is unable to detect or install available software updates from Microsoft or from your internal Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) repository. You’ll find an error such as 8007000E generated and often times running the Windows Update Troubleshooter FixIt tool is sufficient to fix Windows Update errors, but sometimes a manual approach that requires the deletion of the SoftwareDistribution content and re-registering the Windows Update components is needed, and this can be a tedious task. By using a script, this repair task can be automated.

Here are some batch scripts to help  fix a broken Windows Update Agent on a computer system. The scripts can also be run on a remote system using the ‘psexec‘ tool, which is part of the Sysinternals Suite from Microsoft. Copy and paste the content of your desired batch file below into Notepad and save the file with the “.bat” file extension, for example: repair_wua.bat .

Version 1:

Version 2:

Here’s another Windows Update Agent Reset script available on Technet.
The Windows Update Troubleshooter is available here.

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Cisco AnyConnect VPN Error – “The file ‘Manifest Tool.exe’ is not marked for installation”

anyconnectwin_reconnect2

Problem:
Error: “The file ‘Manifest Tool.exe’ is not marked for installation” occurs during installation of Cisco AnyConnect client. This generally happens due to a failed upgrade installation of the client..

Solution:
Uninstall any version of the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client if it exist on the system.
Then, edit the registry by following these steps:

  • Launch the Registry Editor by typing “regedit” in the search window or box.
  • If a dialogue box pops up displaying the following: “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?”, Click Yes.
  • Browse to the following location: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\
  • Within the Products folder, locate and delete the registry key which contains the product information for Cisco AnyConnect.
    1. Go through each key in the Products folder until you find the one for Cisco AnyConnect. For example, the registry key for Cisco AnyConnect is named {D5BA4DB6420F33A4BAA83AD8BF69D037}
    2. Please note that the version of Cisco AnyConnect that you have may display a different registry key name.
  • Close the registry editor.
  • Install the Cisco AnyConnect client.

** Please make a backup of the registry before deleting or modifying any keys.

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Unlock God Mode in Windows 8.1

Windows 8 and 8.1 has a hidden God Mode that allows users to access all settings in a single place.  To unlock and access this feature, create a folder on the Desktop and name it as:

God Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

GodMode
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