Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT 8450) Released

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) has been released and the most current build (8450) can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. This update requires the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10 version 1709 (10.1.16299.15) which is available for download on the Microsoft Hardware Dev Center.

Some of the significant changes in this update include:

  • Supported configuration updates
    • Windows ADK for Windows 10, version 1709
    • Windows 10, version 1709
    • Configuration Manager, version 1710
  • Quality updates
    • Win10 Sideloaded App dependencies and license not installed
    • CaptureOnly task sequence doesn’t allow capturing an image
    • Error received when starting an MDT task sequence: Invalid DeploymentType value “” specified. The deployment will not proceed
    • ZTIMoveStateStore looks for the state store folder in the wrong location causing it to fail to move it
    • xml contains a simple typo that caused undesirable behavior
    • Install Roles & Features doesn’t work for Windows Server 2016 IIS Management Console feature
    • Browsing for OS images in the upgrade task sequence does not work when using folders
    • MDT tool improperly provisions the TPM into a Reduced Functionality State (see KB 4018657 for more information)
    • Updates to ZTIGather chassis type detection logic
    • Upgrade OS step leaves behind SetupComplete.cmd, breaking future deployments
    • Windows 10 ADK 1607 and later UEFI boot issue on some hardware
    • Includes updated Configuration Manager task sequence binaries

The following post provides some information on How to get help with MDT, in case you need it.

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UserVoice: Microsoft Product Feedback And Feature Request Resources

I recently came across a post by Jim Naroski on The Office 365 Guy TechNet blog site. He listed the links to the UserVoice portal for the various products or topics which Microsoft utilizes to gather feedback and feature requests. One important link is missing from the TechNet blog, which is for the System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) feedback site, and I have added that to the list below. Start using this valuable resource to help improve products and make your voice heard.

Products Links
Access https://access.uservoice.com
Bookings https://outlook.uservoice.com/forums/314907-microsoft-bookings
Business Center https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/600793-office-365-business-center
ConfigMgr https://configurationmanager.uservoice.com
Excel https://excel.uservoice.com
Flow https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/Flow-Feedback/ct-p/Feedback
Forms https://microsoftforms.uservoice.com
Connections https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/600610-microsoft-connections
Invoicing https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/600781-microsoft-invoicing
Listings https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/600778-microsoft-listings
Mix https://officemix.uservoice.com/
MyAnalytics https://myanalytics.uservoice.com/
Office 365 https://office365.uservoice.com
Office 365 Groups https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/286611-office-365-groups
OneDrive https://onedrive.uservoice.com
OneNote https://onenote.uservoice.com
Outlook https://outlook.uservoice.com
Planner https://planner.uservoice.com
Power BI https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas
PowerApps https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/Product-Feedback/ct-p/PA-feedback
PowerPoint https://powerpoint.uservoice.com
Project https://microsoftproject.uservoice.com
SharePoint https://sharepoint.uservoice.com
StaffHub https://staffhub.uservoice.com
Skype for Business https://www.skypefeedback.com
Stream https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Stream-Ideas/idb-p/StreamIdeas
Sway https://sway.uservoice.com
Teams https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public
To-Do https://todo.uservoice.com/
Visio https://visio.uservoice.com
Word https://word.uservoice.com
Yammer https://yammer.uservoice.com

Uservoice provides an opportunity for customers or end users of products to provide feedback, request features and interact with others as well as with the product teams. If you discover a request or feedback that you agree with and would like to support, you can add a vote to that post. Each UserVoice member receives a limited number of votes to use and these votes are returned once the the particular feedback has been acknowledged and completed. See above screen capture.

Another useful feature of UserVoice is the ability to see the status of the posts such as Noted, Planned, Under Review, Started, and Completed. See examples below:

Source: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/o365guy/2018/01/02/submit-product-feedback-or-feature-requests-to-microsofts-virtual-suggestion-boxes/

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ADMX Template For Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) Now Available

On October 17, 2017, Microsoft has started to rollout Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) to customers worldwide. The following tools to support this latest release has been made available, which includes Windows 10 Administrative Templates (.ADMX) and Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) as previously mentioned in my blog post. I have also posted about the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Windows 10 Administrative Template (.ADMX)

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (RSAT)

Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)

Microsoft Office 2016 Administrative Templates and Office Customization Tool is also available for download.

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Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) For Windows 10 v1709

The latest version of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 Falls Creators Update v1709 have been released. The download is available here. You will find the following download files available for version RS1-1.2, RS3-1.0 corresponding to x86 or x64 Operating Systems:

  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS_1709-x64.msu (94.5MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS_1709-x86.msu (69.9MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x64.msu (92.3MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x86.msu (69.5MB)

See here if you would like to determine if a computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows OS.

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Windows ADK 1709 For Windows 10 Now Available

With the release of Windows 10 version 1709, the following tool to support this latest Windows 10 build, Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) version 1709 is now available.
You can download it from: Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

Note: You must use Windows 10 build 1709 with this version of the ADK.
The Windows ADK is also available to Windows Insiders. Join the Windows Insider Program to get the Windows ADK Insider Preview.

Update: April 6, 2017
** Known Issues for ADK 1703 **
ADK Drivers don’t install on systems with secure boot enabled:
Drivers on the ADK Deployment tools will not install on systems with Secure Boot (SB) enabled.  To work around the issue, disable SB on these systems.This only impacts systems with Secure Boot enabled. More info here!

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Malware Isn’t Just For Windows Anymore – Fruitfly Is Hitting Macs Hard

This year’s cyber threat epidemic started with Windows, then spread over to Linux and third-party apps, and now is here for Macs. While the latest malware Fruitfly is targeting Mac computers, its malware library is also capable of running on Linux systems. 

Though it was recently found conducting surveillance attacks, it’s possible Fruitfly has been infecting Mac systems for over two years. It appears that the base code of Fruitfly is over a decade old, which begs the question: how can decade-old malware start breaching systems now? Haven’t our systems been updated over the last ten years?

It seems the Fruitfly developers have reused old code and modified it to give this malware extra power and capabilities. This cross-platform malware uses old APIs, but if there are any changes in the API, it will break the legitimate program to maintain reverse compatibility as long as possible. Fruitfly may have escaped detection for a long time because it appears that its creators have intentionally limited how many computers it targets. And since Mac systems don’t usually face as many threats as Windows, many administrators have been more lenient with patching their Macs, leaving them vulnerable to attacks such as Fruitfly.

You can identify Fruitfly infections by detecting suspicious network traffic. A file integrity monitor or log analyzer can help you identify an attack on your network, but a breach could be avoided altogether by keeping your systems up-to-date. Since most enterprises comprise different operating systems, it isn’t advisable to employ a separate patching tool for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The smarter alternative would be for an enterprise to employ a multi-platform patch management solution that helps update every computer from a single console. However, there are only a few solutions on the market that even support third-party patching, and even less that provide complete control over all enterprise devices, including mobile devices

These last few months have already given security professionals a lot to cover, and since cyber attacks are evolving at rapid rate, its high time enterprises maintain endpoint security by keeping their systems up-to-date. The best way to do this is to employ a patch management solution to stay safe from future ransomware and malware. One such solution is ManageEngine’s Desktop Central.

Desktop Central is integrated desktop and mobile device management software. This multi-platform solution helps automate your overall patch management process, and also has some other enhanced features to help secure your networkDownload ManageEngine Desktop Central Now and keep your Windows, Mac, Linux and all your third party applications completely safe and up-to-date. 

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Five Routine’s That Sums Up Desktop Management

IT departments play a major role in systems maintenance and it takes some effort for a system administrator to keep servers and end user workstations up and running for stability and productivity reasons. Lets take a look at system administrator’s daily routine and the importance of it.

1. Downloading and Deploying patches to user computers

System administrator has to identify required patches (3rd party) on systems, download them from the vendor websites and deploy them to end user computers. Managing these patches on a one of basis seems straightforward but it becomes cumbersome on a routine basis and especially when there are many systems to patch. Using a Patch Management solution, these routine tasks can be automated and scheduled to lessen the cumbersome workload on system administrators.

2. Installing software to user computers

Manually installing software on remote computers can be a daunting task and is challenging. A Software Management solution can resolve this complication by allowing a system administrator to deploy software from any location, handle tickets with ease and assist users demands in software installation with simplicity.

3.Troubleshooting remote computers

Troubleshooting servers and workstations for Operating System issues, software installations, security patches, system crashes can be remedied much easily with software management solutions, especially with remote capabilities and centralized management interface.

4. Managing IT assets in your network

Asset tracking for hardware and software in your organization is highly important and can be done with ease with the use of an asset management software. Apart from tracking the hardware and software in the organization, software license management, hardware warranty management, and identifying the usage of software particularly for licensing, restricting unwanted software in your network is important as well. An asset management solution provides a systems administrator the tools needed to effectively gather and manage this data.

5. Deploying configurations and managing mobile devices

Managing and configuring devices such as computers, tablets, phones, and peripherals in a growing organization with rapid demands for technology can be a challenging task for system administrators. MDM and desktop management solutions provide much flexibility and the tools needed to handle these technology challenges in the enterprise.

ManageEngine Desktop Central is one such ideal solution for desktop management, with its bundle of features and pricing compared to some known industry solutions. Desktop Central offers Patch management, Software management, Asset management, Remote support, Mobile device management, Failover Service, and Auditing capabilities. Desktop Central supports heterogeneous platform in 16 different languages. Finally, Desktop Central offers a fully functioning edition to manage 50 endpoints completely free with no hidden cost.

Download Desktop Central now and experience simplified IT management.

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Windows ADK 1703 For Windows 10 Now Available

With the release of Windows 10 version 1703, the following tool to support this latest Windows 10 build, Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) version 1703 is now available.
You can download it from: Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

Note: You must use Windows 10 build 1703 with this version of the ADK.

Update: April 6, 2017
** Known Issues for ADK 1703 **
ADK Drivers don’t install on systems with secure boot enabled:
Drivers on the ADK Deployment tools will not install on systems with Secure Boot (SB) enabled.  To work around the issue, disable SB on these systems.This only impacts systems with Secure Boot enabled. More info here!

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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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