Add or Remove E-mail Aliases in On-Premises Active Directory – Office 365

If you are synchronising your Office 365 account with your on-premises Active Directory environment, you will know that you cannot edit exchange user properties using the Office 365 administrator portal.

If you try, you will come across this error or a similar one:
sync_error
In this post, I’m going to show you how to add e-mail aliases using the Active Directory User and Computers snapin.

Before we begin, make sure that you have the advanced options enabled from the view menu in ADUC.

  • With ADUC open, select view, and then check the box next to “Advanced Features”
    advancedFeatures

Now, with that out of the way…

  1. Select the user you wish to add an Alias for > Right click the name, and select properties.
  2. Now, Remember that advanced features check box I mentioned above, because we selected that, you will now see a tab called, “Attribute Editor”. If you don’t see this tab, go back and check the box for “Advanced Features”, and then kick yourself, for not paying attention.
  3. Find the variable proxyAddresses – this is the one you want to edit.
    When you add new e-mail aliases, you want to make sure that your primary e-mail address will start with upper-case SMTP. Your aliases, aka, secondary addresses should be lower-case smtp.For example, I want my primary e-mail address to be [email protected]
    In the proxyAddresses attribute, I would put:
    SMTP:[email protected]
    As my alias, I want [email protected]… to do this, I will use lower case smtp:
    smtp:[email protected]
  4. Apply the new settings, and click OK
  5. Wait patiently for your active directory to be synchronised with Office 365 (by default this happens every 3 hours but you can force this with a bit of research. – We’ll leave that for another article, here’s a link to the new ADSync tool)
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How to perform manual sync with the new Azure AD Connect.

On occasion, it may be required of you to force a sync between your local AD environment and your MS Azure / Office 365 environment. By default, this value is about 3 hours. For whatever reason, you need to make a change to a user object, you may need to perform this sync so they can utilize the services.

This command is very simple to execute.

  1. Open an elevated Windows Azure AD Module for Powershell window.
  2. Navigate to the “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure AD Sync\bin” folder.
  3. Run either the .\DirectorySyncSlientCmd.exe with either the Initial or Delta argument.

    azure1

For a detailed explanation of the arguments, check out the source article links at the bottom.

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Installing VMware Tools the right way on CentOS 6.7!

For CentOS, I recommend following the VMware Tools Installation Guide for Operating System Specific Packages to get your VMware Tools instead of just running it from vSphere Client. Why you ask? Well, because in following this setup routine, you can template your VM, and not have to manually install the vmware client everytime you create a new machine, and it updates easily with yum package manager. How’s that for an answer?

  1. So the first thing we need to do, is grab a few prerequisites.

  2. Second we need to grab the public keys from VMware, here’s a link to their keys. http://packages.vmware.com/tools/keys
  3. Import the keys (I put mine in a folder in tmp, /tmp/vmware):

  4. Now, we’ll create a repository file. Navigate or create the file at: /etc/yum.repos.d/vmware-tools.repo – You can name it whatever you want, as long as its meaningful to you.
  5. Add the following content to the file:


    NOTE – Keep in mind, I am doing this on a CentOS 6.7 VM, on ESX 5.5 U2, 64bit. If you are using a different flavor, you’ll need to adjust for your version. Refer to the VMware Tools Installation Guide for Operating System Specific Packages for more information.
  6. Now, its just a matter of running the following command:

  7. After the installation completes, reboot.
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Enable the Server Graphic Shell on Server 2016 TP2

So back in early May 2015, (I know, like it was sooo long ago..) during the MS Ignite Conference, Microsoft released Technical Preview 2 for Server 2016.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-technical-preview

The installation, regardless of what you select, only installs the CORE installation to reduce the OS footprint and minimize the security impact.
setup
But what if you want the GUI? You can enable the GUI or (Server Graphics Shell) from within Server Manager. See, I already learned-ya something new today!
I will show you how below.

  • Navigate to Add Roles and Features Wizard,
    addroles
  • Select Features and under “User Interfaces and Infrastructure”, check Server Graphical Shell.
    graphicshell
  • Confirm the installation, and reboot if desired.
    confirm
  • After a reboot, look at that pretty UI! Yay!
    desktop
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Setting the default domain for vCenter SSO

vCenter Single Sign by default requires the user to specify the domain when they pass their username during authenticate with vCenter.
For Example : MYDOMAIN\USER1 or [email protected]

You can eliminate the need to insert the domain in the user name by following the following steps.

NOTE – This has to be done in the WebClient. These options are not available in the desktop client.

  1. Log in to the vSphere Web Client as [email protected] or as another user with vCenter Single Sign-On administrator privileges.
  2. Browse to Administration > Single Sign-On > Configuration.
    administration configuration
  3. On the Identity Sources tab, select an identity source and click the Set as Default Domain icon.
    default

In the domain display, the default domain shows (default) in the Domain column.

When you login to vCenter now, you can omit the DOMAIN from your username and connect as just user1.

These are the exact steps as posted in the VMware KB. I added some pretty pictures to assist.

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Boot into safe mode on Windows 8/Server 2112

One of the earliest steps in troubleshooting a PC/Server is to boot into safe mode. Be it Last Known Good recovery, to uninstalling a faulty driver, this has simply been achieved by pressing the F8 key.
This changed with Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 and its Automatic Repair mode.
But what if we want Safe Mode?

You can still have Safe Mode, however, it is buried deep into the recovery options. While just mashing the F8 key sometimes works, I have noticed that sometimes, on Dell servers, it now brings you into the LifeCycle Controller. If this is the case, you can still access the recovery options by pressing the Shift+F8 key combination.

recovery

Select the “Troubleshoot” Option.
optino

And… Select “Advanced options”
troubleshoot

Now, from the Advanced Options menu, choose the “Windows Startup Settings” option.. *How anyone is ever to find this, your guess is as good as mine…
advanced

Finally, Restart.
restart

When your system restarts; Look what I found!!
abo

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Unable to add Roles and Features to Server 2012

You’re trying to install a new Role of Feature onto your 2012 server, and your met with this ugly screen..
addfea
This isn’t a good sight, and is normally indicative of a patch, or update in a pending reboot state. However, this could also be indicative of system file corruption..
So first and foremost, it should be stated that this is a difficult issue to troubleshoot, and to resolve. Here’s the reasons. Let say we rename pending, or move it, this could potentially lead to an issue sometime down the road. Lets also assume we do a repair, we still do not have an 100% that another problem won’t manifest. So the important thing to note, is that troubleshooting, is not a guarantee of recovery, and repair, is no guarantee it won’t happen again.
With that being said, lets try to reboot the system. If that doesn’t work, then you have a few other options to try..

I will list a few that have worked for me. This however, doesn’t guarantee that your issue will be resolved, so MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD BACKUPS, because this is likely caused by a corrupted patch installation or un-installation, and may in fact lead to the need to re-install the OS if we don’t apply careful corrective measures.

Additionally – I won’t state that this article is all inclusive, so if you have any additional suggestions, please drop a comment, and I’d love to add it to my article.

The first thing to try is a verification that the TrustedInstaller service is running and set to Automatic. (Windows Modules Installer) – If it is infact running, and not disabled, and the system has been rebooted at least 2 times, a dism command to try and clean the install.

dism

If this doesn’t yield anything productive, and additinal dism command, this time, while booted from recovery media, may yield positive results.

perhaps, you run this command, and receive an error – Error 0x800ffff
or
After running the command, the CBS log (C:\Windows\logs\CBS\cbs.log) may indicate the following:
cbs

This may be indicative of a patch/hotfix/update, in a stuck or corrupted state.

Further reviewing the c:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml, may indicate patches in a condition of which the OS believes still need to be installed or uninstalled.

pending

If this is the case, and you have rebooted, at least 2 times. (If you haven’t, STOP right there, and go reboot again) –
However if you have, its possible that one of these items is corrupted.

Search for the patch or installation, and attempt to manually install/uninstall.

If that doesn’t work, you may have to try doing some registry hacking. I’m not including it here, however, I have included a link below.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE – Proceed very carefully when making ANY registry changes. Make sure you understand what you are doing, before you attempt to modify the registry.. IF YOU DO NOT understand these changes, and which apply to you, SKIP THIS STEP, and move on to the next step. I have seen far to many individuals kill their system, by willy-nilly registry hacking.. CONSIDER YOURSELVES WARNED..

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc164360(v=EXCHG.80).aspx
or
http://www.itninja.com/question/how-to-determine-if-a-pc-is-reboot-pending

Next, you may try to move the C:\Windows\WinSxS\pending.xml to an alternate location. (You can’t simply rename this file in the windows directory) – You can however, move it to a location outside of this path.

Try rebooting the computer after you move the file, and with any hope, you should now have access to add roles and features again, and have the ability to update.

Obviously, this is a bit of a work around, but this may get the system into a condition that more repair options become available. (Windows Updates, stand alone patches, etc.)

If at this point, you are still having NO luck, and none of these avenues are addressing your issue, it’s most likely time to reload the OS, or if you have support, engage your escalation avenues.

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Disable Windows “Aero Shake” in Windows 8, 8.1

Aero Shake is a feature that debuted in Windows 7. It allows the user to minimize all of the open windows on the desktop by grabbing and shaking one of the currently open windows. Today I came to the realization that this feature is extremely annoying!
So, if you find it annoying too, here is how to turn it off.

IMPORTANT NOTE – These steps will not work on the “Home Edition” of Windows 8. There is a quick command line entry below, that will accomplish this for you. ** I make no guarantee’s of entering registry changes on YOUR computer — USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! **

  • Open the Run box. (Windows key + R key)
  • Type gpedit.msc and click OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor
  • Under User Configuration expand the Desktop folder — Right click on Turn off Aero Shake windows minimizing mouse gesture, and select Edit, then toggle the setting to Enabled.
    shake
  • Close the Local Group Policy Editor. Now you can shake windows until you experience blindness and nothing will happen.

Command Line

  • Move the mouse into the lower left corner, right click and select Command Prompt (Admin)
    cmdadmin
  • Type the following command, and press enter :

  • Reboot the computer and Aero Shake should be disabled.
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Adding Users To The Local Administrators Group Using Group Policy

Adding users (AD or otherwise) to the local administrators group on multiple computers is simple using Group Policy. Difficult otherwise. That’s because this group is commonly known as a “Restricted Group”. When you configure a Restricted Group policy, members of the restricted group that are not on the Members list are removed. Users who are on the Members list who are not currently a member of the restricted group are added. In this post I’ll describe the process to add a member to the restricted group policy.

For this example, I’ve decided that I will simply create a group, that I can add/remove users from, and I will add that group to the Restricted Group Policy.

  1. Create a Global Security Group, and name it appropriately.
    rg1
  2. Create / Add your user/s to this newly created group.
  3. Open Group Policy Manager and Create a new group policy object (GPO) and link it to an Organizational Unit (OU).
  4. Open the GPO and navigate to Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Restricted Groups.
    rg2
  5. Right click and choose Add Group. Enter the name of the Active Directory security group you want to add to the local administrators group. Click “Ok” and on the next screen in the “This group is a member of:” section select “Add”. Enter Administrators to add the group to the local administrators group. Select OK and close the GPO to save changes. NOTE – This process is additive and users and groups that are currently in the local administrators group are unmodified.
    rg3

    You can add additional users to the domain group and they will automatically be part of the local administrators group on servers that apply the GPO.

    If you want to simply add users to the local administrators group enter Administrators. In the next window under “Members of this group:” click Add and choose the users to add to the local administrators group.
    NOTE – Any users that are currently in the local administrators group will be removed and replaced with the users you select here. If that is what you want click OK and close the GPO.

  6. Navigate to your test server, opened an administrative command prompt and type
  7. If you now navigate to the local groups on the server, you should see that your “Local Admins” group is now in the local “Administrators” Group.
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Install VMware Tools on CentOS 6.5

This article briefly describes the process of installing the VMWare tools on CentOS 6.5. It is important that you install VMware Tools in the guest operating system because the VM will have significantly faster performance, time synchronization, and other enhanced features.

Below are the steps to install the VMware Tools on CentOS.

 

  1. (OPTIONAL) If needed, install the prerequisite software.

  2. Attach the VMware Tools using the vSphere client.
    install_VMware_tools
  3. Mount and extract the VMware Tools to a temporary location.
  4. CD to the directory where the tools were extracted and start the VMware tools install.
  5. Take all of the defaults, then reboot your VM.
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