Bulk remove non-English Management Packs from OpsMgr 2012R2

I’ve been taking some time to learn some of the System Center tools, and recently I’ve installed an Operations Manager (SCOM) instance to use for monitoring in my environment.

Being the numb-skull I am, the first task I took it to myself to complete, was to download some management packs. Well, if your a veteran to this, you’re probably saying, “what a dummy” he downloaded the entire group.. and I reply to you, “yep”, I sure did.

If you don’t know, or are not acquainted with what I am talking about, while importing management packs, under each of the group headings, could be dozens or more, of sub-packs, which may or may not be English.

Still no idea, here, let me share a picture.
Management Packs

As you can see, these are organized by product, and then further organized, so on and so forth..
Like the big dummy I am, I selected the headers for each of the top level items I was interested in, which left me with hundreds of non-English management packs installed into my console.

Removing these from the GUI, can only be accomplished 1 at a time! *groan*

Here comes PowerShell to save the day!!
With a quick command, you can quickly remove all of those management packs not in your native language.

Get-SCOMManagementPack | where{$_.defaultlanguagecode -notlike “ENU”} | Remove-SCOMManagementPack

I will take a moment to CAUTION you on the usage of this command: Do not use this in a production environment without fully insuring that this command is correctly entered. If done incorrectly, it could remove all management packs from the environment! YIKES!
Consider yourself warned!

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Now running on Google Domains!

So, yesterday I took a plunge and migrated my primary domain cbudde.com to google domains. In case you’re not familiar with this service, it’s googles new offering into website registrar management. You can take a closer look here.

It seems to offer all the same features as your godaddy, and networksolutions. The real benefit is cost. Google domains is a flat $12/year fee for each domain. With that, they include additional features that most other registrars charge extra for.

for example, domain privacy, DNSSEC, which typically are premium features that cost more, are included free of charge through google domains.

The transfer was about as easy as to be expected for any domain. Simply needing to have privacy disabled, and the domain unlocked. It took approximated 60 minutes to completely migrate from godaddy to google, using google DNS. When I configured DNS properties to point to my webhost DNS servers, it took about 12 hours before the change was updated. (This is an estimate, based on when I started the change, the night prior, verse when I woke up from snooze-land that following morning)

All in all, a decent experience, and if you’re looking to save some money on domain name hosting, google DNS might just be what you’re looking for!

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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:
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”

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 chrisisawesome@example.com
    In the proxyAddresses attribute, I would put:
    As my alias, I want chrisrox@example.com… to do this, I will use lower case smtp:
  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.


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.
    yum install wget sudo vim system-config-network-tui kernel-headers ntp perl gcc make unzip -y
  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):
    rpm --import /key_path/key_name
  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:
    name=VMware Tools

    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:
    yum install vmware-tools-esx-kmods vmware-tools-esx
  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.


The installation, regardless of what you select, only installs the CORE installation to reduce the OS footprint and minimize the security impact.
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,
  • Select Features and under “User Interfaces and Infrastructure”, check Server Graphical Shell.
  • Confirm the installation, and reboot if desired.
  • After a reboot, look at that pretty UI! Yay!
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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.

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 administrator@vsphere.local 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.

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 2012

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.


Select the “Troubleshoot” Option.

And… Select “Advanced options”

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…

Finally, Restart.

When your system restarts; Look what I found!!

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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..
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 /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth


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

dism.exe /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions 

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

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.


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..


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.
  • 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)
  • Type the following command, and press enter :
    reg add hkcu\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer /v NoWindowMinimizingShortcuts /t REG_DWORD /d 0x1 
  • Reboot the computer and Aero Shake should be disabled.
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