Tim D'Annecy

tdannecy@gmail.com Header image

#Azure #Powershell

If you have a ton of compute and storage resources in your Azure environment, it can be difficult to tell which managed disks are orphaned or not mounted to a virtual machine. This Microsoft Doc [A] has the AZ CLI command, but it's buried in a larger task to delete the found objects. This Docs page also doesn't have the Powershell equivalent and I prefer to use Powershell.

To find these disks, run one of these commands in a Cloud Shell or other Azure connected terminal:


az disk list --query '[?managedBy==`null`].[id]' -o tsv


Get-AzDisk | Where-Object {$_.ManagedBy -eq $null}


#Windows #Powershell

One of the companies I'm working with has an Intune installation package for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC version 15.007.20033, but seems to have an issue with signing in on any PC that gets the deployment. Even newly imaged computers running Windows 10 21H2 get the error.

The package was created in Intune as a regular Line of Business app using a freshly generated .msi file from the Adobe Admin console under the Packages tab:

To get the application rolled out: I created a security group in Azure Active Directory named “Adobe Acrobat Pro DC users” that is used for the following tasks (not in this order):

  1. Uninstalls Adobe Reader DC (This removal is to simplify the user experience opening .pdf files, but isn't needed for functionality)

  2. Provisions an Adobe Acrobat Pro DC license using a configuration in Enterprise Applications

  3. Installs the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC .msi file

After the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC installation is complete on a user's computer and on first run, the user is prompted to login with their Adobe account. Since these users are already provisioned, it should be an easy click through. When the user hits the signin page, however, an error message appears and doesn't let the user continue:

Update required: Your browser or operating system is no longer supported. You may need to install the latest updates to your operating system. Learn more.

This seems to be a bug and users are reporting the issue on the Adobe Community forums [A]. The post notes that the issue is with an older version of the file AASIapp.exe that is causing that update error message. To work around this, they provide some steps from Adobe Support that can be used to fix the issue.

I wanted to make this deployable in Intune, so I wrote the following script:

function Invoke-AdobeAcrobatDCFix {
    $DownloadURI = 'http://prdl-download.adobe.com/Framemaker/428037A8066D4558A7EF7D7D06CB5B72/1600836995996/AASIapp.exe'
    $DownloadDestination = 'C:\temp\AASIapp.exe'
    $AppDestination = 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\OOBE\PDApp\P7'

    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri $DownloadURI -OutFile (New-Item -Path $DownloadDestination -Force)
    Copy-Item -Path $DownloadDestination -Destination $AppDestination -Force


To get this working in your environment, follow these steps:

  1. Copy the script snippet above and paste it into a text editor. Save it as a .ps1 file.

  2. Open https://endpoint.microsoft.com/

  3. Navigate to Devices > Scripts > Add > Windows 10 and later:

  1. Move through the wizard to upload and configure your script deployment:

    1. Basics: Name it something you'll remember and add a description.

    2. Script settings: Upload the .ps1 file you saved earlier. Leave the other options on the default “No” setting.

    3. Assignments: Select the user group that you're using for the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC app deployment. In my environment, this is the “Adobe Acrobat Pro DC users” security group.

  2. Keep the Scripts tab open for a few seconds. After the upload message pops up, the deployment will begin to sync to devices:

You can check the deployment process on the PC by looking for the C:\temp\ folder or for a newer timestamp on the file at C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\OOBE\PDApp\P7\AASIapp.exe:

If the script fails, you can check the Intune application log at C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\IntuneManagementExtension\Logs\AgentExecutor.log for Powershell error messages.

If Adobe decides to stop hosting the file, this process could stop working. You might want to download that .exe file and put it in a public container in an Azure Storage account.

I'm sure this script could be shorter and the process could be more streamlined (I'm thinking editing the .msi file), but it's working for me and doesn't require too much upkeep. After assigning a user the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC users security group, after a little bit of time, the user will have a fully working Adobe Pro installation.

I hope this helps!


#Windows #Powershell

Here's a single-line Powershell command to delete user profiles that are older than 6 months.

I got this from a Spiceworks community post [A] and I fixed the typos.

Get-WMIObject -class Win32_UserProfile | Where-Object {(!$_.Special) -and ($_.ConvertToDateTime($_.LastUseTime) -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-183))} | Remove-WmiObject 

This command may take a few minutes to run, but you can watch the progress as your free space expands in File Manager.

If you change the AddDays(-183) to a different number, you can change the interval for when you want to clean up. Make sure you keep the negative symbol for days in the past.

Just putting this here for my notes.


#Powershell #Windows #networking

I found a great tool [A] that runs netstat to get the currently listening and active ports on the local machine while matching the process IDs with the process names.

This comes in handy when trying to troubleshoot potential firewall or other access issues on a machine.

Here's the code:

$netstat = netstat -aon | Select-String -pattern "(TCP|UDP)"
$processList = Get-Process

foreach ($result in $netstat) {
   $splitArray = $result -split " "
   $procID = $splitArray[$splitArray.length - 1]
   $processName = $processList | Where-Object {$_.id -eq $procID} |    select processname
   $splitArray[$splitArray.length - 1] = $procID + " " +      $processName.processname
   $splitArray -join " "


#networking #Windows #grouppolicy

Recently, I had been fighting with Group Policy to apply a change in the local audit policies on a Domain Controller running Windows Server 2012 R2.

I was changing the Default Domain Controller policy object of “Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Audit Policy”.

Specifically, I was changing the following two items to have our Meraki MX appliances filter content based on AD Security Groups: – Audit account logon events – Success – Audit logon events – Success

From the Cisco documentation page [A], I just needed to allow these two policies to begin filtering.

When I changed this and forced a gpupdate on the DC, it did not apply the policies correctly. They kept saying that the audit policies for both of these items were disabled. To make it worse, the option was greyed out when I tried to change it using secpol.msc or the local Group Policy editory,

I tried disabling the policy at “Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options” for “Audit: Force audit policy subcategory settings (Windows Vista or later) to override audit policy category settings”, but this did not solve the issue after rebooting.

What I found was that I needed to rename the file at C:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\Machine\Microsoft\Windows NT\Audit\audit.csv to something like audit.csv.backup.

The contents of the file were essentially just a CSV header:

Machine Name,Policy Target,Subcategory,Subcategory GUID,Inclusion Setting,Exclusion Setting,Setting Value

Once this file was renamed, the Group Policies were applied correctly on the Domain Controller. It seems that this file was “blocking” the correct application of the GPO for the changes to the audit policy.

I don't know if this was a corrupt file or changed permissions, but I wanted to write this down in case I have to troubleshoot this again in the future.


#Powershell #Windows

A company I'm working for is decommissioning a Meraki firewall in the near future. With this piece of hardware gone, there would be no web content filtering for all users in the organization.

As a temporary workaround, I moved all of the existing URL blocks from the Meraki dashboard into a Group Policy Object that targets Chrome and Edge. When creating the policy, the Group Policy Management MMC tool only allows you to put one entry in at a time for the URL Blocking. I would need to copy and paste hundreds of entries to get this updated.

There has to be a faster way. I read through this post [A] and it gave me some information about updating a GPO generally. I tweaked it a bit and targeted both Chrome and Edge in my environment.

Here's how I did it.

ADMX template check

Before you can continue, make sure you have the ADMX files added to the Domain Controller.

I won't cover that in this post (basically download the files and copy over to \\domain.com\SYSVOL\domain.com\Policies\PolicyDefinitions and en-US folders), but check the following guides for deployment information:

When these ADMX templates are added, go to the next step.

Create a Group Policy Object

Now, let's create a GPO policy and change one option per app (Chrome or Edge).

Open the Group Policy Management MMC. Right click on the “Group Policy Objects” container/folder and select “New”:

In the popup, give your GPO a name that you'll remember. Keep the “Source Starter GPO” set to (none).

When that's created, move to the next step to define your blocked sites.

Create the URL list file

The Chromium documentation for this Group Policy Object [A] states that putting in a simple domain name of example.com will block all http and https requests to any subdomains and the root.

I created a list of URLs in Notepad with one entry on each line, like this example:


This was an easy copy and paste from the Meraki Group Policies page at Network Wide > Configure > Group Policies:

Run some Powershell commands

For these Powershell commands to run, first make sure you are able to connect to a writable Domain Controller. It might be easier to remote into the server and run the commands locally.

I would also recommend appending -whatif to the end of the Set-GPRegistryValue in the command below if you're not sure you've done everything correctly.

Also make sure to change the -name of your GPO to match the one you created in the first few steps.

For adding the URL blocks in Google Chrome, use this command:

Get-Content .\URLlist.txt | foreach {
     Set-GPRegistryValue -Name 'XXXyourGPOnameXXX' -ValueName $_ -Type String -Value $_ -Key "HKLM\Software\Policies\Google\Chrome\URLBlocklist"    

For adding the URL blocks in Microsoft Edge, use this command:

Get-Content .\URLlist.txt | foreach {
     Set-GPRegistryValue -Name 'XXXyourGPOnameXXX' -ValueName $_ -Type String -Value $_ -Key "HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Edge\URLBlocklist"    


Running these Powershell commands can take a long time if you have a lot of entries. My final version had over 100 lines and took about 15 minutes to complete.

You can verify that this worked by opening the Group Policy Management Editor again and clicking on your Policy Object. Select the “Settings” tab. Click “Show All” at the right side and scroll down to the section labelled “Block access to a list of URLs”:

If you need to add/update or remove a URL from this list later on, right click on the Policy Object and select “Edit”. Navigate to the following location:

  • Chrome: Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Google Chrome > Block access to a list of URLs
  • Edge: Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge > Block access to a list of URLs

From there, you can click on the “Show” button to make changes to each line.


#AzureAD #networking

I recently created a print server in Azure. The server is running PapercutMF and is syncing its user list from Azure AD using an App Registration.

We have a site-to-site VPN connection from the on-prem network to Azure with all subnets exported.


When a new user is onboarded, we want them to be able to take their new Mifare card and associate it with their account. This process we want is the following:

  1. Get new RFID badge from box and give to onboarding user
  2. User touches badge to Xerox RFID reader
  3. Xerox prompts user to type Azure AD email address and password
  4. Papercut MF associates this card number with the user's email address

Step 4 was failing, however, and the MFPs were showing an error message “Login Denied: Failed to associate card to account”:

Root cause

As explained by Papercut's support KB [A], the main issue with this workflow is that the Azure AD tenant that I created this workflow in uses Conditional Access to require MFA approval before authenticating user logins.

Papercut MF currently does not support MFA prompts and won't be able to process the login from the MFPs.


To workaround the Conditional Access policy enforcing MFA, you need to add the print server's IP to the MFA exceptions at this link: https://account.activedirectory.windowsazure.com/usermanagement/mfasettings.aspx

You will need to add the IPv4 address of your VM or load balancer (if using VMSS) with a /32. You could also use the entire subnet:

After making that change, you can verify that this association is working by touching the badge to the reader, then logging in with Azure AD credentials. The logs on the Papercut MF dashboard at Logs > Application Logs will show a successful authentication:

Essentially, this is telling Azure AD to not require an MFA prompt when users authenticate through Papercut MF. The red herring was changing any settings related to the Papercut MF App Registration for user sync, as this does not appear to be related to user login authentication.

References: https://www.papercut.com/support/resources/manuals/ng-mf/common/topics/sys-user-group-sync-azure.html


#Microsoft #Exchange

Let's say a user accidentally or external actor intentionally purged all emails from a mailbox hosted on Exchange Online. The user opens their computer and finds that they're missing all of their emails. A technician starts to troubleshoot, but finds that the user's Deleted Items folder is also emptied.

This could be a nightmare!

Luckily, Exchange Online has the ability to recover mailboxes using the Microsoft 365 Compliance center.

To do this, you'll need to use the eDiscovery tool in the Microsoft 365 Compliance center to do a few tasks:

  1. Create an eDiscovery case
  2. Specify Search criteria
  3. Export the search results
  4. Download the export
  5. Import the .pst file into the Outlook desktop app

Let's go over each of these steps.

Create an eDiscovery case

Open a browser and open the Microsoft 365 Compliance center dashboard. Login using an account with Global Admin (or equivalent) permissions. You may need to add some permissions to your account, including the eDiscovery Manager role.

On the left side of the page, expand eDiscovery and click on Core. From this page, click on the Create a case button:

Type a name for the case and a description (optional) and click the Save button:

Create Search criteria

Once you have a case created, you'll need to specify some search criteria. This means you have to specify which O365 items you want the eDiscovery to target.

Navigate back to the Core eDiscovery page and click on the name of the case to open it:

Navigate to the Searches tab. Click the “New search” button:

A new page will open with a wizard to specify search criteria. On the “Name and description” step, type in a friendly name that you'll remember and some descriptive text (optional), then click the “Next” button:

On the “Locations” step, flip the toggle for “Exchange mailboxes” and click on the “Choose users, groups, or teams” link under the “Included column”. In the pane, type the name of the user that you're wanting to restore, then click the “Done” button. Also make sure that you uncheck the box for “Add App Content for On-Premises Users”, this section is not needed. When you've selected the single mailbox, then click the “Next” button:

On the “Conditions” step, you can specify limiting factors (if needed), but leave all of the options blank to ensure you get the whole mailbox. Click the “Next” button to continue:

On the “Review your search” step, make sure the options look OK, then click the “Submit” button:

In the background, Microsoft will kick off a search with your criteria. After starting the search, go to the next step.

Export the search results

Navigate back to the Searches tab inside your case. The “Status” column will indicate when the search is complete. After the search results have been found, you'll need to export these results into a downloadable package.

Click on the name of the search to open the pane. From there, click on the “Actions” button at the bottom and select “Export results”:

The search results will begin to Export. This process can take a while, depending on the size of the mailbox.

Download the Export

Once the Export is packaged up, you'll need to download this file onto your local computer. Check the status of your eDiscovery Search Export by clicking on the Exports tab. Click on the name of your search export to open the pane.

When the export Status is complete, click on the “Download results” link:

A Windows desktop tool will download. Run the app to install the Microsoft Office 365 eDiscovery Export tool:

The application will download and install additional resources:

After the resources are downloaded, the tool will popup with some export settings. Copy and paste the Export key from the Compliance center Export page. Also, set the download location for the PST file:

The eDiscovery Export Tool will begin the process of prepping the data, downloading it, then cleaning up after it's complete:

Once it's complete, open File Manager on your computer and navigate to the Export Location you selected earlier. You'll see several files in the root directory:

The .pst file that you need will be in the Exchange folder.

Import the .pst file into the Outlook desktop app

For this next step, you'll need to use the Outlook desktop app to import the .pst file. This file has all of the users' emails and you'll be able to merge them back into the live mail profile.

Open the Outlook desktop app and navigate to the File tab in the ribbon. Navigate to Open & Export and click on the Import/Export button:

In the Import and Export Wizard popup, select “Import from another program or file” and click the Next button:

Select “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and click the Next button:

Click the Browse... button to select your downloaded .pst file and click the Next button:

Click through the last page of the wizard to begin the import. After the process completes, you can delete the downloaded .pst file.

Allow Outlook to sync the mailbox to Exchange Online. This will ensure that all email messages are synced and available at any location. This process may take a while, depending on the users' internet speed:


#Exchange #Powershell

I was looking for some good documentation online on how to recall emails from user inboxes.

First, import and connect to the relevant Powershell modules and environments:

Install-Module ExchangeOnlineManagement
Import-Module ExchangeOnlineManagement
Connect-IPPSSession -UserPrincipalName XXX # Change this value to your account with Global Admin or Compliance Admin permissions

Next, create a new Compliance Search by defining your scope and query. For this example, I'm going to keep it simple by targeting all Exchange content and a subject line search:

# Change the subject line to the emails' subject line in question
New-ComplianceSearch -Name "New search" -ExchangeLocation All -ContentMatchQuery '(Subject:"Spammy email subject line")' | Start-ComplianceSearch

Depending on the size of your tenant, this may take a while, maybe a few hours. You can check the status of the search by running Get-ComplianceSearch

After the search status says 'Completed', the following command to purge and delete all instances of the email from your tenant:

New-ComplianceSearchAction -SearchName "New search" -Purge -PurgeType HardDelete

This command may take a while too, depending on the size of your tenant. You can check the status of the search action with the command Get-ComplianceSearchAction

That's it! You can see your results in the Microsoft Compliance center and a full audit log will be available through the portal.


#Powershell #HyperV

I read a great post by Benjamin Armstrong [A] with a one-line Powershell command to list virtual machines in Hyper-V that have a missing or broken VHD disk.

This helped me do some weeding on some Hyper-V machines and clean up old/stale VMs.

get-vm | Get-VMHardDiskDrive | %{write-host $_.VMName.PadRight(40) ":: VHD Exists :: "-NoNewline; Test-Path $_.Path}

Just putting this here for my notes.


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