Windows 7 Party Pack & Windows 7 Signature Edition

On October 22nd 2009 Microsoft launched Windows 7 and one of their ideas to promote it was to ask some of their, uh, more loyal fans to host a launch party. People signed up and those who where selected received a party pack in the mail. I happen to have one of those party packs, so let’s have a look at what you got for your rad Windows party:

  • A deck of playing cards
  • A puzzle
  • A poster
  • Ten gift bags
  • A table top piece
  • A pack of napkins
  • A copy of Windows 7 Ultimate (dubbed Signature Edition as it has a print of Steve Ballmer’s signature on it)

It seems all of the items were designed to show off some of the wacky strange creatures art that was included as wallpapers in Windows 7.

Personally I think the poster and gift bags are really quite nice! People in the US who received this pack also got some balloons, some streamers and some coupons and offers for other products like Kaspersky AV and Zune.

Of course the most exciting reason to receive this party pack was the free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate you got which comes in a nice sleeve with Steve Ballmer’s signature printed on it.

Inside was a full retail edition of Windows 7 Ultimate and both 32bit and 64bit installer disks. There’s nothing special about the version of Windows, it’s just plain old Windows 7 Ultimate. The only special thing is the sleeve it comes in.

Migrating your Microsoft PKI infrastructure to Windows Server 2016 (Part 2)

Migrating your Microsoft PKI infrastructure to Windows Server 2016 (Part 1)
Migrating your Microsoft PKI infrastructure to Windows Server 2016 (Part 2)

In the second part of this guide I will be migrating my online issuing CA to Windows Server 2016. As before this guide is written as a guide to upgrade from a Windows Server 2012 R2 CA to a Windows Server 2016 CA, however it is equally valid for moving a CA from any older version of Windows server to Windows Server 2016.

The majority of the steps in this guide are identical to the steps for the offline root CA, however there are a few differences as this is a domain joined system and at the end of the guide you will need to re-register any certificate templates you have.

Preparation

Start by building your new Windows Server 2016 server. I recommend again that you give it the same name as your current issuing CA, although it is possible to change it if you are willing to modify some registry keys later on in the process. If you do give this server the same name do not join it to the domain yet. This will be done later in the guide once the existing issuing CA has been removed from the domain. You should also patch the new server with the latest Microsoft patches at this time.

Migration – Backing up your existing issuing CA server

The first step is to back up the CA using the command certutil -backup C:\SubCABackup KeepLog. If you do not care about keeping the logs then you can omit the KeepLog part and instead the logs will be truncated.

You will need to enter a password, remember it and make it complex as this backup contains your issuing CA private key.

backupIssuingCA

The next thing to backup is the CA configuration, which is stored in the registry in the following location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CertSvc. Back it up by typing reg export "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CertSvc" C:\SubCABackup\CertSvcRegBackup.reg

backupIssuingCAReg

You now also need to make a record of what certificate templates you have created as these will need to be re-registered on the new CA. The easiest way to do this is to run the command Certutil -catemplates > "C:\SubCABackup\Catemplates.txt". This pipes the output to a file called Catemplates.txt which you can open later to see the names of the templates.

It is also worth backing up your CAPolicy.inf file which you can do easily enough by copying it into the backup folder by typing copy C:\Windows\CAPolicy.inf C:\SubCABackup.

Once you have done the work to backup your existing issuing CA it is time to uninstall the CA role. Before doing this run Get-WindowsFeature in Powershell and have a look at what additional CA features you currently have installed (for example you may have the Web Enrolment service and/or Online Responder roles installed). Make a note of these so that you know what features to install on the new issuing CA server.

windowsFeatures

To uninstall the certificate authority role use the Powershell command Remove-WindowsFeature Adcs-Cert-Authority and press enter. If you did have any additional CA roles installed you may need to remove those first; in my case I had to remove the Web Enrollment service (this was done by running Uninstall-AdcsWebEnrollment).

You will need to restart the server to complete the role uninstall.

It is now important that you copy the SubCABackup folder to your new issuing CA as the next step is to remove the existing issuing CA from the domain and power it down.

To remove the old issuing CA from the domain using Powershell type Remove-Computer HOSTNAME replacing HOSTNAME with the name of your issuing CA. Restart the server to complete the domain removal and then power down the old issuing CA.

Load Active Directory Users and Computer from a management workstation and delete the computer account for the old issuing CA.

Migration – Configuring your new issuing CA and restoring from the backup

Power on your new issuing CA and join it to the domain. You can do this from Powershell by typing in Add-Computer –DomainName yourdomain.com -Credential YOURDOMAIN\Administrator replacing the domain with your domain and the admin account with your admin account. Restart the server to complete the domain join.

Once the reboot has completed you must install the CA role. Do this using Powershell by typing in Add-WindowsFeature ADCS-Cert-Authority and pressing enter. As with the root CA this now needs to be configured using the backup from the old issuing CA, which you do with the following Powershell command:

Install-AdcsCertificationAuthority -CAType EnterpriseSubordinateCA -CertFile "C:\SubCABackup\LaptopPoc Sub CA.p12" -CertFilePassword (Read-Host "Enter password" -AsSecureString)

Replace the value after -CertFile with the path and name of the .p12 file from your issuing CA backup. When you press enter you will be prompted for the password you used to back up your original issuing CA.

If this step is successful you will receive ErrorID 0 as your return code.

Next you need to restore the database and logs. Before you do this the CA service must be stopped. Do that by typing in net stop certsvc and pressing enter. Once it has stopped restore the database and logs using the command certutil -f -restore C:\SubCABackup. The -f forces an overwrite of the data that was configured in the barebones CA setup. Once again you must enter the password you used to backup your original issuing CA.

Before starting the CA service you must import the registry configuration. If you opted to change the name of your issuing CA server you need to go through the C:\SubCABackup\CertSvcRegBackup.reg file and replace and reference to the old server name with your new server name. Once this is done you can import the configuration by typing reg import "C:\SubCABackup\CertSvcRegBackup.reg".

Finish up the restoration process by copying the CAPolicy.inf file back into the Windows directory by using the command copy C:\SubCABackup\CAPolicy.inf C:\Windows

One final thing

There may be one other thing you need to consider before you can start your new issuing CA and that is the location of the web CRL. This is a website that is likely hosted inside your network that contains an up to date certificate revocation list which your issuing CA needs to have access to before it will start. This may not be a problem for you at all if your web CRL is hosted on an separate web server that you did not touch during this migration. However, if like me your web CRL is hosted on your issuing CA, this will have been lost when you decommissioned your previous issuing CA.

To resolve this you will need to install IIS on your new issuing CA and configure a new site to host your CRL. The URL to the CRL must match the previously configured CRL location, so if it used to be accessible via http://PKI.yourdomain.com then it must still be accessible there now. You can find the URL for your CRL by looking at any certificate issued by your CA, going to the Details pane and looking at the CRL Distribution Points field.

Restoring your certificate templates

With everything else done you can now start your new issuing CA by typing in net start certsrv. Now you will need to re-register each of the certificate templates you had on your previous issuing CA. Open the Catemplates.txt file you saved by typing notepad Catemplates.txt and use it as a reference for the names for each of your templates. You will need to run the following command for each one:

certutil -setcatemplates +TEMPLATENAME

Replace TEMPLATENAME with the name of your certificate template. Note that + before the template name.

restoreCATemplates

Do this for each of your templates. Once completed all of your templates will be available again and all issuing permissions will be retained.

That completes the process of migrating your issuing CA to a new server. If you have multiple issuing CA servers you will need to repeat this process for each of them. You may also need to reinstall any additional certificate service roles such as Web Enrollment1, which you can do either in Powershell or by using a management workstation with Server Manager. You should make sure you delete the C:\SubCABackup folder so that you don’t leave your issuing CA private key laying around.

1You may encounter error 0x80070057 when reinstalling the Web Enrollment role. If you do, take a look at this blog post: AD: Certification Authority Web Enrollment Configuration Failed 0x80070057 (WIN32: 87)

Migrating your Microsoft PKI infrastructure to Windows Server 2016 (Part 1)

Migrating your Microsoft PKI infrastructure to Windows Server 2016 (Part 1)
Migrating your Microsoft PKI infrastructure to Windows Server 2016 (Part 2)

As part of my efforts to upgrade my POC lab to Windows Server 2016 I got around to migrating my PKI infrastructure. This consists of an offline root CA and an online issuing CA. In Part 1 of this guide I will be migrating my offline root CA to Windows Server 2016.

This guide is written as a guide to upgrade from a Windows Server 2012 R2 CA to a Windows Server 2016 CA, however very little has changed since the Windows Server 2003 days and this guide is equally valid for moving a CA from any older version of Windows server to Windows Server 2016.

I am a big advocate of the core versions of Windows Server and in this guide I will be migrating from and to Windows Server core. A CA is a perfect example of a server that does not need the overhead of the GUI and additional services that comes with the full GUI edition of Windows Server and if you don’t already use core for your CA, this is a perfect opportunity to migrate to one!

Preparation

In preparation for the migration build your new Windows Server 2016 server. I recommend that you give it the same name as your current root CA server – it is possible to give it a different name however this will require changing registry keys later on in the migration process. Take this opportunity to patch it with the latest Microsoft patches!

Migration – Backing up your existing root CA server

The first step is to back up the CA using the command certutil -backup C:\RootCABackup KeepLog. Note that the KeepLog part is optional, however without it the backup will truncate the logs. I prefer to bring the whole lot across in case the logs are ever needed in the future for auditing purposes.

You will need to enter a password, remember it and make it complex. This backup contains your root CA private key, do not make it easy for an attacker to obtain.

certutilBackup

The next thing to backup is the CA configuration, which is stored in the registry in the following location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CertSvc. Back it up by typing reg export "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CertSvc" C:\RootCABackup\CertSvcRegBackup.reg

regBackup

Additionally it is worth backing up your CAPolicy.inf file which you can do easily enough by copying it into the backup folder, by typing copy C:\Windows\CAPolicy.inf C:\RootCABackup

copyPolicy

Finally, copy the RootCABackup folder to your new CA.

Migration – Configuring your new root CA and restoring from the backup

Log on to your new root CA server and start by installing the CA role. The easiest way to do this is with PowerShell, so type powershell into your administrative CMD prompt and enter the following command to install the CA role: Add-WindowsFeature ADCS-Cert-Authority

Now configure this new CA using the backup of the old CA. This can also be done with PowerShell using the following command:

Install-AdcsCertificationAuthority -CAType StandaloneRootCA -CertFile "C:\RootCABackup\LaptopPoc Root CA.p12" -CertFilePassword (Read-Host "Enter password" -AsSecureString)

Replace the value after -CertFile with the path and name of the .p12 file from your root CA backup. When you press enter you will be prompted for the password you used to back up your original root CA.

If this step is successful you will receive ErrorID 0 as your return code.

configureCA

This restores the root CA private key, however next you need to restore the database and logs. Before you do this the CA service must be stopped. Do that by typing in net stop certsvc and pressing enter. Once it has stopped restore the database and logs using the command certutil -f -restore C:\RootCABackup. The -f forces an overwrite of the data that was configured in the barebones CA setup. Once again you must enter the password you used to backup your original root CA.

certutilRestore

Do not start the certificate authority service just yet! Before doing that the registry settings from the previous root CA need to be restored. Do this by typing reg import "C:\RootCABackup\CertSvcRegBackup.reg"

Note: If you chose to change the name of your root CA server you will need to go through the values in this registry file and change any reference to the old server name to your new server name before importing it.

Finally copy the CAPolicy.inf file back into the Windows directory by using the command copy C:\RootCABackup\CAPolicy.inf C:\Windows

Now you can start the root CA by typing net start certsrv. The service should start with out any issues. To verify this you should log on to a management workstation and load the Certificate Authority MMC snap-in, connect to the new server and verify that your issued / revoked certificates are listed (as this is a root CA there should be very few issued certificates!)

Once you are satisfied that the new server is configured correctly and working, make sure that you delete the C:\RootCABackup folder. As previously mentioned, this contains your root CA private key, you do not want to leave that laying around!

Coming soon is Part 2, which will focus on migrating the issuing certificate authority. Thankfully the steps for this are very similar with only small differences due to it being a domain joined server.

Error 80070057 when attempting to update Windows Server 2012 R2

Once when I was updating some servers running the version of Windows Server 2012 R2 I encountered something odd; no patches appeared in Software Center or in the Windows Update panel, even though the server was several years out of date and definitely had applicable updates!

In WindowsUpdate.log I found the following error message repeating:

cidimage001

The fix for this is to manually download and install KB2919355, which is the April 2014 update rollup for Windows Server 2012 R2. After this has been installed and the server has restarted, re-run your updates scan and updates will show up in Windows Update or Software Center.

Increasing the maximum run time for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 cumulative updates

One of the things I have noticed since starting to deploy Windows Server 2016 is that the cumulative updates can fail to install when deployed from SCCM. It starts to run but then times out due to the maximum run time having been reached. By default this is set to 10 minutes. However due to the updates being larger and taking longer to install than updates prior to the cumulative updates era 10 minutes doesn’t seem to be long enough. The fix for this is to simply increase the maximum run time for cumulative updates for both Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 23.12.35

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 23.12.47

This is a bit tedious as you’ll have to do it every month for both Windows Server 2016 and every version of Windows 10 you have in your environment. Hopefully Microsoft soon catches on to this and changes the default run time to 30 minutes so that this ceases to be an issue. There is already a Configuration Manager UserVoice entry for this idea, so if you’re reading this, pop over and vote to increase its visibility!

The clients that didn’t know they were on the corporate LAN

I recently came across an issue where all of the Windows 10 clients in a particular remote site were unable to access network resources when connected to the local LAN. The strange thing? This LAN was part of the corporate network.

After searching around I found a number of people reporting similar issues with clients configured to use DirectAccess, usually being caused by things such as a corrupt Name Resolution Policy Table (NRPT) or other issues with the DirectAccess configuration. This led me to try exporting the NRPT registry keys  from a working client and importing them on one of these clients that was not working. But… that did not fix the problem. And anyway, there were devices in other offices that worked when they were connected to DA and the corporate LAN. This problem was limited to this particular office, so I started to dismiss DirectAccess as being the problem.

A little more troubleshooting and I discovered something else. When connected to the LAN these clients could not ping the IP address of any internal server hostname I tried pinging. Any time I tried to use ping on an internal server I just got back "Ping request could not find host hostname.local. Please check the name and try again." They could be pinged by IP address though. So perhaps a DNS issue? Perhaps not, as I discovered that nslookup did work.

Checking the Application log in Event Viewer I found the following three critical errors repeating every minute or so:

NETLOGON | Event ID 5719
There are currently no logon servers available to service the logon request.

DNS Client Events | Event ID 8015
The system failed to register host (A or AAAA) resource records (RRs) for network adapter
with settings:

The reason the system could not register these RRs was because the update request it sent to the DNS server timed out. The most likely cause of this is that the DNS server authoritative for the name it was attempting to register or update is not running at this time.

Time-Service | Event ID 129
NtpClient was unable to set a domain peer to use as a time source because of discovery error. NtpClient will try again in 15 minutes and double the reattempt interval thereafter. The error was: The entry is not found. (0x800706E1)

This led me to think there was something wrong with these clients ability to contact DNS, which eventually led me back to DirectAccess. As noted previously, these clients did work when connected via DirectAccess. So I thought, if I remove the DirectAccess configuration, will that make any difference to this broken-when-on-the-corporate-LAN situation? As I couldn’t just remove the DirectAccess client from the DirectAccess security group (because the client could not contact the domain controller to receive the policy change) I had to find the DirectAccess configuration in the registry and delete it there. It resides under HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\DNSClient\DNSPolicyConfig. I my case there were 4 entries underneath this key, composed of DA-{GUID}. I deleted these keys,  restarted the client and found, to my delight, that it was now functioning correctly on the LAN. For good measure I re-added the DirectAccess configuration (this time by simply adding the client back into the DirectAccess security group) and confirmed that with the DirectAccess configuration back in place, the client was broken again on the LAN.

So what was going on? Eventually the following article from Microsoft led me to the answer: Network Location Detection. This article details the process Windows goes through to determine whether or not it is on the corporate network. When a network adapter status change is detected Windows attempts to access the URL that is stored in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetworkConnectivityStatusIndicator\CorporateConnectivity\DomainLocationDeterminationUrl. The URL in this key will have been configured by whoever originally set up DirectAccess in your organisation. If Windows does not receive a valid HTTP response (HTTP status 200 OK) it believes you are not connected to the corporate LAN and attempts to connect to DirectAccess. During this process the entry in the NRPT table that governs what DNS server to use when connected to DirectAccess is used and, because you are not actually connected to DirectAccess, name resolution problems start to occur.

What about a fix? Why couldn’t the client access the network location detection URL? This goes back to the way DirectAccess is configured. Best practise states that your DirectAccess servers should have two network adapters; one internal and one external. Only the external adapter should be configured with a default gateway to prevent routing issues. Internal routing has to be done via static routes.

And that was the key. This was a small remote site that had only recently been connected to the corporate network and there was no static route between the DirectAccess server and the IP subnet being used by this site. After hours of investigating, this issue was resolved in a single moment by issuing the following Powershell command:

New-NetRoute -InterfaceAlias InternalAdapterName -DestinationPrefix Subnet/Mask -NextHop GatewayAddress

I went back to my broken client, opened my browser and entered the network location detection URL and was presented with the Microsoft IIS splash page. I restarted all the clients onsite and they correctly detected that they were on the corporate LAN.