Vol. 22, #17 - April 24, 2017 - Issue #1128
This week's newsletter is all about staying on top of things, keeping abreast of the latest developments, being in the loop, or whatever you want to call it. Being an IT professional these days is like having a fire hose put into your mouth -- there's SO much information in SO many areas we need to remain knowledgeable in that it can sometimes be overwhelming. We also have the usual smattering of tips, tools, links, and fun stuff to keep you from going nuts from the high stress environment you work in each day. So keep calm and carry on.
Speaking of going nuts--have you ever noticed how close many of your colleagues are to the edge? Just a single innocent question might be enough to tip them over into a vast, bottomless chasm of insanity as this Dilbert comic strip illustrates:http://www.wservernews.com/go/u6n6iuor/
One of the key sources of technical knowledge I've relied on for many years is the Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) on TechNet. In fact, I still remember when KB articles arrived on a CD each month as part of my TechNet subscription. When my monthly box of TechNet CDs arrived, I would gleefully insert the KB one into my PC and spend the next few hours browsing through the latest support issues, fixes and workarounds for Windows NT 4.0, Exchange 5.0, SQL Server 6.0 and so on. Ah those were the days…
Then one day TechNet had the gall to replace their Win32 engine on their KB media with a "browser-based" version that only returned a maximum of 500 results when you issued a search query. I remember a lot of IT pros complaining that this made it harder to find relevant KB articles they were searching for, and I was definitely one of those who complained. After all, I was a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) by that time and I relied upon the Knowledge Base (either the TechNet DVDs or the online KB) to keep me on top of the latest support issues and how to resolve them. Well at least they used a standardized URL format for KB articles of the form support.microsoft.com/kb/XXXXXX so if I had a free hour and felt bored I could always try opening a series of URLs like the following in my web browser:
and so on to see whether I could dig up any interesting KB articles for my little grey cells to assimilate. Yes, I get really bored sometimes…
Anyways, eventually I stumbled across a page on the Microsoft Support website titled "RSS feeds for recently published KB articles":
This page proved to be a godsend because it let me download and browse through the latest KB articles by product and technology area using by RSS newsreader. This allowed me to get my daily dose of KB (kibbles) while enjoying my morning coffee or three. It was much more fun than reading Drudge Report.
Then one day around the beginning of this year Microsoft silently and suddenly decided to change the URL format for KB articles from support.microsoft.com/kb/<number> to support.microsoft.com/help/<number>/<title>. Fortunately the incorporated URL redirection when they did this, so when I tried to open an old URL like support.microsoft.com/kb/320081 it would automatically redirect to support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/320081/you-cannot-delete-a-file-or-a-folder-on-an-ntfs-file-system-volume, which meant that the page for KB 320081 would then open in my web browser.
But wait! An unfortunate side effect of this URL format change was that the RSS feeds for published KB articles no longer works. Woe is me! cried a lot of MVPs like myself who relied on these RSS feeds to keep us informed about the latest patches, fixes, workarounds, bulletins and informational articles we've come to rely upon in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (which is probably not even called a "knowledge base" any more since there is no longer a "KB" in the URL for articles in the database). For example, if you go to this page and click on "Windows 10" you'll be taken to an RSS feed page titled "Most Recent KBs for Windows 10" and the most recent KB article on that page is dated November 9th of last year.
Despite numerous complaints Microsoft has not fixed this problem so there's no simple way for us MVPs (or IT pros in general) to track the latest support articles about a particular Microsoft platform or product. My own guess is that Microsoft is no longer interested in maintaining their support database of KB articles and would rather have customers open support cases with them when they encounter a problem instead of letting the customer look up the solution themselves in the KB database because that way Microsoft gets $$$ from the customer.
I hope that's not the case. My point though is that as someone who has worked with and written about Microsoft products for almost 20 years, it's getting more and more difficult to stay abreast of what's *really* happening with Microsoft products and services, for example what's broken and how to fix it in the interim until a patch for the problem is released.
So my question for you newsletter readers is this: What sources do *you* use to stay on top of the latest issues and solutions regarding Windows Server, System Center, Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, or any other Microsoft product or service you use in your organization? Which websites do you find most helpful for keeping abreast of current developments? Which discussion boards or mailing lists do you find helpful to keep you in the loop? What are the *best* sources of technical support information you've found for Microsoft products and services? And how often do you simply end up throwing your hands up in despair and opening a support case with Microsoft? By the way, if you've never opened a support case you can find out the cost involved here:
Send us your suggestions, comments and gripes on this matter by emailing us at email@example.com and we'll publish them in a future issue of WServerNews so others in our worldwide community of almost 100,000 subscribers will be able to benefit from your experience and expertise. Thanks!
P.S. See the This Week's Tips section of this issue for the "hack" that I've ended up using whenever I want to find the latest KB articles about a specific Microsoft product. Can anyone improve on this hack?
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
VIDEO: Windows 10 - The education platform (Channel 9)
This video explores some of the Windows 10 features that make it a great fit for education, including assistive technology, inking, compatibility and safety.
Exchange Hybrid Deep Dive
Find out how to implement a hybrid setup with Exchange in Office 365. Our expert instructors show you how a hybrid configuration lets you move from on-premises to Office 365 seamlessly and at your own pace. In this deep dive, you'll explore full hybrid, minimal hybrid or Express Migration, to learn which option is best for your migration.
Last week's factoid and question was this:
The appropriate response to 'How are you?' in Luxembourgish is 'Tip-Top'. How do *you* usually respond when someone asks "How are you"? Why do you respond that way?
This one generated a lot of response from our readers. Here's a sampling:
Tony from Denver -- Most of the time I cop out to the "Good. You?", but catch me in a good/snarky mood and I'll usually respond "Really freaking crappy!". You'd be surprised (or maybe not) how many people don't even catch it or simply ignore it and just move on. The ones that are fun are those that play along and commiserate how everything's difficult, or try to lighten it up.
Howard in Brazil -- Here in Brazil, people are going crazy for the app WhatsApp. They call/say it 'What's Up' in Portuguese (that's what it sounds like to me!). I usually respond pointing up and saying 'The Sky!' and no one 'gets' it. Seriously though, they usually say "Todo Bom?" (Everything good?) and it usually starts a conversation.
DB an alumni from MIT -- From my experience, when someone is greeted with a "How are you?" their kneejerk response is usually a parroted "How are you?" with no thought whatsoever. It really sounds ridiculous and of course laden with no information at all... e.g. "How are you?" "How are YOU?" On top of it, if you "analyze" it at all, they are simply answering a question with a question.
Joel, the CIO for a university - I usually answer "Better than I deserve" Keeps me from lying if having a bad day, and keeps the other party from feeling obligated to respond.
Butch, an IT Director -- I worked as a draftsman in an office with 2 rows of 4 drafting tables. Every morning Jerry, the chief engineer, would enter a door at one end of the drafting office and walk up the center aisle dividing the the rows of tables. About midway, without breaking stride, he would say to no one in particular, "Good morning, how ya'll doin'?" The 8 drafters would reply in unison, "OK" or "fine". Without further comment, Jerry would enter his office. I had only been working there for a few weeks and marveled at this cliche exchange. One day, I decided to find out if he really was interested in how we were doing, and so, that morning, in the midst of the cacophony from the other 7, I replied, "Like crap!" (I used a slightly stronger word, but you get the idea) Jerry continued walking up the aisle as if there were nothing unusual, until he was nearly at his office door, when he stopped, slowly turned around and glared down the rows of drafters who were all staring at me with grave apprehension. He followed their gaze over to where I sat grinning, smiled and then spun 'round and walked into his office. I think he appreciated the boldness of my remark.
Tony from the UK - When I moved from Europe to work in the US, one day my boss asked me the usual "how are you" and I responded that I was a bit under the weather, he told me off and said the correct response is "good". From this I deduced that in the US, it is a ritual (more like the HELO exchange at the start of an email), not a genuine enquiry as to how you are feeling. So the answer to your moral dilemma depends on the context -- in a US business setting, the answer is always "good", but here in the UK, and certainly in a personal setting, it is a genuine enquiry to which you give a genuine response. However, it gets more complicated when talking to a European in a US setting -- are they following the convention of where they come from or the convention of where they are? This is like an Englishman (who speaks German) and a German arranging to meet at "half six" -- is this the German convention (17:30) or the English convention (18:30) -- whichever language they are using, are they using their own convention or the other person's convention? Which is why I always reaffirm "half six" with the time by the 24 hour clock in order to clarify the point.
Finally, here's our favorite from the responses we've received for this question:
Don -- "I'm not unwell, thank you" I heard George Carlin say it once, made me laugh, so I've used it since then.
Now let's move on to this week's factoid:
Fact: In 2008, an MI6 officer appeared on The One Show. Halfway through, his moustache fell off.
Question: What was the most embarrassing thing you've ever seen yourself on a live TV show you were watching?
Email your answer to us at: email@example.com
Until next week,
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sysax Secure FTP Server provides SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, and SSH shell access for Windows. Authentication methods include Active Directory, Pub Key, and External DB. Supports Event triggers and automation:
SysKit is a server monitoring and administration tool that enables you to audit user activity, analyze application usage, monitor server performance, document IT assets, manage remote servers, and much more:
DriverPack provides the fastest and most convenient method for setting up your computer:
Observatory is a free tool from Mozilla that lets website developers and administrators determine if they are using all available security technologies at their full potential:
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at email@example.com
So here's the "hack" that I've ended up using whenever I want to find the latest KB articles about a specific Microsoft product like Windows 10. I simply google the following query:
"<product name>" "Article ID" "<current year>" "<current month>" site:support.microsoft.com
Since KB articles always have "Article ID" in the Properties section near the bottom of their pages, this query returns all KB articles on that product for the current year. So for example, googling this:
"Windows 10" "Article ID" "2017" "April" site:support.microsoft.com
returns all the KB articles for Windows 10 that were published in April 2017 which at the time of writing amounts to 148 articles (according to Google). Of course some of them also apply to earlier Windows versions so they're not new articles but revisions of earlier articles. So to get just the brand new articles for Windows 10 that were published in April 2017, I can add the string "Revision: 1" to my query like this:
"Windows 10" "Article ID" "2017" "April" "Revision: 1" site:support.microsoft.com
This returns 10 articles, all of which have to do with either security updates, cumulative updates, or update rollups. By contrast, when I perform a similar search for Exchange 2013 articles like this:
"Exchange 2013" "Article ID" "2017" "April" "Revision: 1" site:support.microsoft.com
my query returns 8 articles that are much more interesting, for example "Important notice about certificate expiration if you have an Exchange 2013 hybrid deployment with Office 365" and "Authentication order changes after you migrate to Exchange 2013 ANSI-D environment from Office 365 Dedicated/ITAR".
Which is why I've always believed that servers are much more interesting (and fun) than clients!
Mitch Garvis has a great tip showing how you can use the Windows Task Scheduler (or PowerShell!) to schedule a reboot needed by your server to apply some configuration changes you've made to it:
Windows Management Experts (WME) explains how you can remove the site system from ConfigMgr if you have a site system crash you can't recover from:
Microsoft Build in May 10-12, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Microsoft Ignite on September 25-29, 2017 in Orlando, Florida
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Removing domains in Office 365
It may appear a simple process and usually it is, however there are some gotchas when removing domains from Office 365, we are going over a couple scenarios:
Azure Monitor and Azure Advisor enter General Availability
Looking for a nice solution for Azure monitoring? Look no further. Azure Advisor, Monitor, and resource health are now available to everyone:
Lessons from the Amazon S3 outage
February’s massive S3 outage meant serious dollar loss to top ecommerce websites. Here are the key takeaways for IT decision makers:
Definitive guide to Office 365 migration
Office 365 comes with a ton of features that are sure to add to your business value. Here is everything you need for your Office 365 migration:
Announcing Amazon Connect, for better customer service at a low cost
Amazon is entering the call center industry with its newest product, Connect:
Group Policy Search (Chris Jones)
Get rid of accounts that use Kerberos Unconstrained Delegation (Online memory of an Active Directory PFE)
Detecting threat actors in recent German industrial attacks with Windows
Defender ATP (Microsoft Malware Protection Center)
Configuring Windows Information Protection In The Azure Portal Preview (Microsoft Australia OEM Team)
How to Manually Create a SQL Replica in DPM 2012 R2 (System Center Data Protection Manager)
PowerShell: Export all ConfigMgr 2012 R2 task sequences (Chris Jones)
Getting Started with Windows 10 Device Guard – Part 1 of 2 (UK Platforms)
Windows 10 Pro to Enterprise Upgrades Simplified! (Chris Jones)
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at email@example.com
Mind Reading Duo Andrew And Darren
The mind reading duo Darren and Andrew left the judges stunned when they managed to work out exactly what was on the minds of Amanda and Simon:
Japanese Table Tennis Trick Shots
Table tennis entertainer Takkyuu Geinin put together an incredible and hilarious compilation of table tennis trick shots:
Tweety Bird Gets A Spa Session
When a scalp massage is immensely pleasurable:
With bouncing baby goats, happy lamb tails and snoozing piglets, this vidoe is bound to bring plenty of smiles your way:
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7www.mtit.com.Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.