Bypass Powershell ExecutionPolicy

In attempting to do some Powershell (WinRM) remote actions, specifically using  Roger Zander's Collection Commander, I came across this blog entry and thought "Awesome, already done for me!".  http://www.verboon.info/2014/12/installing-software-using-collection-commander/

And then I kept getting errors during testing, "Exception calling "Install" : ""  But it would work fine in the home lab... After much head scratching, at work we have a GPO to set Powershell ExecutionPolicy as RemoteSigned--which is good, of course.  But it threw this particular script for a loop.  In the home lab--since it is a home lab--I had set executionpolicy to unrestricted on the test box.

What I ended up doing was I found this blog post about different ways to get around a remote-signed execution policy (in a good way, not trying to do evil things):  https://blog.netspi.com/15-ways-to-bypass-the-powershell-execution-policy/

The one which was the easiest to implement for these specific needs was the "Bypassing in Script" one detailed here:
http://www.nivot.org/blog/post/2012/02/10/Bypassing-Restricted-Execution-Policy-in-Code-or-in-Script

Configuration Manager Versions Summary Report

I'm sure there are a dozen if not hundreds of blogs posts out there with this exact same information; just posting it mostly for myself.  If it helps someone else, great.  As of late July 2016, these are the versions (and their Marketing or public names) for the ConfigMgr Client.  It doesn't go back to SMS 1.0, or even cm07--so not as useful for "everything ever". 

But if you get "unknown" versions when you run it, you can fill in your own blanks.

SELECT COUNT(resourceID) [Count],
    Client_Version0 [Version]
, case
when client_version0 = '5.00.7711.0000' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 RTM'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7804.1000' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 SP1'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7804.1202' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 CU1'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7804.1300' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 CU2'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7804.1400' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 CU3'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7804.1500' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 CU4'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7804.1600' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 CU5'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7958.1000' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7958.1060' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 for Linux'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7958.1203' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 CU1'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7958.1254' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 CU1 for Linux'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7958.1303' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 CU2'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7958.1401' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 CU3'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7958.1501' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 CU4'
when client_version0 = '5.00.7958.1604' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 CU5'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8239.1000' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8239.1203' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 CU1'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8239.1301' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 CU2'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8239.1403' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 CU3'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8325.1000' then 'ConfigMgr 1511'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8355.1000' then 'ConfigMgr 1602'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8355.1001' then 'ConfigMgr 1602 with policyagentendpoint.dll update'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8355.1306' then 'ConfigMgr 1602 with KB3155482'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8355.1307' then 'ConfigMgr 1602 with KB3174008'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8412.1000' then 'ConfigMgr 1606 TAP'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8412.1006' then 'ConfigMgr 1606'
when client_version0 = '5.00.8412.1007' then 'ConfigMgr 1606 with KB3180992'
else 'unknown' end as [Marketing Version]
  FROM dbo.v_R_System_Valid
  GROUP BY
    Client_Version0
  ORDER BY [Version] desc

there's also this way...if you don't want to deal with all those pesky cumulative updates, or hotfixes

;with cte as (select resourceid, substring(client_version0,6,4) as [Ver] from v_r_system_valid)

select Ver,
Case
when Ver = '7711' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 RTM'
when Ver = '7958' then 'ConfigMgr 2012'
when Ver = '8239' then 'ConfigMgr 2012 R2'
when Ver = '8325' then 'ConfigMgr 1511'
when Ver = '8355' then 'ConfigMgr 1602'
when Ver = '8412' then 'ConfigMgr 1606'
else 'unknown'
 end as [Version]
,Count(resourceid) [Count]
from cte
group by ver
order by ver

Politely Schedule restarts of CCMExec Service

Over the years of troubleshooting the SCCM Client, even with the built-in CCMEval task to attempt to watch and remediate client health of the SCCM Client, experience has shown to those of us in the trenches that sometimes, despite everything else, simply restarting the SMS Agent Host (aka, ccmexec service) will clear previously inexplicable issues.  A service restart is often less disruptive to the end user than saying "have you tried a reboot yet".

If that scenario is something you've encountered in your environment, or you just want to be proactive (like some other companies) one way to accomplish an 'SMS Agent Host' restart is to ask the ccmeval task to do that for you.  Kent Agerlund very kindly shared with me the edits they've done for their customers; and by doing so on their customers it was determined that overall, issues were reduced with the sccm client.

I've taken his edits, and created a couple of Configuration Items.  It's the ccmeval.xml which indicates what tests should be run by the ccmeval scheduled task.  Two tasks are added to ccmeval.xml:
- Restart CCMExec.exe-Stop
- Restart CCMExec.exe-Start

There are two --> attached <-- Configuration items.  One is to modify the ccmeval.xml to add the stop/start actions.  The other is to return the ccmeval.xml back to the original values (as of version Current Branch 1806 clients, but the ccmeval.xml hasn't changed in years, so it is anticipated it won't change in future version... but nothing is certain). 

What you would do to test:

  • Create a Baseline, let's call it "CCMEval Add Action to Restart CCMEXEC".  Add ONLY the 1 Configuration Item, 'ccmeval.xml Add Service Restart', make it optional (not required).
  • Deploy that baseline to a collection of TEST computers; to run daily, make sure you check the box for Remediation (not just monitor).
  • On the client
    • after the baseline of "CCMEval Add Action to Restart CCMEXEC" has run, go look at ccmeval.xml (it's usually in %windir%\ccm folder); and you should see the new actions have been added.
    • if you are patient--wait overnight.  The next day check in %windir%\ccm, for ccmevalreport.xml  Open up that file and look for the actions of "Restart CCMExec.exe-Stop." and "Restart CCMExec.exe-Start."  and they should have resultcodes of 0 (success).  You might also want to take note of the time that ccmevalreport.xml was created.  and then go look at %windir%\ccm\logs, for example, ccmexec.log or clientidmanagerstartup.log for entries around that time--you should notice that the logs indicated a service restart.
    • if you are NOT patient... from cmd-prompt-as-admin, you can run ccmeval.exe from %windir%\ccm, and then look at the files and results as indicated above.

PARANOIA TESTING

  • Remove the Deployment of the baseline "CCMEval Add Action to Restart CCMEXEC" to your test collection.
  • Create a Baseline called... "CCMEval Return to original", and add just and only 'ccmeval.xml Return to Original', make it optional (not required).
  • Deploy the baseline to your collection of Test Computers, to run daily, make sure you check the box for Remediation (not just monitor)
  • Confirm the ccmeval.xml gets set back to no longer have to 2 additional tasks
  • Manually run ccmeval.exe after the xml is changed back, and/or wait overnight, to confirm that ccmeval runs, and no longer restarts the ccmexec service.
  • Remove the Deployment of the Baseline "CCMEval Return to Original" (hopefully you'll never need this again... but...)
  • Once you've satisfied yourself that you can not only modify the ccmeval.xml, but also return it to a pre-changed condition, then you will be confident (hopefully) to move forward.

Your next step (if you choose to go forward) is to deploy the "CCMEval Add Action to Restart CCMEXEC" to a collection of targets.

One thought...I personally would not deploy the xml change to any Server OS, and definitely not any of my SCCM Servers--because the Management Point processes use ccmexec.  Restarting ccmexec on a Management Point role server might be fine... only you can say what makes sense in your infrastructure.  If you restart SMS Agent Host on your Management Point Role servers outside of a reboot, what does that impact for you?  anything?  if no impacts, then sure.  But YOU need to test, test, test. 

You may be asking yourself why this blog article was titled 'politely'... that's because the ccmeval scheduled task is designed to only run when the client isn't doing other important things, and the system is quiet.  By design ccmeval tries to be quiet and discreet about when it runs, and randomized.

Visual Studio 2017 Editions using ConfigMgr Configuration item

This is a companion to https://mnscug.org/blogs/sherry-kissinger/416-visual-studio-editions-via-configmgr-mof-edit It *might* be a replacement for the previous mof edit; but I haven't tested this enough to make that conclusion--test yourself to see.

Issue to be resolved:  there are licensing groups at my company who are tasked with ensuring licensing compliance.  There is a significant difference between Visual Studio costs for Standard, Professional, and Enterprise.  Prior to Visual Studio 2017, that information was able to be obtained via registry keys, and a configuration.mof + import (see link above) was sufficient to obtain that information.

According to https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/dmx/2017/06/13/how-to-get-visual-studio-2017-version-number-and-edition/ (looks like published date is June, 2017), that information is no longer in the registry.  There is a uservoice published --> https://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio-ide/suggestions/19026784-please-add-a-documentation-about-how-to-detect-in <--, requesting that the devs for visual studio put that back--but there's no acknowledgement that it would ever happen.

So that means that us lonely SCCM Administrators, tasked with "somehow" getting the edition information to the licensing teams at our companies have to--yet again--find a way to "make it happen", using the tools provided.  So here's "one possible way". 

This has only been tested on ONE device in a lab... so it's probably not perfect.  Supposedly, using the -legacy switch it'll also detect "old versions" installed--but I have no idea if that works or not.  Might not.

Here's how I plan on deploying this...

1)  configuration Item, Application Type.
    a) 'Detection Method", use a powershell script... this may not be universal, but currently in my lab, this location of 'vswhere.exe' is consistently in the same place.  Here's hoping it'll not change.  So the detection logic for the CI to bother to run at all would be "do you have vswhere.exe where I think it should be":

 $ErrorActionPreference = 'SilentlyContinue'
 $location = ${env:ProgramFiles(x86)}+'\Microsoft Visual Studio\Installer\vswhere.exe'
 if ([System.IO.File]::Exists($location)) {
  write-host $location
  }

    b) Setting, Discovery Script, see the --> attached <-- .ps1 file.  Compliance Rule would be just existential, any result at all.
2)  Deploy that CI in a Baseline, as 'optional'; whether or not I just send it to every box everywhere, or create a collection of machines with Visual Studio 2017 in installed software--either way should work.
3)  Once Deployed and a box with Visual Studio 2017 has run it, confirm that a sample box DOES create a root\cimv2, cm_vswhere class, and there is data inside.
4)  Enable inventory
    a) In my SCCM Console, Administration, Client Settings, right-click Default Client Settings, properties
    b) Hardware Inventory, Set Classes...
    c) Add...
    d) Connect... to "the computer you checked in step 3 above; where you confirmed there is data locally on that box in root \cimv2, cm_vswhere"  and root\cimv2
    e) find the class "cm_vswhere"  check the box, OK. OK. OK.
5) monitor
    a) on your primary site, <installed location for SCCM>\Logs, dataldr.log 
    b) It'll chat about pending adds in the log.  Once that's done, you'll see a note about how it made some views for you.  "Creating view for..."
6) Wait a day, and then look if there is any information in a view probably called something like... v_gs_cm_vswhere.  But your view might have a different name--you'll just have to look.
    a) if you're impatient, back on that box from step 3 above, do some policy refreshes.  then a hardware inventory.
5) End result, you should get information in the field "displayName0", like "Visual Studio Professional 2017", and you'll be able to make custom reports using that information.  Which should hopefully satisfy your licensing folks.

To reiterate... tested on ONE box in a lab.  Your mileage my vary.  Additional tweaks or customizations may be needed to the script.  That's why in the script I tried to add a bunch of 'write-verbose'.  If you need to figure out why something isn't working right, change the VerbosePreference to Continue, not SilentlyContinue, and run it interactively on a machine--to hopefully figure out and address any un-anticipated flaws.

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