WServerNews: Spotlight on system administration

Editor’s Corner

Welcome to Issue #1249 of WServerNews! Go to to find the latest issues of our newsletter; older issues dating back to 1997 can be found in our archive. Please tell all your colleagues and friends about WServerNews and tell them they can receive it each week in their inbox by subscribing here. Enjoy this week’s newsletter and send us your feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered, thanks!

Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor

In this week’s newsletter

This week in WServerNews we look at some things that system administrators may want or even need to know about including Microsoft’s new timetable for phasing out MDOP, how to check for a vulnerability associated with VMware Tools, how to set up a server for deploying Windows 10 in a small environment, and how to re-enable the delete confirmation dialog box in Windows 10. We also have a new Ask Our Readers item we need help with, a tip on how to use a Chromebook when you don’t have an Internet connection, and lots of other stuff including a preview of what’s coming up in this Wednesday’s issue of FitITproNews. We hope you enjoy this week’s newsletter and don’t forget to shoot us an email if you have any questions or comments or would like to contribute a tip or guest editorial to our newsletter. Just email us at [email protected].

Phasing out MDOP

For years I’ve been a fan of several tools that are part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) including the Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM), Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) and Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) utilities. Several enterprise customers I know have relied upon these tools to help administer their on-premise environments. Mainstream support for some of these tools ended last year however, and extended support for several of them has been looming near on the horizon with my favorite AGPM which until recently was scheduled to leave extended support in January 2021. But likely because of pushback from enterprise customers Microsoft has decided to move out the end date for extended support of all MDOP tools to April 2026 as this article indicates:

New extended support dates for MDOP tools (Windows IT Pro Blog)

If you’re still using AGPM and other MDOP tools this should give you extra time to plan for replacements.

VMware Tools vulnerability

A colleague who works with VMware in his environment pointed me to this post from several months back on VMware Blogs and recommended I mention it in this newsletter for any readers who use the platform:

Security Issue with VMware Tools: VMSA-2019-0009 (VMware vSphere Blog)

The article includes a simple command you can use to check whether any virtual machines in your environment may be affected by the issue. I’ve heard of no reports of any issues with VMware Tools 10.3.10 so if you haven’t upgraded to that from 10.3.5 you may want to do so. If you have any further info or concerns regarding the latest release of VMware Tools you can email me at [email protected] so I can share it with our readers.

Windows 10 small deployments

If you’re a relatively small shop that wants to set up an infrastructure for deploying Windows 10 to client machines, it’s possible to do this using only a single server if you do it the right way. According to a colleague the proper order for installing the deployment tools needed is as follows:

First you need to install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) on the server:

Next you must download and install the Windows PE Addon after installing the ADK. See the above link for how to do this.

After that you will want to add the Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server role to your server. If you’re running Windows Server 2016 you can find instructions here:

Finally you install the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) on your server. Be sure to download the latest version here:

Warn before deleting in Windows 10

And finally, I recently stumbled across this useful bit of information on how you can re-enable the Delete File confirmation dialog in Windows 10 so it asks you to confirm deletion of a file when you try to delete it:

Enable Delete Confirmation Dialog Box in Windows 10 (iSumsoft)

Nice to know, especially the Group Policy setting.

Got any sysadmin tips you want to share with our newsletter readers? Email us at [email protected]

Ask Our Readers – How to back up MS Office activation files (new question)

A reader with initials NL emailed us this week asking for help on the following problem:

We are a very small business and we still use Office 2007 because it still meets our needs and our spend is very limited. Recently I saw the following on Slashdot:

“Just a heads up, the office 2007 activation servers are scheduled to be taken offline this December (2019). There are tools out there to let you backup your current activation files, if you don’t have an HD image or similar for where you have it installed. But for new OS installs the physical copy alone won’t be enough, without one of those “other” programs typically reserved for software one hasn’t purchased and has a receipt for. If you have any files in an in between limbo state of compatibility needing both MS office and libre office to fully convert, it might be a good time.”

Can anyone tell me whatz a good tool I should use to back up our activation files for Office 2007? Does it work with other versions of Office? Where can I find out more?

Can any reader help NL with this problem? Email us at [email protected]

Ask Our Readers – Strange emails coming from Yahoo addresses (a response)

Last week a reader named Boris from Alabama sent us the following question:

First time asking a question here. Lately I’ve been getting weird emails with no subject and no message body, looks like this in Outlook:

Anyone else been getting emails like this? What are they for, some kind of recon or attack?

A reader named Mike from New Mexico offered his take on this strangeness:

Most likely recon, looking for valid email addresses.

That was my own guess as well. Just don’t reply to messages like that, delete them immediately.

Got questions? Ask our readers!

WServerNews goes out each week to more than 200,000 IT pro subscribers worldwide! That’s a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some technical problem or are looking for expert advice on something IT-related? Ask Our Readers by emailing your problems and/or questions to us at [email protected]

Subscribe to WServerNews!

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Coming up this week in FitITproNews!

In this Wednesday’s issue of FitITproNews I’ll be interviewing Kris Kane, an IT professional who is also a personal trainer, martial arts instructor and general fitness enthusiast. Kris is launching a new online program that our readers may be interested in. We’ll also have articles by Robin Camp on the often maligned protein shake, Rod Trent on breaking free of shoe religion, Mark Nichols on what it means to be healthy, Kris Lall on using wearable fitness trackers, Brian Dougal on my own favorite subject (food), and Yuri Diogenes on the importance of prioritizing nutrition to help you achieve your fitness goals. All this and more in FitITproNews and if you haven’t subscribed to our fitness newsletter yet you can do so today by going here right away!

Tip of the Week

>> Got any IT pro tips you’d like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

The smart worker’s guide to using a Chromebook offline (ComputerWorld)

ComputerWorld notes that while Chrome OS is a cloud-centric OS you can still get work done on your Chromebook when you’re offline provided set things up properly:

Admin Toolbox

>> Got any admin tools or software you’d like to recommend to our readers? Email us at [email protected]

Read the “Top 10 Best Practices for vSphere Backups” white paper that discusses best practices with Veeam Backup & Replication and VMware vSphere

Do you need to retain specific emails for a certain period of time, e.g. for compliance requirements? If so, we recommend having a look at the email archiving solution MailStore Server and its sophisticated retention policies:

Viscosity is a fully-featured OpenVPN client, ready for enterprise deployment:

Lithnet Password Protection for Active Directory (LPP) enhances the options available to an organization wanting to ensure that all their Active Directory accounts have strong passwords:

Brook is a cross-platform(Linux/MacOS/Windows/Android/iOS) proxy/vpn software:


Last week in my editorial I asked whether managed service providers (MSPs) are an asset or a liability for your company if you have used one. A reader named Royce responded to this as follows:

The scenario you discussed in your last newsletter is exactly why years ago I made the decision to avoid the cloud.

I have a son who owns a small business, and one who was a manager at a Managed Service Provider (He is now IT manager at a company with 100’s of servers.) Both of them see problems with the cloud. My IT Manager son, who sees a lot bigger systems than I ever do, thinks that the real negative’s of the cloud won’t show up until people have been on them for several years and start discovering that all of the “benefits” were as nebulous as a cloud. I.e a lot of sales hype.

On the other side of the coin, I am a very small business, but because I am software developer, I have two machines running Hyper-V with varying numbers of virtual machines, and a standalone domain controller server. Total of 6 physical machines. Trying to keep them patched and updated is a nightmare. (WSUS is a wus.) I have had way to many Updates break something, especially Office 365. Windows 10 upgrades from 1809 to 1903 was a major disaster and took a huge amount of time. I just spent a weekend tracking down all the problems from moving a server from 2012-R2 to 2019. Managed services looks pretty good this morning.

But frankly, I’ve looked at the numbers, and I track the time I spend supporting my infrastructure, and Managed Services is still a loser for me. (Granted, I am not the typical business user. I earned my MCSE on NT 4.0 years ago. )

If any other readers want to comment on this subject you can email me at [email protected]

And continuing a discussion of cubicles from an earlier newsletter’s Factoid comes this email from Doug, a Systems Administrator in Iowa:

Back when I worked for Texas Instruments – every office was all cubicles. I did not find them to have much for noise reduction qualities, but they did seem well equipped for soul crushing. I still have PTSD when I see the right color of orange.

Those were the days.

Factoid – Eating plant-based “meats” is unhealthy

We didn’t get any response to last week’s factoid/question so let’s move on to this week’s factoid:

Fact: Eating plant-based “meats” is unhealthy (according to the CEO of Whole Foods).


Question: Have you tried a Beyond Meat burger yet? A&W is offering them in our area but I’ve yet to gather the courage to try one. Any thoughts about this?

Email your answer to [email protected]

Conference calendar

>> Got an IT conference or event happening that you’d like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

Microsoft Ignite 2019

Nov 4-8, 2019 in Orlando, Florida

Other Microsoft conferences

Microsoft Licensing Boot Camps

  • Oct 15-16 in Dallas, Texas
  • Dec 9-10 in Seattle, Washington


Infosec conferences

Cyber Security Summit – Sept. 25 in Charlotte, North Carolina

Cyber Security Summit – Oct 3 in New York City

SecTor – Oct 9-10 in Ontario, Canada

Global Cyber Summit – Oct 13-16 in Miami Beach, Florida

Cyber Security Summit – Oct 17 in Scottsdale, Arizona

Cyber Security Summit – Nov 7 in Boston, Massachusetts

Cyber Security Summit – Nov 21 in Houston, Texas

Cyber Security Summit – Dec 5 in Los Angeles, California


Other conferences

Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit – Sept 23-25 in Las Vegas, Nevada

VMworld – Nov 4-7 in Barcelona, Spain

Midwest Management Summit – Nov 11-13 in New Orleans, Louisiana

European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference – Dec 2-5 in Prague, Czech Republic

SharePoint Fest – Dec 9-13 in Chicago, Illinois


Podcast Corner

Creative destruction — Proper IT asset liquidation (The T-Suite)

Return of the Interns (Windows Insider)

Windows Server 2008 (R2) End of Support (Microsoft Cloud IT Pro Podcast)

Catching Up on the Latest Cloud News (Microsoft Cloud Show)

Teaching and Learning with Don Jones (RunAsRadio)

Cisco: Wi-Fi 6 and Intent-Based Networking (This Week in Enterprise Tech)

T-SQL Tuesday #118 – SQL Server Fantasy Feature (Knee Deep in Tech)

New on

Land of the dinosaurs: Is CapEx IT about to go extinct?

As businesses head to the cloud, will CapEx IT be a thing of the past? Or will there always be a place in your budget for buying new software and hardware?

Exchange DAG: Set it up before a disaster takes you down

Don’t be this IT admin: Disaster hits and all you can say is, “I should have set up a database availability group.” Here’s why an Exchange DAG is vital.

8 tips for protecting online privacy and maintaining anonymity

In protecting online privacy, the actions you take are far more important than any legal framework that could be put in place.

Recovering Microsoft Teams messages: A step-by-step guide

Recovering Microsoft Teams messages isn’t impossible, but it is a process — a long and manual process. Here’s how to do it.

Review: Password security solution Specops Password Policy

Specops Password Policy helps you manage and enforce password security and meet ever-growing compliance requirements

Fun videos from Flixxy

New Bugatti Chiron Breaks 300 mph Barrier

On August 2nd, 2019, Andy Wallace hit a speed of 304 mph (490 km/h) in a pre-production Bugatti Chiron – the first hypercar to break 300mph:

Catching A Strangers Phone In Mid Air On A Roller Coaster

Samuel Kempf showed off his lightning-quick reflexes when he caught a stranger’s phone while riding a roller coaster in Spain:

Magician Eric Chien

World champion magician Eric Chien ups the ante at America’s Got Talent Semi Finals 2019 with a performance that even leaves other magicians amazed:

Nobody Is Watching – I Will Sit Down Like A Human

No one is here – I can finally sit back comfortably:

More articles of interest

Explore the Cubic congestion control provider for Windows

Microsoft made Cubic the default congestion control provider for Windows 10 and plans to do the same for Windows Server 2019. Learn what this means for your organization.

How to automate Windows 10 imaging with Packer

Windows 10 imaging isn’t easy, especially with Microsoft’s continuous release model. Here’s how IT can use Packer and MDT to reuse code for Windows images and automate the process.

Explore options for VDI disaster recovery

Every VDI deployment should have a disaster recovery plan that doesn’t break the bank. Explore some ways to implement VDI disaster recovery in an organization.

Design a VMware environment with CPUs, storage in mind

A solid infrastructure is critical to smooth operations in the data center. Admins designing a VMware environment should think about CPUs, storage and reference architectures.

Send us your feedback!

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

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