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App-V v5 Sequencer crash, an unorthodox approach

On a recent site, there were many issues sequencing an application. The App-V v5 sequencer kept crashing. (might be due to it needing , or requesting a reboot)
Tried sequencing the outsourced MSI, the tidied MSI, and the original EXE file. (yep, 3 sources) all ways the same result.
Sequencer always crashed.
We tried quite a few approaches to this, different approaches to the reboot, running the app, not running the apps.
Walking home I had an idea..

Sequence this in app-v 4.6 then convert to app-v v5. It nearly worked, I only had a Win7 x86 App-v 4.6 machine.
It worked better, but didn't quite work fully (we are currently doing Win 8.1 x64).

Final plan
Seq on Win8.1 x64, with App-V 4.6
Convert 4.6 sft to .appv

Successful conversion, we have an app-V v5 app!!...

 I have had to do this a few times, probably 4 or 5 times, not a huge amount, but I have definitely done it. It might be useful idea to keep tucked away in your tool box of fall back plans.

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K2000 Deployment Appliance Version 3.7.1 Now Available!

We are pleased to announce the immediate release of Service Pack 1 for the K2000 Deployment Appliance version 3.7. This service pack features the following improvements:

·         Upgrades the operating system of the appliance to FreeBSD 10 (for new appliances and virtual appliances)

·         Adds support for hosting a virtual appliance on Hyper-V (RSA is not supported on Hyper-V)

·         Introduces a new strong password policy for the appliance

·         Improves the deployment workbench and the Driver Feed

·         Security, performance and stability improvements

 Service pack 1 is available for immediate download through the Dell Software support portal at: https://support.software.dell.com/k2000-systems-deployment-appliance/

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PACE Suite 3.4.1 hotfix is avalable!

Dear ITNinja community,

The latest version of PACE Suite  is now available at http://pacesuite.com/download/
PACE Suite provides a full set of features for repackaging, tailoring and authoring installations in MSI and App-V format. It has become an effective replacement of bulky tools and studios, for both IT solution providers and internal enterprise use.



PACE Suite 3.4.1 hotfix release notes


Summary

The 4.3.1 hotfix release removes the bugs related to INI and REG files import and some other problems reported by our users.


What’s new – MSI Editor 3.4.1 (PACE Suite v3.4.1)

Bug fixes

  • Fixed REG file import problem which led to loosing registry data types (all registry values were imported as REG_SZ type).
  • Fixed issues related to INI file import using the Features/Components tab.

 

What’s new – MSI Generator 3.3.1 (PACE Suite v3.4.1)

Bug fixes

  • Fixed the issue that caused the following error when installing an MSI created using “Create Package -> Blank Project” feature: “Could not write value to key \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE”.
  • Fixed incorrect import of some kinds of binary registry data from REG files.
  • Fixed the issues that appeared in MSI Generator during capturing process and prevented from successful package creation. Errors messages: “hexadecimal value 0x00, is an invalid character”, “Failed to get string value…” and “Unable to cast object of type System.Int32… ”.
  • Fixed an access issue that could occur when using MSI Generator’s profile stored on a network share.

 

Release notes of the previous versions

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Audit Group Policy Changes to Ensure Secure Active Directory Environment

Group Policy comes handy when applying specific configurations for Users and Computers. These settings are stored in Group Policy Objects which can be linked to Sites, Domains, and Organizational Units. Sometimes, while working on their system, Users find their desktop to have undergone some unexpected change. Such changes might have been done by a central administrator. In many organizations, there are more than one administrator who manage Computer and User objects centrally through Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). Changes done by one administrator might be unknown to others creating a scenario where accountability becomes an issue. In these situations, it becomes mandatory to audit Group Policy changes to know who did what change, when and from which work station.


Understanding the importance of issue, Microsoft provides a Software Assurance (SA) contract program to its clients. Software license and Software Assurance license are available separately. If you have purchased the Software Assurance license, you get the “Advanced Group Policy Management” (AGPM) which comes with “Desktop Optimization Pack”. The AGPM goes a long way in securing your Group Policy environment as it creates an intermediate stage – “Review Stage” - between editing Group Policy Objects and implementing those changes to the live project environment. Thus all changes made to GPO by all Users can be reviewed and their impacts analyzed before they are rolled out to the live project environment. Even in the absence of AGPM which comes with Software Assurance, a lot can be done using GPO auditing feature. 


Windows auditing option for GPO has existed since Windows 2000. However, that auditing was a bit noisy as you could not determine which objects to audit and which not to audit. Enabling auditing on Windows 2000 means a lot of log through flip-through as you cannot enable auditing granularly. With Windows Server 2008, Microsoft introduced advanced auditing option where users can granularly determine what to audit and what not to, in the process creating a manageable amount of logs. In this article we will see how to enable audit for Windows Server 2008.


Whenever you create a domain, a default domain policy is automatically created. To create a new advanced security audit policy, you need to edit the default domain policy and add advanced security audit policy settings. The approach to apply and validate an advanced audit policy should be:

  • Create an advanced audit policy.

  • Make sure basic audit policy doesn’t override advanced audit policy settings.

  • Update Group Policy Settings.

  • Ensure you have got everything right.

To create an advanced audit policy:

  1. Go to Start -> Administrative Tools -> Group Policy Management. 
  2. In the Console tree, double-click on the domain.
  3. Right-click Default Domain Policy, and then click Edit.
  4. Double-click Computer Configuration, double-click Policies, and double-click Windows Settings.
  5. Double-click Security Settings, double-click Advanced Audit Policy Configurations, and then Double-click System Audit policies.
  6. Double-click the policy which you want to configure.
  7. Select the Configure the following audit events check-box.
  8. Select Success and Failure check-box.
  9. Click OK.

This is the first step of implementing a successful audit policy. As mentioned above, after this you have to update Group Policy settings, ensure basic audit policy doesn’t override this advanced policy and verify if everything has been configured the correct way. Following the above mentioned steps you can configure a number of audit settings to ensure every important change made to GPO is logged. You can then go on and view the logs to determine who did, what, when, where and from which computer. You can also take help of third party tools to audit GPO. Group Policy Auditor ( http://www.lepide.com/lepideauditor/group-policy.html ) which comes as part of LepideAuditor Suite can also be used to audit GPO. 

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Unable to access Samba share on KACE appliance using hostname

I noticed recently that I was no longer able to access the KACE share files using the hostname, even though DNS was working properly.  I could only access it using the IP address of the KACE appliance.  The result of this was that I was no longer able to deploy clients using the KACE appliance.  All clients would have to be deployed using group policy or manually.  I contacted Dell KACE support and after many days of waiting for a response, the tech told me that as long as I had a workaround, they were not going to pursue a solution further.  Well today, I discovered that the problem is worse than just not being able to deploy, it also means that I cannot update any clients.  Faced with the prospect of manually updating many client machines, I had new incentive to try to find a solution again.

I looked online for information about Samba and hostname restrictions, and found that hostnames need to be less than fifteen characters.  My hostname is 14 characters formatted like this xx-xx-xxxx####.  I also noticed that others online where having the exact same symptoms with hostnames and Samba shares even without KACE being involved, in that they could only access the shares if they used the IP address and not the hostname.  So, I took a chance and changed my hostname, so that is was formatted like this xx-xx-xxxx.  And, after a reboot, I could then access the KACE shares using just the hostname.  Victory!!!  Just for fun, I changed the hostname back to what it was originally, and then the shares become unavailable using the hostname again.  So, I've gone with the shorter hostname and all seems to be working well again.

I am sharing this with all of you in case you have experienced the same issue.  Try changing your hostname.  It may help.
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