Add1son's Blog

A place for pondering, planning and projects

Skype For Business 2016 – Cutting out after 5 Seconds Fix

Skype For Business is a great tool and an adequate replacement for Lync within an enterprise environment.

After moving to O365 hosted exchange, a client had issues getting the cloud-based Skype For Business running on conference machines. The issue that was happening was 10-20 seconds into the call it would disconnect with no error message. The call would just close and that was all she wrote. These conference room machines were a part of the active directory environment of this client and did not have a local account login.

The issues had the following characteristics

  • Only occurs on conference room machines
  • Happens on Windows 10
  • Intermittent and random in occurrence.

This issue had me scratching my head for a little while considering the following solutions,

  • Perhaps network-based traffic QOS rules were needed given the offsite solution?
  • Maybe, bloatware was killing the connection?
  • Antivirus could be at fault?
  • Local windows firewall killing the connection?

None of the above ended up being the case and the root cause was found to be that users were not logging out and instead were clicking “switch user” which is a “fast user switching feature”.

Here is how you disable that!

  1. Open gpedit.msc and follow the following directory structure
  2. Local Computer Policy/Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Logon -> Hide Entry Points for Fast User Switching
  3. That’s it! Restart and apply group policy to verify it has been fixed

Extra credit would be creating a separate computer based OU within ADUC and apply the GPO server side for any user that logs onto these machines. This could save a considerable amount of time given the above instructions would require interaction with any communal / conference room computer that multiple users could be logged into at any given time.

Weekly Rundown Week 7 2018

Newsworthy

Seriously, Delete your facebook account if you still use one or at the very least reduce your use of the platform.

Drop any apple device with some unicode, this is the second time this has happened in recent memory.

Terrible “news” sites response to adblockers being “can we transparently use your computer to mine if you don’t want to view advertisements? This may be the first time that this has been reported but it will not be the last time. Reminder to use uBlock Origin or uMatrix

  • People are walking into glass at the new Apple headquarters

Apple spent 5 Billion on a new HQ but looks like they have had 2 cases of “minor cuts but did not appear to require hospitalization”. Another interesting idea is that California has law in place that they could be breaking in order to keep the “spaceship” campus aesthetics.

Is it really though? This is tied in with stories that have been linked in previous weeks in regards to GPU shortages, the Search For Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) researchers state that they want to expand operations but can’t because they can’t buy graphics cards due to the market. This is the barrier to entry? It doesn’t seem like this would be a barrier to entry for anyone doing serious research, it is a good headline though.

Coincidence?

Worth a Read

Videos

This is more of a youtube channel but I have watched around 80% of the total content uploaded by this channel. The engineering that goes into theme park rides that are just lost to time is incredible. Very interesting and well researched content.

Tools that I am enjoying

  • I got IFTTT to work with Telegram to post a daily hydration reminder to a channel that I admin (unfortunate that this is a thing), I saw a library for python => Telegram which could be of use.
  • I am still enjoying Toby The Tab Manager but currently Papaly also offers a great bookmark management solution.

Tunes

Weekly Rundown Week 6 2018

Newsworthy

Worth a Read

Videos

Books

Tools that I am enjoying

  • Working on integrating Telegram with IFTTT + additional workflows.

Potential future posts

  • Deepfakes

P.s. Sorry for being late, wordpress died after I upgraded to the newest version

Weekly Rundown Week 5 2018

Newsworthy

Videos

Worth a Read

Tools that I am testing

  • Inoreader – Better version of Feedly from what I can tell,
  • Letterboxd – Keep track of the films you consume, might just create a blog post / page and update it manually as for a paid site the main feature is curation that you can get for free

Cleaning up,

So I was running and gunning with the TwentySixteen theme for most of 2017 and I figured why not change the look a little bit in 2018. This new theme is Galaxia and it is similar in nature with slight changes. Design and visual arts are two things that don’t come all that easily to me as you can tell by my choices to use well designed landing pages and themes as I believe my time is better spent doing other things.

I have added the RSS feed link on the landing page which was accessible before but not without a little bit of monkeying around. Speaking of which I am looking to get MailChimp up and running for new posts so that users can subscribe via email to get maybe a weekly rundown on the regular + whatever else I have going on at the time. Work has had me very busy lately but the Weekly Rundown will be coming out as scheduled and I have enjoyed putting them together.

Might be adding additional pages / widgets to my WordPress site as I could use the experience setting up some additional features. Previously I was using vanilla WordPress but I have recently added JetPack as it does some really neat stuff as well. Part of what I am doing now is adding comments so that some feedback can be given and I would love to hear from you regarding the design changes! That’s all for now,

How to make the most secure Windows Server ever!!1!

AKA – What to do if you install 2 antivirus products on one machine and RDP/Vsphere console are completely non-responsive.

Our guys at Symantec have done the footwork in the user forums to see if they could resolve the issue in this forum post.Boot into safe mode with networking on the Windows Hosts that you are working on by pressing F8 during the BIOS splash prior to boot. It is possible that your VM will breeze through the bios faster than you can click F8 during the boot sequence. If this is the case right click the VM -> Edit Settings -> Options -> Advanced -> Boot Options -> “Power on boot delay” -> Add millisecond value (e.g. 1000 for 1 full second)

Login to the server and after this use the following code to allow for an uninstall to be processed by the server. If multiple machines are having this issue save the following code into a .bat file and then place it in a network shared location and run it on each machine

REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CURRENTControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network\MSIServer” /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D “Server”
net start msiserver

At this point you will be able to uninstall the antivirus that is causing the issues and then restart your server and everything should be back up and running.

That concludes the How to portion of this post but the bigger question is how could this be avoided by the antivirus itself and/or does this occur with every antivirus? It surely would be interesting to see what products cause the most of this problem. Perhaps that will be a post for the future.

The title of this post was a bit tongue in cheek in that if not even IT staff is able to access a server it must be Fort Knox! One would think that if the primary goal is to secure a computer does that mean that the antivirus has failed in its goals or has it succeeded? It is interesting to me that an antivirus wouldn’t see another antivirus installing as being malicious or potentially causing harm. This opens a larger door in the balance between security and ease of use. Should an Antivirus product not allow you to access the sites of their competitors? This would make sure something like this wouldn’t happen but it also has the possibility to cause more issues than it is preventing.

Most people know not to install two copies of AV over one another but it does happen and most likely will continue to happen. This will also question the use of classic signature based AV in the sense that we are generally moving towards more innovative ways of capturing this sort of data in machine learning / AI integrated products. I will conclude this post with the question in that what if an AI was turned against itself in the form of having to AV products that were AI driven? Would we be in a worse spot than what inspired this blog post? Only time will tell.

Weekly Rundown Week 4 2018

Newsworthy
Books
Tools that I am enjoying
  • Pocket – I have been using this when browsing my news feeds on my phone as to save things for later to add to my rundowns. The feature of just being able to share an article and then selecting pocket (Android) is nice and centrally managed. Naturally, if something self hosted existed for this it would be neat to use but for now Pocket works very well. The integration with Firefox / Firefox accounts is also an awesome feature.

Weekly Rundown Week 3 2018

Newsworthy
Sites
Habits
Books
Tunes
Tools that I am testing
  • Wavebox – Follow up from 2 weeks ago. The lack of extension support is what is keeping me away from buying premium at this point. The program is built on chromium / electron but doesn’t allow extensions such as Mailvelope or uBlock origin. Perhaps if I start using more webapps I will reconsider this choice.