How to Download and Extract Google Earth MSI

If you are trying to deploy software within a Windows Business Environment you are most likely using a deployment solution like SCCM, PDQ Deploy or plain old Active Directory.

Whilst the deployment tools make things really easy for getting the software out to the masses, it does create a new trial (especially with SCCM) of finding the network deployable package with an MSI file being the Holy Grail

Normally the quest goes something like this:

  1. Attempt to download application
  2. Discover that it comes as an EXE or is a streaming installer
  3. Search google for “MSI download for application” or “how to deploy application using SCCM” etc
  4. Open a bundle of the results in new tabs
  5. Piece things together, normally with an extract using 7zip and and running some combination of switches with MSIEXEC

This is pretty much what I have just had to do in order to deploy Google Earth so i thought I would document the process incase anyone has the same issue.

The following instructions assume you are running Windows 10

1. Getting the Download

The normal download link for Google Earth downloads a streaming installer that pulls the latest version of the software direct from Google. This is great for standalone installs but if you are trying to get the full file it can be tricky.

The best option I have found is the Google Earth Pro direct installer page found at https://support.google.com/earth/answer/168344 I have included a list of the windows files (as of the date of this post) with direct links below but check the page for the most recent ones.

v7.3.2

v7.3.1

2. Extract the Files

  1. Once Downloaded, locate the file and Run as Administrator.
  2. Deselect the options
  3. Open C:\Windows\Installer and order by Date modified so that the most recent files are at the top
  4. Click Install on the installer and allow it to install Google Earth.
  5. You should see an MSI file appear in the Installer folder and if you hover over it you should see it reference Google Earth Pro
  6. Copy this file to somewhere else and then click OK to complete the Google Earth Pro install
  7. You can now go ahead and uninstall Google Earth
  8. Rename the MSI file that you copied in step 6 something more suitable such as “GoogleEarth_x64_v7.3.2.msi”
Step 2
Step 5
Step 6

3. Deploy

Now that you have your shiny msi file you can deploy it using your favourite deployment tool.

Virtual disk could not be repaired because there is not enough free space in the storage pool. – Fun with storage spaces

Just a few fun notes with storage spaces:

I was trying to repair a failed storage spaces disk but didn’t have any spare disks or free slots available and the system was due to be decommissioned so investment was not really wanted.

Genius here thought that adding a iscsi disk and then repairing with that would work and as the system was going to be migrated it wouldn’t be much of an issue.

So i added a 2TB iscsi LUN and added the disk to the pool.

set the faulty disk to retired and then tried to repair the pool.

Error!:
Virtual disk could not be repaired because there is not enough free space in the storage pool.

But i have just added 2TB!?! what is going on? Free space for the pool is showing 2TB but yet i cannot use it to do the repair… Why?

Looking a bit harder i saw that the disk media type is showing as UnSpecified in the Physical Disks. Perhaps this is where the issue is – the iscsi disk is not a supported target and storage spaces doesn’t know what to do with it?

Can i force it to be a supported media type?

I know that when the tiered settings came out we could pretend to have SSD disks so why not give that a try?

Get-PhysicalDisk | Select-Object FriendlyName, MediaType, Size

find the Disk (PhysicalDisk9 in my case) and set it as media type HDD

Set-PhysicalDisk –FriendlyName PhysicalDisk9 -MediaType HDD

The command issued ok with no confirmation so just reissue the previous command to verify the disk has change media type

Get-PhysicalDisk | Select-Object FriendlyName, MediaType, Size

If all looks okay, try to start the repair.

Group Policy not applying – Inaccessible, Empty or Disabled

This is affecting Windows 8.1

Group Policies that used to work are now not applying. A quick check on the failing PC using gpresult –h shows that the policy is Inaccessible, Empty or Disabled.

GroupPolicy_Inaccessible_Empty_or_Disabled

No changes have been made to Group Policy.

Quick Solution

This is due to a Microsoft Patch to plug some holes in the way Group Policy is deployed ( https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/3159398 ) and affects group policies where there are security filtering enabled.

Find the Group Policy that is being affected and on the delegation tab give “read” permission to the “authenticated users” group. This will not apply the policy to all users as that is controlled using the “Apply group policy” permission. This will simply allow the GPO to be read and thus interpreted by the PC.

GPODelegation_Inaccessible_Empty_or_Disabled

Once updated, run a gpupdate /force and things should be back to the way they were.

Fixed_GPO_Inaccessible_Empty_or_Disabled

Alternative Solution

Remove the patch KB3159398 from all affected PCsUninstall_Patch_Inaccessible_Empty_or_Disabled

Export Windows Drivers to Central Store

Just made a script to export Drivers to a central store. Handy for when you need to grab a the drivers off of a PC to look at later or to update the rest of the estate with.

Link to resource on Spiceworks: https://community.spiceworks.com/scripts/show/3689-export-drivers-to-central-store

Script:

##########################################
###                                    ###
###         Script to extract          ###
###         latest drivers from        ###
###         windows system and         ###
###         dump to central store      ###
###                                    ###
### By Patrick Louis-Jean     v1       ###
##########################################


### Variables ###
$CentralStore = "\\server\Shares\Drivers" #Where Drivers will be stored centrally
$LocalStore = "C:\Drivers" #working folder on local machine

### Showtime! ###
$SystemOS = (Get-WmiObject -class Win32_OperatingSystem).Caption
$ComputerMake = "$((Get-WmiObject -Class win32_computersystem).Manufacturer)"
$DateTime = Get-date -Format yyyy-MM
$DriverStore = "$LocalStore\$SystemOS\$ComputerMake $((Get-WmiObject -Class win32_computersystem).Model) $DateTime"
mkdir $DriverStore
cd $DriverStore
$DriversList = Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination $DriverStore

foreach ($Driver in $DriversList) {
    #Make Class Directory
    $ClassDirectory = $DriverStore+"\"+$Driver.ClassName
    if (!(Test-Path $ClassDirectory)){
                 New-Item $ClassDirectory -type directory
    }
    #Make Provider Directory
    $ProviderDirectory = $ClassDirectory+"\"+$Driver.ProviderName
    if (!(Test-Path $ProviderDirectory)){
                 New-Item $ProviderDirectory -type directory
    }
    #Move Drivers to Folder
        #Get Original Folder Name
        $OrigDriverFolder = $Driver.OriginalFileName
        $OrigDriverFolder = $OrigDriverFolder.replace("C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\","") #Assuming all drivers are stored here!
        $position = $OrigDriverFolder.IndexOf("\")
        $OrigDriverFolder = $OrigDriverFolder.Substring(0,$position)
        $OrigDriverFolder
        #Make New Folder Name
        $NewDriverFolder = $ProviderDirectory+"\"+$OrigDriverFolder+"_v"+$Driver.Version
        $NewDriverFolder
        #Move Folder
        robocopy $DriverStore"\"$OrigDriverFolder $NewDriverFolder /E /MOVE /NP
}

#Output List of Drivers to CSVFile
$DriversList | Select OriginalFileName, ClassName, ClassDescription, ProviderName, Version |Sort-Object OriginalFileName |  Export-Csv -Path $DriverStore"\DriverList.csv" -NoTypeInformation

#Move to Central Store
robocopy $LocalStore $CentralStore /E /MOVE /NP

System Center Config Manager 2012 R2 Error 0x80004005 when loading task sequence on Surface Pro 3

Windows Command Prompt time and date commands
Windows Command Prompt time and date commands

This is an interesting one that i came across recently whilst trying to deploy an image to a brand new Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

I had two sitting on the bench ready to deploy our stock Windows 8.1 image. The first Surface PXE booted fine and jumped straight into the task sequence as normal however the second one came up with an error 0x80004005 when trying to look for the task sequences.

I knew that it wasn’t the image as surface numberone was working fine. I checked all of the usual things, replaced the ethernet cable etc and after a few reboots, I still had the same error.

After a little digging I found the solution.

The time in the UEFI BIOS was wrong.

The problem is that there is no option to change the time in the UEFI BIOS so you must change it using the PE environment instead:

  1. Make sure that your boot image has command support enabled.
  2. Boot into the Config Manager image.
  3. Before proceeding any further, press the F8 key (Fn + F8).
  4. At the command prompt type the ‘time’ command to change the current time.
  5. Next type the ‘date’ command and enter the correct date following the format for the locale of the PE.
  6. Verify that it has applied by typing

    time /t’

    and then

    date /t

  7. Close the command prompt and continue with your build.

 

Interesting Article – Microsoft rolls out new Windows 10 preview with Cortana and Continuum

We spent a decent chunk of our Wednesday getting a load of what Microsoft’s added to Windows 10 since the last time we saw it, and now the bravest among you can take (most of) that new stuff for a spin. The company launched the next build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview earlier this afternoon, and with it comes long-awaited features like Continuum — for when you’re running Windows on shape-shifting devices — and a new Xbox app that focuses on “the basics.”

And the biggest addition to the mix? Cortana has finally migrated from her home on Windows Phone to the desktop, though not everything works the way it should just yet. A post on the company’s Windows blog written by Microsoft engineering general manager Gabe Aul confirms that the virtual assistant can take down notes and answer questions about weather and finance, but she still has a little trouble transcribing more complex reminders. And the rub? A few of Microsoft’s juicier tidbits still aren’t ready for public consumption. There’s no mention made of the new Project Spartan browser or the company’s updated take on Office, but they’re expected to become available to Windows Insiders later this year. Patience, grasshoppers. Meanwhile, the rest of you can mosey over to the Windows Insider site to take Windows 10 for spin right here and now.

Read more…  via LinkedIn. January 23, 2015 at 10:57PM http://ift.tt/1Eb7HsH

Microsoft OneDrive for Business now offers 1 terabyte of cloud storage per user!

Taken from ZDNet Article

The Microsoft OneDrive for Business team is adding additional incentives meant to attract business users to its cloud-storage offering.

In an April 28 post entitled “Thinking outside the box” (which seems to be a reference to Microsoft competitors Box and/or Dropbox), the OneDrive for Business team announced the following:

  • An increase in OneDrive for Business default storage from 25GB to 1TB per user
  • The inclusion of 1TB of OneDrive for Business storage per user as part of Office 365 ProPlus subscriptions
  • New OneDrive for Business migration assistance from Microsoft (The blog post didn’t elaborate on specifically what Microsoft is offering on this front. But a spokesperson said those interested should contact their Microsoft account managers or partner for details.)

In March 2014, Microsoft officials announced that OneDrive for Business (formerly known as SkyDrive Pro) would be available both as part of a number of existing Office 365 plans, as well as for purchase as a standalone service — something that wasn’t the case with SkyDrive Pro. The standalone version provided business users with 25 GB of storage per employee, with an option to purchase additional storage, offline sync and access from multiple devices. Now that default storage threshold is 1 TB.

Microsoft officials announced during earnings last week that Office 365 is currently on a $2.5 billion annual run rate.

“The cloud is about breaking down walls between people and information. Not building a new set of islands in the sky. Make sure you bet on a file sync and share solution that helps you embrace that,” said Corporate Vice President John Case in the conclusion of today’s blog post.

All Office 365 plans that include OneDrive for Business will see the increase to 1 TB. This includes:

  • All O365 E plans (E1, E3, E4)
  • O365 Small Business
  • O365 Small Business Premium
  • O365 Midsize Business
  • All SharePoint Online plans (SharePoint Online Plan 1 & Plan 2)
  • OneDrive for Business (standalone) with Office Online

As to when new and existing customers will see the 1TB bump, a Microsoft spokesperson said: “Customer eligibility is effective today, but as with service updates roll-out of these features will happen over the next few months.”

Automate Windows 7 Enterprise Activation via ConfigMgr SCCM 2012

sccm

Recently we have been seeing more of our Windows 7 Enterprise Builds needing manual activation against our Enterprise KMS.

The manual process is to set the KMS server and then activate once booted into Windows using the following two commands:

slmgr /skms yourKMSserver.domain.com
slmgr /ato

Adding these two entries into our SCCM task sequence seems to work in principal but there is no silent switch resulting in a confirmation popup .

The solution to this is to use cscript.

In SCCM ConfigMgr, I created a new group in the Task Sequence called “Activate Windows” and added two Run Command line tasks underneath it.

The first task named “Set KMS” with the command line task of:

cscript c:\\windows\\system32\\slmgr.vbs /skms yourKMSserver.domain.com

The second named “Activate against KMS” with the command line task of:

cscript c:\\windows\\system32\\slmgr.vbs /ato

For more info about slmgr.vbs please see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn502540.aspx

First steps for troubleshooting Group Policy Errors

gpo

Group policy can be a bit of a pain to troubleshoot.
Here are a few pointers to get you going in the right direction when trying to fix errors:

  • Make sure you are running on a fast link. Preferably an Ethernet cable
  • Group policy might simply have not updated. At a command prompt run gpupdate /force
  • Running a Group Policy Results report can show you what policies have been applied. At a command prompt type gpresult /h path/to/file.html
  • Take a look at the event log to see if anything jumps out

Following these quick tips should get you on the right path to finding the problem.