Windows 2016 Shares Not Working via Hostname

Windows Server 2016 Version 1607

Some versions of Windows 2016 have an authentication issue which causes shares to not work via hostname. Shares continue to work via IP, but a registry change must be made for the share to work via hostname. You should first verify that you are definitely not experiencing a DNS issue or a cached credential issue; most of the time, it is a DNS issue.

At least one other post reports similar issues in Windows 10. When this issue arises, a dialog box prompting for credentials will pop-up, but any network credentials will return “Access is denied” and ask you to enter credentials again. The only credentials that will work are local accounts on the server.

Conditions for the Issue

  • Windows Server 2016 Version 1607
  • Enable-SMB1Protocol:  False
  • SmbServerNameHardeningLevel:  1 or 2

You can check the second two items by running the below command from PowerShell.



The Solution for Shares not Working via Hostname

We fixed this issue with one registry change. Edit the RequiredPrivileges entry in the below path and append SeTcbPrivelege to the end of the list. Additional details about the SeTcbPrivilege parameter are available from Microsoft. Microsoft has claimed that this solution is only a “workaround”, and there should be a hotfix for it in the future.

LanmanServer RequiredPrivileges

The Cause

The shares do not work via hostname because of a Kerberos authentication issue. IP shares still work because it uses NTLM authentication, whereas FQDN hostname shares use Kerberos. The latest hotfixes have fixed this in most versions of Windows 10 and 2016. However, in Version 1607, it has not been addressed yet by the 2017-08 Update (KB4035631) or Security Update (KB4034658).

We discovered this by poring over many traces and logs while trying to access the shares. A packet analysis shows “STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED” replies to the Session Setup Requests from the Client. An SRV trace reveals an “SPN (cifs/ is invalid” error.

Managing Office 365 via Active Directory

How Azure AD Connect works

The company has moved from an on-premise Exchange Server to Office 365. You have set up AD Connect to sync all your data and passwords. You have decommissioned and uninstalled all local instances of Exchange Server. Suddenly you discover that you must manage Office 365 via Active Directory, and it seems impossible to because many settings must be changed in the Active Directory Users and Computers Attribute Editor.

Your options for management are essentially the following:

  1. Disable AD Connect – Your data in AD and Azure AD will no longer be synced, but you can easily manage everything from
  2. Install Exchange Server locally – Your data will be in sync. You can set up Mail-Enabled Users to manage users with mailboxes, and groups and contacts will be managed the same way as before via the Exchange Management Console.
  3. Manage mailboxes through Active Directory Users and Computers – Your data will be in sync, and you will have the turn on “Advanced Features” to access the Attribute Editor.

This is a reference table with examples choose Option 3, and manage Office 365 via Active Directory.

TypeFunctionAD AttributeExample
UserHide User from Address BookmsExchHideFromAddressListsTRUE
UserSet alias emailproxyAddressessmtp:[email protected]
UserSet primary emailproxyAddressesSMTP:[email protected]
UserSet Exchange AliasmailNicknameinfo
GroupPermitted SendersauthOrigCN=First Last,OU=IT,OU=Panda Tech,DC=pandatech,DC=co

Frequently used Office 365 settings that are difficult to find in the AD Attribute Editor will continue to be added to the table in the future.

Connect using Windows RSAT with a Non-Domain Joined Machine

When deploying your first Windows Server Core installation, you may find yourself having difficulty managing the server using Windows RSAT. This may be because there is no DOMAIN and one or both the server and workstation are part of a WORKGROUP. Below is the method I use to ensure initial access from a workstation using Windows RSAT Tools.

The demo connects a Windows 10 Pro workstation to manage a Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 installation. Remember that you’ll at least need to be running Windows 8.1 to properly remotely manage a Windows 2012 server.


winrm quickconfig
  • Firewall rules have been configured. If you are just testing, you can easily turn of the firewall by running the following:
netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off


You’ll need to start by opening the Component Services MMC, or Run… dcomcnfg. Expand Component Services, then Computers.

  1. Right-click My Computer and select Properties
  2. Select the COM Security tab
  3. Under the Access Permissions section, click Edit Limits…
  4. Highlight ANONYMOUS LOGIN
  5. Check the box next to Remote Access; by default it should be unchecked
RSAT dcomcnfg settings

Next, you’ll want to run PowerShell as an Administrator. The name of my lab server is “2012CORE” and the user is “2012CORE\Administrator“. You’ll want to replace these with your own values.

The first line will add credentials for your server to Windows Credential Manager. The second line adds your server’s DNS hostname to the TrustedHosts list. You cannot use an IP for this. If your workstation cannot reach the server via hostname, you may need to update the hosts file manually. Finally, the third line is used to verify that your server now appears in the TrustedHosts list.

cmdkey /add:2012CORE /user:2012CORE\Administrator /pass
Set-Item "WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts" 2012CORE
Get-Item -Path WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts | fl Name, Value
RSAT PowerShell

Hopefully, this will help you remotely manage that core server outside of your domain using Windows RSAT.

Fix Windows 10 Apps Not Working

Windows 10 Apps not working

A handful of users have encountered an issue with some or all of their Windows 10 Apps not working after an update. For myself, I noticed this happen when I tried to open my Calculator and Store apps. According to the Programount blog, this often happens if you have your display scale above 100% or multiple languages installed. In my case, I have multiple languages.

If you’re lucky, the Windows apps troubleshooter will fix the problem. If not, there are a number of suggested solutions by Microsoft, but for many like myself, nothing seems to work. Some suggestions like performing a clean install or creating a new user profile and transferring all your data circumvent the issue with Windows 10 Apps not working, but they don’t actually “fix” the problem. However, some have also stated that creating a new user only temporarily resolves the issue.

To fix my Windows 10 Apps not working, I had to try (and fail) reinstalling them using the PowerShell commands, then go digging in the Event Viewer for the specific cause of the issue.  Below are the steps I followed to repair my Store App.

  1. Open a PowerShell window; be sure to Run as Administrator…
  2. Search for the App by Name using the following command:
Get-AppxPackage -Name <em>store</em>
  1. Note the PackageFullName. In this example it is Microsoft.WindowsStore_11602.1.26.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  1. Try to reinstall the package, and you’ll most likely receive an error:
Add-AppxPackage -register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WindowsStore_11602.1.26.0_x64_ _8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode
  1. Now we’ll have to open up Event Viewer and navigate to the below log and look for the most recent Warning message, and click on the Details tab to identify what is causing the issue. For me the issue was that a file under the ManifestPath was not found, because it did not exist–the file C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\AppRepository\Microsoft.WindowsStore_11602.1.26.0_neutral_split.language-zh-hans_8wekyb3d8bbwe.xml.
Application and Services Logs
└── Microsoft
    └── Windows
        └── AppXDeployment-Server
            └── Microsoft-Windows-AppXDeplomentServer/Operational
Event Viewer MainfestPath
  1. Navigate to the folder causing the issue. If you do not have permissions to AppRepository, you will have to temporarily make yourself an Owner.
AppRepository Owner
  1. Once you are, you will probably see that the file in the ManifestPath earlier does not exist. Find a similar file and copy and paste it into the folder. I used the Microsoft.WindowsStore_11602.1.26.0_neutral_split.scale-100_8wekyb3d8bbwe.xml file.
  2. Rename it to match the missing file from earlier.
Missing ManifestPath File
  1. Edit the ResourceId in the XML file to match the missing item. For me, it was split.language-zh-hans.
  1. Revert the AppRepository folder’s Owner to NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller.
  2. Run the PowerShell command again, and it should run without an error
Add-AppxPackage -register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WindowsStore_11602.1.26.0_x64_ _8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode
Add-AppxPacakge success
  1. Try opening the App again, and it should work now

Because the Windows 10 Apps may not be working for a number of reasons, this may not solve all the Windows 10 Apps not working issues people are facing, but hopefully it can help some individuals. Regardless, let me know if you have any improvements or insights.

Block Spam and Phishing from Spoofed Emails in Office 365

Spoofing block rule for Office 365

The more we rely on email, the more susceptible we are to spam and phishing attempts by cyber frauders. Recently, yet another company lost 3.8 million when they made a bank transfer requested by a spoofed email. How did it happen?

The attackers set up an email account that mirrored [Alutiiq CEO] Hambright’s email address and sent an email to Alutiiq’s controller that gave instructions about a “confidential transaction” by a person who called minutes later.

Pretending to be an attorney, the co-conspirator requested an “urgent” transfer of the $3.8 million “to an entity later revealed to be a fictitious third party company based in Hong Kong,” Hambright wrote. Hambright and the chief financial officer discovered the transfer two days later.

All companies small and large are susceptible to scams like this. Fortunately for Office 365 users, there is an easy way to effectively block spam and spoofing attempts by blocking senders from “Outside the organization”. Microsoft TechNet Blogger Caltaru Mihai also mentions this technique near the end of his Block Spoofing in Office 365 post and appropriately cautions “that this is a dangerous rule if not configured correctly, but it is very effective at blocking spoofing“.

Office 365 Exchange Admin Center

  1. Log into your Office 365 Exchange Admin Center
  2. Navigate to mailflow, then rules, and add a new rule
  3. Click “More Options…” near the bottom of the new window
  4. Add two conditions:

       The sender’s domain is…
       The sender is located… Outside the organization

  5. Add one action:

       Reject the message with the explanation… Message has been blocked as an email spoofing attempt.


       Modify the message properties… Set the spam confidence level (SCL) to… 9

  6. Add an exception(s)
    • This is not necessary, but it is usually a good idea to whitelist your company’s WAN IPs as well as any other legitimate services that may be sending emails on your company’s behalf. If you have SPF set up, then you can use the same IPs listed in the SPF TXT record
Spoofing block rule for Office 365
Spoofing block rule for Office 365
Spoofing spam rule for Office 365
Spoofing spam rule for Office 365

Let me know if this rule works out for your organization, or if you find some new ways to improve it!

Configure a Custom Domain for Single Sign-On in Azure

Azure AD 1

Azure AD is a great new subscription based product from Microsoft, perfect for Apps and Cloud Backups, however adding a custom domain and configuring it for single sign-on with you local Active Directory can be tricky. After deleting my custom domain twice and all my synced users once, we discovered this to be the easiest way to setup single sign-on in Azure.


  • Active Directory Federation Services must be installed and configured
  • A Global Administrator on Azure Active Directory
  • A Enterprise Administrator on your domain


  1. Add the domain to Azure Active Directory. Check the “I plan to configure this domain for single sign-on with my local Active Directory.”
  2. Add a User. The user will be a “New user in your organization” and must have Global Administrator priveleges. We created “[email protected]
  3. Sign in with the new user and update the password.
  4. Get the code for verifying the custom domain by opening an elevated PowerShell session and running the following commands:
    $cred = Get-Credential
    Connect-MsolService -Credential $cred
    Get-MsolDomainVerificationDns -DomainName "" -Mode -DnsTxtRecord

    Enter the new user’s credentials in the prompt that opens after the first command. Then replace the last command with your own custom domain name. See the example output below:
    Azure DNS 2

  5. Create TXT record with the Alias or Hostname @ and the Address from the PowerShell results. Below is my record:
    Azure DNS
  6. Depending on your host and the internet, it may take a while before the DNS records update. Once they do you will need to run the following command:
    New-MsolFederatedDomain -DomainName ""

    If the DNS records have not updated yet, you will get an error. Once completed, the custom domain should appear as “Verified” in Azure AD. Successful PowerShell results look like this:
    Azure AD 3

  7. On a Domain Controller, install download and install Microsoft Azure Active Directory Connect.
  8. Run Azure AD Connect using the Express Settings, and sign in with the account you created in Step 3 on the first page. Sign in with an Enterprise Administrator on your domain in the second page. Check “Start the synchronization process as soon as the configuration completes”, and click Install.
    Azure AD Global AdministratorAzure Enterprise Administrator
  9. Installation should complete within a few minutes. The sync will automatically begin afterwards, and it may take some time depending on the size of your domain and your internet speed.
  10. Verify that accounts appear in Azure AD afterwards, and try signing into the Azure Portal with one of your local accounts.

Hopefully this helps you configure single sign-on in Azure with your local Active Directory. Post any questions in the comments. You may also find Microsoft’s Azure AD Directory Integration documentation helpful as well.

WSUS Configuration Fails: “ALTER DATABASE statement failed”

When you are installing or reinstalling Windows Server Update Services on a Windows Server 2012 machine, the WSUS post-deployment configuration tasks will sometimes fail.

Check the logs in C:\User\<username>\AppData\Temp\, and if the last line before the WSUS configuration failure states: “System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException (0x80131904): Changes to the state or options of database ‘SUSDB’ cannot be made at this time. The database is in single-user mode, and a user is currently connected to it. ALTER DATABASE statement failed” then you should prepare to remove the WSUS role, its associated features, and the database. Of course, you should backup your previous database, especially if this is a machine in production.

This is a snippet of the error that I kept getting in my logs:

2015-05-26 21:17:16  Configuring WID database...
2015-05-26 21:17:16  Configuring the database...
2015-05-26 21:17:19  Establishing DB connection...
2015-05-26 21:17:20  Checking to see if database exists...
2015-05-26 21:17:29  Database exists
2015-05-26 21:17:29  Switching database to single user mode...
2015-05-26 21:17:40  System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException (0x80131904): Changes to the state or options of database 'SUSDB' cannot be made at this time. The database is in single-user mode, and a user is currently connected to it.
ALTER DATABASE statement failed.
   at Microsoft.UpdateServices.DatabaseAccess.DBConnection.DrainObsoleteConnections(SqlException e)
   at Microsoft.UpdateServices.DatabaseAccess.DBConnection.ExecuteCommandNoResult()
   at Microsoft.UpdateServices.Administration.ConfigureDB.ConnectToDB()
   at Microsoft.UpdateServices.Administration.ConfigureDB.Configure()
   at Microsoft.UpdateServices.Administration.PostInstall.Run()
   at Microsoft.UpdateServices.Administration.PostInstall.Execute(String[] arguments)
Fatal Error: Changes to the state or options of database 'SUSDB' cannot be made at this time. The database is in single-user mode, and a user is currently connected to it.
ALTER DATABASE statement failed.

1. Remove Windows Server Update Services

You will need to remove Windows Server Update Services, WID Database, and WSUS Services from the Server Roles. You will also need to remove the Windows Internal Database from the Features.
WSUS Roles
WSUS Features

2. Delete the C:\Windows\WID folder

Unfortunately, removing the Windows Internal Database feature does not remove the actual database. You should back up this database if necessary, then delete the C:\Windows\WID folder
WSUS Folder

3. Re-install WSUS Role using a Local Admin account

Some have had success reinstalling it as a Domain Admin, however I have had mixed results. But I have never had an issue installing WSUS using a Local Admin account, so I recommend it to anyone who is still having issues installing WSUS and getting through the post-deployment configuration.

Let me know if this works for you or if you run into any other issues with your WSUS deployment.

Adding Multiple Users to Active Directory

ImportBulkUsers ps1

Adding Multiple Users to Active Directory can be done very simply by creating a CSV file, which administrators can easily edit using Excel, and running the PowerShell script below. (CSV template and script download at the bottom) Someone will still have to fill out every user’s information and ensure that the proper OU exists, but after that it is smooth sailing. This is just a starting point for administrators though; it is easy to specify more categories such as Department, Telephone, E-mail, etc. by adding columns to the CSV and lines to the PowerShell script.


This CSV (download) is a starter template for adding multiple users to Active Directory. If you need to add more AD attributes, simply create a column, note the Ldap-Display-Name, and add the details for each user. Once this is complete, save it to a directory on a Domain Controller, and get ready to run the script below. We used the directory C:\ADtest in our example.

ImportBulkUsers CSV

The PowerShell script

The PowerShell script (download) has been written to with the CSV template above, but administrators will still need to make at least 1 edit to the script—in Line 4, administrators will need to edit “” to be there domain, such as “”. Be sure to keep the quotation marks around the domain, otherwise you will run into syntax errors. The script also assumes that you saved the CSV file to C:\ADtest. Administrators can change this -Path to existing location in Line 2.

ImportBulkUsers ps1

The above shows the results from running it in PowerShell ISE. If you don’t want it to display successful results when adding multiple users to Active Directory, delete -PassThru from Line 17. If the user already exists, an error will be displayed, but the script will continue to process other users contained in the CSV. If you added more columns and attributes in the CSV, you’ll have to include the Ldap-Display-Name and column name between Lines 7-17.

Import-Module ActiveDirectory
Import-Csv -Path "C:\ADtest\importbulkusers.csv" | ForEach-Object {
    $SAM = $_.GivenName[0] + $_.Surname
    $UserPrincipalName = $SAM + ""
    $Name = $_.GivenName + " " + $_.Surname
    New-ADUser `
        -UserPrincipalName $UserPrincipalName `
        -SamAccountName $SAM `
        -Name $Name `
        -DisplayName $Name `
        -GivenName $_.GivenName `
        -Surname $_.Surname `
        -Description $_.Description `
        -Path $_.Path `
        -AccountPassword (ConvertTo-SecureString $_.Password -AsPlainText -Force) `
        -Enabled $true `

Download the CSV template
Download the PowerShell script

Enable Remote Disk Management on Windows Server 2012 R2 Core

Remote Disk Management

Microsoft recommends using Windows Server Core for many critical server roles, but that means you need to be a black belt with PowerShell. Even simple things, such as managing disks can be difficult. When you first connect, it is common to get errors such as “Disk Management could not start Virtual Disk Service (VDS) on…” or “The RPC server is unavailable.

This will help you configure Windows Firewall to enable remote disk management on Windows Server 2012 core installations.

Enable Firewall Exceptions on the Client and Server

You will need to enable the exceptions on both the machine you are trying to access (the Server) and the machine you are accessing from (the Client). You can do so with the following command in an elevated Command Prompt or PowerShell:

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Remote Volume Management" new enable=yes

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Remote Volume Management" new enable=yes
Note: My client machine updated 6 rules, but my server only updated 3 rules (as seen in the next screenshot.

On the Server, you can check if all the appropriate exceptions are enabled with the following PowerShell command:

Get-NetFirewallRule | Where { $_.DisplayGroup -Eq "Remote Volume Management" } | Format-Table

Make sure that all three items are enabled (True). If they are not, try running the netsh command again. Also, make sure that the VDS service is running on the Server. It is also a good idea to set the VDS service to start automatically.

Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Volume Management"

You can also try the commands recommended by Microsoft. They do the same thing as the netsh command above. If you want to see the individual exceptions that are updated, you can run it with the -verbose flag as I did in the screenshot.

Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Volume Management"

I hope these commands help you manage your Server Core installation.

Download A File Using PowerShell

messing with PowerShell (1)

Someday you may find yourself unable to download a file the normal way—clicking a link in a browser. You may be infected with a ZeroAccess rootkit or other malware, have Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration turned on, or just have issues launching the browser. At that point, you should download a file using PowerShell. To download a file using PowerShell, users can run the following cmdlet:

(New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile("http://domain/file", "C:\folder\file")

I’ve had to use this numerous times to download either anti-malware software or a different, non-Internet Explorer browser. However, on occasion, the PowerShell’s execution policy may be set to restricted, then users will have to run this cmdlet before they can download a file using PowerShell:

powershell Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted