Thursday, October 20, 2016

No more temporary profiles with User Profile Disks!

Looks like Microsoft has finally found a solution to the issue of RDS User Profile Disks failing to dismount from Session Host servers properly, causing temporary profile issues the next time you launch an app. A fix is available in the October 2016 Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2. Because this is the preview, it should only be installed on test servers for the time being, but should be ready and released for production next month!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Directory Synchronization to Office 365 w/ Azure Active Directory Connect

Hello everyone! It's been a while - sorry about that. Life has been extremely busy for me the past couple months and I haven't posted in some time. Something that has been reaffirmed to me lately is the fact that life, just like IT, is constantly changing. Since my last post, I've left my old employer (along with almost a dozen of my old co-workers), an organization that had an "old school" mentality in regards to IT.

I'm now with an organization that is much more forward-thinking in regards to embracing cloud technologies, automation, and scripting. Interestingly enough, my title has transitioned from Senior Cloud Analyst to the much more common Senior Systems Engineer, and yet, I'm doing more with the Cloud in this role than the former. How ironic.

My wife and I are also expecting the arrival of our third child in the next several days. Much time has been spent over the past months and weeks preparing for this huge life event once again. My two children can't wait to meet the new baby, especially my son as he is ready to become a "big brother" at long last.

Transitioning to a new job and preparing for a new child - that pretty much explains where my time has been sunk for the past two months. As I step back into blogging, I wanted to write a post about cloud technologies that I'm now working with, particularly Office 365. I inherited a partially working directory synchronization setup that I've been working to fix. In order to better understand the process and what's happening, I wanted to start from scratch and build from the ground up.

The architecture of directory sync to Azure AD - graphic courtesy of Microsoft.
Thankfully, Microsoft offers a free 30-day trial of Office 365 that's perfect for a home lab environment. I'll be demonstrating how to use the Azure Active Directory Connect (AAD Connect from this point forward) tool to synchronize your on-premise Active Directory with Office 365. As usual with my guides, this post will be screenshot heavy - you've been forewarned!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fixing a Corrupt Session Collection

The Problem

Occasionally you may run into an issue where you cannot perform certain actions within RDS. For example, attempting to add a new Session Host to a collection will fail with an error stating that the properties could not be distributed to all session hosts. I've also witnessed this error when attempting to modify the settings of a Session Collection, in which case an error message is received stating the following - “Could not set the appropriate properties on the servers. Ensure that all servers are available on the network, and the properties are not managed by Group Policy.”

Error message when attempting to modify a Session Collection
Error message when attempting to modify a Session Collection
This occurs when a Session Collection becomes corrupted for some reason. If you find yourself in this situation, you can use some pseudo-hidden PowerShell commands to find and fix the corrupt Session Collection.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Troubleshooting timeouts in the RDS console when setting a User Profile Disk path

Ran into this fun one the other week. When attempting to change the location of the User Profile Disk share on a collection, the operation times out, and some session hosts in the collection grab UPD’s from the new UNC path, while some session hosts grab UPD’s from the old UNC path. This occurred on a session collection with a larger number of session host servers (15+).

Receiving a timeout error when attempting to set a new UPD path
Receiving a timeout error when attempting to set a new UPD path

In order to fix this and get all session host servers pointed at the same UNC path, on the session host servers that are still pointed to the old UNC share, open regedit and browse to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\ClusterSettings. Modify the string value UvhdShareUrl and change it to the correct UNC path.
Modifying the UvhdShareUrl registry entry
Modifying the UvhdShareUrl registry entry
That's all there is to it. The session host servers do not need to be rebooted or any services reset. The new profile path will begin being used as users launch new sessions to the servers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Windows Management Framework 5.0 Released (again)

Microsoft has now republished Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.0 to the Microsoft Download Center. WMF 5.0, which includes PowerShell 5.0 and improvements to PowerShell Desired State Configuration, was previously released but then pulled due to a bug with correctly loading the PSModulePath variable.

I've been looking forward to WMF 5.0 being released for some time now. With each release, Microsoft had added new features, and this release is no different. PackageManagement and PowerShellGet are great new features, and should change the way we load software and PowerShell modules on our systems. I'm hoping Desired State Configuration will start to take off in the enterprise, especially with the addition of partial configurations.

WMF 5.0 is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, 2012, 2008 R2, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1. Make sure you do your due diligence and test the download before moving to production systems -

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Remote Desktop Management service fails to start on RDS 2012 R2 Connection Broker

After rebooting the RD Connection Broker or attempting to restart services, the RDS Management service fails to start. An error is logged in the System event log such as follows:

The Remote Desktop Management service terminated with the following service-specific error:

This can occur if the SQL database in a Highly-Available deployment is unavailable. Ensure the SQL server is up, the database is available and the SQL server can be contacted.