The Windows Sysinternals utilities are essential tools for troubleshooting Windows platforms and systems. The tools are being updated constantly, and recently a 2nd edition of the book “Troubleshooting with the Windows Sysinternals Tools” was released. This is an important reference for anyone using these tools to perform Windows troubleshooting. Order your copy today!
I am very excited to announce that my new DirectAccess book, “Implementing DirectAccess with Windows Server 2016“ from Apress media, is now shipping! The book is available on popular online sites like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Springer.com, Apress.com, and others. The book is also available in electronic formats such as Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, as well as a variety of subscription formats including Safari, Books24x7, and SpringerLink.
This book contains detailed and prescriptive guidance for the planning, design, implementation, and support of a DirectAccess remote access solution on Windows Server 2016. It also includes valuable insight, tips, tricks, and best practice recommendations gained from my many years of deploying DirectAccess for some of the largest organizations in the world.
Current DirectAccess administrators will also find this book helpful, as the majority of content is still applicable to DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. In addition, the book also includes essential information on the design and deployment of highly available and geographically redundant DirectAccess deployments.
Troubleshooting DirectAccess can be a daunting task, so I’ve dedicated an entire chapter in the book to this topic. For those responsible for the maintenance and support of DirectAccess in their organization, this chapter alone will be worth the investment.
Be sure to order your copy today!
As I recently mentioned, Microsoft has discontinued and will be terminating their Microsoft Reputation Services (MRS) cloud URL categorization service on or shortly after December 31, 2015. Today, Microsoft released additional information vital to TMG administrators everywhere who are still relying on this service for URL filtering. Specifically, what happens with TMG once Microsoft officially turns off MRS and it is no longer available?
First, any firewall rules that rely on URL categorization to allow traffic will fail closed. That is, they will block all traffic. Second, any rules using URL categorization to deny traffic will fail open and allow that traffic instead. Finally, there is potential performance degradation that may occur with TMG after the service is disabled by Microsoft.
What to do?
First, update any TMG firewall rules that use URL Categories or URL Category Sets. You can replace them with Domain Name Sets or URL Sets, if desired. Next, disable the use of URL filtering in TMG by opening the TMG management console, right-clicking Web Access Policy and choosing Configure and then URL Filtering. Uncheck the box next to Enable URL Filtering and then click Ok.
Finally, consider a replacement solution for TMG’s URL filtering. There are a number of solutions available, both on-premises and cloud-based, that are capable replacements. The Zscaler solution is highly effective, and if you’re looking for a low-buck alternative, consider something like OpenDNS. There are many more, I’m sure.
Identifying the current build number of your Forefront TMG 2010 installation is critically important when making changes or updates to the system. It is generally recommended that all TMG firewalls be on the same release, so having this information is essential. Many TMG administrators use the TMG management console to gather this information, but I can tell you based on experience that this is not always the most accurate method to use.
I much prefer to gather this information programmatically at the command line. In the past I’ve written about using VBScript to do this, but it’s almost 2016 now and we really should be using PowerShell whenever possible. To that end, here are a few lines of PowerShell code you can use to accurately determine which version and build number your TMG firewall is currently running.
$FPC = New-Object -ComObject FPC.Root $Server = $FPC.GetContainingServer() $Server.ProductVersion
If you’ve done any work at all with VBScript and the TMG’s FPC COM object, you’ll no doubt be able to convert some of your existing scripts to PowerShell. Also, PowerShell, with its tab auto completion, is much more discoverable than using VBScript with COM, so I’m sure you’ll be able to do a lot more with TMG using PowerShell.
As a reminder to anyone out there still using the URL filtering feature of their Forefront TMG 2010 firewall, the Microsoft Reputation Services (MRS) service, which provides URL categorization for TMG, will no longer be supported after December 31, 2015. After this date, Microsoft will cease updating their URL categorization database. In addition, there are no guarantees from Microsoft that the service will be available in any form, so customers still using this service are strongly encouraged to look for alternative solutions.
For many organizations, this means migrating to another platform entirely, which is not a bad idea considering that TMG is nearly six years old now. Alternatively, it is possible to replace TMG’s web filtering component. This can be done on premises by using integrations from various third-party vendors, or by using a cloud-based solution such as Zscaler.
Regardless which path you take, you have just over one month to identify and implement another URL filtering solution. Good luck!
Hotfix Rollup 2 for Microsoft Forefront UAG 2010 Service Pack 4 is now available for download. This hotfix rollup includes fixes for the following issues:
KB3066351 – Client HTTP connections to a UAG redirect trunk receives errors after you install hotfix rollup 1 for Forefront UAG 2010 SP4
KB3070067 – You may receive an HTTP 503 “Service is Unavailable” error when a connection to a UAG trunk fails in Forefront UAG 2010 SP4
KB3068283 – You may receive HTTP 503 errors on a server that is running Forefront UAG 2010 SP4
KB3068289 – Moving mailboxes as part of a hybrid Office 365 migration fails in Forefront UAG 2010 SP4
You can download Hotfix Rollup 2 for Forefront UAG 2010 SP4 here.
With the demise of isatools.org a few years ago, many ISA Server and Forefront TMG 2010 administrators have reached out to me to ask where they can find the ISAinfo tool that was previously found on that site. If you’re not familiar with ISAinfo, it was a great utility used for viewing the ISA or TMG configuration by parsing the configuration export. This tool is tremendously useful for providing support, as it includes all of the information required to provide context for troubleshooting. In addition it is an excellent documentation tool.
So, if you’re looking for a reputable location from which to download this tool, look no further. I’ve placed the isainfo.zip file along with the checksums for file verification on my public OneDrive. Enjoy!