TechNet Conference goes virtual (19 June 2009)

From Microsoft:

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the very first TechNet Virtual Conference taking place on 19 June 2009.

You told us that time and budget pressures make attending in person events difficult – so to help both you and the environment we decided to take the TechNet Conference virtual. Now you and your colleagues can join us to get a flavour of some key Microsoft technologies from the comfort of your own desks.

  • Windows 7 – Deployment and Management
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 – 10 things to make life easier for IT Pros
  • An overview of Office Communications Server R2 and voice capabilities
  • The trials and tribulations of SharePoint implementation

We are also really pleased to announce an exclusive Keynote featuring Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Technical Fellow specialising in the Windows platform.

And that’s not the only difference this year. In addition to Microsoft technology news and product overviews from the experts, the TechNet Virtual Conference will also feature a second auditorium focused on IT Management, including:

  • How IT will change over the next 10 years and why you should care – an exclusive session delivered at TechEd EMEA
  • Growing the Business and Managing Costs at Microsoft – An Insider’s View, presented by Asif Jinnah, IT Manager, Microsoft UK

Click here to see the full agenda.

Active Directory Spring Cleaning: Unnecessary Computer Objects

Yesterday, a PowerShell script I’d written sent an email to the members of the Active Directory security groups that are delegated control of computer objects within the OUs for various sections of the University under the “Departments” OU. These messages contained a list of all the computer objects in each departmental OU which haven’t contacted the domain to change their password for 90 days (by default a computer will change its password every 30 days) – that being an indication that the computer object may be unneccesary and could possibly be deleted.

In order to generate these reports, I use Windows PowerShell and the Active Directory cmdlets from Quest Software. Once you have those installed, you’ll find a “Quest Software” folder in the Start menu, which contains the “ActiveRoles Management Shell for Active Directory” – you should run this as a member of the admin group that has permissions on the OU you want to report on. Then it’s just a case of a couple of lines of PowerShell.

[If none of this makes any sense, then I’m going to recommend that you go and read the Getting Started chapter from the TechNet Script Center’s PowerShell Owner’s Manual]

First we’ll put the OU’s distinguished name in a string variable, just to reduce the amount of wrapping we’re going to have on the next line…

$OU = "OU=ISS,OU=Departments,DC=campus,DC=ncl,DC=ac,DC=uk"

Then we find the computer objects by using Quest’s Get-QADComputer cmdlet, and filtering it to find the pwdLastSet property longer than 90 days ago…

Get-QADComputer -SearchRoot $OU -SearchScope Subtree
-IncludedProperties pwdPastSet -SizeLimit 0 | where {$_.pwdLastSet -le $((Get-Date).AddDays(-90))}

That gives you a table of computer objects using the default formatting, but we can do better than that.

If we pipe the output of the filter to the Select-Object cmdlet, we can select interesting properties to look at. I’m going to select the computer object’s name, description and parentcontainerdn so we can see how we’ve labelled it and exactly where it is in our OU structure…

Get-QADComputer -SearchRoot $OU -SearchScope Subtree
-IncludedProperties pwdPastSet -SizeLimit 0 | where {$_.pwdLastSet -le $((Get-Date).AddDays(-90))} | select name,description,parentcontainerdn

These might not be the most helpful properties for the computers you manage, so you can check the full list of properties of the computer objects by piping one into the Get-Member cmdlet.

We might have some useful data at this point, but there’s probably going to be some truncation going on, and it might be more useful if we could sort it. You could use the Sort-Object and Format-Table cmdlets to help, but I’m going to suggest that we might be better getting it out into Excel so you can order it and play with it in any way you want. To that end, we’ll pipe the whole lot into the Export-Csv cmdlet…

Get-QADComputer -SearchRoot $OU -SearchScope Subtree
-IncludedProperties pwdPastSet -SizeLimit 0 | where {$_.pwdLastSet -le $((Get-Date).AddDays(-90))} | select name,description,parentcontainerdn | Export-Csv "C:\temp\computers.csv" -noTypeInformation

I hope that helps. 🙂

Free events on campus in May

As I previously posted, Thursday 14th May sees Eileen Brown from Microsoft come up to the campus to talk about Unified Messaging. This should be a really interesting presentation, especially as WIT are looking to expand our Exchange systems into the UM area. Unfortunately, it’s possibly the last time we’ll get to see Eileen presenting in the North East as a member of the TechNet team, since she blogged yesterday that her current role is being impacted by the recently announced layoffs at Microsoft.

Sign up for your free place at the VBUG site (membership is not required).

Since the last Monday of May is a bank holiday, the SuperMondays event this month is being held on a Tuesday, but don’t let that put you off because the line-up is one of the best yet. The event is being held on the 26th May in the University’s Culture Lab and will feature some of the really interesting work being done there and more.

See for more details and sign up at Eventbrite.