Find when VM was created in Azure Resource Manager

Recently I was asked how to confirm when a particular ARM Virtual machine was created. I thought this would be a relatively easy thing to accomplish. However searching through powershell I could not find any Datecreated on either the VM or the VHD.

in the end I resorted to going into the Windows VM (this will not work on Linux). And checking the location: C:\Windows\panther\

In here you should find a number of files but the ones we are interested in are: WaSetup.log and WaSetup.xml – The dates modified of these files will be from during the provisioning of the Image / VHD.

This was the closest I could find to given a true Date and time.

 

Find Stale AD Computers

Active directory can often be neglected and orphaned computer objects can get out of control. The below script will query your domain (remember to provide your FQDN in the variable at the top) for computers that have not spoken on the domain for 90 days.

By default, Active directory looks to change computer object passwords every 30 days. If you have a large mobile workforce that may not be connecting into the network for a long period of time, you may way to extend this. I find that 90 days works well for us.

NOTE: Be careful when using this on environments that have clusters. SQL Clusters for example, have a AD joined computer object for the name of the cluster. This does not update its lastlogonstamp and therefore gets caught by this script.

import-module activedirectory  
$domain = "domain.local"  
$DaysInactive = 90  
$time = (Get-Date).Adddays(-($DaysInactive)) 
  
# Get all AD computers with lastLogonTimestamp less than our time 
Get-ADComputer -Filter {LastLogonTimeStamp -lt $time} -Properties LastLogonTimeStamp | 
  
# Output hostname and lastLogonTimestamp into CSV 
select-object Name,@{Name="Stamp"; Expression={[DateTime]::FromFileTime($_.lastLogonTimestamp)}} | export-csv c:\source\OLD_Computer.csv -notypeinformation

 

Active Directory Sites – Powershell Site Links

My current client has asked me to look at tidying up their Active Directory, they have 3 environments that all should look identical but as with everything, time permits and changes can skip a environment.

Due to their sector, sites are constantly opening and closing, at any one time they can have over 70 sites. The previous fix to this was to push all the subnets into a single AD replication site and this connect back to the head office (where their domain controllers sit). After having Microsoft in for the day to go over a number of things, Microsoft advised that all sites should be separated as per best practice terms..

Our SCCM boundaries are also based off these Sites, so removing them is not a option.

I spoke to the networks team and got a list of all the subnets and their corresponding sites and started to build each site/subnet/AD site link. It wasn’t long before I wanted to pull my hair out! So i scrapped the manual creation and put together the script below. I have also included the part where I can pull out the information to a CSV that I can then take to the next environment and run to build. This way, i build the environment once in a offline area. and the import across the other environments.

# Run this on server to pull out records - then remove all quotations from CSV
# Get-ADReplicationSiteLink -filter * | Select Name | export-csv C:\source\ADsites.csv -notypeinformation

$Sites = get-content C:\source\Input\ADsites.csv
Foreach ($Site in $Sites) {
New-ADReplicationSite -Name $site -Description "Imported via Script"
}
$sitelinks = Get-ADReplicationSite -filter * 
ForEach ($sitelink in $sitelinks) {
New-ADReplicationSiteLink -Name $sitelink.Name -SitesIncluded $sitelink,10-Eaton-Court -Cost 100 -ReplicationFrequencyInMinutes 30 -InterSiteTransportProtocol IP
}

# Run this on server to pull out all Subnets and sites - then clean down CN= information either side of the site name
# Be careful of subnets specfic to Dev/UAT environment
# Get-ADReplicationSubnet -filter * | Select Name, Site | export-csv C:\source\ADSubnets.csv -notypeinformation

Import-csv C:\Source\Input\ADSubnets.csv | ForEach-Object{New-ADReplicationSubnet -Site $_.Site -Name $_.Subnet}

Find and Disable Empty GPO Sections

The below script can be used to go query your GPO’s and find empty sections (computer or user), and disable them. This improves the speed of processing GPOs as machines will not look to disabled sections.

This was a recommendation from Microsoft during a recent RAP as a service that I consulted on.

Get-gpo -all | foreach {


    [xml]$GPOAsXML = Get-GPOReport -Guid (Get-GPO -Name $_.DisplayName).Id -ReportType Xml

    If(($GPOAsXML.DocumentElement.Computer.Enabled -eq $true) -and ($GPOAsXML.DocumentElement.Computer.InnerText.Length -eq 6))
    {
        (Get-GPO -Name $_.DisplayName).gpostatus = "ComputerSettingsDisabled"
        $_.DisplayName.ToString().PadRight(60) + " Computer section now disabled!"
        
    }
   
    If(($GPOAsXML.DocumentElement.User.Enabled -eq $true) -and ($GPOAsXML.DocumentElement.User.InnerText.Length -eq 6))
    {
        (Get-GPO -Name $_.DisplayName).gpostatus = "UserSettingsDisabled"
        $_.DisplayName.ToString().PadRight(60) + " User section now disabled!"
    }
   
}