Use PowerShell to list and export all updates from a Windows machine

Sometimes when trying to find particular updates and troubleshoot Windows update problems you need to be able to manipulate the update data.  Using the ‘installed updates’ applet is not always practical.  I use the below script to give me a .csv files with all updates installed on a machine.

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Cannot start software protection service & activate Windows and Microsoft Office

This is a quick post to mention a fix for an annoying problem that cropped up today after Sage had been installing their applications on one of our servers.  It first appeared that Windows was not activated (even though I knew I had done this) and the Software Protection service was unable to start.  It was giving the error Windows could not start the software protection service on Local Computer.  You may also notice that Microsoft Office pops up with an error stating Microsoft Office can’t find your licence for this application.  A repair attempt was unsuccessful or was cancelled.  Microsoft Office will now exit.  I experienced the error on Windows 2012 R2 Server but it seems that this is common on all operating systems above Windows 2008 R2.

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Migrating Active Directory from 2008 R2 to 2016

For this post I just wanted to note down my thoughts and plan that I recently used to migrate a client from Active Directory 2008 R2 to Active Directory 2016.  For this work the servers involved were four Windows 2008 R2 servers which all ran AD, DNS, DHCP and NPS.  These roles were being migrated to four Windows 2016 servers.  The servers are spread out geographically and are on different networks but are all part of a single AD domain.  All of the servers are Global Catalog servers.  This is not designed to be low-level guide with all the intricate details but more of an overview (with some useful commands thrown in).

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Active Directory could not transfer the remaining data in directory partition

Just recently I was asked by a client to migrate their Active Directory 2008 R2 servers to Windows Server 2016. All was going well until I needed to demote the old domain controllers and ran DCPROMO.  I was presented with the error Active Directory could not transfer the remaining data in directory partition.  Then below it stated The directory service is missing mandatory configuration information, and is unable to determine the ownership of floating single-master operation roles.  Before starting with the fix I would just note that every step here is important.  Missing some of the details and skipping over things (you may think you know) will slow you down in the long run.

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Setup an SMTP open relay between an onsite Windows Server and Office 365

Problem:
After migrating a client to Office 365 I needed a way of sending email from various applications and devices.  I wanted an open relay for email though an onsite Windows Server to Office 365.

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Activate an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 with a valid key

Problem:
A client recently asked me to setup several VMs using the evaluation copy of Windows Server 2016.  After they had put lots of data on the servers and decided to use them for production purposes they decided they wanted to keep the existing server setup. When inputting a purchased Volume Licence Key they were presented with the error ‘That key can’t be used to activate this edition of Windows. Please try a different key’.

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