Microsoft/Office 365 rename

Going live tomorrow (21st April 2020) Microsoft are renaming some of the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 products. I guess this is what happens when the marketing department have too much time on their hands.

They are renaming all the Business Office 365 range into a Microsoft 365 naming convention.

Office 365 Business Essentialsis nowMicrosoft 365 Business Basic
Office 365 Business Premiumis nowMicrosoft 365 Business Standard
Microsoft 365 Businessis nowMicrosoft 365 Business Premium
Office 365 Businessis nowMicrosoft 365 Apps for business
Office 365 ProPlusis nowMicrosoft 365 Apps for enterprise

Microsoft Teams Background

Microsoft have launched an update to Teams that allows you to change your background. But what if you don’t want to use one of their preinstalled images?

Simply copy the image of your choice to:


And it will be available to choose.

If % appdata% doesn’t work then it will be something like:


Now you can appear in lockdown meetings as if you are at your favourite place.

Some of the Shadowfax Team having a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Secure passwords

Setting a decent password policy has long been a none of contention. IT people want passwords to be secure, and users want something that they can remember.

Net result is that a lot of password policies force users to use something that is hard to remember, but comparatively easy to crack. Having hard to remember passwords leads to users writing them down, reusing them in multiple places, or just coming up with something like P@ssw0rd and thinking they have bucked the system.

XCD wrote a cartoon about it:

So, to help out at Shadowfax I’ve created a password generator for our website. It is nice and simple, generates a password based on a number of random words (I recommend three). There are then options for whether you need a number, capital letter and symbol.

I also added an option to let you set the maximum size of the words used. The dictionary I’m using has 86,000 words in it, and I’ve found if you leave it too long it suggests words above my vocabulary. Great for learning new words- but hard to remember!

What is my IP Address?

I got fed up with using other people’s pages to check public IP addresses, so have put our own checker on our main website:

Google will tell you your IP address if you google “what is my ip address” but when you are on unfamiliar systems you may find the default search engine is Bing or something stupid like that.

So now I have a nice quick url to look it up on.

Deleting files over a certain age

We sometimes find the need to delete all files from a folder over a certain age. For example we have a folder that our network scanner dumps its scans in. Ideally everyone would file their scans straight away, but it doesn’t always happen.

So we have the following script running every hour that removes all files from the folder that are over an hour old.

Get-ChildItem –Path "C:\scans" -Recurse | Where-Object {($_.LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddMinutes(-60))} | Remove-Item

You can change .AddMinutes to .AddHours, .AddDays or AddMonths as appropriate.

Syncing Windows Time service to an external source

It is important to have the Windows Time Service on a DC on the network pointing to an external NTP source to keep time in sync.

There is an article here which tells you how:

I’ve condensed it here to a reg file you can create and run.

Copy the following code into a text document, name it time.reg and run it on a DC.

Then restart the time service with the command:

net stop w32time && net start w32time

Give it a few seconds and the clock should correct itself.

If it is a virtual machine make sure that the Hyper Visor isn’t pushing time out to it, as the server will take that as priority. For example on Hyper-V go to the VM Settings, and Integration Services and un-tick Time synchronization.

The registry file

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



Migrating from NTFRS to DFSR replication of Sysvol

DFSR replication of sysvol is much more reliable, and NTFRS is being deprecated after Windows Server 2016.

This is how to migrate to DFSR. The information here is gleamed from :

and the long version:

Check forest functional level using domain.msc and raise if below 2008.

Force a replication with:

Repadmin /syncall /force /APed

this is optional, but will speed things up, and you can use this replication to check for errors.

Check event log for errors, especially the File Replication Service logs.

Repadmin /replsummary

Check that replication is working.

Dcdiag /e /test:sysvolcheck /test:advertising

Fix any errors.

Next the migration.

dfsrmig /setglobalstate 1


dfsrmig /getmigrationstate

Do not proceed further until it tells you that “All domain controllers have migrated successfully to the Global state.”

dfsrmig /setglobalstate 2

Again check it with

dfsrmig /getmigrationstate

And make sure all DCs have migrated.


dfsrmig /setglobalstate 3

And it is finished when

dfsrmig /getglobalstate

tells you that all DCs have migrated successfully.

You can apparently go straight to state 3, but it doesn’t take long to go the full route, so better taking a little time.


Windows update CAB file build up

We’ve had a spate of PCs filling up their disks recently, and it seems to stem from a bug in Windows update.

The issue occurs because an accumulated update log file grows, and generates a series of CAB files “cab_xxx_x” in the temp folder (normally c:\windows\temp).

The issue isn’t new, I found references to it dating back to 2012. It seems to be a bug with Windows Update on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

If you just delete the CAB files they will come back. The solution seems to be to do the run the following commands:

net stop wuauserv 
net stop trustedinstaller

rmdir /s c:\windows\softwaredistribution
del c:\windows\temp\*.* /s /f /q

net start wuauserv
net start trustedinstaller

If you don’t stop the services first you may not be able to delete the files.

Next step is to run Windows update. Windows 7 and 2008 R2 have a huge number of updates to do from a fresh install, which is why this log file builds up. Deleting the files resets the log, but if there are still too many to do the issue may come back.

I set up a monitor on SolarWinds N-Central to check all our clients temp folder sizes and to run the above as a script if it was over 15GB. That should prevent any space issues on-going.

Alternatively just upgrade to Windows 10 and Server 2016 – they don’t have this problem.

Using Office 365 as your SMTP server on a 3CX PBX

If you want to use Office 365 as your SMTP email server for a 3CX PBX you are best setting up a Connector on the Exchange Online account. I am assuming that your PBX is on the end of a static IP address.

First configure your 3CX server. Under Email and settings set the mail server to match your MX record. This usual follows the format where domain is your email domain with hyphens instead of dots.

Set a reply to address on the same domain. I always use pbx @, it doesn’t go anywhere, I don’t expect anyone to reply to it.

You don’t need a username or password or to enable SSL/TLS as we will set up a connector to receive the email.

Next log on to your Office 365 portal as an administrator, and open your Exchange Admin Center. From there pick connectors under mail flow.

Create a new Connector.

Pick from: Your organization’s email server

To: Office 365

Give it an appropriate name:

Next select By Verifying that the IP address of the sending server matches one of these addresses that belong to your organization

Click the plus to add an IP address and enter your PBX’s internet IP address

Save the connector and you are good to go.

Manually syncing Azure AD

When Azure Connect is setup the quickest way to fire off a manual sync is through powershell.

For a full sync (new accounts etc):

import-module adsync
Start-ADSyncSyncCycle -PolicyType Initial

For a incremental sync (faster but not as thorough):

import-module adsync
Start-ADSyncSyncCycle -PolicyType delta

I normally save these as .ps1 files on the desktop of the server to I can quickly run them.

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