O365 PowerBI

April 17, 2018


Today I would like to demonstrate a real life example on how to use Microsoft Power BI.

Setting the scene :

We are currently deploying the Windows 10 platform in a large environment, we have allready performed a swap of approx 6000 devices and are now starting the refresh on existing devices that are capable of running Windows 10.

In order to do so we rely on our network or Champions. These are skilled , ict minded collegues that each have a group of enduser under their “care”. They can assist their group of users and have specific tools and communication channels available with the ICT service.

Now the customer has approximately 350 different locations in Belgium and we have created a “self-service” system where the end-user drives the upgrade by contacting his favorite champion. He/she can start the refresh operation after performing some manual, some semi-automated actions and after a few hours the laptop is completely up and running with Microsoft latest operating system.

However there are approx 12k devices that will need to be upgraded so this will be an ongoing operation for quite some time. So we needed a way to visualise and to stimulate progress. In comes Power BI !

In short Power Bi is the Business Intelligence part of Office 365 , allowing you to create valuable insight in data. We are not going to discuss the details , we are just going to perform a quick overview and show the result.

Additional info and step by step can be found here :


Step 1 : get the data

Easy , we export the data from sccm query to excel. We get raw data like pc name , AD site and client OS name.


We allready modify the data by creating a pivottable that show totals for location , OS version and devices.


Now we can import this file in our Power BI environment.


Step 2 : manipulate the data

Well our sccm report has the following parameters : pc name, operating system version and AD Site name. The AD site name has a syntax that contains postal code, city and adress information.

Because we want to visualise per province we needed to do the following :

=> Split the column with the ad site information based on “,”


=> Create an additional column that displays province information based on the postal code. Use a formula.


Then combine the information for maximum accuracy on geo location. Also rename to English language.


Good ! Now we want to display something that show the number of devices with Windows 10 versus thet total number of devices. We use a new measure.


Tip ! Rename you headers so you know which data you are using.

Now we define the location field and select the visualisation.


Stunning ! We quickly get an interactive overview of how the rollout is progressing.


And we can even create a location based visualisation.


The sky is the limit … Enjoy.

Gino D


Quick Tip ! Monitor Orchestrator

January 16, 2018


Happy new year and best wishes to all for 2018 ! Unfortunately today on “verloren maandag” real life kicks in.

So I wanted to share how to monitor running runbooks on orchestrator using scom. Now we are not going to use the web interface as it could be that this specific component is down but the runbook server is still fully operational.

So instead we will be using a sql query to check if all runbooks not containing “component” in their path are effectively running.

The script consists of the following parts :

Part 1 : retrieving all the folder ID’s where Component is not present in the pathname

with RunbookPath as


select ‘Policies\’ + cast(name as varchar(max)) as [path], uniqueid from ISD_HOB_Orchestrator.dbo.folders b

where b.ParentID=‘00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000’ and disabled = 0 and deleted= 0

union all

select cast(c.[path] + ‘\’ + cast(b.name as varchar(max)) as varchar(max)), b.uniqueid from ISD_HOB_Orchestrator.dbo.folders b

inner join

RunbookPath c on b.ParentID = c.UniqueID

where b.Disabled = 0 and b.Deleted = 0


select [Path],uniqueid from RunbookPath WHERE [path] not like ‘%component%’

  • This will return all the uniqueID’s from the folders that do not have Component in their path


    Part 2 : Get all the policy names where the parent ID equals one of the uniqueID’s from the previous result

    with RunbookPath as


    select ‘Policies\’ + cast(name as varchar(max)) as [path], uniqueid from ISD_HOB_Orchestrator.dbo.folders b

    where b.ParentID=‘00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000’ and disabled = 0 and deleted= 0

    union all

    select cast(c.[path] + ‘\’ + cast(b.name as varchar(max)) as varchar(max)), b.uniqueid from ISD_HOB_Orchestrator.dbo.folders b

    inner join

    RunbookPath c on b.ParentID = c.UniqueID

    where b.Disabled = 0 and b.Deleted = 0


    SELECT NAME,[path] from [ISD_HOB_Orchestrator].[dbo].[POLICIES] pol

    JOIN ( select [Path],uniqueid from RunbookPath WHERE [path] not like ‘%component%’ ) as pat on pol.ParentID = pat.UniqueID

  • This will return all the runbooks names that are not in a path that has component in it


  • Result

    Part 3 : Limit this result to the runbooks that do not have a running instance

    with RunbookPath as


    select ‘Policies\’ + cast(name as varchar(max)) as [path], uniqueid from ISD_HOB_Orchestrator.dbo.folders b

    where b.ParentID=‘00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000’ and disabled = 0 and deleted= 0

    union all

    select cast(c.[path] + ‘\’ + cast(b.name as varchar(max)) as varchar(max)), b.uniqueid from ISD_HOB_Orchestrator.dbo.folders b

    inner join

    RunbookPath c on b.ParentID = c.UniqueID

    where b.Disabled = 0 and b.Deleted = 0


    SELECT NAME,[path] from [ISD_HOB_Orchestrator].[dbo].[POLICIES] pol

    JOIN ( select [Path],uniqueid from RunbookPath WHERE [path] not like ‘%component%’ ) as pat on pol.ParentID = pat.UniqueID WHERE not exists (
    SELECT * FROM ISD_HOB_Orchestrator.dbo.POLICYINSTANCES ins WHERE pol.uniqueID = ins.policyID and ins.TimeEnded IS NULL ) ORDER BY name

  • This will return all the runbook names that do not have component in their path and do not have any running instances



    Gino D

SCOM – File Count Management Pack

December 21, 2017


I come at a lot of customers to implement or support SCOM. Sometimes the same questions or troubles come up.

One of that questions is: “Is it possible to monitor the count of files (with a specific extension) in a share?”

The answer to this question is yes and no. There is a possibility to count files on Windows Servers that have an agent installed using this management pack: http://www.systemcentercentral.com/pack-catalog/file-system-management-pack-2/ but for shares located on non-Windows Servers, let’s say on a SAN for example I haven’t found a solution available.

Therefore I created my own management pack to monitor the file count, independent of the location of the file share (Windows Server or not).

In this post I describe how the management pack works. With the management pack you can count files with a specific extension (or no extension if everything should be counted) in a share (optionally also subfolders included).

There is also the ability to add a specific age zo the given scenario is possible: Count if there are more then 20 files in a share (subfolders included) that are older then 10 minutes.

First of all we need a seed discovery which is targeted to a registry key located on a SCOM agent monitored Windows Server.

The value in the registry is located under SOFTWARE\Filecount. The value is “CSV” and it should contain the path to a CSV file. The server will be discovered as a “File Count Watcher Node”

Next stop is the csv file itself, for every share to be monitored it should contain a line with a specific syntax shown in the screenshot below

Different parameters are added:

  • ID
    • Must be unique per share
  • Share
    • UNC path of the share
  • Extension
    • The extension of the files that needs to be counted, leave empty to count all files in the share
  • Count
    • How many files must be present for a critical state
  • Time
    • This is the time in minutes of the maximum file age of file count
  • Recurse
    • 0 = No need to count files in subfolders
    • 1 = Count also files in subfolders

When the info is filled in, SCOM will discover every line as a “File Count Share”. The properties are used to configure the monitoring.

A monitor is also defined based on the properties filled in the csv file, but it’s basically a powershell script with necessary parameters.

The core of the script is this command:

$count  = Get-ChildItem -Recurse $strShare\$strExtension | where{$_.LastWriteTime -le (Get-Date).AddMinutes($strAge)}|Measure-Object |%{$_.Count}

The file count is also gathered as a performance counter so it can be included in reporting or in a Squared Up dashboard for example.

The management pack is also configured to use a specific Run As account. This account needs rights on the shares: at least Read-only Share rights and Read-Only NTFS rights.

I’ve been able to help some customers already by using this management pack.

The first customer where I set this up is a big hospital in Belgium where they use this management pack to monitor shares which are used to store (and process) images and movies made during surgery.

The content should be processed from the network share and transferred somewhere else but sometimes the processing hangs and the share is getting full without anyone knowing. Since they have the management pack in place this hasn’t happened anymore.

If you have interest in the management pack, I’ve made it available via GitHub: https://github.com/bpinoy/ManagementPacks/tree/master/File%20Count%20MP

Best regards,





SCOM – Powershell Recovery Action – Stopped Windows Service

August 31, 2017


Today I was at a customer who had a really specific question regarding monitoring of Windows Services with Operations Manager (SCOM).

We had already set up some basic recovery actions which restart the service automatically after it was stopped.

For some other services the customer wanted to add extra functionality: The recovery action should retry starting the service a maximum of 3 times, if the service wasn’t started after 3 tries the customer wanted to receive an email telling them the recovery action failed. Out-of-the-box SCOM is unable to do stuff like that, therefore I used Powershell to accomplish this.

Sidenote: To be able to use Powershell as a recovery action you can use the free management pack provided by the community & SquaredUp, it can be downloaded from this website: https://squaredup.com/free-powershell-management-pack/. This management pack adds Powershell everywhere it is missing in Operations Manager, this is one of the default management packs I always install at customers.


To be fully functional different components are needed:

  • A monitor that checks the status of the service
    • This monitor can be created from the Authoring pane of the SCOM console using the Windows Service template


  • A recovery action for the monitor created previously
    • The recovery action can be created from health explorer1
  • A rule that picks up the event created by the recovery action Powershell script
    • This is an Alert Generating Rule (NT Event Log), the configuration is linked to the type and location of the event logged during the script2
  • A subscription on the rule to send the email.

The powershell script:

# Fill in the service name here

$ServiceName = “LPD Service”

$ServiceStarted = $False

$i =0;

#Create Eventlog source, erroraction Ignore is neededbecause once the source is created an error is thrown because the source already exists

New-Eventlog -LogName Application -Source “Powershell – Restart Service” -ErrorAction Ignore


# In second or third run, wait a minute before trying
to start the service

if ($i -gt 0){Start-Sleep -s 60}

#Try to start the service

Start-Service $ServiceName

$Service Get-Service -Name $ServiceName

     if($Service.Status -eq “Running”)


    $ServiceStarted = $true



    if (($i -eq 3) -and ($ServiceStarted $false))


    $eventmessage = $Servicename failed to restart after $i attempts, exiting script”

    #Log error event in eventviewer

    Write-Eventlog -LogName Application -Source “Powershell – Restart Service” -EntryType Error -Eventid 101 -Message $eventmessage




Until ($ServiceStarted = $true)

 $eventmessage = $ServiceName restarted after $i attempt(s)”

Write-Eventlog -LogName Application -Source “Powershell – Restart Service” -EntryType Information -Eventid100 -Message $eventmessage

 If you have any difficulties doing this, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below.

If you find this post useful, please consider buying me a virtual beer with a bitcoin donation: 3QhpQ5z5hbPXXRS8x6R5RagWVrRQ5mDEZ1


Best regards,


Hardware Inventory after SCCM OSD Task Sequence

August 4, 2017


I like using a lot of custom collections based on data from Hardware Inventory: Operating System Version, Hardware Manufacturer, Hardware Model, etc.

However to make sure the properties are available the Hardware Inventory needs to run at least once, using this information you will be able to start the hardware inventory right after the OSD task sequence completes. We will be using the Task Sequence Variable SMSTSPostAction:

Somewhere in the task sequence add “Set Task Sequence Variable” step. Give it an appropriate name and fill in the information as seen in the screenshot below:

If you want to copy/paste, here’s the value: %windir%\System32\wbem\WMIC /namespace:\\root\ccm path sms_client CALL TriggerSchedule “{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001}” /NOINTERACTIVE

When the task sequence completes, this action will occur.

When processing was succesfull you should see something like this in the dataldr.log (on the Configuration Manager site server)

Also locally on the computer where the task sequence was run, information can be found in the smsts.log and in the Inventoryprovider.log. Both logs located under C:\windows\ccm\logs

Hope this helps!


Best regards,





HP Elite X3

January 23, 2017


Christmas and New year is a great time, we all recieve gifts and make lots of promises for the new year that has arrived. So I recieved a Elite X 3 for testing and promised myself to really focus on nwow in 2017. This means limit travel as much as possible,replace face to face meetings with technology if the situation allows it and follow a schedule that “works” meaning professional activites will be performed outside of business hours if required . Time to unwrap …

The box is shiny, the material looks solid, nice. The hardware of the X3 is really impressive, fast, has 64 GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, 8MP hello enabled camera, fingerprint reader and dual sim. It uses USB 3.0 type C connector for the docking.


The docking has Displayport, USB, RJ45 connection and kensignton lock.


The setup of the continuum is pretty much like a normal Windows 10 setup.

I’ve setup the device using my work account gino.dhoker@realdolmen.com and after verification with the Microsoft Authentication app the device was correctly registered. Then I’ve added my personal hotmail account.

From time to time you’ll get the message that some apps are not supported yet… So it will open on the smaller phone screen instead of on the external monitor.

The goal is to verify if I can really work with just this device the elite X3 , I’ll test for one week but I’ll hold my Revolve 810 as a backup ! I am really curious to know if the continuum can step up to this. Keep in mind that you cannot run legacy Windows Aapplications on the Continuum platform.

For starters I must say that the phone itself is pretty big compared to my regular Nokia and if you want to do some work on the road you’ll need the additional Laptop dock : https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/HP-Elite-x3-Lap-Dock/productID.5069318900

Okay here we go …

Bummer one … The citrix app is not working in continuum mode … This means that the vdi connection is showed in the screen of the mobile device making it completely useless. HP Workspace has got a service that can solve that issue http://www8.hp.com/us/en/business-services/computing-services/workspace.html


For the rdp connections there is a “Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview” App available in the store that looks ok, as a replacement for the desktop variant “remote desktop connection manager”.


Office : you can only use the mobile version of office for now.


Biometric security : really impressive !

I must say that the Windows Hello and the iris camera work very well. As soon as you activate the feature it works like a charm.


Go through the setup and as soon as you lock the screen you’ll notice the friendly looking for you icon. If you move in front of the camera you’ll be recognised and the device will unlock automatically.



Same for the fingrprint reader … Go through the wizard for setting up


Touch the sensor with at least one finger and from different angles.


And that’s it … You can now unlock the device using your fingerprint.

So I must say a good start for 2017 !

Enjoy .

Gino D

Quick Tip ! Bitlocker Pin screen gone !

January 11, 2017



We recently used a partners’ deployment services in order to prestage approximately 5000 laptops for a windows 10 deployment. Today we recieved our first shipment from the factory and we started one in full confidence.

After all the image had been validated on site, everything worked there except for our part 2 sccm task sequence that we use to finish up some minor issues and enable bitlocker.

So all went well, machines booted, startup scripts worked, part 2 was recieved and executed by the client.

But wait … We were expecting to see this after boot


But instead we saw this…


Now this really a tricky issue because it took some time before we realized that the screen was actually there but we did not see it, so if you wait then the machine just shut down.

Ok so now for the solution :

On the machine run bfsvc.exe %windir%\boot /v

Reboot the device and it should be ok.

What probably happened is that some of the fonts that are on the UEFI boot partition are corrupted and result in the “blue” screen, the command bfsvc.exe copies the required files from windows\boot to the required partition.

Saved our day !

Some refs : https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-security/bitlocker-pin-pre-boot-screen-empty/f985c4f6-dd71-4586-bd46-50f513432bb3?page=1


Gino D

P.S. We were unable to execute this command in the task sequence environment so we had to run it during our startup script.