Author Archives: Bjorn Houben

Last week to buy Microsoft Certification Booster Pack promotion for your exam

Microsoft Certification Booster Packs are sold for $200-$225 depending on the package and your country. This basically means that:
For $200 you can choose between “1 Exam + 30 days access to online practice test” or “1 exam and up to 4 free retakes of that same exam”
For $225 you get “1 exam and up to 4 free retakes of that same exam AND 30 days access to online practice test”.

It seemed like the Microsoft Certification Booster Packs promotion would end 31-08-2016, but they extended it to 30-09-2016, making this week the last week you’ll be able to purchase it.
After purchase, you’ll have 6 months to use your booster pack(s).

For more information, see my previous blogpost or the Microsoft website

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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Learning, Microsoft


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Certification – My thoughts on Microsoft Certification Booster packs

Since March 7th, Microsoft is selling booster packs which can be bought until August 31. The exams can be taken up until six months after your purchase.

The following boosters packs are available:

  1. Practice Test + exam for $200
  2. Exam + 4 free retakes for $200
  3. Practice Test + exam + 4 free retakes for $225

As always there are pros and cons to this offering. These are things that have gone through my mind about these booster packs:

  • First of all, the retakes are not free because a regular exam costs $150 if you book it at Pearson Vue. Even though it is not free, it’s still a very good deal. If you would fail only once, you have saved money.
  • I would never choose option 1, I would always go for either option 2 or 3.
  • It can be good that people can get an exam with cheap retakes.
    • It might prevent (some) people from using exam dumps, because additional certification costs for a failure are not an issue anymore. This is especially true for people who have to pay for their own certification or for small companies with limited budgets.
    • It might help people that have the knowledge, but fail because their not used  to the way it is tested with Microsoft Certification Exams.
  • It might lower the value of certification
    • With that many cheap retakes the chance that you’ll pass (by chance) increases.
      • Especially since the number of exam questions is very limited, after a few retakes you could know most of the questions.
        • Which makes it easier for people to create exam dumps.
      • Without booster packs, the certification costs could become an issue.
        • This only affects people/companies where certification is an issue.
        • This could lead to people using exam dumps.

As with most things, when used for good it is a good thing. It will however be abused by some. Still this has always been the case and I feel it does not really matter. What I do believe however is that this large number of almost free retakes stresses again the need for a larger pool of Microsoft exam questions. But this has been a problem for a long time already and I doubt Microsoft will change this anytime soon unfortunately.

I wonder what other people think about this, so please leave a comment.

For more information on the booster packs see:


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PowerShell – PowerShell generated batch file results in error þ is not recognized as an internal or external command

PowerShell – PowerShell generated batch file results in error þ is not recognized as an internal or external command

Some time ago, a colleague told me he was having trouble generating a batch file using PowerShell. The batch file as generated, but when he tried to run the batch file, it resulted in an error containing:
þ is not recognized as an internal or external command

In the batch file, the character þ was nowhere to be found.

The code he used to generate the batch file was as follows:

$Batscript = ‘D:\batscript.cmd’

IF(Test-Path -path $Batscript)


Remove-Item $Batscript


$SSIDImport = Get-Content ‘D:\SSID.txt’

Foreach($SSID in $SSIDImport)


“nsrmm.exe -d -S $SSID -y $SSID | Out-File -filepath $Batscript -Force -Append


‘nsrim.exe -X’ | Out-File -FilePath $Batscript –Append

After Googling a bit I stumbled across a similar issue:

Thanks to Dave Wyatt I learned that the default encoding for Out-Filepath is Unicode which many command line tools cannot handle. With this knowledge, the solution was to simply specify the encoding for Out-File as shown below.

$Batscript = ‘D:\batscript.cmd’

IF(Test-Path -path $Batscript)


Remove-Item $Batscript


$SSIDImport = Get-Content ‘D:\SSID.txt’

Foreach($SSID in $SSIDImport)


“nsrmm.exe -d -S $SSID -y $SSID | Out-File -filepath $Batscript -Force -Append -Encoding ascii


‘nsrim.exe -X’ | Out-File -FilePath $Batscript –Append -encoding ascii

After this change, everything worked perfectly.


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Posted by on March 31, 2016 in ICT, Microsoft, Powershell


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PowerShell – Auto generate PowerShell Functions from .NET Code using ISESteroids

PowerShell – Auto generate PowerShell Functions from .NET Code using ISESteroids

In my previous blog posts I described how to determine possible values for a property / attribute using .NET code and how to create a function to simplify this task in the future.

Shortly after, I saw a post on Twitter showing of functionality of ISESteroids to auto generate functions from .NET code. Since I hate to do unnecessary work and I know others think this way as well  wanted to share this. Even though in my case the time savings is not that big and the end result is not exactly what I was looking for, it saves me time and gives me is a very useful basis to build on.

For more information and a better example and explanation, see:
You should also take a look at all the other great stuff that ISEsteroids can do to save you time and effort.

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Posted by on March 29, 2016 in ICT, Microsoft, Powershell


PowerShell – WMF5 (including PowerShell) 5 can be deployed using WSUS again, but there is a catch …

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking that I should blog that it’s a pity that Windows Management Framework (including PowerShell) could be not distributed through WSUS anymore. In the past it was available on through WSUS, but it was removed (expired) at some point due to some issues.

This meant to deploy PowerShell you could not deploy it through regular WSUS, but you had to either:

  • Include it in your base image
  • Install it manually
  • Install it using scripting
  • Install it using GPO
  • Install it using WSUS add-on solutions to deploy 3rd party packages. Example solutions include, but are not limited to Local Update Publisher (LUP), WSUS package publisher, SolarWinds patch manager.
  • Install it using enterprise systems management software. Example solutions include, but are not limited to System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), Altiris, Landesk Management Suite, Tivoli Endpoint Manager (BigFix)
  • Install it using Intune

At many customers of ours this meant that PowerShell was left at version 2.0 for older operating systems unfortunately. For newer operating systems luckily version 3.0 was shipped by default. Still the version would never be updated in most cases.

Apparently the PowerShell team also thought something had to be done about that, because they made the Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.0 RTM available via the Microsoft Update Catalog. Since it is published to the Microsoft Update Catalog, you have to manually import it to your WSUS environment. Also as the blog post states, before installing ensure you have reviewed known product incompatibilities (Exchange, SharePoint and System Center Virtual Machine Manager) and that the prerequisites are met.

I hope this will mean I will be seeing more up-to-date versions of PowerShell on systems of customers from now on.

One of the disadvantages however is that for operating systems before Windows 8.1/2012, a prerequisite is that WMF4 is installed, which cannot easily be deployed using WSUS unfortunately.









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SCVMM 2012 R2 – Fix for VM console access error : Virtual Machine Manager lost the connection to the virtual machine

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been installing and configuring a System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 (VMM) environment.

At first all management was done from the VMM management server and console access to VMs from VMM was working fine. Later on the VMM console (and appropriate rollup) were installed on the laptop directly. Then when he opened the VMM console as a regular user and entered the administrator credentials on the VMM console. All was fine until he tried to access the console of VMs from within VMM, because then for most (not all VMs) he received the following error:

Virtual Machine Manager lost the connection to the virtual machine for one of the following reasons.

Another connection was established to the console of this machine
The virtual machine has been shut down or put into the saved state
The user credentials provided do not have the necessary privilege to connect

(0x0003, 0x0000)

Other connections were not established to the console of this machine and the virtual machine had also not been shut down or put into the saved state. The user credentials provided when connecting to VMM were of an administrator account with VMM admin permissions.

Since the administrator logs on to his laptop using a non-admin account, we first tried to run the VMM console “As Administrator” but this didn’t resolve the issue.

Then I googled the error and found this knowledge base article : VMM 2012 Self-Service users cannot open a console session to a virtual machine . The description didn’t really match our symptoms since the account specified to connect to VMM was an administrator account instead of a self-service user and it was possible to open a VM console session when the VMM console was opened from the VMM Management Server. To rule it out, we tested the proposed resolution and verified using Get-VMConnectAccess that everything was configured correctly.

The solution was to SHIFT+Rightclick on the VMM console shortcut and then choose “Run as different user” and enter the credentials of the administrator account. After that everything worked fine.



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