Eric's Technical Outlet

Learning the hard way so you don't have to

Monthly Archives: February 2019

Announcing Windows Admin Center Certificate Selector

Have you started using Windows Admin Center (WAC) in your environment? If not, I strongly encourage you to try it out. It creates a single HTML 5 web page to control multiple Windows and Windows Server installations. It can make a lot of your maintenance tasks easier, even if you only have a few Windows systems to manage. Eventually, it might replace all those pesky MMCs.

Unfortunately, it still has a number of usability problems, especially when it comes to managing WAC itself. Of these, the supported procedure for installing or replacing the PKI certificate that WAC uses on its web page is particularly onerous.

So, I’ve created a simple application to make the process easier. You bring a WAC installation and a good certificate, and I’ll handle the rest.

The tool looks into the local certificate store and presents you with a list. Select one, and if it checks out, it will install it for you:

If it doesn’t like something about the certificate, then one or more of the checks will fail and it will not allow you to use the certificate:

It uses Microsoft’s supported certificate update method in the background, essentially acting as a front-end.

How to Obtain the WAC Certificate Selector

You can find the latest release on its GitHub page. I have only been able to test on a handful of systems, so I’m marking it as a public beta for now. Please exercise caution when running on production systems. Report any problems using the GitHub Issues page.

I look forward to your feedback!


Magic in PowerShell Scripts Lets Evil Win

When my daughter was younger, my family would gather around the television and watch the series Once Upon a Time. Of its dominant recurring themes, one oft-repeated line in particular stands out: “Magic always has a price.” In the show, when the characters used non-trivial magic, some sort of dire consequence was sure to follow (plot allowing, of course). Their takeaway: never use magic without a willingness to pay the price. That lesson works for PowerShell scripters, too.

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