Troubleshooting Windows Store and PC Settings not accessible

We offered a Surface RT to my mother for her birthday but after more than 18 months, she brought the tablet back to me because all her apps have disappeared and she couldn’t launch the Windows Store or PC settings.

I’ve created another account and I noticed that this account could launch the Windows Store and PC settings.
I’ve also queried the main Windows components store health state with the following DSIM cmdlet:

Repair-WindowsImage -Online -ScanHealth -Verbose


It was Ok. In other words, only her user profile had a problem.

I ran the Apps troubleshooter. It found 3 problems but was able to fix only 2 of them.

I’ve also checked the ACLs on various parts of the filesystem and registry using the following support article: KB2798317.
I added back manually the “All Application Packages” group (“tous les packages d’application” in French) full control NTFS permission onto the user profile.
The Windows store and PC settings still didn’t launch.

Then I reset the Windows Store cache.

& "c:\windows\system32\WSReset.exe"
Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode `
-Register C:\Windows\ImmersiveControlPanel\AppxManifest.xml

Now, I was able to launch the Windows Store but not the PC Settings.

And I had still events ID 5973 in the Application log

The latest command made me realize that all the other modern apps not working might only need to be registered.
So, I ended up doing:

dir C:\ -include AppxManifest.xml -ea 0 -rec -for | 
select -expand FullName | 
? { $_ -notmatch "C:\\Windows\\WinSxS\\" } |
% {
 $p=$_
 try {
  Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $_ -ErrorAction Stop
  Write-Verbose "Successfully registered $_"
 } catch {
  Write-Warning "Failed to registered $p because $($_.Exception.Message)"
 }
}

Boom! After 8 minutes about 50 modern apps where registered and appeared back in the Start menu.
I was able to launch the PC settings and Windows Store as well :-D
I added back the Microsoft Account in the Windows Store.
When I switched to the “my applications” view in the Store, it reported that “all the available applications are installed on this PC”.

Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) Preview

With the recent Windows 10 Technical Preview version 10.0.10041, developer tools were published as well as hardware tools. At the bottom of the hardware tools page, you can find the preview version of the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK).

Here’s the PowerShell script to download the files required by ADK (~3GB) that uses the cmdlets from the BITS module.

#Requires -Version 4
#Requires -RunAsAdministrator

Function Get-ADKFiles {
[CmdletBinding()]
param(
    [parameter(Mandatory)]
    [system.string]$TargetFolder
)
Begin {
    $HT = @{}
    $HT += @{ ErrorAction = 'Stop'}
    # Validate target folder
    try {
        Get-Item $TargetFolder @HT | Out-Null
    } catch {
        Write-Warning -Message "The target folder specified as parameter does not exist"
        break
    }
 
    # March 24, 2015
    $PatchLevel = "10.0.10041"
 
}
    
Process {
    
    $adkGenericURL = (Invoke-WebRequest -Uri http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=525592  -MaximumRedirection 0 -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue)
    
    # 302 = redirect as moved temporarily
    if ($adkGenericURL.StatusCode -eq 302) {

        # Currently set to http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/E/7/2E74CA3D-858C-4401-B6FF-3E1C2D1D5F0C/adk/
        # Resolving download root for: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=525592
        $MainURL = $adkGenericURL.Headers.Location
    
        $InstallerURLs = DATA {
            ConvertFrom-StringData @'
                0=0302dc615b0a5fd4810430b2cdacb5e3.cab
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                103=Application Compatibility Toolkit-x64_en-us.msi
                104=Application Compatibility Toolkit-x86_en-us.msi
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                106=Assessments on Server-x86_en-us.msi
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                124=dotNetFx45_Full_x86_x64.exe
                125=e0509d502dcdae109023403fc3bc8ac4.cab
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                139=f6aa96e71953e06cb7a3f69e76804b6d.cab
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                146=fe2c9602686dc1bcbf80a0f18bd54b49.cab
                147=fe43ba83b8d1e88cc4f4bfeac0850c6c.cab
                148=Flashing Tools-x86_en-us.msi
                149=Imaging And Configuration Designer-x86_en-us.msi
                150=InstallRegHiveRecoveryDriverAmd64.exe
                151=InstallRegHiveRecoveryDriverX86.exe
                152=Kits Configuration Installer-x86_en-us.msi
                153=Microsoft Compatibility Monitor-x86_en-us.msi
                154=SQLEXPR_x86_ENU.exe
                155=Toolkit Documentation-x86_en-us.msi
                156=User State Migration Tool-x86_en-us.msi
                157=Volume Activation Management Tool-x86_en-us.msi
                158=wasinstaller.exe
                159=WimMountAdkSetupAmd64.exe
                160=WimMountAdkSetupArm.exe
                161=WimMountAdkSetupX86.exe
                162=Windows Assessment Services - Client (AMD64 Architecture Specific, Client SKU)-x86_en-us.msi
                163=Windows Assessment Services - Client (AMD64 Architecture Specific, Server SKU)-x86_en-us.msi
                164=Windows Assessment Services - Client (Client SKU)-x86_en-us.msi
                165=Windows Assessment Services - Client (Server SKU)-x86_en-us.msi
                166=Windows Assessment Services - Client (X86 Architecture Specific, Client SKU)-x86_en-us.msi
                167=Windows Assessment Services-x86_en-us.msi
                168=Windows Assessment Toolkit (AMD64 Architecture Specific)-x86_en-us.msi
                169=Windows Assessment Toolkit (X86 Architecture Specific)-x86_en-us.msi
                170=Windows Assessment Toolkit-x86_en-us.msi
                171=Windows Deployment Customizations-x86_en-us.msi
                172=Windows Deployment Tools-x86_en-us.msi
                173=Windows PE x86 x64 wims-x86_en-us.msi
                174=Windows PE x86 x64-x86_en-us.msi
                175=Windows System Image Manager on amd64-x86_en-us.msi
                176=Windows System Image Manager on x86-x86_en-us.msi
                177=WPT Redistributables-x86_en-us.msi
                178=WPTarm-arm_en-us.msi
                179=WPTx64-x86_en-us.msi
                180=WPTx86-x86_en-us.msi
'@
        }
    
        $PatchesURLs = DATA {
            ConvertFrom-StringData @'
'@
        }
   
        "Installers","Patches\$PatchLevel" | ForEach-Object -Process {
            # Create target folders if required as BIT doesn't accept missing folders
            If (-not(Test-Path (Join-Path -Path $TargetFolder -ChildPath $_))) {
                try {
                    New-Item -Path (Join-Path -Path $TargetFolder -ChildPath $_) -ItemType Directory -Force @HT
                } catch {
                    Write-Warning -Message "Failed to create folder $($TargetFolder)/$_"
                    break
                }
            }
        }
        # Get adksetup.exe
        try {
            Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "$($MainURL)adksetup.exe" -OutFile  "$($TargetFolder)\adksetup.exe" @HT
        } catch {
            Write-Warning -Message "Failed to download adksetup.exe because $($_.Exception.Message)"
        }
    
        # Create a job that will downlad our first file
        $job = Start-BitsTransfer -Suspended -Source "$($MainURL)Installers/$($InstallerURLs['0'])" -Asynchronous -Destination (Join-Path -Path $TargetFolder -ChildPath ("Installers/$($InstallerURLs['0'])")) 
            
        # Downlod installers
        For ($i = 1 ; $i -lt $InstallerURLs.Count ; $i++) {
            $URL = $Destination = $null
            $URL = "$($MainURL)Installers/$($InstallerURLs[$i.ToString()])"
            $Destination = Join-Path -Path (Join-Path -Path $TargetFolder -ChildPath Installers) -ChildPath (([URI]$URL).Segments[-1] -replace '%20'," ")
            # Add-BitsFile http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd819411.aspx
            $newjob = Add-BitsFile -BitsJob $job -Source  $URL -Destination $Destination
            Write-Progress -Activity "Adding file $($newjob.FilesTotal)" -Status "Percent completed: " -PercentComplete (($newjob.FilesTotal)*100/($InstallerURLs.Count))
        }
   
        # Donwload Patches
        For ($i = 0 ; $i -lt $PatchesURLs.Count ; $i++) {
            $URL = $Destination = $null
            $URL = "$($MainURL)Patches/$PatchLevel/$($PatchesURLs[$i.ToString()])"
            $Destination = Join-Path -Path (Join-Path -Path $TargetFolder -ChildPath "Patches/$PatchLevel") -ChildPath (([URI]$URL).Segments[-1] -replace '%20'," ")
            # Add-BitsFile http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd819411.aspx
            $newjob = Add-BitsFile -BitsJob $job -Source  $URL -Destination $Destination
        }
    
        # Begin the download and show us the job
        Resume-BitsTransfer  -BitsJob $job -Asynchronous
    
        # http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ee663885%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
        while ($job.JobState -in @('Connecting','Transferring','Queued')) {
            Write-Progress -activity "Downloading ADK files" -Status "Percent completed: " -PercentComplete ($job.BytesTransferred*100/$job.BytesTotal)
        } 
        Switch($job.JobState) {
             "Transferred" {
                Complete-BitsTransfer -BitsJob $job
                break
            }
             "Error" {
                # List the errors.
                $job | Format-List
            } 
            default {
                # Perform corrective action.
            } 
        }
    } else {
        Write-Warning -Message "Guessing the ADK location returned the status code $($adkGenericURL.StatusCode)"
    }
}
End {}
}

Let’s see how to use the above script:

Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope Process -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -Force
.  ~/documents\get-ADKFiles.ps1
mkdir ~/Downloads\ADK.10.0.10041 -Force
Get-ADKFiles -TargetFolder ~/Downloads\ADK.10.0.10041

Now you’ve got the tools to build WinPE (Windows Preinstallation Environment) with PowerShell 5.0 8-)

A forensic point of view of Desired State Configuration (DSC)

Every piece of new technology carries intrinsically a new balance of benefits/risks and brings new security trade-offs from a forensic perspective.

I’d like to give a forensic point of view on Desired State Configuration (DSC) as it isn’t an exception of the above rule.

The following sentence inspired me

Windows 10 and Server 2016 will have PowerShell version 5.0. PowerShell 5.0 includes a feature called “Desired State Configuration”, which is similar to Chef, and will be the future of Windows security templates, such as for DoD STIGs and enforcing Windows-related critical controls.

Source: http://cyber-defense.sans.org/blog/2015/03/19/powershell-for-securing-windows-sec505-course

First, let’s correct quickly the above sentence. PowerShell Desired State Configuration aka DSC is already built-in into PowerShell version 4.0 and shipped along with Windows 8.1 and 2012 R2. DSC is actually already present. I know the course SEC505 targets Windows and I also don’t want you to believe that DSC is a Windows thing only. It’s actually a declarative language and distributed heterogeneous configuration management platform that will allow you to target both Windows and Linux operating systems.

Now let’s examine DSC from 2 different angles and security stances: attack/defense.

Defense
DSC will allow you to deploy security settings (registry based), features (Bitlocker,…), anything actually … that will help hardening the configuration of your assets and protect these assets. Yes, Jason Fossen is right, it will help you implement faster security templates and controls. Because of the simplicity of DSC, you’ll also be able to scale out more easily and quickly.

But, even if you declare everything in your configuration either set to present or absent, DSC won’t be able to detect and handle something new that has not been previously declared.
Let’s think of services or firewall rules,… for example. Although you’ve inventoried every known and expected services or firewall rules, if a malware creates a random service name and open a random port in your firewall rules, DSC cannot do anything about it. Once this malicious service or firewall rule is known and identified, DSC can of course help you remediate and fix the problem by deploying a new configuration that takes care of it.

DSC is currently more a post-mortem remediation tool and cannot help you identify the unknown (usually malicious).

DSC could theoretically enforce a better security posture if it wasn’t based only on a declared list of absent/present things. DSC is built in mind with the concept of idem-potency which is not ground-breaking but a very good layer to built on top of and that will for sure make the success and foster the adoption of DSC in the IT landscape.

If the list of configuration items wasn’t treated as a strict list of things to be set to present and absent, I could declare known things to be set to present or absent and have a third implicit rule by default that would set anything (*.*) not declared to absent. It would somehow mimic the way the Applocker works in Windows where you can combine both a whitelist (present known items), a blacklist (absent known items) and an implicit rule that blocks unknown items.

Attack

From a attacker perspective DSC could be used to achieve persistence.

Let’s think of a small configuration that would download a zip file from the Internet, escaping your Antivirus detection, expand the archive to deliver the malicious payload, make sure the malicious service or process is in a running state. A malware could leverage DSC to deploy this configuration to your computer(s). Currently tools like autoruns.exe from Sysinternals can scan the WMI repository for permanent events but I don’t think it’s currently able to scan for a malicious DSC configuration or a malicious WMI provider.

From an architecture perspective, the pull server is also an attractive target because once compromised, it allows to deliver the payload to all the managed computer nodes that pull their configuration from it. Having an unsecured pull server puts your data center at risks and is worst than having none.

Let’s think bigger and that the attacker has great DSC skills. I don’t like to spread FUD but let’s imagine a second that an attacker compromised your fabric where he found unused (and fortunately limited) compute, storage and networking resources. DSC would allow him to deploy Hyper-V (or another hypervisor), create an external and internal virtual switch, a rogue virtual machine plugged onto these two virtual network switches. This virtual machine would be binding the private subnet and its Internet connected network interface, could host a rogue Dhcp, Dns, Vpn, Proxy… server and could be responsible for encrypting network traffic. Then, the attacker could provision virtual machines on this private subnet – an army of zombie computers – to carry on his malicious duties and consume your (unused yet) data center resources. He could send spam, perform DoS (denial of service) attacks and even use Docker-like technologies to reach a greater VM density. If you think of the recent attack on Sony in 2014 where about one hundred terabytes were exfiltrated before it got discovered, the scary scenario I imagined could be feasible. The attack could also take place on the public consumer market where the attacker would perform the same attack on your Windows 8.1, Windows 10 or Ubuntu workstation. By using DSC, the attacker could easily raise and control a botnet, an army of zombie virtual computers. The DSC pull server could be considered as his C&C (Command and Control server) in this case.

DSC can be considered as a great opportunity and facilitator by attackers because it helps scaling out and utilizing compromised resources to their full potential.

BPUG / Mach 18, 2015 / meeting summary and presentation materials

This first meeting of the Basel PowerShell User Group (BPUG) in Switzerland was a great experience.

We had a great time. It’s actually the 1rst PowerShell User Group in Switzerland, some people came from Basel of course but also from Bern, Luzern,…
I hope everybody who joined enjoyed it :D

The material I presented is available for download on this link: the powerpoint presentation and the demo script

Again, thank you Stéphane for organizing it, thanks to the sponsor Innobit.ch and thank you if you attended and joined this user group.

If you’ve attended, please fill-in this little survey ( > http://1drv.ms/1FxKTmo ) , it shouldn’t take more than 5 seconds. Thanks!

PowerShell DSC rocks 8-)

Basel PowerShell User Group Meeting: March, 2015

The 1rst meeting of the Basel PowerShell User Group (BPUG) is scheduled on March 18, 2015.

Stéphane van Gulick (@stephanvg) who created this User Group already announced the kickoff on his blog powershelldistrict.com in this post

I’ve joined this User Group because it’s the best place to meet IRL PowerShell community members, those who are interested in and/or enthusiast about Windows PowerShell.

I’m super excited to give a presentation at this first meeting :D
I’ll present a session about how I got my hands-on Desired State Configuration (DSC).

To join us for this meeting, you can use the following links

You can also join the group on this link: http://powershellgroup.org/basel

Hope to see you there!

Pi Day

Today is March 14, 2015 and it’s considered as Pi Day (3.1415).

What’s Pi?

What’s Pi in PowerShell?

([math] | Get-Member -Force -Static -Name PI).PSBase | fl *

What does this mean?

Well, it means that the System.Math .Net Class has a static property to represent the constant Pi as system.double type.

When you just want to see the representation of Pi in PowerShell, you’ll do

[math]::PI

Note that there are 14 digits after the decimal point.

In .Net, we have 20 digits after the decimal point.

Can we force PowerShell to give more than 14 digits after the decimal point ?

for ($i=14;$i -le 20 ; $i++) {
"{0:N$i}" -f [math]::PI
}

The answer seems to be negative if I convert the Pi value to a string using the Numeric Format Specifier :(

To get a more precise/approximative representation of Pi, I did

([math]::PI).ToString("G17")
([math]::PI).ToString("r")

Both gives us 16 digits after the decimal point.

Now, let’s have fun! Let’s discover how suprising PowerShell can be :D and do:

3.14159265358979 -eq [math]::PI
3.14159265358979d -eq [math]::PI
3.14159265358979323846 -eq [math]::PI
3.14159265358979323846d -eq [math]::PI
3.14159265358979323846264338327 -eq [math]::PI
3.14159265358979323846264338327d  -eq [math]::PI

Surprising, isn’t it? What does it actually mean?
The double representation of Pi with 14 digits after the decimal point (3.14159265358979) doesn’t equal to the .Net Pi value whereas its decimal value (3.14159265358979d) does.

3.14159265358979d -eq 3.14159265358979323846
([decimal]3.14159265358979) -eq ([double]3.14159265358979323846)

If the double has 15 digits or more after the decimal point, it equals to the .Net Pi value.

3.141592653589793 -eq [math]::PI

I hope that your brain didn’t melt like mine :P
Happy Pi Day :)

Formation PowerShell (TP)

En cherchant une cas concret pour des travaux pratiques lors d’une formation PowerShell dispensée à quelques collègues, je suis tombé sur une pépite.

Cette idée était tellement sympa et stimulante qu’il m’a paru impossible de ne pas la partager avec la communauté francophone.

J’ai fait de cet exercice sur la gestion des modes d’alimentation un petit cookbook illustré d’environs une trentaine de pages, disponible ici .

Voici le code qui accompagne ce petit cookbook. Il est disponible sur ce lien

C’est pas tout! Une occasion unique s’offre à vous :D
Vous pouvez apprendre PowerShell DSC (Desired State Configuration) le 25 et 26 février en live sur la Microsoft Virtual Academy.
C’est ​Jeffrey Snover et Jason Helmick qui dispensent ces 2 cours.

Pour ce faire, il faut: