Tag: windows

ISC Bind 9.18 and Windows DNS

After upgrading all of our Linux hosts to Fedora 39, we are running ISC bind 9.18.21 … and it seems the ISC folks are finally done with Microsoft’s “kinda sorta RFC compliance”. Instead of just working around Windows DNS servers having some quirks … they now fail to AXFR the domain.

Fortunately, you can tell bind to stop doing edns ‘stuff‘ by adding a server{} section to named.conf — this gives the server some instructions on how to communicate with the listed server. When bind is no longer trying to do edns “stuff”, Windows doesn’t have an opportunity to provide a bad response, so the AXFR doesn’t fail.

Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD) DNS Failure

I wanted to set up automatic proxy discovery on our home network — but it just didn’t work. The website is there, it looks fine … but it doesn’t work. Turns out Microsoft introduced some security idea in Windows 2008 that prevents Windows DNS servers from serving specific names. They “banned” Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD) and Intra-site Automatic Tunnel Addressing Protocol (ISATAP). Even if you’ve got a valid wpad.example.com host recorded in your domain, Windows DNS server says “Nope, no such thing!”. I guess I can appreciate the logic — some malicious actor can hijack all of your connections by tunnelling or proxying your traffic. But … doesn’t the fact I bothered to manually create a hostname kind of clue you into the fact I am trying to do this?!?

I gave up and added the proxy config to my group policy — a few computers, then, needed to be manually configured. It worked. Looking in the event log for a completely different problem, I saw the following entry:

Event ID 6268

The global query block list is a feature that prevents attacks on your  network by blocking DNS queries for specific host names. This feature has caused the DNS server to fail a query with error code NAME ERROR for wpad.example.com. even though data for this DNS name exists in the DNS database. Other queries in all locally authoritative zones for other names
that begin with labels in the block list will also fail, but no event will be logged when further queries are blocked until the DNS server service on this computer is restarted. See product documentation for information about this feature and instructions on how to configure it.

The oddest bit is that this appears to be a substring ‘starts with’ query — like wpadlet or wpadding would also fail? A quick search produced documentation on this Global Query Blocklist … and two quick ways to resolve the issue.

(1) Change the block list to contain only the services you don’t want to use. I don’t use ISATAP, so blocking isatap* hostnames isn’t problematic:

dnscmd /config /globalqueryblocklist isatap

View the current blocklist with:

dnscmd /info /globalqueryblocklist

– Or –

(2) Disable the block list — more risk, but it avoids having to figure this all out again in a few years when a hostname starting with isatap doesn’t work for no reason!

dnscmd /config /enableglobalqueryblocklist 0


Verifying Connectivity From Locked Down Windows Desktop or Server

We frequently encounter individuals who cannot use something from their server or desktop — but their IT group has Windows locked down so they cannot just telnet to the destination on the port and check if it’s connecting. Windows doesn’t have a whole lot of useful tools of its own. Fortunately, I’ve found that nmap.org publishes a local install zip file for Windows.

Download latest Win32 zip file from https://nmap.org/dist/ — on 8/8/2023, that is https://nmap.org/dist/nmap-7.92-win32.zip


Extract the zip file contents somewhere (I use tmp, right in downloads works, whatever)
Open command prompt and change directory (cd) into the folder where nmap was extracted — e.g. cd /d c:\tmp\nmap-7.92

— A quick trick for opening a command prompt to a directory location: If you have a file explorer window open to the location, click into the header where the file path is shown and remove the text that appears there

Type cmd and hit enter

And voila — a command prompt opened to the same location you were viewing

In the command prompt, run an map command to test a specific port (-p) and host. Since some hosts do not return ICMP requests, I also include -P0 instructing nmap not to attempt pinging the host first. This example verifies we have connectivity to google.com on port 443 (https)


*Un*Registering SysInternals ProcMon as Task Manager Replacement

I like the sysinternals tools — I use them frequently at work. But, generally? When trying to look at the running Windows processes or how much memory is being used … I need a really small, simple tool that doesn’t add to the bogging that’s already happening. Which is why I hate when people replace taskmgr.exe with the SysInternals task manager on steroids. It’s too much information. The worst part is that the menu option to replace task manager doesn’t un-replace it.

To accomplish that — to revert to the real Windows task manager — you need to edit the registry. Navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\taskmgr.exe and remove the key named “Debugger” which points to the SysInternals binary.

Exchange Disaster Recovery

I guess with everyone moving to magic cloudy pay-per-month Exchange, this isn’t such a concern anymore … but for those still running on-premise Exchange:

(1) Before you can restore your AD system state, you’ve got to build a server & bring up a temporary domain. There’s a “System Configuration” program that lets you select to restart in safe mode / directory services restore mode without having to time the F8 key or anything.

(2) The system state backup of a domain controller backs up a lot of stuff — including the registry which tells the server what software is installed and services. This means it is not possible to just run the Exchange setup.exe with the disaster recovery option. Fortunately, I was able to copy the Exchange folder from program files off of a backup. Unfortunately, the Exchange services wouldn’t start because DLLs couldn’t register. Did a diff between old server backup & new one — copied any missing stuff from c:\windows\system32 and c:\windows\syswow64 and, voila, Exchange is starting. Couldn’t mount the ebd file, though …

(3) Which brings me to eseutil an attempt to replay the transaction logs (eseutil /r) and then repair the database as much as possible (eseutil /p) got me an EDB file that the Exchange server could mount.

Windows Admin Center – Changing the Port

Where I work, the “OS Support” and “Application Support” functions are different verticals. Sometimes what constitutes an “OS” and what constitutes an “application” is nebulous. In this case, we needed to install a web-based application but found TCP port 443 was already bound to Windows. Unfortunately, the OS support group disclaims any ownership of “Windows Admin Center” and told me I was welcome to fix it myself. So … oddly, there isn’t any easily located configuration for this thing. You have to go through the add/remove programs and modify the installation of Windows Admin Center.

Select “Change”

You will get the configuration panel — here, you can specify a different port for the Admin Center.

Let the installer complete …

Voila — not using port 443!

Typing Unicode Characters

Found an interesting way to enter Unicode characters in Windows (beyond finding it in charmap and then copy/pasting the character!). There’s the technique where you hold alt, hit the plus on your numeric keypad, enter the hex code for the character, then release the alt key. Since a lot of laptops don’t have numeric keypads … this approach isn’t always feasible.

But there’s another way — once you’ve typed the hex code and your cursor is immediately after the code, press Alt-x …

The code magics itself into a Unicode character. You can even put your cursor immediately after a Unicode character, press Alt-x, and the character will turn back into the hex code.

Docker and Windows — Unable to Allocate Port

On the most recent iteration of Windows (20H2 build 19042.1052) and Docker Desktop (20.10.7 built Wed Jun 2 11:54:58 2021), I found myself unable to launch my Oracle container. The error indicated that the binding was forbidden.


C:\WINDOWS\system32>docker start oracleDB
Error response from daemon: Ports are not available: listen tcp bind: An attempt was made to access a socket in a way forbidden by its access permissions.
Error: failed to start containers: oracleDB

Forbidden by whom?! Windows, it seems. Checking excluded ports using netsh:

netsh int ipv4 show excludedportrange protocol=tcp

Shows that there are all sorts of ports being forbidden — Hyper-V is grabbing a lot of ports when it starts. To avoid that, you’ve got to add a manual excluded port for the one you want to use.

To reserve the port for your own use, disable Hyper-V (reboot), add a port exclusion, and enable Hyper-V (reboot)

REM Disable Hyper-V
dism.exe /Online /Disable-Feature:Microsoft-Hyper-V 
REM REBOOT ... then add an exclusion for the Oracle DB Port
netsh int ipv4 add excludedportrange protocol=tcp startport=1521 numberofports=1 
dism.exe /Online /Enable-Feature:Microsoft-Hyper-V /All

Now 1521 is reserved for Oracle

Microsoft’s 1601 Time Base

Microsoft uses the number of 100-nanosecond intervals since 01 January 1601. Why? No idea. But I’ve had to deal with their funky large integer for a DateTime value as long as I’ve been working with AD. I’ve written functions to turn it int something useful, but that’s a lot of effort when I see a lockoutTime and need to know how recent that is. Enter w32tm which has an “ntte” switch — this allows me to readily tell that the lockout was at 3:01 today and something I need to be investigating.

Docker – List Container Startup Policies

A quick one-line Bash command to output all containers and the startup policy:

docker container ls -aq | xargs docker container inspect --format '{{ .Name }}: {{.HostConfig.RestartPolicy.Name}}'

For Docker on Windows, the following PowerShell command produces similar results:

$jsonData = docker container ls -aq |%{docker container inspect --format "{{json .}}"$_}
[System.Collections.ArrayList]$arrayContainerConfig = @()
foreach($jsonContainerConfig in $jsonData ){
	$psobjContainerConfig = ConvertFrom-JSON $jsonContainerConfig

$arrayContainerConfig | ForEach {[PSCustomObject]$_} | Format-Table -AutoSize