Tag Archives: server 2012

Quick Tip: Self signed certificates made easy with PowerShell!

Most solutions today require certificates in some way, which means we need them even when setting up a lab/test environment.
If you for some reason don’t have a PKI/CA infrastructure in your lab environment you will most likely end up with a self signed certificates for web sites or other parts of your environment.

Since Windows 8/8.1 or Server 2012/2012 R2 there is a really nice PowerShell cmdlet that does that for us, without no hassle.
It can even handle multiple SAN’s.
It’s just to use the New-SelfSignedCertificate cmdlet from an elevated PowerShell window.

Example 1: Create and export one certificate with the name test.365lab.net:

New-SelfSignedCertificate -DnsName test.365lab.net -CertStoreLocation cert:\LocalMachine\My
#Export certificate to c:\test_365lab_net.pfx with the password 'Password'. (the thumbprint is found in the output from the New-SelfsignedCertificate command.)
Export-PfxCertificate -Cert cert:\LocalMachine\My\5D46460D29FE8E0C3F644D8ABA3C707AA83AFC79 -FilePath c:\test_365lab_net.pfx -Password (ConvertTo-SecureString -String "Password" -Force -AsPlainText)

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Example 2: Create self signed SAN certificate with the names test.365lab.net,sts.365lab.net and 365lab.net:

New-SelfSignedCertificate -DnsName test.365lab.net,sts.365lab.net,365lab.net -CertStoreLocation cert:\LocalMachine\My

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To check out your newly create certificates in the GUI, fire up the Computer Certificates Store mmc, which from Windows 8 / Server 2012 and above can be started with ‘certlm.msc‘ (OH YES!).
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Note that I generally never recommend doing self signed certificates in production environments, they are only for testing purposes!



Directaccess in Windows 8 and Server 2012 – Hotfix frenzy

Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess includes a number of enhanced features and improvements as below:
⦁ Direct Access and RRAS coexistence
⦁ Simplified Direct Access management/setup for small and medium organization administrators
⦁ Built-in NAT64 and DNS64 support for accessing IPv4-only resources
⦁ Support for Direct Access server behind a NAT device
⦁ Load balancing support
⦁ Support for multiple domains
⦁ Support for OTP (token based authentication)
⦁ Automated support for force tunneling
⦁ Multisite support
⦁ Windows PowerShell support
⦁ User and server health monitoring

I’ve now done a couple of DirectAccess implementations (both small scale and large scale) and I must say that most things works very well and straightforward.

There are however a couple of hotfixes that you may have to apply, if you for example are enabling external load balancing in your implementation.
Below is a summary of the hotfixes that have been useful in my different implementations of DirectAccess

Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 – DirectAccess Related Hotfixes:
KB2782560: DNS64 does not resolve computer names when you use DirectAccess and external load balancing in Windows Server 2012.

KB2788525: You cannot enable external load balancing on a Windows Server 2012-based DirectAccess server.

KB2769240: You cannot connect a DirectAccess client to a corporate network in Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012.

KB2748603: The process may fail when you try to enable Network Load Balancing in DirectAccess in Window Server 2012.

SCM 3.0 Windows 8 Baseline breaks Direct Access IPHTTPS Connectivity

When playing with SCM 3.0 and Windows 8 in my lab environment recently, I got an unpleasant surprise with my Direct Access connectivity in the Environment.

The Windows 8 client wouldn’t connect with IPHTTPS. When doing the usual troubleshooting with the netsh commands (netsh interface httpstunnel show interfaces) etc. I got the output “IPHTTPS interface not installed”.

That output usually shows up when you’re inside the corporate network.

When troubleshooting further I found out that the system event log were full with error 36874/Schannel as below.


The setting causing the problem was “System cryptography: Use FIPS compliant algorithms for encryption, hashing, and signingunder “Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options” .

The setting was Enabled by SCM and is by default Disabled.


After changing back the setting to Disabled I restored the IPHTTPS connectivity in my environment.

I am planning to follow this up as FIPS compliance is important for many organisations.