Namespace ‘Microsoft.Policies.WindowsStore’ is already defined as the target namespace for another file in the store

Windows 10 Creators Update build 1703 came with a new set of .admx and .adml policy definitions. Everything was working fine but Microsoft changed the name of the Windows Store policy definition files and borked up a bunch of random unrelated GPO. If you view affected GPO in Group Policy Manager on your domain controller you may see this error in place of your normal settings information.

The error is:

Namespace ‘Microsoft.Policies.WindowsStore’ is already defined as the target namespace for another file in the store. File \FQDN-DC\SysVol\domain.com\ Policies\PolicyDefinitions\WinStoreUI.admx, line 4, column 80

To fix this issue go to your sysvol. Usually at path above or something similar:

\\SysVol\ yourdomain.com\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\

Delete the file: WinStoreUI.admx

Rename file WindowsStore.admx to WinStoreUI.admx

\\SysVol\ yourdomain.com\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\en-US (or whatever your language is)

Delete the file: WinStoreUI.adml

Rename file WindowsStore.adml to WinStoreUI.adml

Refresh the settings view in Group Policy Manager and you will see that your policy definitions are working again.

You are done!

File Explorer Not Responding Issue After Windows 10 Update

I have been having an issue recently with my File Explorer in Windows 10 opening painfully slow, so slow that it indicated Not Responding in the status bar. I thought this was just happening on my work computer, which has an SSD, plenty of RAM and a decent CPU too.  Then I discovered the same issue on my home PC which has 32 GB of RAM and realized that this must be an issue with a recent Windows update.

After some experimentation, I determined that the bug is with the Quick Launch function in File Explorer.  If you set File Explorer to go to This PC or turn off the Quick Launch function, the problem stops immediately.

Open File Explorer, go to File, then select Change folder and search options.

Select This PC from Open File Explorer to field. Or you can deselect the Privacy check boxes Show recently used files in Quick access and Show frequently used folders in Quick access. Either way will get you to the solution you want.

You File Explorer should open very quickly now!

Disable Birthday Notifications in Windows 10 Lock Screen and Desktop

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After upgrading to Windows 10 you may have noticed birthday reminders on your lock screen or desktop popping up for people you may not even remember. Because of integration with LinkedIn, other email services and social media sites anybody you have every had a connection with has a birthday notification. And if you know enough people everyday is somebody’s birthday, sometimes several somebodies. Personally, I only need to remember birthdays of my immediately family members. Everything else is just noise.

To correct this open the Windows 10 Calendar app. Either select All apps from the start menu and find it in the list or type Calendar in the search box.

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With the Calendar app open, uncheck Birthday Calendar for all accounts that you have connected to Windows 10 apps.

 

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This should disable any unwanted birthday notification associated with Windows 10 apps. If you have any third party apps that provides notifications, you will have to configure the settings in that app.

 

How to Add Group Policy Templates (.admx) for Windows 10

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Microsoft has recently released the Windows 10 Group Policy templates (.admx) to assist organizations manage Windows 10 devices using GPO. This article describes how to install the new Windows 10 policy definitions in your domain.

Download the ADMX files Microsoft Administrative Templates for Windows 10. Also download the Windows 10 ADMX guide from Microsoft. Login to a Domain Controller in your network and find the path to your SYSVOL. If you have a Central Store the Sysvol has a different path than if it is local on one Domain Controller.

Open the msi installer to start, select next

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Select agree and next

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The default path is local, to change the path from default select browse

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If you have a Central Store for ADMX files, the location should be the same or similar to the path below, just replace <your_domain> with your domain name (domain.com). Learn more about making a Central Store here.

C:\Windows\SYSVOL\sysvol\<your_domain>\Policies\PolicyDefinitions

Select the path to install the ADMX files

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Select next

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Installation completes

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Click here to learn more about managing Group Policy AMDX files.

Issues with SonicWALL NetExtender after Windows 10 Upgrade

My team and I had been running Windows 10 Insider Preview for a while but only inside our domain. Like millions of others I upgraded my home machine to Windows 10 Pro on July 29th. Besides some issues with my Nvidia video card, it all seemed to be working nicely. Until I tried to VPN into a network with Dell SonicWALL NetExtender client.

NetExtender could connect fine and could even ping the network I was connecting to but no other protocols were available, like http, https, RDP. Not much info was found on the internet, all searches turned up “Cannot connect to Windows 10 through VPN”.

After trying multiple false starts I discovered the solution. There is a modern Microsoft App that allows the VPN connection without issues: SonicWALL Mobile Connect. There are iOS and Android versions too.

Steps:

Download and install the app for Windows 10

Open PowerShell as Administrator and execute the following commands. If needed, replace the bolded text with new values.

  • Check the port on your previous NetExtender installation, usually 4433
  • Choose a name for the network connection in Windows (VPN)
  • Enter the public IP address for your firewall, or FQDN is applicable

$xml = “<MobileConnect><Port>4433</Port></MobileConnect>”

$sourceXml=New-Object System.Xml.XmlDocument

$sourceXml.LoadXml($xml)

Add-VpnConnection -Name VPN -ServerAddress 69.1.1.1 -SplitTunneling $True -PluginApplicationID SonicWALL.MobileConnect_cw5n1h2txyewy -CustomConfiguration $sourceXml


You will create a VPN connection in WIndows. Opne Network Connections in the control panel to verify it has been created.

To use the VPN connection, select the Network icon in the lower right corner of your screen and select the VPN you just created.

In the dialog window select Connect. Enter your credentials if prompted. If needed you can precede the username with a domain name (ie domain\username) in the Username field.

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I hope this was helpful!

Windows 10 Release

Yesterday Microsoft released Windows 10 into the wild. Besides some minor gotchas, it appears to be the best release of any new Windows to date. The clean look and refreshed user interface is impressive even if it is channeling the spirit of Apple left and right. It is almost like 75% of the Microsoft UX designers own Apple devices.

But really…is this Windows 10 or Windows 8.3 with automatic updates? The development cadence is quicker than in the past. It is like the dev guys at Microsoft were coming up with new features for the next Windows 8 release and had a meeting with Marketing who said, “whoa hold up pocket protectors, we need to make a clean break” hence a newly branded OS was released slightly before its time. Below are the Windows release and end-of-sales dates from Microsoft’s Windows lifecycle fact sheet.

Microsoft isn’t the only company strategically building a subscription model that emphasizes “services” that you never stop paying for. Obviously much better for their profitability. This trend, that started picking up momentum over 10 years ago, has really accelerated the last 5 years with associated catch phrases like cloud.

Nothing is really ‘free’ it seems, there is always a catch. Microsoft is just providing the vehicle to lock consumers into their shiny new ecosystem, like an operating system with the ‘in-app purchases’ we often see elsewhere. The first indication is Solitaire is a paid subscription based app on Windows 10 if you want to avoid the ads. Monetizing Solitaire, really?

The ads are actually the scariest part. I don’t own a TV and I use AdBlock Plus for Chrome. I never see ads. It has been so long that when I accidentally see an ad now it’s almost traumatic. Ads built into my OS are extremely unwelcome. I would have to get a Mac, I couldn’t handle it. The new Windows 10 browser Edge does not yet have support for extensions like AdBlock Plus. That means I won’t be using Edge for anything but online Microsoft products.

Yesterday when I upgraded my home computer to Windows 10 Pro, it freaked out. After the upgrade, it restarted several times and choked each time. The screen was black with a small cursor in the upper left corner. My heart sank. Apparently there was a Faulty Nvidia driver pushed out with the final release that millions of people downloaded. I happen to have an Nvidia video card. It finally worked because Redmond was quick to patch it again but this was definitely a wrinkle in the overall smoothness.

I drank the cool aid a long time ago and I genuinely like the new direction that Microsoft has been going in the last few years…but it’s not 100% yet. While they got a lot of it right in this latest release, Microsoft appears to be continuing some of the less than popular traditions like rushing things out the door and fumbling a bit with the initial release. All that aside, I like Windows 10 so far!

 

Nvidia Video Card Problem in Windows 10 Upgrade

If you have an Nvidia video card and you had a problem when upgrading to Windows 10, you are not alone. Apparently Microsoft borked a lot of computers by pushing out a questionable driver for Nvidia GeForce video cards. My computer was one of them.

I have a GeForce GTX 980 that usually rocks. After the upgrade everything went blank on the final restart. I had to hard restart the machine because it froze on boot three times. Once I got Windows to boot, I tried to open an application that failed and returned a video card error. I was like, oh nooooooo not again! The curse of Microsoft. I opened Nvidia GeForce Experience and tried to update it, failure. I manually downloaded the latest Nvidia drivers and tried to install, failure. I tried to uninstall the apps and drivers from Windows, failure.

do familiarAt this point, I was getting a little worried because I had already restarted several times. The restarts would get locked up with a black screen or black with a little cursor in the upper left of the screen. I tried to force Windows Updates to ensure it had the latest drivers but Control Panel had no Windows Update page I could easily find. I eventually restarted the machine and it worked because of the new Nvdia driver update Microsoft rushed out, but only after lots of stress and cussing. So you should let Windows update itself again after install and restart it to get it to work.

As an IT professional, I wanted to assess the latest Windows to see if it is worth the trouble of deployment in our production environment. It appears that the traditional caution IT Departments treat the initial Windows releases with is still very relevant, even with a whole year of Windows Insiders testing it to find the bugs. While Windows 10 makes a great first impression, we will take long arc when testing it for our environment.