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Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

The macOS High Sierra update has netted a few weird upgrades where I had to start over, restore, or boot into safe mode (e.g. if you DEP a device that forces encryption in Sierra and then gets into a loop after a High Sierra update is started). So I’ve been using modifier keys more than usual. The following startup modifier keys are available in macOS High Sierra:
  • Alt or Option key: Access Mac Startup Manager, which allows you to select a wireless network and then choose which volume you want to boot to.
  • C: Mostly legacy, boots to volumes on a CD, DVD, or USB drive.
  • Command-Option-P-R: Resets the parameter RAM (or PRAM for short).
  • Command-Option-R: Same as Recovery Mode, but over the Internet.
  • Command-R: Boots into the macOS Recovery Mode, useful when doing an internet restore or using Disk Utility to repair a volume.
  • Command-S: Enables Single User Mode.
  • Command-V: Boots into Verbose Mode, so you see a log of everything during the startup process.
  • D: Diagnostics mode starts up using Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics utility, for checking the hardware of your system.
  • Option-D: Load Diagnostics tools over the Internet.
  • Eject key, F12, or mouse/trackpad button: Ejects any removable media inserted.
  • N: NetBoot attempts to boot to a NetBoot volume on a network.
  • Option-N: NetBoot automatically to the default boot image
  • Shift:  Safe Boot verifies the startup disk and repairs directory issues, disables user fonts and clears the cache for them, only loads required kernel extensions and clears the cache for them, clears system caches, and disables startup and login items.
  • T: Target Disk Mode, which sets the system as a disk that can then be mounted on another system (if FileVault encrypted, you may need to enter a password to mount the volumes on the disk).
  • X: Boot to a macOS startup disk when otherwise booting to a Windows partition or startup manager.

October 1st, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X

The full guide for managing macOS Server 5.4 running on High Sierra is now available at http://krypted.com/guides/macos-server-5-3-high-sierra/



Imma take a nap now. See ya’ when 5.6 ships!

rumplestiltskin

September 29th, 2017

Posted In: Uncategorized

High Sierra sees the Caching service moved out of macOS Server and into the client macOS. This means administrators no longer need to run the Server app on caching servers. Given the fact that the Caching service only stores volatile data easily recreated by caching updates again, there’s no need to back the service up, and it doesn’t interact with users or groups, so it’s easily divested from the rest of the Server services.

And the setup of the Caching service has never been easier. To do so, first open System Preferences and click on the Sharing System Preferences pane.

From here, click on the checkbox for Content Caching to start the service.

At the Content Caching panel, the service will say “Content Caching: On” once it’s running. Here, you can disable the “Cache iCloud content” option, which will disable the caching of user data supplied for iCloud (everything in here is encrypted, by the way). You can also choose to share the Internet Connection, which will create a wireless network that iOS devices can join to pull content. 

Click Options. Here, you can see how much storage is being used and limit the amount used. 

defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.AssetCache.plist

Which returns the following configurable options:

Activated = 1;
CacheLimit = 0; DataPath = “/Library/Application Support/Apple/AssetCache/Data”; LastConfigData = <BIGLONGCRAZYSTRING>; LastConfigURL = “http://suconfig.apple.com/resource/registration/v1/config.plist”; LastPort = 56452; LastRegOrFlush = “2017-09-11 16:32:56 +0000”; LocalSubnetsOnly = 1; PeerLocalSubnetsOnly = 1; Port = 0; Region = 263755EFEF1C5DA178E82754D20D47B6; ReservedVolumeSpace = 2000000000; SavedCacheDetails = {
SavedCacheSize = 0;
ServerGUID = “EB531594-B51E-4F6A-80B9-35081B924629”;
Version = 1;}

This means that all those settings that you used to see in the GUI are still there, you just access them via the command line, by sending defaults commands. For example, 

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.AssetCache.plist CacheLimit -int 20000000000

You can

AssetCacheManagerUtil status

Which returns something similar to the following:

2017-09-11 11:49:37.427 AssetCacheManagerUtil[23957:564981] Built-in caching server status: {
Activated = 1;
Active = 1;
CacheDetails = {
iCloud = 4958643;
“iOS Software” = 936182434;};
CacheFree = 472585174016;
CacheLimit = 0;
CacheStatus = OK;
CacheUsed = 941141077;
Parents = ();
Peers = ();
PersonalCacheFree = 472585174016;
PersonalCacheLimit = 0;
PersonalCacheUsed = 4958643;
Port = 56452;
PrivateAddresses = (“192.168.104.196”);
PublicAddress = “38.126.164.226”;
RegistrationStatus = 1;
RestrictedMedia = 0;
ServerGUID = “EB531594-B51E-4F6A-80B9-35081B924629”;
StartupStatus = OK;
TotalBytesDropped = 0;
TotalBytesImported = 4958643;
TotalBytesReturnedToChildren = 0;
TotalBytesReturnedToClients = 166627405;
TotalBytesReturnedToPeers = 0;
TotalBytesStoredFromOrigin = 166627405;
TotalBytesStoredFromParents = 0;
TotalBytesStoredFromPeers = 0;

You can also use AssetCacheManagerUtil to manage tasks previously built into the Server app. To see the available options, simply run the command:

bash-3.2# /usr/bin/AssetCacheManagerUtil

Which would show the following:

Options are:
-a|–all show all events
-j|–json print results in JSON
-l|–linger don’t exit
2017-09-11 11:57:30.066 AssetCacheManagerUtil[24213:569932] Commands are:
activate
deactivate
isActivated
canActivate
flushCache
flushPersonalCache
flushSharedCache
status
settings
reloadSettings
moveCacheTo path
absorbCacheFrom path read-only|and-destroy

As such, to enable the server:

bash-3.2# /usr/bin/AssetCacheManagerUtil activate 

To disable the server

bash-3.2# /usr/bin/AssetCacheManagerUtil deactivate

To check if the server can be activated

bash-3.2# /usr/bin/AssetCacheManagerUtil canActivate

To flush the cache of assets on the server:

bash-3.2# /usr/bin/AssetCacheManagerUtil flushCache 

To reload settings if you make any changes:

bash-3.2# /usr/bin/AssetCacheManagerUtil reloadSettings

To move the database

/usr/bin/AssetCacheManagerUtil moveCacheTo "/Volumes/SONY/Library/Application Support/Apple/AssetCache/Data"

Finally, if you’d like to see the caching server your client system is using, you can run the following command:

/usr/bin/AssetCacheLocatorUtil 2>&1 | grep guid | awk '{print$4}' | sed 's/^\(.*\):.*$/\1/' | uniq

And if you use Jamf Pro and would like to use this as an extension attribute, that’s posted here: https://github.com/krypted/cachecheck. I didn’t do any of the if/then there, as I’d usually just do that on the JSS.

Note: To see how AssetCache interacts with Tetherator, see Tethered Caching of iOS Assets from macOS 10.12.4.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , , ,

A bootable installer is one of the fastest ways to install a Mac. Rather than copy the installer to a local drive you can run it right off a USB disk (or Thunderbolt if you dare). Such a little USB drive would be similar to the sticks that came with the older MacBook Air, when we were all still sitting around wondering how you would ever install the OS on a computer with no optical media or Ethernet otherwise. Luckily, Apple loves us. To make a bootable USB/flash drive of High Sierra like the one that used to come with the MacBook Air, first name the USB drive. I’ll use hsinstall for the purposes of this article. The format should be Mac OS Extended Journaled, although the new system drive will be apfs on the target volume. The installer is called Install macOS Sierra and is by default located in the /Applications directory. Inside the app bundle, there’s a new binary called createinstallmedia (nested in Contents/Resources). Using this binary you can create an installation drive (similar to what we used to do with InstallESD). To do so, specify the –volume to create the drive on (note that the target volume will be erased), the path of the “Install macOS High Sierra” app bundle and then we’re going to select –nointeraction so it just runs through the whole thing

/Applications/Install\ macOS\High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/hsinstall --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app --nointeraction

Note: You’ll need to elevate your privileges for this to run.

Once run you’ll see that it erases the disk, copies the Installation materials (InstallESX, etc) and then makes the drive bootable, as follows:

Erasing Disk: 0%... 10%... 20%... 100%... Copying installer files to disk... Copy complete. Making disk bootable... Copying boot files... Copy complete.

Then you can either select the new volume in the Startup Disk System Preference pane or boot the computer holding down the option key to select the new volume.

Note: If you can do this on a system with a solid state drive it will be  faster. Although this took 17 minutes last I ran it even then so be patient for the files to copy.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X

Tags: , , , ,

macOS Server 5.4 running on High Sierra can have problems with Open Directory. Sometimes, you just need to reset your directory service. You can demote and restore the server if needed. But buyer beware, you may end up screwing things up while the directory server is being demoted and you’re restoring a backup. Or if you haven’t built out the directory server, you may end up just demoting the server and starting over. In this article, we’ll look at demoting the server.

Note: If you demote the service, and you don’t have a replica, you will destroy all users and groups.

To get started demoting the Open Directory master, first open the Server app and click on Open Directory.


From the Open Directory screen, click on the minus button in the Servers section. When prompted to Delete the directory service, click on the Delete button.


You’ll then see that the server is demoting.


Once the process is complete, you’ll be able to setup a new directory server, back at the initial Open Directory screen. The process takes awhile, so be patient.


Note: This process can fail on Open Directory replicas. Make sure you can ssh into the master from the replica, and that you can access all required slurpd services.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , , ,

macOS Server 5.4, running on High Sierra, comes complete with lots of awesome features. And these features are made easier with some documentation to help you get up and running, started and owning the configuration of Apple Servers. One such is the built-in options to help manage your servers. Open Server, click Help, then click Server Help. You can then search and browse for information about things you’d like to accomplish using the Help Center.



Now, click the arrow for each service for information about configuring that service. And just like that, simple and easy-to-use documentation, available live on macOS Server, guiding you to accessing the features you need. You will need to be online to use it effectively, as this information is updated using official help documentation.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , ,

The first thing you’ll want to do on any server is setup the networking for the computer. To do this, open the System Preferences and click on Network. You usually want to use a wired Ethernet connection on a server, but in this case we’ll be using Wi-Fi. Here, click on the Wi-Fi interface and then click on the Advanced… button.

At the setup screen for the interface, provide a good static IP address. Your network administrator can provide this fairly easily. Here, make sure you have an IP address and a subnet mask. Since we need to install the Server app from the Mac App Store, and that’s on the Internet, you’ll also need to include a gateway, which provides access to the Internet and using the DNS tab, the name servers for your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
 
Once you have provided a static IP address, verify that you can route to the Internet (e.g. open Safari and visit a website). Provided you can, the first step to installing macOS Server onto High Sierra is to download the Server app from the Mac App Store. To do so, open the App Store app and search for Server. In the available apps, you’ll see the Server app from Apple. Here, click on Buy and let the app download. That was pretty easy, right. Well, the fun has just gotten started. Next, open the app.

When you first open the Server app, you’ll see the Server screen. Here, you can click on the following options:
  • Other Mac: Shows a list of Macs with the Server app that can be remotely configured. Choosing another system does not complete the setup process on the system you’re working on at the moment.
  • Cancel: Stops the Server app setup assistant and closes the Server App.
  • Continue: Continues installing the Server app on the computer you are using.
  • Help: Brings up the macOS Server manual.
 

Click Continue to setup macOS Server on the machine you’re currently using. You’ll then be prompted for the licensing agreement from Apple. Here, check the box to “Use Apple services to determine this server’s Internet reachability” and click on Agree (assuming of course that you agree to Apple’s terms in the license agreement).

Installing macOS Server must be done with elevated privileges. At the prompt, enter the credentials for an account with administrative access and click on the Allow button.

The services are then configured as needed and the command line tools are made accessible. This can take some time, so be patient. When the app is finished with the automation portion of the configuration, you will be placed into the Server app for the first time. Your first order of business is to make sure that the host names are good on the computer. Here, first check the Host Name. If the name doesn’t resolve properly (forward and reverse) then you will likely have problems with the server at some point. Therefore, go ahead and click on Edit Host Name… Here, enter the fully qualified address that the server should have. In the DNS article, we’ll look at configuring a good DNS server, but for now, keep in mind that you’ll want your DNS record that points to the server to match what you enter here. And users will use this address to access your server, so use something that is easy to communicate verbally, when needed.

 
At the Change Host Name screen, click Next. At the “Accessing your Server” screen, click on Internet and then click on the Next button.



At the “Connecting to your Server” screen, provide the Computer Name and the Host Name. The Computer Name is what you will see when you connect to the server over Bonjour and what will be listed in the Sharing System Preference pane. The Host Name is the fully qualified host name (fqdn) of the computer. I usually like to take the computer name and put it in front of the domain name. For example, in the following screen, I have osxserver as the name of the computer and osxserver.krypted.com as the host name.



Once you have entered the names, click on the Finish button. You are then prompted to Change Host Name. Click on Change Host Name at this screen.

Next, let’s open Terminal and run changeip with the -checkhostname option, to verify that the IP and hostname match:

sudo changeip -checkhostname


Provided that the IP address and hostname match, you’ll see the following response.

sudirserv:success = “success”

If the IP address and hostname do not match, then you might want to consider enabling the DNS server and configuring a record for the server. But at this point, you’ve finished setting up the initial server and are ready to start configuring whatever options you will need on the server.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment

Tags: , , , , ,

In past versions of this guide, I covered Time Machine Server. Here, we’re going to look at backing up the settings of a macOS Server using Bender. To do so, we’re going to install a little app called Bender from the great folks at Robot Cloud. You can download that from http://robotcloud.screenstepslive.com/s/2459/m/5322/l/94467-bender-automated-backup-of-os-x-server-settings.
Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.51.00 PM
Once downloaded, run the package installer.
Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.49.32 PM
At the Welcome to Bender screen, click Continue.
Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.03 PM
Agree to the licensing agreement by clicking the Continue button. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.22 PM
Click Agree again (assuming of course that you agree to the license). Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.57 PM
Choose who you wish to install the software for and click Continue. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.53.52 PM
I’d go ahead and install Bender at the default location, so click Install. Once the installer is complete, you can view the installed LaunchDaemon at /Library/LaunchDaemons/net.robotcloud.bender.plist. Note that it calls the /usr/local/robotcloud/bin/bender binary when run at 22:00 every day. If you edit this file, the following settings are available:

host=$(hostname) macOS=$(sw_vers | awk ‘/ProductVersion/{print substr($2,1,5)}’ | tr -d “.”) macSN=$(system_profiler SPHardwareDataType | awk ‘/Serial Number/{print $4}’) date=$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H%M) pass=$(system_profiler SPHardwareDataType | awk ‘/Hardware UUID/{print $3}’) logPath=”/usr/local/robotcloud/logs/bender.log” pipPath=”/usr/local/robotcloud/bin/scroobiuspip” pipTitle=”Bender Backup Error on: $macSN” backupDestination=”/Backups/$date” keepUntil=”14″ version=”2.3″ versionCheck=”$1″

The most important of these is the backupDestination. You can set this to be the /Backups folder as it is above, or set it to be an external drive. Either should be backed up using your standard backup software.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , ,

In order to use the Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP), you will need an MDM solution (Profile Manager, Jamf Pro, MobileIron, Meraki, FileWave, etc). The same program is used for device-based VPP or user-based VPP. There are two programs, which is meant to simplify the experience of setting up an MDM solution and long-term maintenance. The first is the traditional VPP account, available to companies and other non-educational environments that have a DUNS number. The second is the newer Apple School Manager, for educational institutions.

Before starting to buy apps and associating those apps from an MDM solution, there are a few things you should know. The first is that your organization can have multiple VPP tokens or Apple School Manager tokens, and you can hierarchically manage apps this way. The second is that each token should only be installed on one MDM solution or server (if you have multiple instances of the same solution). Therefore, if you’re going to have multiple servers or solutions for managing apps, keep in mind to buy apps for groups based on the VPP account that will be associated with devices for each solution. Also, note that the traditional deployment mechanism of VPP is user, or Apple ID-based VPP apps. Here, you associate an Apple ID to a VPP account from an MDM and then the administrator sends apps to devices based via the MDM solution. And this is still an option.

In 10.11 and up, we got device-based VPP. Here, you can send apps to devices even if they don’t have Apple IDs associated to the device, and you can send apps automatically, meaning they will not require user interaction. This makes VPP multi-tenant and great for school labs, or shared-use Macs and iOS devices. But this article isn’t about the fine print details of the new VPP. Instead, this article is about making Profile Manager work with your new VPP token. Before you get started, know that when you install your vpptoken, if it’s in use by another MDM, Profile Manager will unlicensed all apps with your other MDM. To get started, log into your VPP account. Once logged in, click on your account email address and then select Account Summary.
vpp1

Then, click on the Download Token link and your token will be downloaded to your ~/Downloads (or wherever you download stuff).

vpp2
Once you have your token, open the Server app and click on the Profile Manager service.

 

Click on the checkbox for Volume Purchase Program.

 

At the VPP Managed Distribution screen, drag the .vpptoken file downloaded earlier into the screen. Then click on Continue. The VPP code email address will appear in the screen. Click Done. Back at the profile manager screen, you should then see that the checkbox is filled and you can now setup Profile Manager. The rest of the configuration of Profile Manager is covered in a previous article. Note: The account used to configure the VPP information is not tracked in any serveradmin settings.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mass Deployment

Tags: , , , ,

There are a couple of ways to create groups in macOS Server 5.4, running on High Sierra. The first is using the Server app, the second is using the Users & Groups System Preference pane and the third is using the command line. In this article we will look at creating groups in the directory service with the Server app.

Once a server has been an Open Directory Master all user and group accounts created will be in the Local Network Group when created in Server app. Before that, all user and group objects are stored locally when created in Server app. Once promoted to an Open Directory server, groups are created in the Open Directory database or if you select it from the directory domain drop-down list, locally. Groups can also be created in both locations, using a command line tool appropriate for group management.

To create a new group, open the Server app and then click on Groups in the ACCOUNTS list of the Server app sidebar. From here, you can switch between the various directory domains accessible to the server using the drop-down list available. Click on the plus sign to create a local network group.
At the New Group screen, provide a name for the group in the Full Name field. This can have spaces. Then create a short name for the group in the Group Name field. This should not have spaces.
Click Done when you have supplied the appropriate information and the group is created. Once done, double-click on the group to see more options.
Here, use the plus sign (“+”) to add members to the group or highlight members and use the minus sign (“-“) to remove users from the group. You can also choose to use the following options:
  • Mailing Lists: Lists that are connected to the group.
  • Members: The users that are part of the group
  • Give this group a shared folder: Creates a shared directory for the group, or a group with an ACL that grants all group members access.
  • Make group members Messages buddies: Adds each group member to each other group members buddy list in the Messages client.
  • Enable group mailing list: Enables a list using the short name of the group where all members receive emails to that address.
  • Create Group Wiki: Opens the Wiki interface for creating a wiki for the group.
  • Keywords: Keywords/tags to help locate users.
  • Notes: Notes about users.
Once changes have been made, click Done to commit the changes.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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