Author Archive

Fixing server connection issues by changing network interface order

October 25, 2016 1 comment

I had one of my customers report a problem today after applying software updates to his Mac. His Mac had been able to automount certain network shares via NFS before the updates, but was unable to access those shares following the updates.

I connected remotely to the Mac and verified that I was unable to manually mount the NFS mounts.

When I tried to run the showmount command to get a list of the available NFS mounts on the server, I also received a timeout message:

I was about to send this on to the team that handled our NFS shares, when I remembered I hadn’t verified that I could access the server. Sure enough, I couldn’t:

I could ping Yahoo however, so I could contact the internet.

So I couldn’t access an internal network resource, but I could access the internet. What made this puzzling was that I was connecting remotely to the Mac via the IP address associated with this person’s Ethernet address. This IP address should not have had issues accessing internal network resources. What had happened? For more, see below the jump.

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Slides from the documentation session at JAMF Nation User Conference 2016

October 20, 2016 1 comment

For those who wanted a copy of my documentation talk at at JAMF Nation User Conference 2016, here are links to the slides in PDF and Keynote format.


Keynote –

Using vfuse to create NetBoot-ready VMware VMs

October 19, 2016 Leave a comment

When building virtual machines for testing, my preferred method is to leverage VMware Fusion’s NetBoot support to NetBoot to a DeployStudio server and run workflows. The process to build a NetBoot-ready VM through VMware Fusion looks like this:

1. Open VMware Fusion

2. In the Select the Installation Method window, choose Create a custom virtual machine and then click the Continue button.

Create custom virtual machine

3. In the Choose Operating System window, set OS as appropriate then click the Continue button.

Os selection

4. In the Finish window, select Customize Settings.

Customize settings

5. Save the VM file in a convenient location.

6. In your VM settings, select Network Adapter.

Vm settings network adapter

7. In the Network Adapter settings, select Autodetect under Bridged Networking.

Configure bridged network settings

At that point, you can also adjust your RAM and processor settings but that’s up to you.

The VM is now configured to be NetBoot-ready, where it’s set up to run a particular macOS version but has a formatted and completely empty boot drive.

Vmware netboot screen

This setup process has been a largely manual process involving a lot of clicking in the VMware Fusion user interface and I’ve wanted to automate this for a while. Thanks to some recent changes which my colleague Joe Chilcote made to his vfuse VM creation tool, it’s now possible to automate the setup of a NetBoot-ready VM in Fusion with the following configurable options:

  • OS version
  • VM boot drive size

For more details, see below the jump.

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Categories: Mac OS X, macOS, VMware

Apple filesystem session at MacTech Conference 2016

October 19, 2016 Leave a comment

I’ll be speaking at MacTech Conference 2016, which is taking place from November 16-18, 2016 in Los Angeles at the Westin Hotel LAX. My session will be an overview of Apple’s past and present filesystems, with an introduction to Apple File System (APFS) and a discussion of its current state of development.

You can see the entire list of MacTech Conference speakers at

Enabling automatic download and installation of Microsoft Office 2016 updates

October 12, 2016 3 comments

As part of releasing Microsoft Office 2016 15.27, Microsoft has also updated Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) to include an interesting new feature: Automatically Download and Install. In MAU 3.8 and later, this feature will automatically download updates for Office 2016 applications and do the following:

  • If an Office application is not running – Automatically install and update the application
  • If an Office application is running – Prompt the customer and give them the option of updating later or restarting the application. If the customer chooses to restart their application, the application will be closed, updated and then re-opened

Pasted image at 2016 09 15 05 09 PM

To enable the automated download and install option, open the Microsoft AutoUpdate application and set the Automatically Download and Install option.

Screen Shot 2016 10 12 at 9 58 42 AM

For more information on this new feature, please see the following link:

What’s New in Microsoft AutoUpdate 3.8

To enable the automated download and install option via the command line for Microsoft AutoUpdate 3.8, the following defaults command can run by the logged-in user:

defaults write HowToCheck AutomaticDownload

Microsoft is planning to move the MAU preferences to /Library/Preferences as part of an upcoming Microsoft AutoUpdate release, so the following defaults command can be run with root privileges to enable the automated download and install option for those future versions of Microsoft AutoUpdate:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/ HowToCheck AutomaticDownload

For those who want to enable the automated download and install option using management profiles, I’ve created a .mobileconfig file and posted it here on Github:

Using Disk Utility on macOS Sierra to unlock FileVault 2-encrypted boot drives

October 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Starting in OS X El Capitan, Apple overhauled Disk Utility’s various functions to add new features and remove others. As of macOS Sierra, it appeared at first that the abilities to unlock or decrypt a FileVault 2-encrypted drive had both been removed from Disk Utility. After some investigation though, it looks like the ability to decrypt has been removed, but you can still unlock using Sierra’s Disk Utility. For more details, see below the jump.

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Documentation session at JAMF Nation User Conference 2016

October 11, 2016 Leave a comment

I’ll be speaking about how to various ways to document your Casper Suite and other IT needs at JAMF Nation User Conference 2016, which is being held from October 18th – 20th, 2016 in Minneapolis, MN. For those interested, my talk will be on Thursday, October 20th.

For a description of what I’ll be talking about, please see the Preparing for the Road Ahead: Documenting Your Casper Suite Setup session description. You can see the whole list of JNUC sessions here on the Sessions page.

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