VMM Service Fails to start after DB Migration

I migrated a System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) installation to a new virtual machine today. I used this TechGenix article as a guide.

Most things went quite smoothly, however when I completed the VMM installation, the VMMService.exe didn’t start.

System Event logs displayed: “The System Center Virtual Machine Manager service terminated unexpectedly. It has done this 3 time(s).”

Application Event logs displayed:

Faulting application name: vmmservice.exe, version: 4.1.3223.0, time stamp: 0x5a566055
Faulting module name: KERNELBASE.dll, version: 10.0.17763.292, time stamp: 0xb51bba8e
Exception code: 0xe0434352

I found the VMM log located in “C:\ProgramData\VMMLogs\SCVMM<guid>\report.txt“, which had the following error buried in it:

System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException (0x80131904): Cannot execute as the database principal because the principal "dbo" does not exist, this type of principal cannot be impersonated, or you do not have permission.

This SQL error let me to poking around in SQL Server Management Studio, and to the google, where I found this relevant post on Stackoverflow.

The second answer led me to look at the “Owner” property on the “Files” page of the properties of the VirtualManagerDB database. In my case, it was empty. I suspect somehow this happened while restoring the database backup from the original VM.

I attempted to fill this in with my domain VMM service account, however SQL provided an error that this account was already assigned a role for this database. So instead I ran this statement:

USE VirtualManagerDB
SP_DROPUSER ‘DOMAIN VMM service account’ 

This updated the Owner property, and allowed me to start the VMM service.




Asp.net Website to run PowerShell Script

Now that I have a reliable and programmatic way of adding a one-time maintenance window in PRTG, I wanted to be able to provide this functionality to end users responsible over their specific set of sensors. Since I have experience with C# Asp.net, and didn’t have the luxury of time learning something new (Asp.net Core, doing it entirely in Javascript, etc) I continued down that path.

Going through my requirements as I built and fine-tuned it, this is what I ended up with:

  • Must use Windows Authentication
  • Provide functionality to select a “logical group” that is a pre-defined set of objects for applying the maintenance window
  • Be able to edit these “logical groups” outside of the code base, preferably in a simple static file
  • Be able to restrict from view and selection certain “logical groups” depending on Active Directory group membership of the user viewing the site.
  • Allow user to supply 2 datetime values, with validation that they exist, and end datetime is later than start datetime
  • Allow user to supply conditional parameters for additional objects to include
  • Display results of the operation for the user
  • Email results of the operation to specific recipients

I started with this post from Jeff Murr, which detailed how to use asp.net to call a PowerShell script, and return some output. This really formed the basis of what I built.

I started by trying to use Jeff’s code as-is, as a proof-of-concept. One of the immediate problems I ran into was getting my project to recognize the system.automation reference. It kept throwing this error:

The type or namespace name 'Automation' does not exist in the namespace 'System.Management' (are you missing an assembly reference?)

I eventually came across this blog post that contained a comment with the resolution for me:

You have to add:
Microsoft PowerShell version (5/4/3/..) Reference Assembly.

You can search for "PowerShell" in NuGet Packages Manager search bar

Once I had done this, the project could be built and I had a functional method of executing PowerShell from my site.

Building out the framework of the site was simple, and I utilized some new learning on CSS FlexBox to layout my conditional panels as I wanted to.

I decided to use an XML file as the data source for my “logical grouping” of information; intending that team members will be able to simply modify and push changes without having to understand anything related to the code. The XML file looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone="yes"?>
<type Id ="0" Code ="None">
<type Id ="1" Code ="Client1">
<type Id ="2" Code ="Client2">
<type Id ="3" Code ="Client3">

Another issue I had was with choosing a good date/time control. The out-of-the-box ones are clearly inadequate, so I decided to use a jQuery timepicker. jQuery and client-side scripts are a little unfamiliar to me, so I spent quite a bit of time tinkering to get it just right, when in reality it should have only been a brief effort.

In order to get my PowerShell script to run, and return Out-String values back to the page, I had to add: UnobtrusiveValidationMode=”None”. I did this at the top of page declaration, but it could have been done in web.config as well. Without this, when the page attempted to run the PowerShell Invoke-WebRequest, it did so under the user context of my IIS Application Pool, and it tried to run the Internet Explorer first-run wizard. Adding UnobtrusiveValidationMode bypassed this requirement.

Another unique thing I wanted to do was be able to manipulate the location of the PowerShell script and other things like disabling email notifications if I was testing during debug on my local machine. To do that, I used an IF statement to test for HttpContext.Current.Request.IsLocal.

Here’s what the site looks like:


You can download the code in a zip file of the project: PRTGMaintenanceWindow.

PRTG API to add maintenance window

I recently had a need to provide capability for adding one-time maintenance windows in PRTG for a specific set of objects.

I found this post on the PRTG forums as a starting point. I also needed to learn how to authenticate an API request in PowerShell, which Paessler has provided a KB article on.

Part of my requirements were conditional logic, to say “Pause these sensors, and maybe pause these other ones too if desired”. I used a Switch parameter in my PowerShell script to accomplish this.

One of the remaining downsides of this script is that it requires pre-knowledge of the exact object IDs from PRTG. These are easy to find, by navigating to the object you desire, and looking at the URL which will display it.

I also want to be able to call this script from a website with user-specified parameters, but that will be for a future post.

Here’s my script, which can be called like this:

$start = get-date
$end = (get-date).AddMinutes(5)
.\PrtgMaintenanceWindow.ps1 -MaintStartTime $start -MaintEndTime $end -IncludProdWebServers -IncludeTestWebServers

Full Script:

    [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] [datetime]$MaintStartTime,
    [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] [datetime]$MaintEndTime,
# Use $Global parameters so they can be used inside the Function without repeating
$Global:prtgAuth = 'username=PRTGUSERNAME&passhash=GENERATEDHASHVALUE'
$Global:prtgServer = 'https://FQDN.OF.PRTG'
$Global:MaintStart = '{0:yyyy-MM-dd-HH-mm-ss}' -f $MaintStartTime
$Global:MaintEnd = '{0:yyyy-MM-dd-HH-mm-ss}' -f $MaintEndTime
$ServicesID = @("OBJECTID") # Group containing devices &amp; sensors that I want to control
$ProdWebServersID = @("13152", "13153", "13149", "13150") # Individual Devices to conditionally apply a maintenance window to
$TestWebServersID = @("13219", "13221", "13220", "13222")
# Function that can be called multiple times, after passing in an ObjectID.
function ApplyMaintenanceWindow {
    # Apply Start Time of Maintenance Window
    $startattempt = Invoke-WebRequest "$prtgServer/api/setobjectproperty.htm?id=$objectid&name=maintstart&value=$MaintStart&$prtgAuth" -UseBasicParsing
    # Display the output as successful if HTTP200 response code received. Using Out-String for future integration purposes with website. 
    if ($startattempt.StatusCode -eq "200") {
        $message = "Object ID: $objectid - Maintenance window set to start at $MaintStart"
        $message | out-string
    # Apply End Time of Maintenance Window
    $endattempt = Invoke-WebRequest "$prtgServer/api/setobjectproperty.htm?id=$objectid&name=maintend&value=$MaintEnd&$prtgAuth" -UseBasicParsing
    if ($endattempt.StatusCode -eq "200") {
        $message = "Object ID: $objectid - Maintenance window set to end at $MaintEnd"
        $message | out-string
    # Enable Maintenance Window for the object
    $enableattempt = Invoke-WebRequest "$prtgServer/api/setobjectproperty.htm?id=$objectid&name=maintenable&value=1&$prtgAuth" -UseBasicParsing
    if ($enableattempt.StatusCode -eq "200") {
        $message = "Object ID: $objectid - Maintenance window enabled"
        $message | out-string
# Add maintenance Window for Client Services
# Do this always, with the parameters supplied
foreach ($id in $ClientServicesID) {
    ApplyMaintenanceWindow -objectid $id
#If necessary, add maintenance window for ProdWebServers
# Do this conditionally, if the switch is provided
if ($IncludeProdWebServers.IsPresent) {
    foreach ($id in $ClientProdWebServersID) {
        ApplyMaintenanceWindow -objectid $id
#If necessary, add maintenance window for TestWebServers
# Do this conditionally, if the switch is provided
if ($IncludeTestWebServers.IsPresent) {
    foreach ($id in $ClientTestWebServersID) {
        ApplyMaintenanceWindow -objectid $id



Hyper-V replica health notifications

I set up Hyper-V replica between two clusters in two offices, and needed a way of keeping track of replica health. I used a PowerShell script running from a utility server on a scheduled task to accomplish this.

This script runs a “get-vmreplication” command on each cluster node, and sends an email if any is found in warning or critical state.

One issue I needed to solve was the permissions required to run this from a utility server. I’m sure there are many other (and better) ways to accomplish this such as group managed service accounts, but there are certain limitations in my environment.

First I created an account in AD to act as a service account, as a standard user. I used the “ConvertFrom-SecureString” cmdlet as demonstrated in this article, as the SYSTEM account on my utility server, to produce a file for building a credential object in my PowerShell script. To run this as SYSTEM I used “psexec -s -i powershell.exe”.

Then I created a scheduled task, set to run as SYSTEM when not logged on, at 12 hour intervals, with the action of running the script below:


$password = Get-Content C:\scripts\MaintenanceChecks\SecureString.txt | ConvertTo-SecureString
$Credential = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential("svc.clusterhealth@domain.com",$password)	
$Servers = @("ClusterHost1","ClusterHost2","ClusterHost3","ClusterHost4")
Foreach ($server in $Servers)
	Invoke-Command -credential $credential -computername $server -scriptblock {
		$resultsWarn = get-vmreplication | where-object {$_.Health -like "Warning"} 
		if ($resultsWarn)
			$smtpServer = "relay.domain.com"
			$port = "25"
			$message = New-Object System.Net.Mail.MailMessage
			$message.From = "fromaddress@domain.com"
			$message.Sender = "fromaddress@domain.com"
			$message.To.Add( "toaddress@domain.com" )
			$message.Subject = "Replication Health Warning - $($Using:server)"
			$message.IsBodyHtml = $true
			$message.Body = "Replication health was found to be in warning state for the following VMs:  $($resultsWarn.Name)"
			$Client = New-Object System.Net.Mail.SmtpClient( $smtpServer , $port )
			$Client.Send( $message )
		$resultsCrit = get-vmreplication | where-object {$_.Health -like "Critical"} 
		if ($resultsCrit)
			$smtpServer = "relay.domain.com"
			$port = "25"
			$message = New-Object System.Net.Mail.MailMessage
			$message.From = "fromaddress@domain.com"
			$message.Sender = "fromaddress@domain.com"
			$message.To.Add( "toaddress@domain.com" )
			$message.Subject = "Replication Health Critical - $($Using:server)"
			$message.IsBodyHtml = $true
			$message.Body = "Replication health was found to be in CRITICAL state for the following VMs: $($resultsCrit.Name)"
			$Client = New-Object System.Net.Mail.SmtpClient( $smtpServer , $port )
			$Client.Send( $message )




Azure update configuration – dynamic group workaround

I put my Azure Update Management into full testing recently, using the deployment script I shared last week.

I quickly encountered a problem where despite the VMs communicating with Azure Automation properly, and showing as “ready” for Update Management, they would no longer appear as selected when using Dynamic Groups.

I suspect this may have something to do with the proxy setup in this particular environment, but I didn’t have time to troubleshoot and needed to have my scheduled update configurations statically select my VMs instead of relying upon dynamic groups (they are after all still in preview).

However, I still wanted to use Tags in order to select my VMs. In order to do this, I removed the “Targets” object from my JSON body entirely, and used the “azureVirtualMachines” object instead. I needed to put the logic of VM selection based on tags into this object.

I recognize that this removes the “dynamic” nature, in that it would only be updated when I re-run the PowerShell script to update the scheduled update configuration, but since this is going to be run once-per-month in order to change the date (Microsoft, add day offset support!) that isn’t a large problem.

The only real change is that selection of the VMs by tag can be done like this:

$selectedvms = Get-AzureRmVM | Where-Object {$_.Tags['MaintenanceWindow'] -eq $MaintenanceWindow} | select-object id
$virtualmachines = $selectedvms.id | ConvertTo-JSON

Multiple Tag definitions can be added into the “Where-Object” logic of that command.

Full Example

# API Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/automation/softwareupdateconfigurations/create#updateconfiguration
### Monthly Parameters ###
  $deploymentName = "SUG_Thurs-2am-MST-4hours"
  $MaintenanceWindow = "Thurs-2am-MST-4hours"
  $starttime = "2018-11-15T02:00:00+00:00"
# Scope Parameters
  $clientsubscription = "<subscription_id_to_target>"
  Select-AzureRmSubscription -Subscription $clientsubscription
  ## Schedule Parameters
  # Populate an array with the full ID of all VMs to apply this schedule to:
  $selectedvms = Get-AzureRmVM | Where-Object {$_.Tags['MaintenanceWindow'] -eq $MaintenanceWindow} | select-object id
  $virtualmachines = $selectedvms.id | ConvertTo-JSON
# Static Schedule Parameters
  $AutomationRG = "test-rg" # Resource Group the Automation Account resides in
  $automationAccountName = "test-automation"
  $automationSubscription = "<subscriptionId>" # Subscription that the Automation Account resides in
  $duration = "PT4H0M" # This equals maintenance window - Put in the format PT2H0M, changing the numbers for hours and minutes
  $rebootSetting = "IfRequired" # Options are Never, IfRequired
  $includedUpdateClassifications = "Critical,UpdateRollup,Security,Updates" # List of options here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/automation/softwareupdateconfigurations/create#windowsupdateclasses
  $timeZone = "America/Edmonton" # List from ??
  $frequency = "OneTime" # Valid values: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/automation/softwareupdateconfigurations/create#schedulefrequency
  #$interval = "1" # How often to recur based on the frequency (i.e. if frequency = hourly, and interval = 2, then its every 2 hours)
### These values below shouldn't need to change
  Select-AzureRmSubscription -Subscription "$automationSubscription"
  # Get the access token from a cached PowerShell session
  . .\Get-AzureRmCachedAccessToken.ps1 # Source = https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Easily-obtain-AccessToken-3ba6e593
  $BearerToken = ('Bearer {0}' -f (Get-AzureRmCachedAccessToken))
  $RequestHeader = @{
    "Content-Type" = "application/json";
    "Authorization" = "$BearerToken"
# JSON formatting to define our required settings
$Body = @"
  "properties": {
    "updateConfiguration": {
	  "operatingSystem": "Windows",
      "duration": "$duration",
      "windows": {
        "excludedKbNumbers": [],
        "includedUpdateClassifications": "$includedUpdateClassifications",
        "rebootSetting": "$rebootSetting"
      "azureVirtualMachines": $virtualmachines,
    "scheduleInfo": {
      "frequency": "$frequency",
      "startTime": "$starttime",
      "timeZone": "$timeZone",
      "interval": $interval,
	  "isEnabled": true
# Build the URI string to call with a PUT
$URI = "https://management.azure.com/subscriptions/$($automationSubscription)/" `
     +"resourceGroups/$($AutomationRG)/providers/Microsoft.Automation/" `
# use the API to add the deployment
$Response = Invoke-RestMethod -Uri $URI -Method Put -body $body -header $RequestHeader