Category Archives: CLI

Flatten nested AD group memberships with powershell

Several applications at my job do not know how to read nested security groups. This is annoying because we grant everything through security groups instead of individual entitlements.

I’ve recently finished writing a powershell script that will “flatten” a security group that has nested security groups. This script reads a security group’s membership, compares the individually assigned users with the nested security group membership, and then reconciles them so only members of the nested security group are individually added to the main group. It allows me to simply add a security group to another security group, and still be able to use the group to grant access to applications that don’t support nested groups. It also ensures that nobody has rogue access they shouldn’t have. Everything managed through groups like God intended.

I consulted a ton of different sites to accomplish this. Here are just a few:

#Nested Security Group flattener script
#Written by Nicholas Jeppson, 10/6/2018

#This script scans nested security groups and compares their membership to that of the base security group.
#It then reconciles membership so that the only members of this group are those who are members of the nested security groups.
#This is required for applications that cannot read nested security groups, such as mattermost.
#No more manually adding people to a group after you've already added their role to that same group!

#=============Variables section=============#

#Enter groups to reconcile here, separated by quotes and a comma:
$groups_to_flatten = @("group1","group2")

#==========End Variables Section=============#

#Loop through each group to flatten
foreach ($group in $groups_to_flatten) {

    Write-Host "`nProcessing group ""$group"""

    #Read current individually added users
    $individually_added_users = get-ADGroupMember -Identity $group | Where-Object {$_.objectClass -eq 'user'}

    #Read group membership of nested groups - Ignore specific user (optional)
    $nested_group_members = get-ADGroupMember -Identity $group | Where-Object {$_.objectClass -eq 'group'} | Get-ADGroupMember -Recursive | Where-Object {$ -ne 'USER_TO_IGNORE'}

    #Compare current individually added users with that of nested security groups
    $users_to_add = Compare-Object -ReferenceObject $individually_added_users -DifferenceObject $nested_group_members -PassThru | Where-Object {$_.SideIndicator -eq "=>"}
    $users_to_remove = Compare-Object -ReferenceObject $individually_added_users -DifferenceObject $nested_group_members -PassThru | Where-Object {$_.SideIndicator -eq "<="}
    #loop through each user to remove and remove them
    foreach ($user in $users_to_remove) {
        Remove-ADGroupMember -Identity $group -Member $user -Confirm:$false
        Write-Host "Removed: $user"
    #loop through each user to add and add them
    foreach ($user in $users_to_add) {
        #Add nested group membership individually back to the parent group
        #Write-Host "Adding individual members to ""$group""`n`n"
        Add-ADGroupMember -Identity $group -Members $user -Confirm:$false 
        Write-Host "Added: $user"   

Powershell equivalent of “find -exec”

I recently found myself on a Windows 10 system needing to do the equivalent of “find . -name *.mdi -exec mdiconvert -source {} -log log.txt \;” I knew what to do instantly on a Unix system, not so on a Windows system

I finally figured it out and am now writing it down because I know I’ll forget! Thanks to these several sites for pointing me in the right direction.

  • Get-ChildItem is the find equivalent
    • -Filter is the -name equivalent
    • -Recurse must be specified otherwise it only looks in the one directory
  • % is an alias for “ForEach-Object
  • Put the command you want run in brackets {}
  • Put an ampersand in front of the command you wish to run so you can properly pass arguments containing dashes
  • $_.FullName turns the powershell object into a text string (which my command required.) FullName is the full path of the item found with Get-ChildItem
    • $_ is the rough equivalent of find’s {} (the item that was found)

The command I ended up using is below (find any .mdi files and use Microsoft’s mdi2tif utility to convert the result to .tif files)

Get-ChildItem "C:\Users" -Recurse -Filter *.mdi | % { & 'C:\Program
Files (x86)\modiconv\MDI2TIF.EXE' -source $_.FullName -log log.txt }

Make FreeDOS boot ISO to flash BIOS

I needed to flash the BIOS of one of my old server motherboards and to my dismay found the only way to do so was via DOS boot image. It was not straightforward so I thought I’d write it down. Thanks to pingtool & for the information I needed to pull it off.

First, obtain a copy of FreeDOS ISO and extract it to a directory

  • mount -o loop <freedosISO.iso> <mount directory>
  • rsync -aP <mount directory> <directory you want files to copy to>

Next, copy the necessary flash utilities and firmware files to that same directory as above.

Lastly, use genisoimage to create a new ISO image based on the above folder. Modify -o output to wherever you want the ISO to go.

sudo apt install genisoimage
cd <folder you copied your files to>
mkisofs -o /tmp/freedos_biosupdate.iso -q -l -N \
   -boot-info-table -iso-level 4 -no-emul-boot \
   -b isolinux/isolinux.bin \
   -publisher "FreeDOS -" \
   -A "FreeDOS beta9 Distribution" -V FDOS_BETA9 -v .

From here you can take the ISO and mount / burn it as needed. It will boot into FreeDOS. Tell it to go to a shell and away you go.

FreeNAS ZFS tuning for SSDs

I wanted to optimize my all SSD storage array on my FreeNAS server but I had a hard time finding information in one place. After a lot of digging I pulled things from several places. This is what I came up with. It boiled down to two main settings

  • ashift
  • recordsize

Checking ashift on existing pools

zdb -U /data/zfs/zpool.cache | grep ashift

I read here a recommended setting of ashift=13, recordsize=8k for VM workloads on SSDs.

How to change recordsize:

This is easily done in the GUI or command line and can be changed on the fly.

zfs set recordize <value> <volume>

How to change ashift:

Backup your data and destroy the pool.

Modify the setting dictating minimum ashift setting as outlined here

sysctl vfs.zfs.min_auto_ashift=13

Re-create the pool.

Additional reading

Free up RAM after Proxmox live migration

I ran into an issue where after migrating a bunch of VMs off of one of  my hosts, the remaining VMs on it refused to turn on. Every time I tried the command would hang for a while and eventually error out with this message

TASK ERROR: start failed: command '/usr/bin/kvm -id <truncated>... ' failed: got timeout

I suspected this might be due to RAM use and sure enough the usage was too high for a system that didn’t have any VMs running on it.  I found here that I could run a command to flush the cache:

echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

That caused the RAM usage to go down but the symptom of the VM not starting remained. I then saw the KSM sharing still had some memory in it. I decided to restart the KSM sharing service:

sudo systemctl restart ksmtuned

After running that the VM started!

Supermicro fans constantly spinning to 100% fix

My fancy new Supermicro-powered AMD Epyc 7 series server is the bee’s knees. When I first set up I had an annoying problem though – the fans would spin to 100% and back down to normal speeds constantly. Logs kept spamming the same thing over and over:

SENSOR_NAME: FAN5            
EVENT_DESCRIPTION: Lower Critical going low
EVENT SEVERITY:"information"
SENSOR_NAME: FAN5            
EVENT_DESCRIPTION: Lower Critical going low
EVENT SEVERITY:"information"

It was doing this for all 3 fans I had plugged in there. I finally came across this post which explained what the problem was. The fans I had installed defaulted to a low RPM mode, too low for the motherboard’s liking. The BMC would detect the low RPM and assume something was wrong and bring all fans to 100% in order to rescue the system. After doing this it would see the RPM go back to normal range and turn off the “emergency fan mode” only to turn back on when the RPMs of my fans went below the threshold.

The fix, thankfully, is pretty simple provided you have ipmitools installed. One simply has to use the tool to change the fan thresholds. For my Debian-based Proxmox install I did the following to quiet this beast:

apt install ipmitool
ipmitool sensor thresh FAN1 lower 300 300 400
ipmitool sensor thresh FAN2 lower 300 300 400
ipmitool sensor thresh FAN5 lower 300 300 400
#you'll want to modify the fans to correspond with your own server.

I ran the above commands to turn my 3 fans back to a sane speed. I got caught up for a while because I only ran this command on 2 of my 3 fans at first. The deafening noise continued. This is because if any fan in the system goes below, all fans spin up. Once I changed that third fan’s threshold all was gravy. My ears were ringing for a while, but they’re fine now.

Setup remote git repository with SSH & GIT

I wanted to set up a simple git repository to synchronize my bash scripts between a couple hosts, no fancy github or gitlab software required. These are my notes on how I got it working. Thanks to this site for the information.

On the remote host (server)

git init --bare

On the local hosts (client)

Create a git repository and add files to it:

git init
git add *
git commit -m "Initial commit"
git remote add origin USER@REMOTE_HOST:GIT_PROJECT_DIR.git
git push origin master
git branch --set-upstream-to=origin/master

Modify network buffers in Linux using sysctl

After installing Netdata I kept getting alerts that packets were being dropped. After some research I read you can alleviate this by increasing your system’s networking buffer. You can accomplish this with sysctl.

If you run sysctl manually it will not survive a reboot. If you want persistence you simply add the sysctl command line to /etc/sysctl.conf. Thanks to Brennen Smith on serverfault for the info on my particular problem with UDP drops:

#as root:
echo "net.core.rmem_default=8388608" >> /etc/sysctl.conf
echo "net.core.rmem_max=16777216" >> /etc/sysctl.conf
sysctl -p

The above solved my udp problem but you can modify it to change any sysctl things you want to quickly configure and persist.

Mount encfs folder on startup with systemd

A quick note on how to encrypt a folder with encfs and then mount it on boot via a systemd startup script. In my case the folder is located on a network drive and I wanted it to happen whether I was logged in or not.

Create encfs folder:

encfs <path to encrypted folder> <path to mount decrypted folder>

Follow the prompts to create the folder and set a password.

Next create a file which will contain your decryption password

echo "YOUR_PASSWORD" > /home/user/super_secret_password_location
chmod 700 /home/user/super_secret_password_location

Create a simple script to be called by systemd on startup using cat to pass your password over to encfs

cat super_secret_password_location | encfs -S path_to_encrypted_folder path_to_mount_decrypted_folder

Finally create a systemd unit to run your script on startup:

vim /etc/systemd/system/mount-encrypted.service
Description=Mount encrypted folder 

ExecStartPre=/bin/sleep 20 


Then enable the unit:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable mountt-encrypted.service

CPU Pinning in Proxmox

Proxmox uses qemu which doesn’t implement CPU pinning by itself. If you want to limit a guest VM’s operations to specific CPU cores on the host you need to use taskset. It was a bit confusing to figure out but fortunately I found this gist by ayufan which handles it beautifully.

Save the following into and edit VMID to the ID of the VM you wish to pin CPUs to. Make sure you have the “expect” package installed.


set -eo pipefail


cpu_tasks() {
	expect <<EOF | sed -n 's/^.* CPU .*thread_id=\(.*\)$/\1/p' | tr -d '\r' || true
spawn qm monitor $VMID
expect ">"
send "info cpus\r"
expect ">"


if [[ $VCPU_COUNT -eq 0 ]]; then
	echo "* No VCPUS for VM$VMID"
	exit 1

echo "* Detected ${#VCPUS[@]} assigned to VM$VMID..."
echo "* Resetting cpu shield..."

for CPU_INDEX in "${!VCPUS[@]}"
	echo "* Assigning $CPU_INDEX to $CPU_TASK..."
	taskset -pc "$CPU_INDEX" "$CPU_TASK"

Update 9/29/18: Fixed missing done at the end. Also if you want to offset which cores this script uses, you can do so by modifying  the $CPU_INDEX variable to do a bit of math, like so:

        taskset -pc "$[CPU_INDEX+16]"

The above adds 16 to each process ID, so instead of staring on thread 0 it starts on thread 16.