PowerShell for Windows Admins

August 18, 2016  9:59 AM

PowerShell is Open Sourced

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

For those of you that have been at PowerShell events over the last few years you’ll have heard Jeffrey Snover state that he wanted to take PowerShell to other platforms.

Now its happened

Jeffrey has announced that an ALPHA release of PowerShell is now available for Linux and Mac.  Currently available for Ubuntu, Centos, Red Hat and Mac OS X with more to come

The announcement is at


Also see PowerShell blog


Some  points to note:

ISE isn’t available as part of the alphas release but VSCode is available for Linux and Mac giving an consistent editor across the platforms

PowerShell remoting will be extended to use Open SSH as well as WSMAN

Planned enhancements include:

Additional Linux Distros covered – parity with .NET Core.

Writing Cmdlets in Python and other languages

PSRP over OpenSSH

WSMan based remoting to downlevel versions of Windows and WSMan based PSRP on Linux.

Editor Services and auto-generated GUI

Unix-style wildcard expansion

Increasing test code coverage for Windows and Linux editions

Continue increasing cmdlet coverage for Linux and Windows

REMEMBER this an ALPHA release – there’s still a lot to do and its a open source project so community effort is required


August 16, 2016  1:46 PM

Update-Help errors

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Updatable help brings the benefit of up to date help with typos fixed and new edge cases described. The down side is that it sometimes fails:

PS> Update-Help -Force
Update-Help : Failed to update Help for the module(s) ‘Microsoft.PowerShell.Operation.Validation’
with UI culture(s) {en-GB} : Unable to retrieve the HelpInfo XML file for UI culture en-GB. Make sure the HelpInfoUri property in the module manifest is valid or check your network connection and then try the command again.
At line:1 char:1
+ Update-Help -Force
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : ResourceUnavailable: (:) [Update-Help], Exception
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : UnableToRetrieveHelpInfoXml,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.UpdateHelpCo

Update-Help : Failed to update Help for the module(s) ‘PSScriptAnalyzer’ with UI culture(s) {en-US} : The Help content at the specified location is not valid. Specify a location that contains valid Help Content.
At line:1 char:1
+ Update-Help -Force
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : InvalidData: (:) [Update-Help], Exception
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : HelpContentXmlValidationFailure,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.UpdateHe

The failure messages are relatively self-explanatory if you read the details. The problem usually boils down to the needed help files not being available at the URI provided in the module manifest. This often occurs with new modules – the creation of the help files lags well behind the creation of the module usually.

Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do apart from try to find examples of the modules use online

August 10, 2016  10:41 AM

What you don’t know

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
IT skills, knowledge

This article – https://powershell.org/2016/08/08/what-are-your-known-problems-solved-in-dsc/ – started me thinking about the times I’ve worked on big projects.

One of the things we’d do was discuss things that could become problems. Knowledge falls into three groups:

– things you know

– things you don’t know – you know that X is a thing but you don’t know its value

– things you don’t know you don’t know

The last is the one that hurts. Its the things that you don’t know you don’t know that cause the surprises – for example the sudden realisation at 2am that application A won’t install if application B is install. Its not documented and you didn’t know you didn’t know that fact. Now you have to rethink your whole approach.

How do we get round this?

One way is experience – you remember what’s caused problems in the past and you check for those things. Its often said that good judgement comes from experience which comes from bad judgement!

The other way is research. Too many times I’ve seen people assume that something will work because something similar worked in the past. Some bad examples are around treating a new version of Windows the same as the current version or even worse the version you started with 10 years ago.

IT is constantly evolving. One of the things with being a professional (IT pro) is keeping up with your subject. Have you? What don’t you know you don’t know?

Continuing education is going to be a must do activity for IT pros going forward with automation & devops related skills being top of the must learn pile.

August 6, 2016  9:23 AM

Kindle Fire extinction

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Today my Kindle Fire tablet finally stopped working. Its been more than temperamental for the last 12 months – freezing at least once or twice a day, not responding to touch input, not downloading content but today it finally stopped.

Will I buy another one?

No. The whole raft of problems with it freezing seemed to start when Amazon started updating the OS. None of the updates have fixed the problem.

I’ll either revert to my old Kindle that just keeps on working or get something else.

Come on Amazon – you had a great product. It isn’t anymore. Solve the problems and you might get some custom

August 1, 2016  5:11 AM

PowerShell Summit 2017–Call for Topics

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

The Call for Topics for PowerShell Summit 2017 is live on powershell.org – https://powershell.org/powershell-and-devops-global-summit-2017-call-for-topics/

July 29, 2016  6:24 AM

SysAdmin Day

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Today is SysAdmin day – http://sysadminday.com/

Time to show your appreciation for the people who keep your computing going

July 28, 2016  10:43 AM

.psd1 files

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

.psd1 files are usually used as module manifests

You can test the manifest

PS>  Test-ModuleManifest -Path ‘C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\3.4.0\Pester.psd1’ | fl
Name              : Pester
Path              : C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\3.4.0\Pester.psd1
Description       : Pester provides a framework for running BDD style Tests to execute and validate PowerShell commands inside of PowerShell and offers a powerful set of Mocking Functions that allow tests to mimic and mock the  functionality of any command inside of a piece of powershell code being tested. Pester tests can execute any command or script that is accesible to a pester test file. This can include functions, Cmdlets,  Modules and scripts. Pester can be run in ad hoc style in a console or it can be integrated into the Build scripts of a Continuous Integration system.
ModuleType        : Script
Version           : 3.4.0
NestedModules     : {}
ExportedFunctions : {Describe, Context, It, Should…}
ExportedCmdlets   :
ExportedVariables : {Path, TagFilter, ExcludeTagFilter, TestNameFilter…}
ExportedAliases   :

or you can view the whole output

PS>  Test-ModuleManifest -Path ‘C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\3.4.0\Pester.psd1’ | fl *

LogPipelineExecutionDetails : False
Name                        : Pester
Path                        : C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\3.4.0\Pester.psd1
ImplementingAssembly        :
Definition                  :
Description       : Pester provides a framework for running BDD style Tests to execute and validate PowerShell commands inside of PowerShell and offers a powerful set of Mocking Functions that allow tests to mimic and mock the  functionality of any command inside of a piece of powershell code being tested. Pester tests can execute any command or script that is accesible to a pester test file. This can include functions, Cmdlets,  Modules and scripts. Pester can be run in ad hoc style in a console or it can be integrated into the Build scripts of a Continuous Integration system.
Guid                        : a699dea5-2c73-4616-a270-1f7abb777e71
HelpInfoUri                 :
ModuleBase                  : C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\3.4.0
PrivateData                 : {PSData}
Tags                        : {powershell, unit testing, bdd, tdd…}
ProjectUri                  : https://github.com/Pester/Pester
IconUri                     : http://pesterbdd.com/images/Pester.png
LicenseUri                  : http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html
ReleaseNotes                :
RepositorySourceLocation    :
Version                     : 3.4.0
ModuleType                  : Script
Author                      : Pester Team
AccessMode                  : ReadWrite
ClrVersion                  :
CompanyName                 : Pester
Copyright                   : Copyright (c) 2016 by Pester Team, licensed under Apache 2.0 License.
DotNetFrameworkVersion      :
ExportedFunctions           : {[Describe, Describe], [Context, Context], [It, It], [Should, Should]…}
Prefix                      :
ExportedCmdlets             : {}
ExportedCommands            : {[Describe, Describe], [Context, Context], [It, It], [Should, Should]…}
FileList                    : {}
CompatiblePSEditions        : {}
ModuleList                  : {}
NestedModules               : {}
PowerShellHostName          :
PowerShellHostVersion       :
PowerShellVersion           : 2.0
ProcessorArchitecture       : None
Scripts                     : {}
RequiredAssemblies          : {}
RequiredModules             : {}
RootModule                  : Pester.psm1
ExportedVariables           : {[Path, ], [TagFilter, ], [ExcludeTagFilter, ], [TestNameFilter, ]…}
ExportedAliases             : {}
ExportedWorkflows           : {}
ExportedDscResources        : {}
SessionState                :
OnRemove                    :
ExportedFormatFiles         : {}
ExportedTypeFiles           : {}

You can also import the contents of the .psd1 file

PS>  Import-PowerShellDataFile -Path ‘C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\3.4.0\Pester.psd1’

Name                           Value
—-                           —–
Copyright                      Copyright (c) 2016 by Pester Team, licensed under Apache 2.0 License.
ModuleToProcess                Pester.psm1
PrivateData                    {PSData}
PowerShellVersion              2.0
CompanyName                    Pester
GUID                           a699dea5-2c73-4616-a270-1f7abb777e71
Author                         Pester Team
FunctionsToExport              {Describe, Context, It, Should…}
VariablesToExport              {Path, TagFilter, ExcludeTagFilter, TestNameFilter…}
Description                    Pester provides a framework for running BDD style Tests to execute and validate PowerShell co…
ModuleVersion                  3.4.0

which in some ways is more useful as you can easily see what is actually in the manifets rather than dealing with a lot of empty properties.

You can create .psd1 files to hold other data and read them with Import-PowerShellDataFile. Default parameters for your favourite cmdlets is one thing that comes to mind

July 28, 2016  7:41 AM


Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

One of the new items in PowerShell 5.1 is the Get-ComputerInfo cmdlet

PS>  Get-Command Get-ComputerInfo -Syntax

Get-ComputerInfo [[-Property] <string[]>] [<CommonParameters>]

PS>  Get-ComputerInfo
WindowsBuildLabEx                                       : 14393.0.amd64fre.rs1_release.160715-1616
WindowsCurrentVersion                                   : 6.3
WindowsEditionId                                        : Professional
WindowsInstallationType                                 : Client
WindowsInstallDateFromRegistry                          : 19/07/2016 12:27:55
WindowsProductId                                        : XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
WindowsProductName                                      : Windows 10 Pro
WindowsRegisteredOrganization                           :
WindowsRegisteredOwner                                  : XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
WindowsSystemRoot                                       : C:\WINDOWS
BiosCharacteristics                                     : {7, 11, 12, 15…}
BiosBIOSVersion                                         : {OEMA – 1072009, 2.05.0250, American
Megatrends – 4028E}
BiosBuildNumber                                         :
BiosCaption                                             : 2.05.0250
BiosCodeSet                                             :
BiosCurrentLanguage                                     : en|US|iso8859-1
BiosDescription                                         : 2.05.0250
BiosEmbeddedControllerMajorVersion                      : 255
BiosEmbeddedControllerMinorVersion                      : 255
BiosFirmwareType                                        : Uefi
BiosIdentificationCode                                  :
BiosInstallableLanguages                                : 1
BiosInstallDate                                         :
BiosLanguageEdition                                     :
BiosListOfLanguages                                     : {en|US|iso8859-1}
BiosManufacturer                                        : American Megatrends Inc.
BiosName                                                : 2.05.0250
BiosOtherTargetOS                                       :
BiosPrimaryBIOS                                         : True
BiosReleaseDate                                         : 10/04/2015 01:00:00
BiosSeralNumber                                         : 036685734653
BiosSMBIOSBIOSVersion                                   : 2.05.0250
BiosSMBIOSMajorVersion                                  : 2
BiosSMBIOSMinorVersion                                  : 7
BiosSMBIOSPresent                                       : True
BiosSoftwareElementState                                : Running
BiosStatus                                              : OK
BiosSystemBiosMajorVersion                              : 2
BiosSystemBiosMinorVersion                              : 5
BiosTargetOperatingSystem                               : 0
BiosVersion                                             : OEMA – 1072009
CsAdminPasswordStatus                                   : Unknown
CsAutomaticManagedPagefile                              : True
CsAutomaticResetBootOption                              : True
CsAutomaticResetCapability                              : True
CsBootOptionOnLimit                                     :
CsBootOptionOnWatchDog                                  :
CsBootROMSupported                                      : True
CsBootStatus                                            : {0, 0, 0, 0…}
CsBootupState                                           : Normal boot
CsCaption                                               : RSSURFACEPRO2
CsChassisBootupState                                    : Safe
CsChassisSKUNumber                                      : Surface_Pro_2
CsCurrentTimeZone                                       : 60
CsDaylightInEffect                                      : True
CsDescription                                           : AT/AT COMPATIBLE
CsDNSHostName                                           : RSsurfacePro2
CsDomain                                                : WORKGROUP
CsDomainRole                                            : StandaloneWorkstation
CsEnableDaylightSavingsTime                             : True
CsFrontPanelResetStatus                                 : Unknown
CsHypervisorPresent                                     : False
CsInfraredSupported                                     : False
CsInitialLoadInfo                                       :
CsInstallDate                                           :
CsKeyboardPasswordStatus                                : Unknown
CsLastLoadInfo                                          :
CsManufacturer                                          : Microsoft Corporation
CsModel                                                 : Surface Pro 2
CsName                                                  : RSSURFACEPRO2
CsNetworkAdapters                                       : {USB Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth Network
CsNetworkServerModeEnabled                              : True
CsNumberOfLogicalProcessors                             : 4
CsNumberOfProcessors                                    : 1
CsProcessors                                            : {Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-4200U CPU @ 1.60GHz}
CsOEMStringArray                                        : {EU}
CsPartOfDomain                                          : False
CsPauseAfterReset                                       : -1
CsPCSystemType                                          : Mobile
CsPCSystemTypeEx                                        : Slate
CsPowerManagementCapabilities                           :
CsPowerManagementSupported                              :
CsPowerOnPasswordStatus                                 : Unknown
CsPowerState                                            : Unknown
CsPowerSupplyState                                      : Safe
CsPrimaryOwnerContact                                   :
CsPrimaryOwnerName                                      : XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
CsResetCapability                                       : Other
CsResetCount                                            : -1
CsResetLimit                                            : -1
CsRoles                                                 : {LM_Workstation, LM_Server, NT,
CsStatus                                                : OK
CsSupportContactDescription                             :
CsSystemFamily                                          : Surface
CsSystemSKUNumber                                       : Surface_Pro_2
CsSystemType                                            : x64-based PC
CsThermalState                                          : Safe
CsTotalPhysicalMemory                                   : 8506093568
CsPhyicallyInstalledMemory                              : 8388608
CsUserName                                              : RSsurfacePro2\Richard
CsWakeUpType                                            : PowerSwitch
CsWorkgroup                                             : WORKGROUP
OsName                                                  : Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
OsType                                                  : WINNT
OsOperatingSystemSKU                                    : 48
OsVersion                                               : 10.0.14393
OsCSDVersion                                            :
OsBuildNumber                                           : 14393
OsHotFixes                                              : {KB3176927}
OsBootDevice                                            : \Device\HarddiskVolume2
OsSystemDevice                                          : \Device\HarddiskVolume4
OsSystemDirectory                                       : C:\WINDOWS\system32
OsSystemDrive                                           : C:
OsWindowsDirectory                                      : C:\WINDOWS
OsCountryCode                                           : 44
OsCurrentTimeZone                                       : 60
OsLocaleID                                              : 0809
OsLocale                                                : en-GB
OsLocalDateTime                                         : 28/07/2016 14:30:32
OsLastBootUpTime                                        : 27/07/2016 09:02:45
OsUptime                                                : 1.05:27:47.0631253
OsBuildType                                             : Multiprocessor Free
OsCodeSet                                               : 1252
OsDataExecutionPreventionAvailable                      : True
OsDataExecutionPrevention32BitApplications              : True
OsDataExecutionPreventionDrivers                        : True
OsDataExecutionPreventionSupportPolicy                  : OptIn
OsDebug                                                 : False
OsDistributed                                           : False
OsEncryptionLevel                                       : 256
OsForegroundApplicationBoost                            : Maximum
OsTotalVisibleMemorySize                                : 8306732
OsFreePhysicalMemory                                    : 5530384
OsTotalVirtualMemorySize                                : 9617452
OsFreeVirtualMemory                                     : 6525292
OsInUseVirtualMemory                                    : 3092160
OsTotalSwapSpaceSize                                    :
OsSizeStoredInPagingFiles                               : 1310720
OsFreeSpaceInPagingFiles                                : 1274160
OsPagingFiles                                           : {C:\pagefile.sys}
OsHardwareAbstractionLayer                              : 10.0.14393.0
OsInstallDate                                           : 19/07/2016 13:27:55
OsManufacturer                                          : Microsoft Corporation
OsMaxNumberOfProcesses                                  : 4294967295
OsMaxProcessMemorySize                                  : 137438953344
OsMuiLanguages                                          : {en-GB}
OsNumberOfLicensedUsers                                 :
OsNumberOfProcesses                                     : 77
OsNumberOfUsers                                         : 2
OsOrganization                                          :
OsArchitecture                                          : 64-bit
OsLanguage                                              : en-GB
OsProductSuites                                         : {TerminalServicesSingleSession}
OsOtherTypeDescription                                  :
OsPAEEnabled                                            :
OsPortableOperatingSystem                               : False
OsPrimary                                               : True
OsProductType                                           : WorkStation
OsRegisteredUser                                        : XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
OsSerialNumber                                          : 00330-80000-00000-AA844
OsServicePackMajorVersion                               : 0
OsServicePackMinorVersion                               : 0
OsStatus                                                : OK
OsSuites                                                : {TerminalServices,
OsServerLevel                                           :
KeyboardLayout                                          : en-GB
TimeZone                                                : (UTC+00:00) Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon,
LogonServer                                             : \\RSSURFACEPRO2
PowerPlatformRole                                       : Slate
HyperVisorPresent                                       : False
HyperVRequirementDataExecutionPreventionAvailable       : True
HyperVRequirementSecondLevelAddressTranslation          : True
HyperVRequirementVirtualizationFirmwareEnabled          : True
HyperVRequirementVMMonitorModeExtensions                : True
DeviceGuardSmartStatus                                  : Off
DeviceGuardRequiredSecurityProperties                   :
DeviceGuardAvailableSecurityProperties                  :
DeviceGuardSecurityServicesConfigured                   :
DeviceGuardSecurityServicesRunning                      :
DeviceGuardCodeIntegrityPolicyEnforcementStatus         :
DeviceGuardUserModeCodeIntegrityPolicyEnforcementStatus :

You can use the –Property parameter to restrict output

PS>  Get-ComputerInfo -Property OsArchitecture, OsUptime

OsArchitecture OsUptime
————– ——–
64-bit         1.05:34:53.9424271

Wild cards are allowed so this works and lists all properties starting with OS

Get-ComputerInfo -Property Os*

Looking at the output it seems to be a collection of properties from a number of CIM classes. Might be fun to track down what comes from where one rainy day

July 28, 2016  7:26 AM

PowerShell 5.1 preview

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Windows 10 shipped with PowerShell 5.0 installed. The latest preview builds, and presumably, next months anniversary update have had PowerShell 5.1. Windows 2016 TP5 also ships with PowerShell 5.1

A PowerShell 5.1 preview is now available for Windows 7, 8.1, 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2

Details from


July 22, 2016  5:40 AM

PowerShell in Action–Deal of the Day-23 July 2016

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
Books, Powershell

Deal of the Day July 23: Half off my book Windows PowerShell in Action, Third Edition. Use code dotd072316au at http://bit.ly/2afnOPj

Deal of the Day details at https://www.manning.com/dotd

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