PowerShell for Windows Admins

February 15, 2016  10:50 AM

PowerShell Conference EU 2016–things to look forward to

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

With 64 days to the European PowerShell conference (and less to the PowerShell Summit) I’m busy getting my sessions prepared.

At the European conference I’m presenting pre-conference workshops on DSC and CIM and then two sessions on managing the new Container feature in Server 2016 with PowerShell.

As i’m not organising this one I get to enjoy the conference.

There’s a number of sessions I’m really lookign forward to:

The sessions by Jeffery Snover and Bruce Payette haven’t been announced yet but they are bound to be good. Jeffery is a great speaker and Bruce knows so much about the inner workings of PowerShell that you always learn something new.

other sessions I’m lookign forward to include:

DSC resource creation by Ben Gelens

PowerShell and SQL Server: Journey to 200,000 rows per second by Chrissie LeMaire. if you ever wanted to discover how really optimise a process this session is for you

Test-driven developement with Pester by June Blender

If you’re looking for a PowerShell conference in Europe – this is the one where you’ll find great content. There’ll be a bunch of PowerShell MVPs there including

Tobias Weltner

Ravikanth Chaganti

Jeff Wouters

Steven Murawski

and the speakers of the sessions I mentioned earlier.  if you can’t get your PowerShell questions answered at the conference then there isn’t an answer

February 10, 2016  8:59 AM

PowerShell articles – – February 2016

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

I’ve had 2 articles published this week.

The first one is on the Scripting Guy blog


And looks at the WMI and CIM cmdlets showing why 99.99% you should be using the CIM cmdlets.

The second article is on the UK TechNet blog


and discusses how to configure and administer a Windows Server Core instance. All of the techniques in the article use built in cmdlets – no scripting required

February 8, 2016  1:59 PM

WMF 5.0 download latest news

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

According to the PowerShell Team blog – https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/powershell/2015/12/23/windows-management-framework-wmf-5-0-currently-removed-from-download-center/

The issue has been resolved and a WMF 5.0 RTM build should be available around the end of February

February 6, 2016  6:11 AM

Not the comma!

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
Active Directory, Powershell

There is a habit among some AD administrators to create their users so that the name is surname, firstname   – Note the comma between the two names. As an example the name would be

Brown, Bill

instaead of

Bill Brown

If you’re just using the GUI tools it doesn’t matter too much and has the arguable advantage of ordering the users by surname. But when it comes to scripting against AD this practice is a complete pain.

Compare these 2 distinguished names

CN=Brown, Bill,OU=Testing,DC=Manticore,DC=org

CN=Dave Green,OU=Testing,DC=Manticore,DC=org

Notice the extra comma in the first one. That destroys any chance of splitting the distinguished name on commas – which are the element separators in distinguished names.

You have to escape the comma in the name with a \

The GUI tools (at least in Windows server 2012 R2) do this for you so the distinguished name looks like this:

CN=Brown\, Bill,OU=Testing,DC=Manticore,DC=org

If you want to get a user by distinguished name this will work:

Get-ADUser -Identity ‘CN=Dave Green,OU=Testing,DC=Manticore,DC=org’

This won’t

Get-ADUser -Identity ‘CN=Brown, Bill,OU=Testing,DC=Manticore,DC=org’

You have to use the escaped version:

Get-ADUser -Identity ‘CN=Brown\, Bill,OU=Testing,DC=Manticore,DC=org’

In my last post I showed how to extract the users OU from the distinguished name

Get-ADUser -Filter * -Properties DisplayName |
select Name, DisplayName, UserPrincipalname, @{N= “Organanisational Unit” ;
E = {($_.DistinguishedName -split ‘,’, 2)[1]}}

That code breaks down if you have a comma in the name and you get


for the OU instead of


Its probably possible to do some regex voodoo to deal with this but as the Universe doesn’t have enough life left in it for me to figure this out I’ll resort to a brute force approach:

Get-ADUser -Filter * -Properties DisplayName |
foreach {
$ouf = ($_.DistinguishedName -split ‘,’, 2)[1]
if (-not ($ouf.StartsWith(‘OU’) -or $ouf.StartsWith(‘CN’) )){
$ou = ($ouf -split ‘,’, 2)[1]
else {
$ou = $ouf
$psitem | select Name, DisplayName, UserPrincipalname, @{N= “Organanizational Unit” ;E = {$ou}}

Do the inital split as previously but then test the reasults to see if it starts with CN= or OU=. If it doesn’t then split again.

Its not elegant but it works.

It sa lot easier if you don’t use the comma in the first place Smile


February 4, 2016  7:47 AM

Some thoughts on finding a users OU

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
Active Directory, Powershell

Back in this post http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/powershell/discovering-a-users-ou/

I showed how to get the OU of a user from the distinguished name of the user object. if you want to display that as part of your output you can create a calculated field

Get-ADUser -Filter * -Properties DisplayName |
select Name, DisplayName, UserPrincipalname, @{N= “Organanisational Unit” ;
E = {($_.DistinguishedName -split ‘,’, 2)[1]}}

In your select statement take the Distinguishedname and split it on the comma – make sure you split it into 2 parts – the second is the OU

Don’t rely on the Displayname alone as its not present for some built in accounts such as administrator


February 2, 2016  8:15 AM

AD Management MoL Deal – – 3 February 2016

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
Active Directory, Books, Powershell

My Learn Active Directory Management in a Month of Lunches will be part of Manning’s Deal of the Day on 3 February 2016.

Half off my book Learn Active Directory Management in a Month of Lunches. Use code dotd020316au at https://www.manning.com/books/learn-active-directory-management-in-a-month-of-lunches

As usual the deal starts at midnight US ET and is usually active for about 48 hours


February 1, 2016  4:41 AM

PowerShell Summit 2016 – – 3 day registration open

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Three day registration is now open


January 31, 2016  5:57 AM

Scripting Game puzzle – – January 2016

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
CIM, Powershell

Here’s how I’d solve the puzzle

function get-starttime {
[Alias(‘CN’, ‘Computer’)]
[string[]]$computername = $env:COMPUTERNAME


foreach ($computer in $computername){
$props = [ordered]@{
ComputerName = $computer
StartTime = ”
‘UpTime (Days)’ = 0.0
Status = ‘OFFLINE’

if (Test-WSMan -ComputerName $computer -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue) {
$lbt = Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem -ComputerName $computer -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

if ($lbt) {

$props[‘StartTime’] = $lbt.LastBootUpTime

$upt = [math]::round(((Get-Date) – $lbt.LastBootUpTime).TotalDays, 1)
$props[‘UpTime (Days)’] = $upt

$props[‘Status’] = ‘OK’
else {
$props[‘Status’] = ‘ERROR’

} ## endif

New-Object -TypeName PSObject -Property $props

} ## end foreach

} ## end PROCESS

Create an advanced function. Yes I know I’ve used lower case for the function name. I always do to visually separate my code from cmdlets and other functions.

Use the [parameter] decorator to enable pipeline input. Only a single parameter so don’t need to bother woth positional parameters. Function is supposed to default to local machien so can’t make parameter mandatory.

Requirement to process multiple computers at once presumably means the computername parameter has to take an array – sumultaneous processing implies a work flow which negates the initial requirement to create a function

Use the PROCESS block to run a foreach loop that iterates over the collection of computernames.

Create a hash table for the results – I’ve used an ordered hash table to preserve the property order. Set the values to a failed connection.

use Test-Wsman to see if can reach the computer. If can’t the output object is created. If you can reach the machine then run Get-CimInstance – preferred over Get-WmiObject because it returns the date ready formatted

Assuming that works set the start time and status properties. Calculate the uptime in days. I’d prefer to see  just an integer here – tenths of days doesn’t mean anything to most people

If the call to Get-CimInstance  fails then set the status to ERROR

Output the object.

The requirement to add a proeprty for patching is not clear but I’m assuming it means if the machine has been up for more than 30 days with the 1/10 month as a typo

if you want to add that then

Add a property

MightNeedPatching = $false

to the hash table when you create it

and add this line

if ($upt -ge 30){$props[‘MightNeedPatching’] = $true}


$upt = [math]::round(((Get-Date) – $lbt.LastBootUpTime).TotalDays, 1)
$props[‘UpTime (Days)’] = $upt

January 30, 2016  3:47 AM

PowerShell Deal of the Day – – 31 January 2016

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
Books, Powershell

PowerShell in Action, Third Edition is Manning’s Deal of the Day Sunday 31 January 2016

Deal of the Day January 31: Half off Windows PowerShell in Action, Third Edition. Use code dotd013116au at https://www.manning.com/books/windows-powershell-in-action-third-edition

PowerShell in Depth, Second Edition is also available as part of the deal

Deal of the Day January 31: Half off my book PowerShell in Depth, Second Edition. Use code dotd013116au at https://www.manning.com/books/powershell-in-depth-second-edition

The deal will go live at Midnight US ET and will stay active for about 48 hours to account for time zones.


January 28, 2016  6:01 AM

PowerShell editing options

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

I’ve used the ISE since it first appeared in PowerShell 2.0 but there are a couple of recent annocements that increase your code editing options

ISE previews will become available out of band rather than being tied to WMF/OS releases


The preview ISE is a module you can download from the PowerShell gallery and runs side-by-side with your existing version of ISE

Currently this is a PowerShell 5.0 only option

The current preview  hasn’t changed much – its just to test the delivery mechanism. Look for updates approximately monthly.

The second interesting editing option is Visual Studio Code which has PowerShell support


as well as a host of other languages. if you have to work across multiple languages this may be an option for you

Alternativley, if you use Visual Studio a lot you have the PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio option


Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: