PowerShell for Windows Admins

February 21, 2014  2:53 AM

PowerShell Summit NA 2014 approaching

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

With the PowerShell 65 days away there is still plenty of time to get registered. This is the only event this year that will feature such a line up of PowerShell experts – including the PowerShell team themselves.

The attendees at last year’s Summit decided it was an excellent experience – this years will be just as good.

Registration details from http://powershell.org/wp/community-events/summit/

February 19, 2014  12:15 PM

Oh–so that’s what its for

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

I’ve never really understood the logic behind the Wait-Job cmdlet. The idea of PowerShell Jobs is to kick of tasks that grind away in the background and you get the prompt back so you can keep on working. Wait-Job stops the prompt being returned until one or more jobs have finished.

It clicked this morning – I need to run some tasks in parallel and decided that a number of jobs was the best way (I looked at workflow but there are some complications such that I didn’t pursue that route). The only complication with using Jobs is that you don’t know when they finish (unless you check with Get-Job) and I needed a number of Jobs to finish before starting the last job in the series – this is a data dependency issue that I can’t avoid.

Wait-Job is the answer. Start my first set of jobs. Use:

Get-Jobs | Wait-Job

which means nothing else is done until all my jobs finish and then start the last job.

As I’m going to be running this through a scheduled task I don’t care about the prompt being frozen.

Nice to finally find a use for a cmdlet I’ve ignored since it appeared.

February 19, 2014  12:02 PM

Windows PowerShell Networking Guide

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

A free ebook on managing various aspects of your networking is now available from http://powershell.org/wp/2014/02/19/free-ebook-from-microsofts-scripting-guy-windows-powershell-networking-guide/

The book is written by Ed Wilson – The Scripting Guy – and is a must read for any PowerShell user.

February 18, 2014  2:29 PM

The next Scripting Games

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

No – we’re not announcing the start of the next games just yet.

There is however a chance for you to shape the next games – head over to http://powershell.org/wp/2014/02/17/what-should-the-scripting-games-look-like-next-time/ and tell us what you would like to see in the next games

February 17, 2014  4:11 PM

Winter 2014 Scripting Games closed

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

The Winter 2014 Scripting Games are officially closed


And the winners declared.

A big thank you to all who took part as competitors, coaches or judges.

We will be back with a Summer games later in the year – stay tuned for further details

February 17, 2014  2:34 AM

PowerShell Hello World

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

I had a comment left on one of my posts recently that mentioned a “Hello World” script. The concept of a Hello World program/script is that it is a simple introduction to using a new language that gives a known result.

For a brand new user to PowerShell is is how you create a Hello World script:

open PowerShell with elevated privileges (Run as Administrator)

type  Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned –Force and press enter

This enables scripts to run.

Run these two lines by typing them individually and pressing enter

New-Item -Path c:\ -Name TestScripts -ItemType Directory cd C:\TestScripts

They create a test folder and move your location to that folder


“‘Hello World'” > script1.ps1

and press enter.  This creates your script. The single quotes nested in the double quotes are so that the text in the script will be surrounded by quotes – its a string value.

Run the script by typing


and pressing enter.  You will see the results:

Hello World

The .\ is required as PowerShell won’t run commands in the current folder by default. You have to explicitly give the local path.

You’ve now written your first PowerShell script and discovered most of the “gotchas” that cause people problems when they are first learning PowerShell

February 13, 2014  1:43 PM

Learn Windows IIS in a Month of Lunches

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Jason Helmick’s book in the Month of Lunches series is now available – http://www.manning.com/helmick/

I really can’t recommend this book enough – if you’re new to IIS or want to learn how to administer IIS with PowerShell – this is the book for you.

Buy it – you won’t be disappointed.

February 12, 2014  1:16 PM

PowerShell Summit–Europe 2014

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

The dates of the European PowerShell for 2014 have been announced – 29 September 29 to 1 October at the Hotel park in Amsterdam – http://powershell.org/wp/community-events/summit/powershell-summit-europe/

We are starting to put together an agenda that will feature speakers from Europe, US and the PowerShell team.

Registration details will be announced in the not too distant future – but save the dates.  You won’t want to miss this.

January 22, 2014  1:56 PM

When did Windows update last run

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

A question came up on the forum regarding when Windows Update last run and when an update was last installed.  Get-Hotfix shows the date of installation for most BUT not all patches.

The registry holds values showing last successful detection and install:

$props = [ordered]@{ LastDetect = Get-ItemProperty -Path ‘HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\Results\Detect’ -Name LastSuccessTime | select -ExpandProperty LastSuccessTime

LastInstall = Get-ItemProperty -Path ‘HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\Results\Install’ -Name LastSuccessTime | select -ExpandProperty LastSuccessTime }

New-Object -TypeName psobject -Property $props

January 22, 2014  12:30 PM

Win32_OperatingSystem examples

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

The Win32_ComputerOperatingSystem class can provide a good deal of information about the OS installed on your machines. These examples are converted from those presented here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa394596%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

# ServicePack version

Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem |

select ServicePackMajorVersion, ServicePackMinorVersion

# install date of OS

Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem |

select Installdate

# Windows version

Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem |

select Caption, Version

# windows folder

Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem |

select WindowsDirectory

# all

Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem |

select Caption, Version, ServicePackMajorVersion,

ServicePackMinorVersion, Installdate, WindowsDirectory

You could create a function:

function get-OS {



[string]$computername = $env:COMPUTERNAME


Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem -ComputerName $computername|

select Caption, Version, ServicePackMajorVersion,

ServicePackMinorVersion, Installdate, WindowsDirectory


and then choose properties if required:

£> get-OS | Format-Table Caption, Installdate

Caption                                       Installdate

——-                                           ———–

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro    05/12/2013 10:16:49

£> get-OS

Caption : Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro

Version : 6.3.9600

ServicePackMajorVersion : 0

ServicePackMinorVersion : 0

Installdate : 05/12/2013 10:16:49

WindowsDirectory : C:\windows

£> get-OS | Format-Table Caption, Service* -AutoSize

Caption                                    ServicePackMajorVersion   ServicePackMinorVersion

——-                                         ———————–             ———————–

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro   0                                              0

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