PowerShell for Windows Admins

May 18, 2015  7:58 AM

PowerShell Summit Europe 2015–nearly sold out

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

There are a handful of places left for the PowerShell Summit Europe 2015. If you want to secure a place I recommend that you book very soon as we can’t extend capacity any further.

May 15, 2015  11:56 AM

Playing with the range operator

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

The range operator allows you to reference a range of numbers


is equivalent to


If you want anything other than numbers you’re stuck as the range operator only works with integers

though you can have a decrementing list


65..74 | foreach {[char]$psitem}

would be A – J

If you want A-Z

65..90 | foreach {[char]$psitem}

For lowercase letters (a – z)  use

97..122 | foreach {[char]$psitem}

You can even work from an array of values

$data = ‘value1′,’value2′,’value3′,’value4′,’value5′,’value6′,’value7′,’value8′,’value9′,’value10’


May 7, 2015  3:35 AM

PowerShell DSC for Linux

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
CIM, Powershell

PowerShell DSC for Linux has moved out of CTP and v1 is available for download from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46919

You will find more details at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/archive/2015/05/06/powershell-dsc-for-linux-is-now-available.aspx

You will need to download OMI version 1.0.8-1 which is available from https://collaboration.opengroup.org/omi/documents.php?action=show&dcat=&gdid=32721

OMI has to be installed on the Linux box before the DSC package

A useful getting started guide is available https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt126211.aspx

I demonstrated DSC for Linux at the recent PowerShell Summit NA 2015


though things have changed a bit since I built that demo environment using the DSC for Linux CTP. I’m going to rebuild my Linux box with the new bits and give it a whirl.

Being able to manage Windows and Linux environments through the same techniques, and in some cases the same DSC configurations is a big step forward

May 6, 2015  7:08 AM

WMF 5.0 April 2015 preview – – software inventory logging

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

A software inventory module is now included with the April 2015 WMF 5.0 preview

£> Get-Command -Module SoftwareInventoryLogging | select Name


Windows updates are always a good place to start poking into your systems

£> Get-Command Get-SilWindowsUpdate -Syntax

Get-SilWindowsUpdate [[-ID] <string[]>] [-CimSession <CimSession[]>]
[-ThrottleLimit <int>] [-AsJob] [<CommonParameters>]

£> Get-SilWindowsUpdate
ID          : KB3055381
InstallDate : 4/30/2015


The parameters for Get-SilWindowsUpdate look like those I’d expect from a CDXML module. Inspection of C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\modules\SoftwareInventoryLogging\

shows  a number of cdxml files


The WMF 5,0 release notes supply a link to further data of software inventory logging – interestingly its flagged as a Windows Server 2012 R2 page.

Trying the cmdlet against a Windows Server 2012 R2 system running WMF 4.0 (with the November 2014 roll up)

$cs = New-CimSession -ComputerName W12R2SUS
Get-SilWindowsUpdate -CimSession $cs

£> Get-SilWindowsUpdate -CimSession $cs
ID             : KB3006193
InstallDate    : 1/5/2015
PSComputerName : W12R2SUS


This means the class is on our Windows Server 2012 R2 box so we could use it directly

£> Get-CimInstance -Namespace root/InventoryLogging -ClassName  MsftSil_WindowsUpdate | Format-Table -a

ID                  InstallDate                                PSComputerName
—                   ———–                                 ————–
KB3006193 1/5/2015 12:00:00 AM
KB2894856 9/14/2014 12:00:00 AM


This module supplies a useful way to find out the software installed on our systems – I’ll be digging into this over a few more posts

May 5, 2015  12:44 PM

WMF 5.0 April 2015 preview – – creating guid

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Creating a GUID has always been possible with PowerShell – you just had to drop into .NET

£> [System.Guid]::NewGuid()


With the latest WMF 5.0 preview life gets easier:

£> Get-Command New-Guid -Syntax

New-Guid [<CommonParameters>]

£> New-Guid


The New-Guid cmdlet happily creates a GUID for you – and you don’t have to remember the >NET syntax.

If you want the GUID in a variable as a string

£> $guid = New-Guid | select -ExpandProperty Guid
£> $guid

May 1, 2015  4:30 AM

WMF 5.0 April 2015 preview – – Format-Hex

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Have you ever needed to generate a hex representation of a string or binary data?

Say you have a string – ‘PowerShell Rocks’

And you want to go the hex representation which is

50 6f 77 65 72 53 68 65 6c 6c 20 52 6f 63 6b 73

You would have to do something like this

$hexary = @()
$chars = ‘PowerShell Rocks’ -split ”

foreach ($char in $chars) {
if ($char -ne ”) {
$hexary += [convert]::ToString(([byte][char]$char),16)

$hexary -join ‘ ‘

Split the string into an array of strings each of a single character. If the string is not empty convert it to a [char] then a [byte] and finally a string formatted as hex.

The April 2015 WMF 5.0 preview simplifies that process

£> ‘PowerShell Rocks’ | Format-Hex
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0B 0C 0D 0E 0F

00000000   50 6F 77 65 72 53 68 65 6C 6C 20 52 6F 63 6B 73  PowerShell Rocks

You can also view binary files such as Word documents in .doc format

April 30, 2015  12:00 PM

WMF 5.0 – Clipboard cmdlets

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

The April 2015 WMF 5.0 preview brings new functionality in the shape of cmdlets for working directly with the clipboard.

You use Set-Clipboard to put data onto the clipboard

£> get-command Set-Clipboard -Syntax

Set-Clipboard [-Append] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [<CommonParameters>]

Set-Clipboard [-Value] <string[]> [-Append] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [<CommonParameters>]

Set-Clipboard -Path <string[]> [-Append] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [<CommonParameters>]

Set-Clipboard -LiteralPath <string[]> [-Append] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [<CommonParameters>]

You can add text or files to the clipboard. Notice that you can use –Append to add to the clipboard content rather than overwriting any existing data.

For instance:
Set-Clipboard -Value “test”

The contents of the clipboard are retrieved using Get-Clipboard

£> Get-Clipboard -Raw

As well as raw data you can pull data in a number of formats.

£> Get-Command Get-Clipboard -Syntax

Get-Clipboard [-Format <ClipboardFormat>] [-TextFormatType <TextDataFormat>] [-Raw] [<CommonParameters>]

Format can be one of: Text, FileDropList, Image, Audio

TextFormat type can be one of:  Text, UnicodeText, Rtf, Html, CommaSeparatedValue

These all produce the same result:

£> Get-Clipboard -Raw

£> Get-Clipboard -TextFormatType Text
£> Get-Clipboard -Raw
£> Get-Clipboard -Format Text
£> Get-Clipboard -Raw

Notice how use the TextFormatType Text or Format Text cause get-Clipboard to be called again with the –Raw parameter

One obvious and useful tasking for the clipboard cmdlets is copying commands between PowerShell sessions:

On the source machine

£> Get-History -Id 43

Id CommandLine
— ———–
43 Find-Package -Name PSReadline -Source PSGallery | fl *

Set-Clipboard -Value (Get-History -Id 43 | select -ExpandProperty Commandline)

On the target machine:

Invoke-Expression -Command (Get-Clipboard -Raw)

This is one set of cmdlets that will generate many more uses as you experiment with them

April 30, 2015  5:51 AM

WMF 5.0–New-TemporaryFile

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

Creating a temporary file in PowerShell 4.0 and earlier has been possible using a number of techniques such as:

£> $file = [System.IO.Path]::GetTempFileName()
£> $file

With the April 2015 WMF 5.0 preview this becomes much easier

£> $file2 = New-TemporaryFile
£> $file2
    Directory: C:\Users\Richard\AppData\Local\Temp
Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name
—-                ————-         —— —-
-a—-        4/30/2015  12:42 PM              0 tmp1FE1.tmp

Now you can create files simply and easily without having to remember the .NET syntax.

Notice that the temporary files are automatically created in your TEMP folder.

£> $env:TEMP

April 29, 2015  11:19 AM

WMF 5.0 April 2015 Preview is available

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway

The PowerShell team have released the April 2015 WMF 5.0 preview.  Details from http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/archive/2015/04/29/windows-management-framework-5-0-preview-april-2015-is-now-available.aspx

April 28, 2015  1:05 PM

Blocksize missing?

Richard Siddaway Richard Siddaway Profile: Richard Siddaway
CIM, Disk architecture

I recently had a question asking why the Bloacksize property on Win32_LogicalDisk is empty but is populated on Win32_Volume.

The thing is to remember the underlying thing that these 2 CIM classes represent.

A logical disk is a subdivision of an extended partition. An extended partition can hold one or more logical disks.

When you create a volume on a disk you use either a primary partition or a logical disk from an extended partition. Until you format the volume you can’t have a block size as that is determined by the parameters you use to perform the format.

The documentation for Win32_LogicalDisk states that block size is not populated for logical disks https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa394173(v=vs.85).aspx.

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