Some PowerShell links

A slowly growing collection of PowerShell resources and links.

Books & guides
Microsoft Sweden – Sweden PowerShell course books and sample
Microsoft Technet – The VBScript-to-Windows PowerShell Conversion Guide
Quest – iPowerShell (PowerShell reference for the iPhone)
Quest – PowerShell TFM v1 ebook
Quest – Windows PowerShell v2 Help

Not free
Ed Wilson (the Microsoft Scripting Guy) – Windows PowerShell Scripting Guide


Cmdlets & modules etc.

Microsoft MSDN – PowerShell Pack
Quest – Free PowerShell Commands for Active Directory (sample use here)


Interesting & useful links
Microsoft Bing – custom PowerShell search
Microsoft Technet – Scripting Centre
Microsoft Virtual PC Guy – Using Alternate Credentials with WMI and PowerShell [Hyper-V]

Microsoft Jose Barreto’s Blog – How to Handle NTFS Folder Permissions, Security Descriptors and ACLs in PowerShell

Here (scripts)
Checking for existence of a file on a remote computer
Count files in a directory
CPU Utilisation
Pinging a computer
Reading last line of a file
Reboot remote computers
SMS 2003 & SCCM 2007 Server health checking

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Last Tuesday I blogged about the great free scripting tools from Sapien.  Well here’s another set of free tools/modules/call them what you will, from Microsoft.

The Windows 7 Resource Kit PowerShell Pack!  From the Microsoft MSDN Code Gallery:

About the Windows 7 Resource Kit PowerShell Pack

The Windows 7 Resource Kit PowersShell Pack is a collection of Windows PowerShell scripts included with the Resource Kit. The PowerShell Pack comes in the form of several Windows PowerShell modules, each containing anywhere from 3 to 600 functions.

To get started with the PowerShell pack, run InstallPowerShellPack.cmd from the directory on the CD, open up Windows PowerShell, and run Import-Module PowerShellPack . After you run this command, you will have hundreds of PowerShell scripts loaded to play with.

The Windows 7 Resource Kit PowerShell Pack contains 10 modules to do all sorts of interesting things with PowerShell. Import-Module PowerShellPack actually imports 10 modules for you to use. Here’s a brief overview of each of the modules.

Module Description
WPK Create rich user interfaces quick and easily from Windows PowerShell. Think HTA, but easy. Over 600 scripts to help you build quick user interfaces
TaskScheduler List scheduled tasks, create or delete tasks
FileSystem Monitor files and folders, check for duplicate files, and check disk space
IsePack Supercharge your scripting in the Integrated Scripting Environment with over 35 shortcuts
DotNet Explore loaded types, find commands that can work with a type, and explore how you can use PowerShell, DotNet and COM together
PSImageTools Convert, rotate, scale, and crop images and get image metadata
PSRSS Harness the FeedStore from PowerShell
PSSystemTools Get Operating System or Hardware Information
PSUserTools Get the users on a system, check for elevation, and start-processaadministrator
PSCodeGen Generates PowerShell scripts, C# code, and P/Invoke


While you might not use all of these modules in every situation, they represent solid families of commands you can use in any PowerShell scripts you like. The examples below should also help you start to “think in PowerShell”. Most of the tasks you will do in Powershell will not use a single command, but will instead combine many commands in one or more pipelines to get the job done. Each step of these pipelines is a rich object, with properties, methods, and events. This set of commands gives you a number of tools for working with some rich objects that were already lying in the operating system, just waiting for you to discover.

You can download the PowerShell pack here.

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Semi-regular web-link clearance – April 2010(2)

Using Alternate Credentials with WMI and PowerShell

The other day I was reading a post on Tore Lervik’s site and noticed that he had written some PowerShell scripts that would allow you to connect to a remote server using different user credentials than the ones you are logged in with.  This is something that I need to do quite often – and I have been doing it by just starting PowerShell using “runas” – but this approach is a heck of a lot more elegant.

Online dating: Brilliant or Embarrassing?

Recently I came across an article by Siarhei Karotki called ‘It’s time to take online dating seriously’, claiming that in the US, online dating is ‘booming and might even be bigger than porn’.

Any claim that uses the word ‘might’ suggests it doesn’t really hold any water, but since I met my husband on it sparked my interest.

I had mixed feelings when I started online dating. I didn’t like the idea of selling myself online (self promotion doesn’t come naturally to me), but on the other hand my friends who were on sites like dating direct were having great fun and had such entertaining stories it made sense to be proactive about it.

How To Read Your Camera’s Histogram And Take Perfectly Balanced Images

Furthermore, sometimes viewing photos on the camera’s LCD screen might not show a loss of detail in the shadows or dark areas of an image, nor in the white or bright areas. When we’re really concerned about getting the best exposure for our photos, we might use the camera’s zoom-in feature to assess exposure and sharpness of our images. Additionally, we could use the Histogram tool of both our digital camera and image editor to see how well exposed our images are.

Why does a High DPI Setting Make My Application Look Fuzzy and Have Clipped Text?

If you increase your DPI setting in Windows 7 (or Vista), you may notice your application doesn’t look the way you intended.

Extra Settings for the RDP file – Enables Glass!

University of Illinois – Stain Solutions

PHP on Windows Training Kit Support for Windows 7 Released

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Some great free scripting tools.

PrimalScript_box Sapien make, what I think is the best script editor available.  It’s called PrimalScript.  Not cheap, but it was the only way I know to step though a PowerShell script.  That’s changed with PowerShell 2, with it’s ISE.  But I’m still sticking with PrimalScript.

Sapien make a number of free tools available, and since I believe they preserve a wider audience, see below.

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Check the health of your SMS 2003 & 2007 servers

I run a PowerShell script which checks the health of my 20 SMS 2003 servers.

Sure, I could install Microsoft Operations Manager (Microsoft MOM).  But there is the cost for the physical server, and Microsoft licensing to be considered.

So, instead I make do with the PowerShell script.  It’s saved me from having several server problems becoming noticeable to the customers.  (the latest example is here)

It’s crude, but it checks each of the SMS servers for:

  1. the server is alive, aka “pingable”.
  2. it’s CPU utilisation is <= 20%, and that no individual processor is running at greater than 20%.
  3. that the assorted SMS directories (inbox, Offersum etc.) are being processed.
    If a directory has greater than x files, this may be an problem.
    Curiously enough, Microsoft suggests a 10,000 file threshold.  I set it at 200 files.
  4. enough disk space exists on the SMS package shares.

Future plans?

  1. Write each check out to a log, for availability reporting.
  2. Check for “older than x days” files in the SMS directories.
  3. Make it’s output pretty, most likely via WPF.

You can download the script, and the sample server list file here.

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Getting CPU Utilisation with PowerShell

PowerShell logoI use the following piece of code in my “Check SMS Server are healthly” PowerShell scripts.  I had a case recently where the SQL Server process decided to use 80% of one CPU.  This script would have detected that problem.

$server_name = “WISEFAQDC”
$percentage_warn = 50

$cpuinfo = Get-WmiObject -ComputerName $server_name Win32_Processor

$count = 0
$cpu_utilisation_total = 0
$cpu_utilisation_average = 0
$cpu_utilisation_maximum_single_processor = 0

foreach ($cpu in $cpuinfo)
    $cpu_utilisation_total = $cpu_utilisation_total + $cpu.LoadPercentage
    $count = $count + 1
    if ($cpu.LoadPercentage -gt $cpu_utilisation_maximum_single_processor)
        $cpu_utilisation_maximum_single_processor = $cpu.LoadPercentage
$cpu_utilisation_average = $cpu_utilisation_total / $count

if ($cpu_utilisation_average -gt $percentage_warn)
    Write-Host "Server: $server_name - CPU load $cpu_utilisation_average %"
if ($cpu_utilisation_maximum_single_processor -gt $percentage_warn)
    Write-Host "Server: $server_name - Single CPU load, highest percentage is: $cpu_utilisation_maximum_single_processor %"

The output is:
Server: WISEFAQDC - CPU load 54 %
Server: WISEFAQDC - Single CPU load, highest percentage is: 82 %

There is a bug though, with Windows 2000 servers always reporting 98% utilisation.  Microsoft released hotfix KB 880086 to fix the problem.

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And here’s the PowerShell: Pinging a computer script

PowerShell logo

The first thing you might notice is that the PowerShell version is a bit shorter. 3 lines of VBscript code, compared to 1 line of PowerShell script. That is, 1 line of code to do the actual ping.

And here is a short program which demonstrates how to use PowerShell to ping a computer:

$computer_name = "WISEFAQDC"

$address_string = "Address=" + "'" + $computer_name +"'"
$ping = Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_PingStatus -Filter $address_string
if ($ping.StatusCode -ne 0)
    # the check -ne 0 means the ping check failed.
    Write-Host Server: $computer_name - Not pingable
    # the computer is visible on the network.
    Write-Host Server: $computer_name - is alive

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PowerShell: Reboot remote computers

PowerShell logo

It looks like it’s going to be a week of scripting blog posts.  Today’s script is used to reboot a list of remote computers.  Sometimes, when deploying security patches, the computers fails to reboot.  So I use this script to force reboots.  It would be a piece of cake to modify the script, so that it turns off the computers instead.

One of my customers should find that useful.  Out of 2000 computers, about 150 computers get left powered on over the weekend.

What the script does:

  • reads the list of computers to be reset from C:\computer_lists\reboot_target_list.txt
    the format of the list is COMPUTERNAME,Reboot Reason
  • “Pings” the computer to see if it’s on the network.
  • checks to see if someone is logged on.  If someone is, don’t reboot.
  • reboots the computer.

Check and reboot computers.ps1

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PowerShell: count of files in a directory

PowerShell logoWith PowerShell, I needed to get a count of files in a particular directory.  This is what I came up with.

# Get a count of files in a directory.
$directory_file_count = "0"
$server_directory_string = "\\WISEFAQDC\c$\downloads"

# check that the directory exists.
$does_directory_exist = (Test-Path $server_directory_string)

# if it does, then continue
if ($does_directory_exist)
# file count does include directories but not a count of their contents.
$directory_file_count = (get-childitem $server_directory_string -name).count
Write-Host "Directory file count: $directory_file_count"
# directory doesn't exist
Write-Host "Directory $server_directory_string - DOES NOT EXIST"

The only problem with this code is that file count does include directories, but not their contents,  in it’s count of files.

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Reading the end of a log file with PowerShell

PowerShell logo I needed to read the last line of a log file.  PowerShell made it very, very, easy.

All you need to do is Get-Content the file, and then pipe it to Select-Object with the –last parameter set to 1.

Here is the code snippet which does that:

$failure_reason = (Get-Content $file_txt | Select-Object -last 1)

And here is a (simple) version of the PowerShell script I wrote to read though a list of computers, and dump the last line to the screen:

$windows2000_PCs = (Get-Content c:\temp\pc-list.txt)
foreach ($computer in $windows2000_PCs)
$file_txt = "\\"+ $computer + "\c$\log\install.txt"
$install_result = (Get-Content $file_txt | Select-Object -last 1)
Write-Host $computer has install result of: $install_result
Write-Host Done!

Which outputs:

BROOMFONDLE has install result of: Program installed successfully on 21 DEC 2010 – 1000hrs
MAGICTHIGHS1 has install result of: Program failed to install – Error code 1603 on 11 DEC 2010 - 1321hrs

Things to note:

  • c:\temp\pc-list.txt contains the list of computer names you wish to scan.
  • the script is not idiot-proofed error-trapped.
    ie. in a production version of this you would check that the computer being scanned is online, the install.txt file exists, and so on.
  • the Get-Content cmdlet will read though the entire file.  Select-Object will retain the –last x lines you asked for.  (for the technically minded, on my Windows 7 system, it opened the file with the following options “Desired Access: Generic Read, Disposition: Open, Options: Synchronous IO Non-Alert, Open No Recall, ShareMode: Read, Write”

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