Simple Azure VM RDP PowerShell Script

Background If you’re using the Microsoft Azure platform, you probably have built up one or more virtual machines. Virtual machines in Azure are great for testing, because you can easily destroy and rebuild them if you mess something up. As an additional benefit, you don’t have to risk messing up your local desktop, laptop, or … Read more Simple Azure VM RDP PowerShell Script

PowerShell: Add Users to Active Directory Group from Text File

A customer recently requested a PowerShell script, to add Active Directory users to a security group. The list of users would come from a text file that resides on the filesystem. To that end, I wrote a short PowerShell script that does just that, complete with parameter validation. #requires -version 4.0 #requires -Module ActiveDirectory param … Read more PowerShell: Add Users to Active Directory Group from Text File

VBscript: Export ConfigMgr Task Sequence Variables

Here is a simple VBscript that will export Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) task sequence variables to a file on the root of the system drive for troubleshooting. In WinPE (Windows Pre-execution), this is typically the x:\ drive, and in the full OS phase, it’s most commonly the c:\ drive, although that … Read more VBscript: Export ConfigMgr Task Sequence Variables

PowerShell: Measuring Download Speeds

Have you ever downloaded a file from the Internet? Probably.

Have you ever downloaded a file with PowerShell? Maybe.

Have you ever wondered how fast your download was going? Sure.

Have you ever wondered how to get that information when you’re downloading a file with PowerShell? Maybe, but you didn’t have a solution until now!

Our web browsers calculate download speeds for us, somehow. Specifically how, I have no clue, but what I do know is that we are more than capable of calculating download speeds using PowerShell.

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PowerShell: Updating an Azure Service Display Name

If you’re like me, you probably like clarity, consistency, and conciseness. Given that, I like to ensure that names of hosted services in Windows Azure are named appropriately. Sometimes developers will give a service a quick name that they understand, but may not relay enough information to other team members, at a glance, as to … Read more PowerShell: Updating an Azure Service Display Name

PowerShell: Embed binary data in your script

When writing automation scripts or modules, you might find that you frequently reference external binary data.

Binary data? Well, that accounts for all data!” you might say.

Yes, that’s true. But I’m talking about binary data as opposed to files containing simple ASCII or UTF-8 data. Maybe there’s some better terminology to describe that, but hey it works for now. Binary data could include things such as:

  • Word documents
  • Executable (Portable Executable format)
  • Code libraries (DLLs)
  • Registry files
  • etc.

In the case of executables, oftentimes they provide useful functionality that would take many lines of PowerShell code to replicate. Some developers, for better or for worse, elect to use these utilities instead of going through the effort of writing the necessary code to handle the function natively in PowerShell. This creates an additional dependency when porting the PowerShell code, as the author must be sure to include the utility with their code, or otherwise ensure (via documentation, for example) that the target user will already have it available.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to depend on the user having some executable pre-installed, just to get your script to work, though? Unfortunately the little topic of “software licensing” can sometimes prevent redistribution of software that you are not given explicit permission to copy, however there are also many cases where this is allowed (eg. open-source projects). The work-around in cases where redistribution is not allowed, is to either direct the user where to download the software from, or automate it for them.

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PowerShell: Tracert or Trace-Route?

UPDATE (2012-07-27): Justin Dearing (@zippy1981) sent me an updated version of the script, which improves on the following:

  • Has some comment-based help
  • Parameter checking

Grab it here: Invoke-TraceRoute.ps1


Any network or systems administrator is familiar with the good old tracert.exe utility that’s been included outof-the-box in Windows for years now. Tracert allows you to identify each “hop” (typically a router) between two IP endpoints on a network. Since this utility was developed long before PowerShell existed, and has been time-tested, it hasn’t been implemented yet as a PowerShell cmdlet. That being said, PowerShell folks often do not enjoy reliance on external dependencies, and prefer the flexibility of an API that can provide only the information that they want or need. To that end, I have developed a Trace-Route PowerShell advanced function (cmdlet) that emulates a limited set of functionality offered by tracert.exe.

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PowerShell: Automate Windows Azure Service Bus queue creation

Microsoft Windows Azure Logo

One of the core services provided by the Windows Azure “cloud computing” platform is the ability to create first-in, first-out messaging queues. These queues are considered to be part of the Service Bus feature in Windows Azure. In some cases, it may be desirable to automate the creation of these queues, especially if there are a lot of them to create. By automating this process, rather than performing it manually, you can ensure consistency, repeatability, and speed.

Starting out with Windows Azure automation might lead you to download the official Microsoft Windows Azure cmdlets, or even the third-party Cerebrata Windows Azure module for Windows PowerShell. The latter module appears to have cmdlets that support queue creation, however the former (Microsoft) module does not. If you’d rather not spend the money on the Cerebrata module, can’t get your company to buy it for you, or you’d rather just stick to native Microsoft stuff, you’re still in luck. The Windows Azure .NET SDK 1.6 allows C# developers, and PowerShell script writers, to create queues using the provided .NET types!

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PowerShell: Backup documents on Dropbox securely with encryption

Like many other people out there, you’re probably looking for a way to backup your documents regularly, reliably, and securely on some sort of central storage service. Dropbox is a great option for this, since they provide a fair amount of storage for free, and their annual cost for additional storage is pretty fair. Unfortunately, … Read more PowerShell: Backup documents on Dropbox securely with encryption

Copy Filenames to Clipboard with PowerShell

Have you ever wanted to copy a large amount of data to the Windows clipboard, but haven’t known quite how to do it? How about this scenario: you have a folder full of files, and you want to get a list of the files’ full names / paths. That’s pretty easy to do with a … Read more Copy Filenames to Clipboard with PowerShell