Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finding PowerShell Links – using Technorati

As a PowerShell addict, I’m constantly in search of more information about PowerShell. Like most such addicts, I look at the PowerShell team blog, the various community sites, etc all on a daily basis. Another useful site is blogging site Technorati. See the search page at:, which shows the latest PowerShell blog posts, plus a nice graph showing the number of mentions per day (of PowerShell) as seen by Technorati.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Richard Siddaway's Blog: PowerShell and DHCP

I noticed that over on Richard Siddaway's Blog, he’s posed a question about PowerShell and DHCP. It would be neat to have a better (ie a PowerShell usable) interface to manage DHCP, but I’m not aware of one. On my home DHCP server, there are a couple of MIB files, suggesting that perhaps there’s some thing WMI related – but after some time using MOW’s most excellent WMI Explorer, I can’t find any mention in the WMI repository on the server.

I note that Windows Server 2008 R2 will include an updated DHCP Service (with Failover – horray). Although the pre-release information thus far does not suggest it, perhaps there will be some way with 2008R2. Once I get hold of the code, I’ll see if this in fact does exist.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Sysinternals Tools – Keeping up to date with PowerShell

Shay  Levy’s written a very cool PowerShell function called Get-Sysinternals.ps1. This script looks at the versions of Sysinternals tools on your system (by default in a folder c:\sysint) and downloads any updated versions.

This script is cool on a couple of levels. First, it ensures you have all the newest versions of these powerful tools. But also, it uses PowerShell!

I’ve just run it for the first time and the script downloaded all the tools. When I run it again tomorrow, anything new will get downloaded. Maybe it’s time for a Cron job – run the script once a week to keep my local collection up to date.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some Cool PowerShell Scripts For Free

One of the more interesting PowerShell books currently in print is Lee Holmes’s most excellent book, PowerShell Cookbook. This book contains loads of samples and examples of how to use PowerShell. Although the first chapter of the book contains some introductory PowerShell background, this is very much an applied book. It shows how to use the basic PowerShell Language (e.g. Chapter 4 looks at loops and flow control, Chapter 5 examines strings and unstructured text, etc). It also contains information on extending the reach of PowerShell as well as a chapter on Security and Scripts signing. All in all, a very useful book on PowerShell V1 – and I hope it’s updated for Version 2.

One neat thing - the example scripts in  are available for free. Just navigate to and click on the link to PowerShellCookbook S… to download a 54kb zip file that contains 65 documented scripts (and a few additional files used by some of the scripts).

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Group Policy and PowerShell in Windows 7

Following on from the PDC, details of Windows 7, and Windows Server 7 (aka Windows Server 2008 R2) are starting to be publicly announced.Over on the Group Policy Team Blog Lillia has blogged about PowerShell and Group Policy in Windows 7. She outlines three cool new PowerShell related functions coming in Windows 7:

  • Extending startup/shutdown and logon/logoff scripts to use PowerShell
  • Use Cmdlets to perform actions that previously needed the GPMC com object or the sample scripts
  • Configuring GPO registry settings directly from PowerShell.

The last of these is very cool! I can’t wait to see more!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

PowerShell Bloggers via Yahoo Pipes

Jakul has created a Yahoo Pipes mashup, PowerShell Bloggers, that keeps up with (at present) 42 separate PowerShell (or PowerShell related) web logs. This includes my own Scripts blog! This is both a useful end product to help folks keep up with other community generated content, but Pipes is also a pretty cool tool to enable you to create your own mashups.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Windows PowerShell Wiki

Another source of information about PowerShell is the Windows PowerShellWiki Service on the site. The Wiki, which anyone can edit, contains: 

  • News – news about PowerShell
  • Support – links to live support
  • Downloads – links to PowerShell related downloads
  • Docs – links to external documents
  • Books – short list of PowerShell books
  • Training – information on PowerShell training
  • How Do I – links to ways to do things with PowerShell
  • Tools and Utilities – links to tools and utilities related to PowerShell
  • Other Resources – links to other resources, including other blogs etc.

A useful site – all the better since the community can add to it. I’ve added a couple of things to the wiki today, including a link to V2 of PowerShell V2 and a link to my PowerShell scripts blog.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

PowerLine Ethernet Adapters

Many years ago, I recall reading about Ethernet running over power lines. The idea was you get two adapters, plug them into your wall socket and they then transmit Ethernet over the electrics. The early devices were slowish, and until recently, not of much interest. But the newest devices are quite quick, and in my case, have solved a long standing problem.

I have an old cottage, where the phone (and the ADSL) comes in to the building at one corner, whilst the computers are in the far other corner. Getting the place properly cabled is something that would be nice to do, but I’ve just not ever done as given the building, it would be quite expensive to install). I did try wireless, both a wireless router and a wireless bridge. But these did not work due to the construction of the house. So when I put the ADSL in, I just ran a long Ethernet cable from the router upstairs, to the firewall downstairs. It was not very sightly, and there have been regular requests from the resident saint (my wife) to get rid of it. She was convinced that there had to be an easier way. And she was right.

When I was recently in PC World, I noticed the NetGear HDX101, which were on sale – so I bought two. Today I installed them and have removed the long draping cable. They “installed” very easily – just unpack them, plug them into a wall socket, then plug in the Ethernet cable. It took around 10 minutes to get it unpacked, installed and working.

Turns out, Netgear have a wide set of PowerLine Ethernet products. They have three separate ranges of Powerline Ethernet adapters (in addition to a wireless “extender” and switches). The Entry level (the XE102 model) supports up to 14mbs, while the Mainstream range (there are several models) handles up to 85mpbs. The Performance range (the HDX 101) supports up to 200mbps. The XE104 is a 4-port switch that operates at up to 85mbps.

The performance figures given on the web site, of course, may vary in practice. Given the complex wiring in the cottage, it’s hardly any surprise that the performance of the devices is a bit lower than what’s quoted on the web site. The setup utility reckons I get around 55mbs across the link. But since my ADSL in only 4mbps (and is unlikely to go much above that anytime soon), the performance loss due to the complexity of wiring is more than acceptable.

With the improvements in speed, these devices could be an alternative to a wireless network, although the individual units are not ultra cheap. The  HDX 101 costs around £50 (each although had I shopped around, NetGear also sell them in packs of two (at a lower price per unit) and there are some sites on the web that would have undercut PC World.

In summary, these devices solved a long-standing problem in a pretty neat, easy and relatively inexpensive way. About the only downside is that you have to use a wall power slot (which are in short supply here!). The manual clearly states not to use a power lead - and in my case (of course I tried it!) it simply did not work. Using the wall socket was instantly successful.

PowerShell Sidebar Gadget (for Vista users)

If you use Vista and you use the Sidebar, Andrew Peters has a neat gadget that hosts the PowerShell Console in your Vista Sidebar. You can download it here:

If you are interested, you can rename the file to a .zip and see what’s inside a gadget file. The cooler bits of the gadget, though, are in a DLL.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Error Handling in PowerShell V2 (continued)

One of the many interesting features in PowerShell V2 is improved error handling. In particular, you’ll have the try/catch/finally syntax that C# programmers have had for eons. This is particularly useful when creating production scripts that need to do error handling. I discussed/demonstrated this feature in a recent blog entry.

The basic syntax of this new Powershell feature is as follows:

try { <something that may fail>} catch { <deal with the error>} finally { <any cleanup that needs to be done}

This is pretty straightforward: PowerShell first tries to do whatever is inside the first script block (i.e. something that may fail). If there’s an exception thrown, PowerShell executes the second script block (i.e. deal with the error). Finally, whether or not the dangerous thing threw and exception, or now, you perform the last script block (i.e. any cleanup that needs to be done).

Using the sample posted in my scripts blog, here’s one bit of code:

Try {$i=1} Catch {"Caught a problem in try 1"} Finally {"All done with 1st try"}

As to be expected, this script produces a single line of output: “All done with 1st try”)!

With PowerShell V2, you’ll need to specify the try and catch blocks (well in order to actually catch an error). In this case, we try a simple assignment (that really should work!). If there was an error executing that, the catch block would print the message. And finally, no matter what just happened, PowerShell prints the final message.

If you are writing code that expects different sorts of errors, you can add several catch blocks to specify different error handing depending on the error encountered. You can also pick up details of the error by using the $Error built-in variable. $Error is, in effect, an array of all the errors you’ve had in the current session. To find out which one was the last, you can use $error[$error.count-1] to get the last error.


Building a Hyper-V Cluster on two W2K8 Nodes Illustrated

In a recent blog article, I walked through all the steps, with screen shots, of how to setup an NLB cluster in Windows Server 2008. I recently came across a similar article, Building a Hyper-V Cluster on two W2K8 Nodes that shows the setup of a failover cluster using Windows Server 2008. Worth a look if you’ve not seen how to setup a cluster using Server2008 and I-SCSI.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Try/Catch with the Open Office XML Tool Kit in PowerShell

In a script I posted to my PowerShell Scripts blog, I used both the Open XML SDK and the Try/Catch functions of PowerShell V2. The Office Open XML SDK is available from Microsoft as a free download. However, like some parts of the MSDN Library, Community Content has not been activated (Open Office XML SDK is not OPEN could have been the headline of this post!), at least yet.

The XML API is built on top of the System.IO.Packaging and provides classes to manipulate Open XML Documents. For developers that are using the Open XML APIs to create Office documents, the ability to access and manipulate the documents via PowerShell can provide two benefits. First, the developer can use PowerShell as a prototyping tool, to ensure the logic is right before committing the code to C#. Second, the developer can develop simple sanity checking scripts to do things like validate a document, etc.

The other interesting thing about this script is the Try/Catch logic. With V2, we finally have the try/catch/finally error handling features that C# programmers love. I’ll be posting more about this in future articles.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

PowerShell V2 Release Timescales

In yesterday’s PowerShell related blog entry, I noted that the next CTP for V3 is coming very soon. Like the child sitting in the back of the car on a long journey, I just want V2 to be here now. But despite wanting it, and frankly expecting it by now – it’s not here and won’t be for a wee while (i.e. around a year from now). At one level that’s bad, but at several others, it’s good as I explain in this post!

First the basic release news. On his blog, super-star and good friend Dmitry Sotnikov sets out the dates that Microsoft announced at TechEd EMEA. Namely:

  • CTP3 - Dec 20087 CTP 3. NB: this may be called Beta 1
  • RTM – in Windows 7 and Windows 7 Server (aka Windows 2008 Server R2), when that ships. Late 2009 or Early 2007.
  • RTM – for XP, 2003, Vista and Server 2008 (RTM) – a few months after that, V2 will be available for download to these older OS versions.

So the final versions of V2 won’t be here for at least a year, and possibly longer for those of us using legacy OSs. So that’s the “bad” news. I also expect V2 to be baked into Exchange 14, so may ship early if for some reason Exchange 14 ships earlier. We’ll know more about the Exchange 14 time scales in due course.

So that sounds bad. It’s life – things take longer than we’d like! But there’s also two bits of good news.

First, there will be more CTP releases. CTP3 has a AWESOME set of features. While we wait to get the final version, the CTPs will allow us PowerShell addicts to have some fun, and develop stuff that will prove even more valuable once RTM occurs. For example, all the scripts over on the PowerShell Scripts blog should all work just fine on V2 – and going forward, some will require V2 or a pre-release of V2 to run (well probably!). So in the short time, there’s plenty of updated features to get to know and leverage.

But the really good news is that PowerShell is now a fully fledged Feature within Windows. Whilst many of us probably think this should have happened with Server 2008/Vista, but that did not happen. Being a Feature means PowerShell is just as important to the overall product as say the file system, the kernel or the fail-over clustering component.

This means that going forward, we’ll see PowerShell align with OS release schedules. Just as there are not major updates of say Active Directory, File sharing, or Failover Clustering outside of a full OS release, there is far less likely to be any major updates to PowerShell outside major OS releases. Thus, we’ll see updates at around the 2 year cycle at best. That is provides the team with a much clearer time frame in which to produce V3, V4, etc.

The reason this is good, is that other OS Win 7 feature teams can take dependencies on PowerShell V2 in order to produce new Cmdlets, etc, knowing that V2 will be ready and will ship at the same time! This also means a whole lot more testing – testing all those cool upcoming cmdlets with PowerShell V2 code. While all the recent releases of PowerShell have been pretty reliable, the more testing the better! And of course, since ISVs can now count on V2, they can target new product releases to run on R2 and can make PowerShell support part of their tool kits.

We’ll also see another important thing in Windows 7/Server 20098 R2 – PowerShell in Server Core. Horray! This to my mind enables a much more unified admin experience (or darn well better!) for Server core. The mixture of obscure command line utilities and near-random VB Script files was just awful. With PowerShell, things should be a whole lot easier. And where there are existing tools that continue to be valuable but are obscure, the community can develop wrappers (i.e. PowerShell Functions or scripts) to vastly simplify the use of those tools. All in all, this represents a great step forward!

So while I really wanted V2 by now, waiting another year or so really isn’t that bad. It’s a wait that I find OK – the result is worth it. I’m pretty excited about the potential. Or should I say I’ STILL pretty excited about the potential.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PowerShell V2 – CTP3 Coming soon

At TechEd Barcelona, Microsoft did not (as I’d expected) release the latest beta version of PowerShell V2. For a variety of reasons, the next community technology preview (aka interim beta) will not be released until December. What was more annoying was that Microsoft DID give away updated PowerShell bits at PDC, the week prior to TechEd. The lack of updated software was a real disappointment and for me an others, diminished the value of TechEd.

But despite the lack of updated code, MS present a number of PowerShell sessions that showcased many of the new features coming to PowerShell in V2. Some of these (eg the try/catch/finally constructs) are in CTP2, but many are new.

Oisin Grehan had provided a brief look at new, changed, and removed Cmdlets coming to the next CTP. His article, Changes from CTP2 in PowerShell 2.0 in the Windows 7 M3 “PDC” Build looks at the changes he noticed in the Windows 7 code he picked up at PDC. As you can see, there are several new and updated areas to explore which include:

  • PSSession, the new name for runspaces, with far more control available
  • The remoting story gets richer with WSMAN related cmdlets.
  • You can now get performance counters direct into PowerShell (ie not via WMI)
  • Better event log handling
  • Control over BITS
  • Transactions

I’ll be looking at all these new areas, once I get working code.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Introduction to PowerShell Presentation

PowerShell is a technology that’s been gaining a lot of attention both recently, with all the announcements at PDC, and to some degree from the beginning. Many of the more passionate PowerShell fans often struggle to introduce PowerShell to their peers. YOU know how powerful PowerShell is – but where do you begin?

Lee Holmes, a member of the PowerShell team has developed a good Introduction to PowerShell presentation, complete with demos you can run using Jeffrey Snover’s most excellent start-demo.  See Lee’s blog post, Introduction to PowerShell Presentation, to pick up more information on this presentation. Note the zip file containing the PowerPoint slides also contains a demo script you can run using Start-Demo.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Chapter 2: Basic PowerShell Concepts – Free Book Chapter

I came across a free chapter on basic PowerShell concepts in a recently published book about PowerShell. The book is Windows PowerShell Unleashed from Sams, written by Tyson Kopczynski, Pete Handley and Marco Shaw. The book, which focuses on PowerShell V1 covers the key aspects of PowerShell.

The free Online chapter is Chapter 2 which coves Basic PowerShell Concepts. While many readers of this blog understand PowerShell, re-reading a chapter on the basics is always good to reinforce our knowledge. The book itself looks a good introduction to PowerShell. I look forward to a new version of the book in due course, covering Version 2.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

SAPIEN Does It Again – Primal Forms

Sapien has just released a new free tool: Primal Forms. This is a free GUI builder tool for PowerShell users. You can edit or store Windows Forms in a native XML format and generate PowerShell code on demand. There are some cool sample forms included.

Go to and look for PrimalForms, or go straight to the signup page at: (althouth the latter does not say so, this is the page for PrimalForms. You have to register with an email – and you’ll get download instructions by return of email.

Saturday, November 15, 2008’s Convention Survey

Over on The PowerShell.Org site, there’s a survey about a possible PowerShell Convention. Here’s the link: Convention Survey. If you are interested, then go over and fill in the survey.

As it turns out, this survey is a Google Form, part of Google Docs. These are very simple to create. See here for one I just created – took around 2-3 minutes and it works. Google also produces analysis of the responses. This is really pretty cool! I look forward to seeing what, if any, responses to the form I get!


MyBloop – Unlimited Free Cloud Storage

At first sight, the idea of free and unlimited data storage in the Cloud seems too good to be true. That’s the promise of MyBloop. From this site, you can sign up for a free account, and, in theory, upload as much data as you want. It also appears to be ad-free. While the lack of ads is nice for the user, I’m unclear around their business model. Free storage and the free bandwidth to access, all for free – it’s a nice deal. I love the concept but there are some issues.

First, there is the question of their privacy policy – or lack thereof. I can’t see one on the site. The site iteslf ( is not bad, but thin at present. And there’s no user Forums (so I don’t know if my problems are unique).

Once you upload a file, it becomes a shared file – it appears the default is to share the file. There’s also no way to restrict sharing – sharing seem to be all or nothing. From a privacy point of view, these two issues are of some concern. Is MyBloop going to turn into  another porn/warez site (and get closed down shaprish)?

The site provides a downloader file manager to make the process of uploading to MyBloop easier. Great theory, but the program is unstable. I’m averaging 2-3 crashes per uploaded file. BloopLoader does sort of recover from crashes and continues the uploads that were queued before the crash. Or rather it tries to. After a day of use, there are many issues: files that appear to have been uploaded are re-uploaded (duplicate files on server), some file that were queued get lost, some files in process do restart to upload after the restart, but they start from zero.

This could be a great tool, but right now, it’s not really ready for prime time. I hope this is just a phase, and am looking forward to a reply from the site to my comments.

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More on Network Protocol Training

As  I noted earlier this week, NPS were running a Network Protocol webcast. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend my self as I got stuck in traffic and ended up getting to the web cast a few minutes after it ended. But good news – the webcast is available for download. On their web-site, it now clearly states: “Contact us at to view a recorded copy of this webcast.”  So if you missed it, you can get access to see it.

There’s another web cast this week Using Display Filters Effectively and Long Term Captures. It looks to be useful but I know I can’t make it home to watch (what a pesky thing work can be at times!). Being able to get the download will be useful.

Thanks to the NPS guys for this cool training.

Rob Menching and the MSI SDK

For Windows admins, the Windows Installer service has made life considerably easier. MSI packages are now far, far easier to install than what went before. IT Pros will know the value of using MSI packages with Group Policies and how to achieve it. In my training classes, it’s clear that some delegates know and love the concept but are less clued in on some of the details. A great way to learn more about how MS technologies work is to read the System Development Kit (SDK) documentation. SDKs are produced mainly for developer to help them understand how to program against a set of API, in this case how create MSI packages and how to use the Windows Installer service.

Over on Rob Menshing’s Open Uninstalled blog, I saw a post noting that the MSI SDK was not ranked very well in “major search engines”. That’s a shame as there’s a lot of good information here, including:

There’s some great information here about the underpinnings of MSI packages and the Windows Installer service. It can help IT Pros understand more about how the technology works and will make them more comfortable. Rob’s blog is also a source of more information on both the Installer Technology and the WIX toolkit.

And hopefully, Robs and my blog articles will improve search ranking.

Friday, November 14, 2008


PowerShell is based on .NET, and makes heavy use of various .NET features including reflection and the underlying .NET Type system. In .NET, and in PowerShell – objects are at the centre of everything. An object always has a type, which contains meta-information about a the object.

With PowerShell, much of the typing happens under the covers – but you can always get information about the object’s type by using the GetType method. Every object (i.e. every PowerShell variable) provides this method and therefore it’s easy to obtain the type information.

To see this in action, consider a variable, call it $I, that we explicitly declare to be an Integer then we set a value to. Using the GetType Method, we can return all the underlying type information – in other words the description of an integer type.

Here’s a bit of PowerShell code that gets and displays type information for $I:

# Declare an integer and assign a value
[int] $i = 42
# Now get type information and print it out
$type = $i.GetType()
$type | fl *

The output from this PowerShell code fragement looks like this:

Module                     : CommonLanguageRuntimeLibrary
Assembly                   : mscorlib, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089
TypeHandle                 : System.RuntimeTypeHandle
DeclaringMethod            :
BaseType                   : System.ValueType
UnderlyingSystemType       : System.Int32
FullName                   : System.Int32
AssemblyQualifiedName      : System.Int32, mscorlib, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089
Namespace                  : System
GUID                       : a310fadd-7c33-377c-9d6b-599b0317d7f2
GenericParameterAttributes :
IsGenericTypeDefinition    : False
IsGenericParameter         : False
GenericParameterPosition   :
IsGenericType              : False
ContainsGenericParameters  : False
StructLayoutAttribute      : System.Runtime.InteropServices.StructLayoutAttribute
Name                       : Int32
MemberType                 : TypeInfo
DeclaringType              :
ReflectedType              :
MetadataToken              : 33554626
TypeInitializer            :
IsNested                   : False
Attributes                 : AutoLayout, AnsiClass, Class, Public, SequentialLayout, Sealed, Serializable, BeforeFieldInit
IsVisible                  : True
IsNotPublic                : False
IsPublic                   : True
IsNestedPublic             : False
IsNestedPrivate            : False
IsNestedFamily             : False
IsNestedAssembly           : False
IsNestedFamANDAssem        : False
IsNestedFamORAssem         : False
IsAutoLayout               : False
IsLayoutSequential         : True
IsExplicitLayout           : False
IsClass                    : False
IsInterface                : False
IsValueType                : True
IsAbstract                 : False
IsSealed                   : True
IsEnum                     : False
IsSpecialName              : False
IsImport                   : False
IsSerializable             : True
IsAnsiClass                : True
IsUnicodeClass             : False
IsAutoClass                : False
IsArray                    : False
IsByRef                    : False
IsPointer                  : False
IsPrimitive                : True
IsCOMObject                : False
HasElementType             : False
IsContextful               : False
IsMarshalByRef             : False

This shows the actual type (System.Int), what assembly the type comes from, and a variety of details. Now for most IT Pros, most if not all of this information is not all that exciting. But it can be a great help for both Devs and more dev-friendly IT Pros wanting to understand more about .NET and how to leverage it from PowerShell. The INT32 class is simple, but the type information can help you to understand how this particular type works, something even more important for more complex types.

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Microsoft Tech·Ed EMEA 2008

It was a good week in Barcelona, despite losing my wallet thanks to pickpockets. I got back, excited to pick up the various sessions I’d missed, I was prompted by a mail I got today asking me to finish off my feedback.

I would have been happy to provide feedback, so I went to the Microsoft Tech·Ed EMEA 2008 site. It says login – but there’s no where to actually enter credentials. I’ve tried on 3 machines, and used different browsers on each. Is it really too much to expect that Microsoft actually sends mail pointing to pages that are actually usable?


It's now working again - and you can login. Looks like the email to MS generated the fix.

Ramp Up – Developer Training From Microsoft

If you are a developer, Microsoft has some new free training. Microsoft explains Rampup as: “free, online, community-based learning program, with a number of different tracks that will help you build your portfolio of professional development skills. Ramp Up has a solid foundation of premium technical content from subject-matter gurus, and provides easy-to-access content in a variety of forms that guide you in learning the important skills. Join Ramp Up (it's free!) and help advance your career”

The current offerings and current web site are clearly a work in progress. The site is a little clunk with the integration between MSDN and MS Learning being less than totally seamless. There’s a lack of discoverability, little integration between this training and the MSDN Library content and the material is not bang up to date. But that’s just work that needs to be done – the free training is still of benefit.

I’ve suggested that the next course to go up on the RampUp site should be PowerShell for developers. We’ll see if MS take me up on this suggestion.

So if you’re a developer, why not head on over to the new Ramp Up site and sign up?

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Updated ZoomIt from Microsoft (Sysinternals)

For folks that do a lot of presentations, the Zoomit tool is a life saver. Written by Mark Russinovich,Zoomit is a screen zoom and annotation tool. Microsoft has released a new version of this fantastic tool. Key changes include the ability to change the colour of the break timer and a change in the say screen captures are done so as to include any tooltip window. And it’s free!



PowerShell V2 – Video By Jeffrey Snover

I came across a great video on PowerShell Version 2. By Jeffrey Snover, it’s 1:08 long, but worth the look. Jeffrey is such a compelling speaker, and PowerShell V2 is such a compelling product! The title of the talk is PowerShell V2 – the next stage in the IT Revolution.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 – another PowerShell community site

For PowerShell enthusiasts, there’s another ciommunity web site to bookmark and visit: This site has:

A nice site, with lots of PowerShell community folks on board.

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Network Protocol Training

It’s a bit short notice, but I see that Network Protocol Specialists are running a series of free Wireshark Quick start web casts. The first webcast starts TODAY at 18:00 UK time (10:00 Pacific time), and it lasts for an hour. Today’s webcast covers cover analyzer placement, basic capture filters, and displaying the packets.

For more details on the webcasts, see: Network Protocol Specialists » Training and to register for today’s webcast go to the registration page.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

PowerShell Community Site:

WWW.PowerShell.Com is an educational and community site for Windows PowerShell. A cool site name – not sure how they managed to snag the domain name but it also provides a wealth of information to the PowerShell community. The site contains:

It’s clear to me that the PowerShell community is strong, vibrant and incredibly empowering. Sites like only help to improve the reach of PowerShell and help all of us do even better. You can join the site – it’s free! – and get some cool benefits, including a “” email address!

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Monday, November 10, 2008

PowerShell Plus – TechEd Conversations

I got a real kick out of chatting with Tobias Weltner and talking to the Idera folks at TechEd Barcelona. Tobias has some great ideas – and some of the as of yet unreleased features he was able to show me were cool. I won’t violate the confidence by saying anything more other than the next release of PowerShell Plus is a must have for any PowerShell power user. I am now using PS+ as my primary IDE for PowerShell. I like the new upcoming ISE that MS will release – but for me, I have an even better tool!

I also enjoyed the chat with Idera. They really get PowerShell and are committed to delivering great tools for IT Pros. Turns out they have a load of SQL, Dynamics and SharePoint too. They also get community too – and are sponsors the community site. Very cool – thanks Idera.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Azure Services Platform

I see Microsoft has added a bunch of content about the Azure Services platform to the MSDN Library. Lots of preliminary stuff, but great content. Consider checking it out. I would suggest updating it via the wiki feature, but it looks like this has the wiki feature turned off – so it’s r/o at this time.

Information provided includes:

Scripting with Windows PowerShell 2.0 CTP

For PowerShell geeks, the next CTP for Version 2 is out ‘soon’. Jeff Snover, at TechEd Barcelona said it would be coming in December. There were no new ‘bits’ for TechEd although there was lots of demos of functions not provided in the current CTP. I understand the team’s priorities and know that their decision not to hand out bits was the right one.

In terms of getting ready for V2, there are some great new features. I took detailed notes during one PowerShell talk and will transcribe into a blog post soon!

So while waiting for PowerShell V2 CTP3 to come out, why not visit Scripting with Windows PowerShell 2.0 CTP – a sub-site below the TechNet Script Center. While CTP1/2 focused, there’s a lot of great information and good links on the site. With V2 being such a massive update in functionality (remoting alone is a huge topic!), learning about some of the feature now will hold you in good stead. And when CTP3 is released, I would hope that this site gets even more valuable.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

I’ve been robbed

So here I am – in Barcelona at TechEd EMEA. I’ve enjoyed a great dinner with all the PowerShell folks and we’re walking up to a bar on the Ramblas. A chap hands me a card for a bar and suddenly does a knee dance – moving me around and making me off balance. He finished and I start to walk away and I discover my wallet is gone. The police here are a tad unhelpful – pointing me to a phone with free phone number. Amex and Master Card eventually deal but it took a long time.

Thank heavens for good friends: Dmitry from Quest went to the police with me, lent me enough cash to get to the airport, and paid for the cab home. Times like this – you know who your friends really are. Thanks to Dmitry.

Being at a PowerShell dinner with friends that matter: priceless, Being in Barcelona – it sucks.

Monday, November 03, 2008

TechNet Keynote - Summary

Here’s the key points I pulled from today’s keynote at TechEd. I’ll post this as we go, with updates later!


The keynote did not have much really stunning news – most of the ‘announcements’ were well trailed and had been largely already announced. I was very dissapointed with no mention of PowerShell V2 (or announcing it’s availability!) and no mention at all of OCS 2007 R2. But hey – it’s great to see MS getting into recycling (and now recycling news).

General Stuff

  • TechEd 2009 is to be in Berlin (Hooray – I think!)
  • Brad Anderson is speaker – he’s the GM of the Management and Services Division.
  • Brad see's IT Priorities today as: Virtualisation, Cloud, Compliance, BI, Access Anywhere, Green IT
  • Dynamic IT is the key – 4 key areas (virtualisation, models of IT, service orientation (cloud), user focused (Win7)
  • Infrastructure Optimisation is a key aspect to enable dynamic IT or help organisations get there.
  • WiFi is poor (again) – although it managed to more or less be usable for the whole 90 minutes.


  • Brad says, moving forward 5% of worlds power supply goes to powering IT data centres – wow!
  • A server at idle, uses 60& of full power .
  • Virtualisation gives 10:1 impact (each physical server can support 10 virtual servers) – 90% reduction in power usage.
  • Next release of Windows Server R2 – includes a new version of Hyper-V. Moving forward, Hyper-V will be updated with the OS and not out of band.
  • Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V will have live migration (a feature dropped from first release of Hyper-V V1)
  • They did a System Center VMM demo – very cool
    • Everything starts with a model
    • PRO – performance resource optimisation – part of SCC VM monitors SLA compliance (and can make recommendations)
  • Virtualisation is not a product but a strategy (including server desktop, application and presentation). Not a new message.
  • Kidaro integrates into MDOP next year
  • MDOP the fastest selling product inside software licensing
  • App-V – application virtualisation is independent of the OS
  • Oslo is new modelling techniques to help manage the combination of app/server management

Green IT

  • MS is currently the largest commercial purchaser of servers today!
  • New data centres – one a quarter – based on green IT (using ambient air to do cooling).

Server 2008 R2

  • New Hyper-V version coming
  • Updates to IIS and ASP.NE on Server Core
  • Power Management improvements
  • PowerShell V2 including lots of new cmdlets (also as previously announced, PowerShell will run on Server Core)
  • Best practices analyser – no details of what it will look like
  • DirectAccss – VPN-less business across the internet.
  • Branch Cache – a caching solution to improve performance/decrease bandwidth demand for poorly connected sites
  • Bitlocker to go – encryption for disconnected media eg thumb drives

SQL Server

  • Kilimanjaro – next version
  • Gemini – self service BI analysis
  • Cool demo – lots more legs to BI!


  • Forefront – built on Operations Manager, etc.
  • Next release of Forefront will be installable on top of existing ops manager implementation

Services (aka The Cloud)

  • Moving forward “Live” brand is consumer focused, “On-Line” is business brand
  • MS seem to be killing off 3rd party hosting partners
  • Coexistence between cloud and org starts with synching local AD with Cloud – this mean all YOUR AD Contents now are hosted by MS.
  • Launch in Spring 2009
  • Azure – launched last week at PDC contains key features to help you migrate to the cloud.

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Keynote Twitter from TechEd


I’m “in the room” for the TechEd keynote. The “music” is way too loud, and the video is abstract stuff. Follow me as @doctordns.

I’m hoping to get connected to the internet (no luck yet) to be able to twitter stuff as they announce it on stage! I

I’m using WiFi radar to get me a connection. But, at present, I’m unable  to get a stable wireless connection. :

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Windows Server 2003 ASR – It DOES Work!

It’s been a bad day for my home network. We’ve had several hours of continual power cuts overnight, and when I woke up, my ISA Server Firewall had suffered a disk failure. I can’t really complain – the box is an old Dell desktop I bought around 4 years ago from E-bay, and it’s been running the firewall 7x24 ever since. I’d been meaning to take a backup, but, well I had none.

The symptoms were all too familiar – the dreaded startup screen that said disk failure. So I fired up the built-in IDE diagnostics which confirmed a serious disk error. Next I ran Sysinternals ERD (now part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack) to find I could see the disk. Surprisingly, the Disk Commander could see the disk, and I managed to get all the non-OS files stored on another drive on my network. Nothing important, except all the installation files for the box.

I tried to take a Ghost image of the drive, but that did not work (too many disk errors), so I turned the machine off for a while, and had some breakfast. A bit later, I managed to get it to boot and also managed to get an ASR backup done!

Those nice folks in PC World sold me a new Hitachi Deskstar disk (500 GB replacing an old Maxstor 40GB!) and after lunch that was installed and working. Once that worked, I booted the Windows Server 2003 boot disk, hit F2 to select ASR Recovery and sat back and watched. Around 40 minutes later I was up and nearly up and running. During the re-install, the Windows Firewall had been installed, which stopped ISA from running. The Event Log helpfully suggested re-installing ISA server – and sure enough that worked a treat and we’re back up an running. Sart to finish just over 6 hours (which includes breakfast, lunch and a drive to PC World).

Some key take-aways:

  1. ASR does work, but it needs working floppy disks. That proved harder than you might think – but I know have a small stash of new-ish floppy disks.
  2. The Event Log sometimes really is your friend.
  3. The ISA Server team deserve a bit pat on the back for great (and accurate) event log messages
  4. Hundred Years Hall is a great CD to listen to whilst fixing a broken system!
  5. There may be an economic crisis, but PC World sure was busy.