PowerShell: Return Debug and Verbose messages From Your Functions

Debug and Verbose let you return extra information from your scripts, for specific situations, and only when needed. Debug lets you return “programmer-level” information. Verbose lets you return more detailed information to the user. I’ll provide some examples.

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Compare services of two computers in PowerShell

This function “Compare-Services” will allow you to compare the running services of two computers. The first one is called the Reference Computer, the second is the Difference Computer. The output defaults to Compare-Object output. If you need an object to do further work with, this is what you want. If you don’t want to puzzle out what the “=>” and “<=” indicators mean, and you want a simple report, you can use the -FriendlyText switch will give you English text output, which will make more sense to many humans, at least the English speaking humans reading this blog. Windows remoting needs to be enabled on the computers being checked for this to work.

Example output:

And here is the function:


PowerShell cmdlet to create lab users

So you have Active Directory in your lab and want to create a bunch of users for some reason? My PowerShell cmdlet “New-LabADUser” should be just what you need.

Usage examples:

Users are created with Organization = “LabUser” to make them easy to find:

And the cmdlet…


The Script Development Process

Script Development Process
Script Development Process

This script development process is an iterative process designed to help you rapidly write quality scripts. The principle is to understand and define the problem. Break up your solution into small steps. Code one small step at a time. Test each small step and get it right before moving on to the next piece. Repeat these steps until you have your solution. All while managing your time.

When is automation the solution?

The benefits of automation are primarily to save time and to decrease errors associated with manual actions. You will need to make the calculation if a script will benefit your situation. How many hours will it take for you to write these script? How many hours of manual work will the script save?

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Output the PowerShell assignment command from an array

This function will take an array and output the PowerShell assignment command with the elements from the array. It would be useful if you want to hardcode a string array and don’t want to manually format it.

The function is below, along with an example usage and example output.

Get the IP addresses of Hyper-V VMs, part 2

A variation on my previous post.

This one-liner uses an expression in a select to expose the IP addresses. The expression is necessary so we can drill down into the NetworkAdapters collection to get to the IPAddresses property.

This will list all IP addresses for each VM:

This next variation displays only the first IP address for each VM. Note the “[0]”. It addresses the first element of “IPAddresses” array.

New-Nano: automating Windows Nano Server lab builds with PowerShell

I wrote this function to automate Nano Server lab builds into Hyper-V. You need to supply the “Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5” ISO, which you can get here or here. My script is based partially on ideas presented in the Microsoft TechNet article “Getting Started with Nano Server“.

You will need to have Hyper-V on your computer, have a Hyper-V switch on a network that has DHCP running somewhere (if you have a switch in Hyper-V defined as “External”, this should work fine). You will also need to supply a working directory.

New-Nano copies the required files from the ISO, runs Microsoft’s cmdlet New-NanoServerImage to build a Hyper-V disk image, creates a new VM from that disk image, starts the VM, and gets network information from the VM. The function then runs an example PowerShell Session to demonstrate connectivity to the new Nano VM. Total build time in my tests is a little over three minutes.

If you look to the bottom of the script, you will see an example of how to call the New-Nano function.

Further refinements would be to install features and packages to the Nano, and to do domain joins. Please note that this should only be used for a lab environment because the administrator password is in plaintext. If this was going into a production environment, you would want to encode it.

Enjoy. Please try it out and leave a comment.



Returning custom objects in PowerShell, simplified

I’ve stumbled upon this simplified technique to return custom objects in my PowerShell functions.

My first take on it was this, but I’ve simplified it. In this simplified variation, you just create and return the object in the same hash. For example:

This is a hash, as you probably have seen before, but the [PsCustomObject] is what makes it a custom object.

And in context of a function:

Get-Subnet, a PowerShell advanced function

I wrote a PowerShell advanced function “Get-Subnet” to return a subnet mask for a given bit or bit range.

The cmdlet, with embedded help, including examples: