Trevor Sullivan's Tech Room

Minding the gap between administration and development

Posts Tagged ‘automation’

Welcome to Chicago PowerShell User Group (CPUG)!

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2014/03/31

Hello and welcome to the Chicago PowerShell User Group (CPUG)! We are just getting started, and will be sending out details for our first meeting very soon!

In the meantime, please take this opportunity to connect with us on social media:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

PowerShell: Prompt Function to Monitor Memory Usage

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2012/01/23

Have you ever wanted to monitor your memory utilization in a PowerShell instance, but may not want to continually issue commands to determine it? Introducing …… the PowerShell Prompt to monitor memory utilization!!

function prompt {
    "$('{0:n2}' -f ([double](Get-Process -Id $pid).WorkingSet/1MB)) MB> "

Here’s the result:


Posted in powershell, tools | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

PowerShell: Finding Friday the 13th

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2012/01/13

Update (2012-01-13): Justin Dearing (aka @zippy1981) informed me that it would be more efficient to look at the 13th of each month, and test if it was a Friday. In theory at least, he’s absolutely correct; I wrote the function the first way I thought of it, and I always welcome suggested improvements.

This morning I noticed that it was Friday the 13th. No, I didn’t realize it by looking at the Windows 7 system clock. I realized it because I had the worst morning waking up for the past month. I started wondering when the next Friday the 13th would be, and how often they occurred. To satisfy my curiosity, I immediately thought to write a PowerShell advanced function to find them! This was also partially inspired by Jeff Hicks’ posting 13 PowerShell scriptblocks for Friday the 13th.

There are two parameters to this function:

  • StartDate (default to "today")
  • EndDate (default to "today" +1460 days, which is roughly 4 years in the future)

You can call this function using neither parameter, one of them, or both of them. Both parameters are [System.DateTime] structs, and PowerShell will automatically try to parse any string value passed into them. Here is an example:

Find-Friday13th -StartDate 2000-01-01 -EndDate 2005-01-01

And here is the function!

    This function finds Friday the 13ths.

    .Parameter StartDate
    The date you want to begin searching for Friday the 13ths.
    .Parameter EndDate
    The end date you want to search for Friday the 13ths.

    [System.DateTime] objects that represent Friday the 13ths.

    Written by Trevor Sullivan ( on Friday, January 13, 2012.
function Find-Friday13th {
    param (
        [DateTime] $EndDate = ((Get-Date) + ([TimeSpan]::FromDays(1460)))
        , [DateTime] $StartDate = (Get-Date)

    # Inform user that the $EndDate parameter value must be greater than the $StartDate parameter value
    if ($EndDate -lt $StartDate) {
        Write-Error -Message 'The EndDate must be greater than the StartDate!';

    # Get the next Friday after $StartDate
    while ($StartDate.DayOfWeek -ne 'Friday') {
        Write-Host "Finding next Friday";
        $StartDate = $StartDate.Add([TimeSpan]::FromDays(1));

    # While $StartDate is less than $EndDate, add 7 days
    while ($StartDate -lt $EndDate) {
        # If the Day # is 13, then write the [DateTime] object to the pipeline
        if ($StartDate.Day -eq 13) {
            Write-Output -InputObject $StartDate;
        # Add 7 days to $StartDate (next Friday after current)
        $StartDate = $StartDate.Add([TimeSpan]::FromDays(7));

# Call the function
Find-Friday13th -EndDate 2017-12-31


Here’s what the function’s output looks like. The objects returned to the pipeline are all [System.DateTime] objects, which are automatically being ToString()’d.


Posted in .NET, powershell, scripting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

PowerShell: Move ConfigMgr Collections

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2012/01/12


If you work with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) 2007 in any capacity, you probably are familiar with the concept of "collections" and how painful they can be to work with sometimes. The ConfigMgr console does not provide any method of moving a collection from one parent to another, and the GUI is pretty slow to work with.


So what’s the solution here? PowerShell, of course!

PowerShell Code

Here is a PowerShell function that will allow you to move a ConfigMgr collection either by name or by collection ID.

Note: Select all of the function text top-to-bottom, and you can retrieve the text that is cut off towards the right.

    This function allows you to re-assing the parent for a ConfigMgr collection to a new collection ID

    Trevor Sullivan (

    c:\PS> Move-SccmCollection -SccmServer sccm01 -SiteCode LAB -CollectionID LAB00159 -ParentCollectionID LAB000150;


    This command moves the ConfigMgr collection with ID "LAB000159" to being a child of collection ID "LAB000150".

    c:\PS> Move-SccmCollection -SccmServer sccm01 -SiteCode LAB -CollectionName 'Visual Studio' -ParentCollectionID Microsoft;


    This command moves the ConfigMgr collection named "Visual Studio" to being a child of the collection named "Microsoft". Note that you do not need to specify quotes around the parameter value if it does not contain spaces.

    This function is untested with collection links. It is not known whether or not this will remove existing collection links.
function Move-SccmCollection {
    param (
        [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] [string] ${SccmServer}
        , [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] [string] ${SiteCode}
        , [Parameter(ParameterSetName = "ByCollectionID", Mandatory = $true)] [string] ${CollectionID}
        , [Parameter(ParameterSetName = "ByCollectionID", Mandatory = $true)] [string] ${ParentCollectionID}
        , [Parameter(ParameterSetName = "ByCollectionName", Mandatory = $true)] [string] ${CollectionName}
        , [Parameter(ParameterSetName = "ByCollectionName", Mandatory = $true)] [string] ${ParentCollectionName}

    # Set-PSDebug -Strict;

    # Ensure that ConfigMgr site server is available
    if (-not (Test-Connection -ComputerName $SccmServer -Count 1)) {

    # Obtain references to collection and parent collection
    switch ($PSCmdlet.ParameterSetName) {
        # Use the "ByCollectionID" PowerShell parameter set to retrieve collection references by ID
        'ByCollectionID' {
            ${CollectionRelationship} = @(Get-WmiObject -ComputerName $SccmServer -Namespace root\sms\site_$SiteCode -Class SMS_CollectToSubCollect -Filter "subCollectionID = '$CollectionID'")[0];
            ${Collection} = @([wmi]("\\{0}\root\sms\site_{1}:SMS_Collection.CollectionID='{2}'" -f ${SccmServer}, ${SiteCode}, ${CollectionID}))[0];
            ${ParentCollection} = @([wmi]("\\{0}\root\sms\site_{1}:SMS_Collection.CollectionID='{2}'" -f ${SccmServer}, ${SiteCode}, ${ParentCollectionID}))[0];
        # Use the "ByCollectionName" PowerShell parameter set to retrieve collection references by name
        'ByCollectionName' {
            ${Collection} = [wmi](@(Get-WmiObject -ComputerName $SccmServer -Namespace root\sms\site_$SiteCode -Class SMS_Collection -Filter ("Name = '{0}'" -f ${CollectionName}))[0].__PATH);
            ${ParentCollection} = [wmi](@(Get-WmiObject -ComputerName $SccmServer -Namespace root\sms\site_$SiteCode -Class SMS_Collection -Filter ("Name = '{0}'" -f ${ParentCollectionName}))[0].__PATH);
            ${CollectionRelationship} = @(Get-WmiObject -ComputerName $SccmServer -Namespace root\sms\site_$SiteCode -Class SMS_CollectToSubCollect -Filter ("subCollectionID = '{0}'" -f ${Collection}.CollectionID))[0];
    # If references to both the child and [new] parent collection were obtained, then move on
    if (${Collection} -and ${ParentCollection}) {
        Write-Verbose -Message ('Setting parent collection for {0}:{1} to {2}:{3}' -f `
            ${Collection}.CollectionID `
            , ${Collection}.Name `
            , ${ParentCollection}.CollectionID `
            , ${ParentCollection}.Name);
        ${CollectionRelationship}.parentCollectionID = ${ParentCollection}.CollectionID;
        # Create the new collection relationship (this [oddly] spawns a NEW instance of SMS_CollectToSubCollect), so we have to clean up the original one

        # Clean up all other collection relantionships for this collection
        ${OldCollectionRelationshipList} = @(Get-WmiObject -ComputerName $SccmServer -Namespace root\sms\site_$SiteCode -Class SMS_CollectToSubCollect -Filter ("subCollectionID = '{0}' and parentCollectionID <> '{1}'" -f ${Collection}.CollectionID, ${ParentCollection}.CollectionID));
        foreach (${OldCollectionRelationship} in ${OldCollectionRelationshipList}) {
    else {
        Write-Warning -Message 'Please ensure that you have entered a valid collection ID or name';


Here is an example of how to use this function to move a collection based on their collection IDs:

Move-SccmCollection -SccmServer sccm01.mybiz.loc -SiteCode LAB -CollectionID LAB00011 -ParentCollectionID LAB00022;

Here is an example of how to use the function to move a collection based on the collection name:

Move-SccmCollection -SccmServer sccm01.mybiz.loc -SiteCode LAB -CollectionName ‘Visual Studio’ -ParentCollectionID Microsoft;

Posted in configmgr, powershell, scripting, tools, wmi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PowerShell: PowerEvents Module Update to 0.3 Alpha

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2012/01/11

imageIf you haven’t already checked it out, I wrote and published a PowerShell module on CodePlex a little over a year ago. It’s called PowerEvents for Windows PowerShell, and allows you to easily work with permanent WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) event subscriptions. Some folks may not be aware that I’ve also written comprehensive documentation on the theory behind WMI events and why they’re useful. This ~30-page PDF document is included in the PowerEvents download, and is useful even if you do not want to use the PowerEvents module.

As a bonus, the PowerEvents module was mentioned just recently in the PowerScripting Podcast (listen around 1h19m)!!

Listen to my interview with the PowerScripting Podcast back in December 2010!

PowerEvents Download Link:

Posted in powershell, scripting, tools, wmi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

PowerShell: Report / Check the Size of ConfigMgr Task Sequences

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2012/01/10


In Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 operating system deployment (OSD), there is a limitation of 4MB for task sequence XML data. This is discussed in a couple of locations:

The Technet document linked to above says the following:

Extremely large task sequences can exceed the 4-MB limit for the task sequence file size. If this limit is exceeded, an error is generated.

Solution: To check the task sequence file size, export the task sequence to a known location and check the size of the resulting .xml file.

Basically, the Technet troubleshooting article is suggesting that you would need to go into the ConfigMgr console, right-click a task sequence, export it to a XML file, and then pull up the file properties. That’s fine for one-off troubleshooting, but what if you had 1000 task sequences and needed to know how large all of them were? Read on to find out how!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in configmgr, powershell, scripting, wmi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

PowerShell: Override GPO and Detect Windows Updates

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2011/12/14


If you’re using a workstation in an enterprise environment, there may be Active Directory Group Policy Object (GPO) settings forcing a certain behavior of the Microsoft Windows Update Agent (aka. Automatic Update Agent). You might be a power user who wants to actually ensure that their workstation is fully patched before the IT department releases patches according to their standard cycle. One option would be to ask your IT department to include you in the pilot group for software updates, but failing that option, you can temporarily override the GPO settings and force an updates detection.

Read the rest of this entry »

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PowerShell: Get a List of Installed Software from ConfigMgr

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2011/12/07

Let’s say you’ve got Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) in your IT environment (and if you don’t, why on earth not!). If you’re on the desktop management team, you might occasionally get requests from someone on a network or security team, inquiring as to the installed software on a particular client, or group of clients.

Rather than diving straight into the ConfigMgr reports, as most people do, sometimes it’s just faster to load a data set into PowerShell and massage the data from there. Why PowerShell? Well, it provides very easy, real-time filtering and sorting capabilities, and if you need to make a modification to a temporary “report,” you don’t have to worry about modifying the Report object in the ConfigMgr provider, which is typically done through the ConfigMgr console.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in configmgr, powershell, scripting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

ConfigMgr: Cleanup Software Updates Objects

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2011/11/29


A common complaint I hear about Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) 2007 is the ability to clean up expired and superseded software updates from the objects related to software updates. As software updates are marked as expired or are superseded by newer software updates, Microsoft marks the old updates accordingly. Once an update has been retired, it is desirable for ConfigMgr administrators to remove the updates from deployments and reporting objects. This cleanup effort saves disk space for deployment packages, and can reduce unnecessary information from showing up in reports.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in configmgr, powershell, scripting, tools, wmi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PowerShell: Disable ConfigMgr Task Sequence Countdown Notification

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2011/11/22


If you are using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) to deploy task sequences to ConfigMgr client systems, you may notice that by default, a countdown notification is shown as a balloon notification in the client’s system tray. In some cases, this functionality may be undesirable, and you may therefore wish to disable the balloon notification. Unfortunately, the task sequence properties GUI in the ConfigMgr console does not allow you to disable the notification, but you can do so via script.

The SMS_TaskSequencePackage class in the root\sms\site_lab (where “lab” is your three-digit ConfigMgr site code) WMI namespace represents each task sequence that has been created in a Configuration Manager hierarchy. The ProgramFlags property on this class contains a series of bitwise values (not sure if that’s the right term) which represent various options. In this case, we care about option 0x400 (1024 in base 10), which if enabled, disables the countdown timer.


PowerShell Code

The PowerShell code included below will allow you to specify a task sequence package ID that you would like to disable balloon notifications on. I suggest running the code inside of the PowerShell Integrated Scripting Editor (ISE).

Make sure you update your ConfigMgr server name (where the provider sits) and ConfigMgr site code before running it!

function Disable-ConfigMgrTaskSequenceNotification {
    param (
        [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] $SccmServer
        , [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] $SiteCode
        , [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] $TaskSequenceID
    try {
        # Retrieve the WMI instance that represents the intended task sequence package
        $TaskSequencePackage = [wmi]"\\$SccmServer\root\sms\site_$SiteCode`:SMS_TaskSequencePackage.PackageID='$TaskSequenceID'";
    # If the WMI object does not exist, catch the error and deal with it ... somehow.
    catch [System.Management.Automation.RuntimeException] {
        Write-Host -Object ("A Windows Management Instrumentation error occurred.`n" + `
            "`n* Is the computer powered on?" + `
            "`n* Is a firewall blocking access to WMI?" + `
            "`n* Is the WMI service started on the remote system?");
    # If the object handle was acquired from WMI, then go ahead and process it
    if ($TaskSequencePackage) {

        # Echo out the current ProgramFlags value
        Write-Verbose -Message ("Current program flags for {0} are {1}" `
                    -f $TaskSequencePackage.Name, $TaskSequencePackage.ProgramFlags);

        # If the notification disablement is not enabled (confusing, I know), then enable it.
        if (($TaskSequencePackage.ProgramFlags -band 0x400) -eq 0) {
            Write-Verbose -Message ("Disabling countdown for task sequence: {0}" -f $TaskSequencePackage.Name);
            # This is where the meat is: perform the binary XOR operation (same as adding 1024 in base 10) and set
            # the resulting value back to the ProgramFlags property. Remember that -bxor oscillates between on & off, so
            # that's why we have to perform the check in the if { ... } statement, prior to blindly switching it.
            $TaskSequencePackage.ProgramFlags = $TaskSequencePackage.ProgramFlags -bxor 0x400;
            # Commit the in-memory WMI instance back to the ConfigMgr provider
    # If a task sequence cannot be found with the appropriate ID, then notify the user.
    else {
        Write-Host `
            -Object ("Could not find task sequence with ID {0} in the {1} WMI namespace on {2}" `
            -f $TaskSequenceID, "root\sms\site_$SiteCode", $SccmServer)

$SccmServer = '';
$SiteCode = 'LAB';
$TaskSequenceID = Read-Host -Prompt 'Please enter a task sequence ID to modify';

Disable-ConfigMgrTaskSequenceNotification `
    -SccmServer $SccmServer `
    -SiteCode $SiteCode `
    -TaskSequenceID $TaskSequenceID `

When you execute this script, you’ll be prompted for a task sequence ID, so make sure to have that handy.


Hope this helps!

Posted in configmgr, powershell, scripting, wmi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »