How Do You Use PowerShell?


Summary: Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, talks about conversations with visitors to the Scripting Guys booth at Ignite 2015.

It is Tuesday morning, and the expo is already at a dull roar of excitement. Microsoft PFEs Brian Wilhite, Jason Walker, and the Scripting Wife found a relatively quiet corner to check email, write blog posts, and generally play with our Surfaces.

Photo of conference crowd

Jeffery Snover was here a few minutes ago asking how things are going at the Scripting Guys booth and confirming with Teresa that he will be at the Scripting Guys booth on Wednesday at 2:00 pm.

Photo of Jeffery Snover with Teresa

One of the questions I asked people yesterday is, "How do you use Windows PowerShell?" I got a lot of stares. At least initially. For one thing, it is hard to describe how you use something that you use all day everyday. For example, if someone asked me that question, I would have to think about it a bitit is part of my life. You may as well ask, "How do you use your Surface?"

But I did get some pretty cool responses anyway. For example, I talked to one person who said he needed to read information from SharePoint, and then import it to his student management system. We talked about it a little bit, and I said, "You want to keep it an object as long as you can, then you can use Select-Object to choose the properties you need, then easily export it to a CSV, and then import it into your student database system."

Jason Walker said he talked to a number of people who were using it to manage Exchange Server. Others were using DSC. One person had written a workflow in Windows PowerShell to manage Help Desk tickets. In the script, he queries the Help Desk ticket system for open issues. He looks at the amount of activity in the ticket and checks for the last date of activity. If the ticket is not closed, he emails the originator to see if it has been resolved, and then closes the ticket. He said that the system has really helped at work, and enables them to get a better view into their utilization and a better time-to-resolution metric for logged issues.

Many people came by wanting to talk about what was going to be new in Windows PowerShell 5.0, which seems to generate a lot of interest. We had  lots of questions and comments about DSC and the PowerShell Gallery that is coming with Windows PowerShell 5.0. There were also a lot of people who just stopped because they wanted to talk with Mark Minassi.

Photo of Mark Minasi

Several people came by to talk to Brian Wilhite about the Get-PendingReboot script that he wrote a Hey, Scripting Guy Blog post about. Brian fielded a lot of questions about the CIM cmdlets and various WMI things. There were also a lot of questions about modules. There were several people wanting to know how to get involved in the Windows PowerShell community.

Many people came to talk to Teresa about starting a Windows PowerShell User Group or for help in locating a Windows PowerShell User Group in their area. There are actually several in the works, and a couple of user groups that will be restarting soon. Stay tuned for more information about that.

It was also great to see people from the community. For example, the Swedish Chef show up. We met him when I spoke at the Windows PowerShell User Group in Stockholm, Sweden. It was really awesome to see him again.

Photo of Swedish Chef

In addition Marc Van Orsouw, aka MOW, stopped by to see us. He brought his colleague. The last time we saw MOW was in Zurich. It was a real treat to see him again.

Photo of Teresa with MOW

I also talked to a couple of people who said they use Windows PowerShell to automate nearly everything. In fact, they said they use Windows PowerShell to create bulk users in Active Directory, and to perform many admin functions because the command line is faster than using the GUI tools. I told them about a demo I used to do at SQL Saturday…

I would open the Event Viewer utility, and then pop over to the Windows  PowerShell console. I would type Get-EventLog Application –Newest 1, and return the most recent event entry in the application log. This would return the event before the Event Viewer even finished loading.

Photo of automation dudes

We then decided to watch Highway to PowerShell IV. Before long we had a whole group standing around listening.

~Ed

Comments (2)

  1. Shylock McGee says:

    The plural of Surfaces is Surfaces, not Surface’s.

  2. Ryan Coker says:

    I’d like to see that Help Desk ticketing system script.

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