PowerShell and Executable Output (with Boats)

What floats your boat?

For me, it’s usually a body of water, but I also like being asked stuff about PowerShell. Here’s one such question:

“How come in a forest with two domains each with two (2008R2) domain controllers I get the following results with PowerShell?

(nltest /dclist:MyDomain)           - gives me the list of domain controllers for the domain (2)

(nltest /dclist:MyDomain).count   - gives me the count of domain controllers for the forest (4)…”


Here’s the short answer: it’s counting the number of lines of text outputted to the host by nltest…


Let’s run nltest:




As (almost) everything in PS is an object, the text returned by a legacy executable is actually a series of strings written to an array object:



Count returns the number of objects in the array and as it’s an array, we can access its elements. Here’s the first string in the array, retrieved using the [0] notation:




Here’s the end of the array, accessed using the [-1] notation:




And just to prove we are dealing with an array of strings:




So, rather than using a legacy binary that returns text, we should use a cmdlet to return objects:


(Get-ADDomainController -Filter *).Count


Get-ADDomainController -Filter * -Server fabrikam.com | Measure-Object


  I do like a good boat.


Comments (4)

  1. Or try this…

    $domain = [directoryServices.ActiveDirectory.Domain]::GetCurrentDomain()
    $dcs = $domain.FindAllDomainControllers()

  2. Here’s one that relies on the [ADSI] type accelerator…

    $ou = [ADSI]‘LDAP://OU=Domain Controllers,DC=fabrikam,DC=com‘
    $dcs = $ou.psbase.get_children()

  3. And then filter with this (will work with v2):

    $dcs = $dcs | select Name

  4. Frank says:


    nice to know. THX. I must find out from a normal client W7 which DCs are available.
    So no AD modul on client!

    Do you have an idea to get the servernames into an array…from (nltest /dclist:MyDomain) ?
    Or another idea with PSv3?


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