New To Powershell?

7 minute read

Description:

A lot of times someone will say, ‘Hey Gerry I’m just now learning Powershell but I don’t know what I can test it on?’. I know for me, I first got hooked with powershell once I realized that you can run a single script and it could set hundreds or thousands of settings to configure your Windows install and part 2. It just blew my mind that I could take a fresh Windows install and set all the things I used to do manually in the GUI (slow/error prone). It was that moment that I realized I would probably never want to use the GUI again if I had a choice! Anyhow, here is my common response:

To Resolve:

  1. Main Response:
  2. Second response: Read ‘Powershell in a month of lunches’

  3. Third, I’ve heard of using modules like PSKoans, but I prefer you start with tackling stuff in your environment. Do each of these and if you don’t know how, just google powershell $example where example is the task you want to accomplish:

    • Write a script that will pull event logs from all the systems that you manage and report on the 10 most common errors. Then for each of those, write a script for each that will detect\identify the root cause. Then write a script that will correct the root cause. Then repeat. Not only does that give an endless supply of tasks, you gain a very intimate understanding of your environments issues.
    • Create a template like system where you pass in just what you need and it expands out the full commands.
    • Display some static text
    • Display the current date/time
    • Display some information about the local system
    • Print the first input parameter
    • Display every 5th number between two given numbers
    • Check if a file exists
    • Check if that file contains a line with specific text
    • Add a new line to the text file
    • Output the above items in JSON format
    • Query all servers to get the version of AntiVirus and the last time it was updated.
    • Logon script that adds, removes, and sets default printers based on AD Groups.
    • Reset AD Password to random generated password and emails it to the user.
    • Automatically disable any AD account that has not been used in 90 days.
    • Query all servers for any services or application pools running under a domain admin account.
    • Check all services on servers with a startup type of Automatic and start any that have stopped.
    • Delete any snapshots on AWS that are over 14 days old.
    • Optimize a Virtual Desktop gold image in a single command.
    • Dynamically create and update a HTML page for an employee directory complete with picture, name, extension, and email.
    • password expiry notifications for users and create reporting for you or anyone dealing with AD in any way
    • user and group membership,
    • mailbox statistics with ActiveSync devices usage,
    • audit of file shares,
    • service accounts),
    • cleanup jobs (unused computer accounts, DNS records, ActiveSync devices)
    • resetting permissions on userhome folders.
    • fixing corrupted permissions on several other folders.
    • What if your company acquires a another company and you need to mass import users?
    • Mass importing/exporting contacts to/from Exchange.
    • Emergency push of an update to multiple computers.
    • Audit folder and file permissions etc.
    • We had to migrate a few thousand users from physical PCs to a VDI environment. I wrote a PowerShell script to:
    • Backup the users’ PC
    • Reimage the users’ PC as a pseudo thin client & move to new OU
    • Move the users’ personal drive to a new server
    • Tidy up the users’ folder structure
    • Move the users’ account to a new OU
    • Set a bunch of user settings -
    • Unlock accounts
    • Get mailbox status reports by user
    • Find and fix users who don’t have quotas set or override default quota
    • Find out which users are not syncing mobile email on their phone that are required to.
    • Report on and fix accounts with things like password never expires.
    • Verify, add, or uninstall specific hotfixes against servers.
    • Expired password and/or locked password account reports.
    • Generate reports of servers/workstations which are low on disk space.
    • Find and remove old user profiles regularly from workstations and servers.
    • Scan and force workstations reboots if they haven’t rebooted in a week.
    • Report on AD group membership changes for key groups.
    • Find accounts which haven’t logged on in X days and remove/disable/expire them (usually vendors or contractors)
    • Report on changes to AD OU objects.
    • Run cleanup scripts against remote workstations to make sure no users (or only allowed users) in local admin or power user groups. Report any anomalies.
    • email users to tell them they have to change their passwords. The script also sends me a report so if I know if somebody is going to get locked out, I can stop it before it happens.
    • upload old files to aws and send me a report.
    • delete old files.
    • run and distribute an excel report to the sales team.
    • Set expiry for user accounts, with PS you can set it to the minute instead of just the end of the day.
    • Check for and remove email forwarding rules when staff leave
    • NTFS permissions reports ( they get gussied up in excel)
    • Setting exchange mailbox permissions
    • Checking for locked users, unlocking them
    • Reporting on user mailbox sizes
    • Reporting the devices users have connected with through activesync
    • Anything you do in ADUC, do it in powershell instead. Start with a basic command, then build on it. If your scripts are always using hard coded variables, change them to take arguments. Then work on error - handling and throw in some output logging. The http://powershellcookbook.com is a pretty good investment.
    • This is what I did. It was the easiest way for me to learn. I use Get-ADUser, Add-ADGroupMember, and Get-ADPrincipalGroupMembership all the time.
    • It’s also a great tool to use if you need to remove X security group from Y number of users or any other kind of batch operation.
    • A script that automates the process of setting up a loaner laptop (clears profiles, runs some updates, etc).
    • A script that runs a network speed test on a machine using iPerf and outputs results + other network information to a Cisco Webex Teams chat channel for viewing, mainly used to verify network connectivity on new - computer setups.
    • A script that filters an Excel spreadsheet containing print job history to see what printers are being used most often as well as what users are printing to them.
    • A script to re-create the assigned ports for printers on our old print server that were set up to use WSD ports – it assigns a TCP/IP port using the IP address gathered from the WSD port configuration.
    • Various other small one-off scripts to automate manual data evaluation that would otherwise take a significant amount of time.
    • A suite of installation scripts for my PowerShell profile/dev environment.
    • Resetting AD passwords and sending temporary password and instructions
    • AD user account creation and provisioning based on data from our HR system’s API
    • Terminations – disabling AD User, converting mailbox to shared in O365 and recovering license, setting autoresponse on their email
    • Non-domain-joined computer setup (we inherit PCs often)
    • Migrating mailboxes to Office 365
    • Reporting Hyper-V Replication status
    • Auditing inconsistencies, such as comparing our HR data to AD attributes
    • A script that automates the process of setting up a loaner laptop (clears profiles, runs some updates, etc).
    • A script that runs a network speed test on a machine using iPerf and outputs results + other network information to a Cisco Webex Teams chat channel for viewing, mainly used to verify network connectivity on new computer setups.
    • A script that filters an Excel spreadsheet containing print job history to see what printers are being used most often as well as what users are printing to them.
    • A script to re-create the assigned ports for printers on our old print server that were set up to use WSD ports – it assigns a TCP/IP port using the IP address gathered from the WSD port configuration.
    • Various other small one-off scripts to automate manual data evaluation that would otherwise take a significant amount of time.
    • The list is virtually unlimited.. Powershell can have a Windows system do just about anything. Be sure to check out my Github for any scripts that may be useful in your environment!
  4. As a shameless self promotion, this site is great for powershell examples as well!

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