Author Archive

Script: Set-CsFeatures.ps1 – Easily Install Prerequisites and Tools for Lync Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015

October 24th, 2016 7 comments


Installing Skype for Business and Lync servers is usually boring if you’re a consultant who does it often. Making sure the server specs are right, installing OS features, configuring NICs, etc. It’s even more boring if you’re building a bunch of servers at one time. There’s always a chance for human error, too. So why not automate as much as possible? That’s what I was after when I built the Lync Server 2010 prereq script, then the Lync Server 2013 prereq script. And it’s certainly what I’m after for Skype for Business Server 2015. This time, however, I opted to not have a separate script for Skype for Business. Many of the requirements are the same, or just slightly different, than Lync Server 2013. So I just added the SfB functionality to the 2013 script, and updated everything as a whole.

When calling the script, one only needs to specify the –Skype4b switch to put the script into “Skype for Business mode”. Not specifying that switch cause a popup to appear, asking what mode you’d like. The menus don’t change based on what mode the script is in. Options for only one platform are clearly noted. Otherwise, the options automatically adjust for the platform you’ve chosen. The menu starts out with core prerequisite options for common Lync/SfB roles, followed by Microsoft tools and resources, some third party tools and options, and then some sub-menus. Sub-menus are broken down by Misc server config, Desktop shortcuts, Taskbar shortcuts, Downloads, and Security options. As you can see, there are TONS of options. I’m not going to list every menu and option here, as the nature of the script means I’ll be adding/updating things as people request them, or as vendors update/alter their offerings. Just note that the options from the 2013 script have been moved around a little bit as I try to keep things organized.

This version also uses my new method of checking for updates, as mentioned in Function: Get-UpdateInfo – Making It Easy for Your Users to Get the Latest Version of Your Scripts. When a new version is available, you’ll get a pop-up notifying you.

If you’re aware of a third-party product, or even Microsoft product, that is a good match for Skype for Business servers, let me know. I’m happy to take a look and see if it would make a good addition to the script.

Super big thanks to my beta testers for supplying bug reports, suggestions, and comments.


C:\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 [-TargetFolder <String>] [-Win2012Source <String>] [-SQLPath <String>] [-InitialMenuOption <Int32>] [-IncludeSSMS] [-IncludeTelnet] [-IncludeFW] [-IncludeHighPower] [-IncludeStandard] [-GetInfoFromRegistry] [-OWASOveride] [-DownloadOnly] [-SkipCoreCheck] [-Tail] [-Skype4b] [-SkipUpdateCheck] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [-IncludeTotalCount] [-Skip <UInt64>] [-First <UInt64>] [<CommonParameters>]

C:\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 [-TargetFolder <String>] [-GetInfoFromRegistry] [-OWASOveride] [-DownloadAll] [-SkipCoreCheck] [-Tail] [-Skype4b] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [-IncludeTotalCount] [-Skip <UInt64>] [-First <UInt64>] [<CommonParameters>]

C:\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 [-GetInfoFromRegistry] [-ClearRunningStatus] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [-IncludeTotalCount] [-Skip <UInt64>] [-First <UInt64>] [<CommonParameters>]

C:\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 [-GetInfoFromRegistry] [-Skype4b] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [-IncludeTotalCount] [-Skip <UInt64>] [-First <UInt64>] [<CommonParameters>]


.\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 -Skype4b

Runs script in Skype for Business mode. Options chosen while running in this mode are tailored to Skype for Business. Not specifying this option will cause a popup prompt when the script starts, allowing a user to choose the desired mode.


Runs script with default values.

.\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 -Win2012Source "d:"

Runs script with the location defined for the Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 installation files.

.\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 -SQLPath "d:\sqlexpress"

Runs the script and installs any required SQL Express instances in the specified location. This option is currently only available when in Lync Server 2013 mode.

.\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 -TargetFolder "d:\installbits"

Runs the script, and saves any downloaded files and written logs in the specified location instead of the default “c:\_install”.

.\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 -InitialMenuOption 3

Runs the script, and automatically starts option 3 (Front End server). Once it’s finished with that option, the script functions as normal, and displays the menu. NOTE: only options from the main menu can be specified. Options in sub-menus are not available with -InitialMenuOption.

.\Set-CsFeatures.ps1 -tail

Runs script with default values, but also shows an additional PowerShell window showing a live running log file.



Defines the location for any downloaded files. Defaults to “c:\_install”. Additionally, log files generated by this script are located in a sub-folder of TargetFolder called “logs”. TargetFolder does not support paths with spaces, but does support non-hidden UNC paths.


Defines the location of the Windows Server 2012 installation files. This is needed to install .Net 3.5 since those files are not installed on the server by default. Defaults to first detected CD-ROM/DVD drive. This can be a local file path, path to an .ISO file, or a non-hidden UNC path.


Defines the desired installation path for SQL Express. Defaults to “c:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server”. This is an option only for Lync Server 203 at this time.


Allows you to start the script with the option you want, without first displaying the menu.


If specified, will include SQL Server Management Studio automatically when prereqs are installed for any server that has SQL Express instances. If not specified, a prompt will appear.


If specified, will include Telnet automatically when prereqs for Front End servers, Director servers, Mediation servers, Edge servers, and/or Persistent Chat servers are installed. If not specified, a prompt will appear.


If specified, will include the firewall rules for Get-CsConnections automatically when prereqs for Front End servers are installed. If not specified, a prompt will appear.


If specified, tells the script to automatically set the Power Config on the server to High Power. This is instead of the script prompting. This option is available for all server roles.


If specified, tells the script to include the extra SQL Express instance required for Standard Edition front end servers. This is instead of the script prompting. This is an option only for Lync Server 203 at this time.


This value is only used during mid-prereq reboots. It is automatically set and read by the script, and should never be manually specified.


Don’t use this parameter. It’s for internal testing only. Using it can render the server unusable.


Tells this script to not install or configure anything – just download the files. This is useful if you’re going to be building servers that do not have Internet access and want to fetch the files beforehand. The big difference between this option and -DownloadAll, is that this option presents the normal menus, and allows you to download files for the options you pick. The -DownloadAll option downloads ALL files needed for ALL options.


Tells this script to not install or configure anything – just download ALL of the files. This is useful if you’re going to be building servers that do not have Internet access and want to fetch the files beforehand from a desktop computer. The big difference between this option and -DownloadOnly, is that this option downloads ALL files needed for ALL options, whereas -DownloadOnly allows a user to download files for specific options they choose.


This switch forces the running status to be reset. This option should ONLY be used if the script exits/aborts dirty, and attempts to run the script again yield a “Script is already running” message.


When specified, skips the check for Server Core. It is not meant to be called manually, as it’s used when the script needs to restart after a server reboot.


When specified, opens another PowerShell session and tails the log file, similar to *nix. This is really only beneficial during troubleshooting.


When specified, uses values specific to Skype For Business Server 2015 for prerequisites. If this option is NOT specified a popup will appear, asking which mode the script should operate in: Lync Server 2013 or Skype for Business Server 2015.


When specified, skips the check for a newer version of the script. This option is included mainly for when the script reboots the server.


No installation is necessary.

Execution Policy: Third-party PowerShell scripts may require that the PowerShell Execution Policy be set to either AllSigned, RemoteSigned, or Unrestricted. The default is Restricted, which prevents scripts – even code signed scripts – from running. For more information about setting your Execution Policy, see Using the Set-ExecutionPolicy Cmdlet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why doesn’t this script support Windows Server 2008 R2?

Answer: I get asked this all the time. There are several reasons. The first is that out of the box, Server 2008 R2 has PowerShell 2.0 installed, and this script is written in PowerShell 4.0. Requiring you to upgrade to PowerShell 4.0 first, before running a script that installs prerequisites, seems counter-intuitive. And converting the script to just use PowerShell 2.0 is taking a step backwards, especially considering that the current version of PowerShell is 5.0, and even as this is written, 5.1 is in preview.

Next is sheer time. I test changes I make. And then I test them again. And then I choose different options and combinations and test them. Testing on just Server 2012 and Server 2012 is exhausting. Adding Server 2008 R2 would mean even more testing, plus I’d have to add those resources in my already overtaxed test labs. That would slow down my ability to add new features and test fixes.

Third is that Server 2008 R2 is three versions back. Get with the times already!

Question: Does the script support Windows Server 2016?

Answer: No, and the primary reason is that Lync Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015 are not supported on Windows Server 2016. Once they are (and it will likely only be Skype for Business Server 2015 that’s supported), I’ll adjust the script as needed.

Question: Can you add feature x?

Answer: I LOVE getting feature requests. Seriously! Best method to suggest features is to send me an email. My email address is in the comment section at the top of every script I release. Please be detailed in what you’d like to see, as well as any scenarios you’d use the option (so I can try to duplicate testing).

Question: How do I submit bug reports?

Answer: Email is best. Grab my email address from the comment section at the top of the script. Please be VERY detailed. Please include screen shots if possible, and ALWAYS include the log file (by default, it’s in c:\_install\logs). If you’re not using the latest version of the script, please download it and see if you can duplicate the problem before reporting it.

Question: What if my server doesn’t have Internet access?

Answer: Fear not. Download the required files using either the -DownloadOnly or -DownloadAll options from another machine and place them in the TargetFolder, which is c:\_install by default. The script looks to see if the file is available locally before attempting to download.

Question: When I run the script again, I get “Script already running”

Answer: This is because the script didn’t exit gracefully. Many reasons this can happen, such as rebooting the server while it’s still running. If you’re positive it’s not running anywhere else (including by other users logged into the same server), run the script with the -ClearRunningStatus switch to clear that flag. Then run it as normal.


v4.01 – 10-25-2016 –

v4.0 – 10-24-2016 –


See the changelog for information on what’s changed/included in each version.

Changelog: Set-CsFeatures.ps1

October 24th, 2016 No comments

This is the changelog page for Script: Set-CsFeatures.ps1 – Easily Install Prerequisites and Tools for Lync Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015. You will find a complete list of released versions, their dates, and the features and issues addressed in each. Please refer to the script’s main page for more information including download links, installation details, and more.

v4.01 – 10-25-2016

  1. Fixed a minor display issue when submitting bug reports.
  2. Fixed a minor issue when the script can’t connect to the web site to retrieve update info.
  3. Fixed an issue where errors would occur if the person running the script isn’t a Domain Admin.
  4. Added option 40 to main menu for reports, and added:
    1. 40-1) Show AD disabled accounts that are still enabled in Lync/SfB
    2. 40-2) Show elevated accounts that are enabled in Lync/SfB
    3. 40-3) Show users whose SMTP address doesn’t match their SIP address

v4.0 – 10-24-2016

  1. Initial version

Rebranding – A New Name, a New Domain, Same Focus

October 21st, 2016 3 comments

When I first started this blog, I was an Exchange consultant and MVP. I spent my work days working with clients and deploying Exchange, or migrating from one version to another, or migrating from a different solution, such as Notes or GroupWise, to Exchange. Times were fun and challenging. I picked the name Ehlo World for two reasons. First, “ehlo” is a command that two mail servers send to each other at the beginning of a conversation negotiation. The “world” part came as an homage to “Hello World”. If you’ve written scripts or code, you know that one of the first exercises in learning how to code was to issue a command that would output “Hello world” to the console screen. Since I was noodling with PowerShell, which got its first big push with Exchange server, the “ehlo world” kinda made sense to me.

Flash forward years later, and my coworker, Mark Smith, came to me and said “We’re going to start also doing OCS and Lync consulting. We need a Lync guy. Tag – you’re it.”. I could barely spell OCS or Lync at the time. I had never seen the admin console, let alone deployed it. But I dove in, and it’s been a fabulous ride. As I’ve gone along, I’ve also further honed my PowerShell skills. I’ve written some whopper sized scripts, including several that were more than 6000 lines a piece. When you tie (now) Skype for Business and Exchange and PowerShell and Office 365 together, you get a great Unified Communications platform. UC. While I don’t spend much time dealing with Exchange these days, I still noodle with scripts for it. Mostly those requested by coworkers, clients, and peers. But I’m primarily focused on the Skype for Business side, and the Ehlo World name was a little stale given my focus. So, I’m rebranding to UC Unleashed. UC for the previously mentioned reasons, and the Unleashed for several others. First being that I’ve written scripts, functions, and one liners that (at least try to) think outside of the box. Second, I was honored to be involved in the writing of the Skype for Business Unleashed book.

So there you have it. A new name, but with the existing content. Linked URLs should automatically redirect to the post on the new domain soon. A new logo and a new blog theme are in the works. I’m working on some cool stuff (well, *I* think it’s cool), and you’ll see that soon. Until then, feel free to comment on my posts, suggest new scripts and ideas, and more.

Until then…

Function: Get-UpdateInfo – Making It Easy for Your Users to Get the Latest Version of Your Scripts

October 10th, 2016 No comments

updatepromptAs a PowerShell developer, you always want your users to have the latest version of a script. It makes support a lot easier, while also making sure that users have the latest features and bug fixes. But how to encourage that? Well, for me, users of my scripts are typically not within the same environment as me. So Group Policy Objects, logon scripts, etc, aren’t a solution. Having the script automatically check for an update is much easier, and doesn’t require anything from the user1. So let’s take a look at a quick and easy method.

First, we need a repository where the update information will be held. XML is perfect for this. In this example, I created the following file, and saved it as version.xml:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<article id="1697">
<author>Pat Richard</author>
<description>Installs all required Windows 2012/Windows 2012 R2 components & optional tools.</description>

This file can reside anywhere. A file path, a web site, wherever. I chose a website for the reasons I mentioned above. You can see the above file in action at Some key points to the file. Each article I publish going forward will have it’s own “article” node. The ID I chose to tie to it is also the ID of the article’s URL, for consistency sake. In this example, 1697 is the prereq script seen at The version value is the version of the latest general availability (“GA”) build. We’ll query that value, compare it against the version of the script running the query, and see if it’s newer. Note that there is some other info in the XML file, and that’s irrelevant to what we’re discussing here.

[xml] $xml = (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString("")
$Ga = ($xml.catalog.article | Where-Object {$ -eq $article}).version

We supply the $article value when making the call. After that, it’s a simple comparison. In the prereq script, near the beginning, I assign a variable, $version, with a value. Let’s say it’s “3.9.55”. We compare $Ga against $Version

$Ga -gt $Version

If it’s true, we know a newer version exists. If it’s false, we know the currently running script is the latest version. In theory, we could also use this to alert of a regression in case we needed to downgrade (gasp!). So let’s put this together. We assign a variable, $xml, to the results of downloading an xml file. Then, we assign $ga to the value of “version” for the specific node within the xml file that contains the info for the article. Lastly, we do our comparison and give some output if there is an update.

[xml] $xml = (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString("")
$Ga = ($xml.catalog.article | Where-Object {$ -eq $article}).version
if ($Ga -gt $Version){Write-Output "A new version is available!"}

Now, obviously, we can pretty this up a bit. But before we do that, let’s think of issues we could run into. The big one is making sure we have an Internet connection to use to check the XML file. As much as we can often assume there will be one, a LOT of organizations block Internet access to servers as part of their security posture. So we shouldn’t assume. We can check using the following:

[bool] $HasInternetAccess = ([Activator]::CreateInstance([Type]::GetTypeFromCLSID([Guid]'{DCB00C01-570F-4A9B-8D69-199FDBA5723B}')).IsConnectedToInternet)

And then using an IF loop against $HasInternetAccess. So let’s throw this all into a function we can incorporate into our scripts and modules:

function Get-UpdateInfo {
  [CmdletBinding(SupportsShouldProcess, SupportsPaging)]
  param (
    # Article/script to check for updates
    [parameter(ValueFromPipeline, ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName)]
    [string] $article
  [bool] $HasInternetAccess = ([Activator]::CreateInstance([Type]::GetTypeFromCLSID([Guid]'{DCB00C01-570F-4A9B-8D69-199FDBA5723B}')).IsConnectedToInternet)
  if ($HasInternetAccess){
    [xml] $xml = (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString("")
    $Ga = ($xml.catalog.article | Where-Object {$ -eq $article}).Version    
    if ($Ga -gt $version){
      Write-Log -Level Warn -Message "Outdated version. Version $Ga is latest version. Prompting user" -NoConsole
      $wshell = New-Object -ComObject Wscript.Shell -ErrorAction Stop
      $updatePrompt = $wshell.Popup("A new version ($ga) of the script is available. Would you like to download it?",0,"A new version is available",68)
      if ($updatePrompt -eq 6){
        Start-Process "$article"
    Write-Output "No Internet connectivity. Unable to check online for update info."
} # end function function Get-UpdateInfo

Here we incorporate a simple ComObject popup message to ask if the user wants to download the new version. Since we have assigned the GA number to $ga, we can use that in the popup text, as well, as shown in the image at the beginning of this article. If $updatePrompt is “6”, then the user clicked “Yes” on the popup, and we can take action such as opening a browser window and navigating to the articles page. Or we could download a file, or any of a number of actions. If $updatePrompt is “7”, then the user clicked “No”.

So, as you can see, it’s really not that hard to add an update checker to your scripts. When you release a new version, simply update the XML file to reflect accordingly.

Note: Take care in what kind of characters are in the XML file. Some special characters, such an ampersand (“&”), aren’t handled very well. When in doubt, open a browser window and navigate to the file.

1 – Depending on the action you require once it’s known an update is available.

Automatically Installing and Configuring WireShark for Skype for Business

October 7th, 2016 No comments

wiresharkI mention in the blog article Script: Set-Cs2013Features.ps1 – Easily Install Prerequisites and Tools for Microsoft Lync Server 2013 that one of the options in the menu, #30, is download, install, and configure WireShark. The configuration settings are based on those mentioned by Jeff Schertz (Wireshark Capture Tips) and Matt Landis (Getting Started With Lync and Wireshark: Tips & Quirks) , as well as those I’ve found useful. Most of these settings REALLY help when you’re looking at traces (and who doesn’t love an afternoon of doing that?). Among some of the configuration settings are:

  1. adds Source Port (resolved) column
  2. adds Destination Port (resolved) column
  3. adds DSCP column
  4. Configures RTP protocol “Try to decode RTP outside of conversations”
  5. Configures SIP protocol for ports 5060-5068 (instead of WireShark’s default of 5060)
  6. Sets the time format to human readable format

Why manually configure these on your server (or worse, many servers), if we can automate it? Let’s make our deployment life easier. Getting WireShark installed programmatically isn’t like other programs. There is no .msi file, or silent install switches. Methods I’ve used in other scripts just didn’t work. And believe me, I tried. And tried. And tried. So, I went medieval on it, and used AutoIt to create a macro that steps through the installer, clicking the right buttons. This works exceptionally well, and is fairly fast. But I wanted to also include the configuration steps mentioned above. And this is where it got interesting. WireShark’s config file seems to change formats and details often. So writing something that would change the config file directly seemed like it would be a losing battle. So, back to AutoIt. For 95% of the config, it worked great. But there seemed to be a need to click on the custom columns in order to set their name. AutoIt allows for moving the mouse to a certain vector, then clicking. But even with maximizing everything, the coordinates were never the same on different servers with different resolutions or RDP sessions. So that part of it would often not work. You’d get the columns, but they’d be named “New Column”. Not ideal. Finally, after taking a break from trying to figure that out, I rethought about it, and was able to figure out the right keyboard combination to accomplish the same thing. Success! There is one section right after that where the mouse is required to move the new columns into the desired order, but that seems to always work, and there’s no keyboard control for that.

A remaining issue has been there since I first started this task. And that is the fact that AutoIt is written to take action based on app windows with certain titles. Usually not an issue at all, except that WireShark has always included the version number in the title bar. So every time there is a new version released, I’d have to open the source file, change the version number, re-compile to an .exe file, test, upload to my server, and update the prereq script. All in all, it is like 10 minutes of work, but I’ll need to continue to do that. As a result, I’m releasing the macros bundled the appropriate version of WireShark. Not sure if that violates some license with WireShark, but since they seem uninterested in making a silent installer method…

Download the file from the link below. Unzip anywhere, as long all of the files are in the same folder. You’ll see there are three files:

  1. The WireShark bits, which are named with the version number, such as Wireshark-win64-2.2.1.exe for version 2.2.1. This is the fire as it comes from WireShark.
  2. The installer macro, which is also named according to the WireShark version it applies to, such as WireShark_2.2.1-install.exe
  3. The config macro, which is also named according to the WireShark version it applies to, such as WireShark_2.2.1-config.exe

Run the installer macro first by double clicking on it. You’ll see it zip through the WireShark install routine. Once that closes, you can run the config macro. You’ll see it walk though the config. I do NOT recommend running the config macro more than once – lest you end up with a completely mangled config. It takes a minute or so to run. Once it’s done, you can open WireShark Legacy and use it. Once you start a trace, you should immediately be able to see the added columns:


Added columns in WireShark. Click for a larger version.



If you wander through the config menus, you’ll see the other settings as well.

The v2.x WireShark application that is also installed when you install WireShark is configured somewhat differently, and I’ll address that in the future. Right now, I’m not aware that it provides any added benefit for Skype for Business/Lync admins anyways. But really, WireShark, would it kill you to use an XML file for your config?! Or registry values?

If you have some specific config settings you use for WireShark, pass them along!


WireShark v2.2.1 – 10-07-2016 –


See the changelog for information on what’s changed/included in each version.

Changelog: WireShark Installation and Configuration Macros

October 7th, 2016 No comments

This is the changelog page for Automatically Installing and Configuring WireShark for Skype for Business. You will find a complete list of released versions, their dates, and the features and issues addressed in each. Please refer to the script’s main page for more information including download links, installation details, and more.

v2.2.1 – 10-07-2016

  1. Initial version
Categories: Exchange Server Tags:

Writing a Book – A Labor of Love

October 5th, 2016 1 comment

book-coverAny tech types who’ve written tech books can attest to the fact that it’s a LOT of work. And this one was no different. Skype for Business is a very dynamic product, with features being added and updated on a continuing basis. Fortunately, I had the chance to work with some great tech luminaries – people far smarter than me, for Skype for Business Unleashed. That includes Phil Sharp, Rui Maximo, and Alex Lewis. But don’t let the fact that there are four names on the cover fool you. Plenty of others work behind the scenes, including contributing authors, editors, and publisher staff. I can’t possibly name them all, but I would like to point out a few. Stale Hansen stepped up and wrote a killer chapter on the VDI components of Skype for Business, while John Cook handled, what else, the Mac client chapter. Tom Morgan, one of Modality Systems’ ace developers, wrote on Developing Skype for Business Solutions. Former colleagues Tom Arbuthnot and Iain Smith also contributed. Even ‘The Hoff’ himself, Ken Lasko, added some great info. And to keep us all true to the product, Tim Harrington served as the tech editor. Jamie Stark, a beloved Program Manager in the Skype product group at Microsoft, wrote a killer forward.

During the project, several events occurred that seemed to derail the project. The publisher, Pearson, eliminated 4000 staff in a corporate downsizing. This was also around the time that Microsoft Press also underwent a significant restructuring. The project was in doubt for a while, but Pearson came back, committed to getting the book on to the shelves. Our normal full time gigs, family lives, and other interests also came into play. And unfortunately, someone involved in the book suffered a tragic loss. All of these caused the project timeline to slip. And during this time, the product group kept working on the product. Each time a Cumulative Update was released, we would have to review what had already been written to verify it still was valid, including details, screen shots, PowerShell commands, and more.

So why write this book? We certainly aren’t getting rich doing it. In fact, we’d all likely agree that you can’t survive on writing books at this pace. And time spent away from family and friends, and other interests can be tough. But seeing it on the shelf is rewarding on so many levels. It’s great to add the publication to your resume, LinkedIn profile, and more. Name recognition is always nice. But more importantly, getting the knowledge and experience into a format that can be beneficial to others is extremely personally rewarding to me. Is every little tidbit in there? Of course not. The book is 1100 pages. Decisions were made on how much space we could to allocate to each topic. Some chapters could be exponentially larger. But we tried to touch on the important stuff. Enough to get an environment properly designed, build, configured, and administered. And I think we did pretty well in that regard. And of course, as soon as we turned in the final edits, new features were released by the product group.

Books don’t sell unless people know about them. So we don our marketing hats and get on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other online resources and let the world know it’s out there. Modality Systems was generous enough to put together a book signing event at Microsoft Ignite, and gave away some signed copies, as well. Twitter followers even started sending in pictures of where the book had been sighted, including the Microsoft Conference Store, MIT, and more. A signed copy even made its way to Gurdeep Pall‘s desk. Gurdeep is the Corporate Vice President of the Skype business unit at Microsoft, and he tweeted a selfie of himself holding the book. As I write this article, the book is the highest ranked Skype for Business book on Amazon. And that’s no easy task, as the other books were also written by some other top notch nerds like us.


Book signing event at Microsoft Ignite 2016. From left to right: Stale Hansen, Phil Sharp, me, Rui Maximo, and Tom Morgan.

I again want to thank everyone involved. It would not have been possible without them. I’d also like to thank the entire Product Group, as well as the Skype for Business MVPs. Both of these groups were instrumental in answering questions that popped up throughout this process.

I hope you enjoy the book, and welcome any comments or concerns.

One Liner: Enabling Mapped Drives in Elevated PowerShell Sessions

July 18th, 2016 No comments

If you’ve worked with mapped drives in PowerShell sessions, you know it’s problematic to access mapped drives from an elevated PowerShell session when UAC is configured to prompt to prompt for credentials. Microsoft released a TechNet KB article on this issue quite some time ago. The article shows different ways to address the problem, from using the Local Security Policy, mapping the drives again in the elevated prompt, and using the registry. We’ll focus on the registry here for several reasons. The first is that using the local security policy seems burdensome; mapping the drives again seems redundant, and potentially confusing if the original mappings change and the ones in your PowerShell session don’t; and thirdly, and most important, we’re talking PowerShell here!

The local security policy really just changes registry settings under HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System, so using PowerShell to set registry settings accomplishes the same thing. We can add new property, EnableLinkedConnections using the New-ItemProperty cmdlet, which also lets us set its value to 1. A value of 1 will enable the mapped drives in elevated session, while a value of 0, or completely removing the property, disables those mapped drives in an elevated session. So let’s implement this:

New-ItemProperty "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System" -Name EnableLinkedConnections -Value 1 -PropertyType "DWord"

Now, if you want to put this in your PowerShell profile, then it will get processed every time. The problem is that you’ll get a “The property already exists” exception error every time it runs after the first time. So, we just wrap it in an IF statement using Get-ItemProperty, checking to see if it exists first. If not, create the item property.

if (-not (Get-ItemProperty "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System" -Name EnableLinkedConnections)){
  New-ItemProperty "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System" -Name EnableLinkedConnections -Value 1 -PropertyType "DWord"

Why would we want to include this in our profile? Because when we get new machines, or reload an existing machine, we don’t want to have to go back and manually configure everything again. We can just manually run the profile script and have it configure everything for us.

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Easily Configuring Your PowerShell Profile on Multiple Machines

July 15th, 2016 No comments

I mentioned in One Liner: Enable Windows Explorer Preview of PowerShell Files that I use the same PowerShell profile script on all of my machines, courtesy of OneDrive. I wanted to show a couple of lines that are at the top of my profile that make this even easier. When I reload a computer, or get a new one, I need to configure that machine to use the shared profile. This is super easy. The profile .ps1 file is just dot sourced. So the file resides in my OneDrive hierarchy. I merely wait for OneDrive to finish its initial sync, and then open an elevated PowerShell session and run the shared file. At the top of the file is the following code:

if (-not (Test-Path $profile)){
	New-Item -Path $profile -Type file -Force
	$MyName = $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Definition
	Add-Content -Path $profile -value ". `".\$MyName`""

For information on the various files that can be used for a PowerShell profile, see Windows PowerShell Profiles. Since, by default, no profile exists, the top line in the code above, which verifies that a profile does not exist, passes. The next line creates the empty file. The third line gets the path and name of script file running (the one in OneDrive), and the fourth line adds that path as a dot source to the newly created profile. So, when you look in the newly created profile file, It has a single line:

. "d:\OneDrive\PowerShell\profile\profile.ps1"

So, when PowerShell is opened, and the profile is evaluated, the dot sourced file is loaded. Easy peasy! And, since it’s in OneDrive, all of the hard work you put into your profile is safe and secure in the event of a computer problem. But more importantly, when working from a different machine, you still have the same experience.

Feel free to comment below, including ideas, suggestions, and code sample for things you’ve done, or would like to see.



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One Liner: Enable Windows Explorer preview of PowerShell Files

July 14th, 2016 No comments

I really like the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer. It saves me from having to open files in their default app. The problem is that PowerShell files are not visible in Windows Explorer by default. And if you’re like me, you probably often look for code snippets in your .ps1 files. That’s pretty easy to fix, however, with a single line entered in an elevated PowerShell session utilizing the Set-ItemProperty cmdlet:

Set-ItemProperty Registry::HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.ps1 -Name PerceivedType -Value text

What this does is tell Windows Explorer to treat .ps1 files as text.

What I’ve done is add that in my PowerShell profile. My PowerShell profile is stored on OneDrive, and every machine I have references that same profile file. So, no matter what machine I’m on, I get the same experience, including the preview of PowerShell files. However, you must run it in an elevated session. So in my profile, to prevent errors, I check to see if the session is elevated, and if it is, set the property. It’s easy with:

if ((New-Object Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal $([Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent())).IsInRole([Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltinRole]::Administrator)) {
  Set-ItemProperty Registry::HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.ps1 -Name PerceivedType -Value text

Now some of you will quickly note that only .ps1 files are included in my example. But PowerShell can also include .psm1 and .psd1 files as well. Can we still accomplish handing all three extensions in a single line of code? Absolutely. We can use Get-Item with the Include parameter to retrieve info for all three extensions, and then pipe that to Set-ItemProperty. Here’s an example:

Get-Item Registry::HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\* -Include .ps1,.psd1,.psm1 | Set-ItemProperty -Name PerceivedType -Value text

And of course we can wrap this with the previously mentioned elevated check:

if ((New-Object Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal $([Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent())).IsInRole([Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltinRole]::Administrator)) {
  Get-Item Registry::HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\* -Include .ps1,.psd1,.psm1 | Set-ItemProperty -Name PerceivedType -Value text

I’ll be writing about more things in my PowerShell profile in the coming weeks. I welcome comments and suggestions, including things you include in your profile to help your productivity.

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