Archive for the ‘PowerShell’ Category

PowerShell Default Parameter Values – Time to Tweak Your Profile Again!

January 18th, 2017 No comments

One of the great things about a PowerShell profile is you get to customize the environment. One nice feature to accomplish this is the ability to set default parameter values for cmdlets. A great write-up about this is available at About Parameters Default Values. You can see similar info by running get-help about_Parameters_Default_Values. I’m not going to go into great detail about the feature, as those two resources are more than sufficient. What I am going to list here are some great examples that I’ve come to love. They are all in my profile.

This first example if my favorite. When you use the Get-Help cmdlet, the resulting info is shown in a popup window. This is great as I can keep it open while I work on my code in the main console window.


If you’re an OCD type like me, you want output of commands to be formatted and everything to line up. This example defaults the Format-Table cmdlet to autosize its output.


We can actually set this behavior for both Format-Wide and Format-Table at the same time (courtesy of TechNet):


How about we capture the output of the last PowerShell command into a variable, such as $0 (courtesy of TechNet):


If you can’t tell by my other articles and scripts here, I spend a lot of time writing scripts to help in deployments, migrations, etc. When you’re getting or setting data in Active Directory, the last thing you want is for replication (intersite or intrasite) to be an issue. So, when possible, you specify a specific domain controller to send all of your commands together. This example comes from serverfault:

$PSDefaultParameterValues = @{"*-AD*:Server"='YOUR-CHOSEN-DC'}

Now that’s not completely perfect, as it would have a hard coded DC name. And just our luck, it will be migrated out of existence and then our stuff breaks. So, let’s set a default parameter value with the result of a PowerShell query. In this case, a DC in the same site for each of our Lync/Skype for Business cmdlets that support the Server parameter:

$PSDefaultParameterValues.add("*-Cs*:Server",(Get-ADDomainController -Discover -NextClosestSite))

Or maybe you want to specify the PDC emulator instead? (courtesy Tommy Maynard)


Or, we can use a variable. Let’s say we assign $DC to a DC in the same site, and then use that going forward:

$dc = Get-ADDomainController -Discover -NextClosestSite

Now, how many times do you get the “Are you sure” prompt? Force the command instead of getting prompted!

$PSDefaultParameterValues['*:Force']= $true

Fellow MVP Boe Prox also has a great list of examples on his post Using $PSDefaultParameterValues in PowerShell. Check it out!

Now, you can list each of these, or any combination, in your profile, each on a separate line. Or, we can use an array to set all at one time:


Something to keep an eye on here. In previous examples, I was using the $PSDefaultParameterValues.add method which ADDS the value to the existing list. If you omit the “.add” and instead use “=” or “=@{}”, you are replacing all existing values with what you specify. Additionally, you can use the $PSDefaultParameterValues.remove method to remove specific parameter values and keep any remaining values. An example of removing a single default parameter value:


Are all of these changes permanent? No. They are valid for the life of the PowerShell session. If you need to remove them mid-session, you can clear them using:


Defining default parameter values can also be defined at various scopes, as well, including Global, Script, etc. See Get-Help about_Scope for more info.

I mentioned at the beginning that these are great in your profile. Well, they’re great in your scripts as well. They allow for global changes instead of going through a script and updating each call to a cmdlet. By all means, send me your favorites. We’ll build a big list!

Categories: PowerShell Tags: ,

Function: Remove-IisLogFiles – Purging Old IIS Log Files with PowerShell

November 21st, 2016 No comments

PowerShell-logo-128x84If you’re not careful, your server running IIS can create a LOT of logs. The default location for logs is in a sub-folder for the specific web site in c:\inetpub\logs\logfiles\. You can imagine the problems that will happen when your OS drive fills up with logs… things tend to not go so well, and the phone starts to ring. We can’t really just disable logging, as log files are an invaluable resource used in troubleshooting, planning, and maintenance.

Ryan over at Ryadel wrote a great article on adjusting the logging for IIS to be a little more helpful, and to minimize bloat. But we still need to watch for the accumulation of logs and the disk space they take. Ryan includes a two-line method of cleaning up the files in a single IIS site. But some servers, such as Lync and Skype for Business front end servers, have multiple web sites defined. I’ve taken Ryan’s method a bit further by incorporating an idea presented in a Stack Overflow thread, tweaked it a bit, and now we have some code that will clean up all log files that are older than 180 days for all websites on a server. Obviously, that time frame can be adjusted. Here it is the simple method:

Import-Module WebAdministration
$start = (Get-Date).AddDays(-180) 
foreach($WebSite in $(Get-WebSite)) {
  $logFile = "$($\w3svc$($".replace("%SystemDrive%",$env:SystemDrive)
  if (Test-Path $logfile){
    Get-ChildItem -Path "$logFile\*.log" | Where-Object {$PSItem.LastWriteTime -lt $start} | Remove-Item -Force
    # Write-Output "$($ [$logfile]"

By adjusting the number at the end of the second line, we tailor the maximum age of the logs. In the above example, we’re keeping 180 days of them. We could put that code into a script and call it with a scheduled task to automate the cleanup, essentially creating a self-cleaning server. We can also wrap that code into a function and toss it into the PowerShell profile on the web server, allowing us to run it whenever we need to:

function Remove-IisLogFiles{
        [Parameter(ValueFromPipeline, ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName)]
        [int] $age = 180
    Import-Module WebAdministration
    $start = (Get-Date).AddDays(-$age) 
    foreach($WebSite in $(Get-WebSite)) {
      $logFile = "$($\w3svc$($".replace("%SystemDrive%",$env:SystemDrive)
      if (Test-Path $logfile){
        Get-ChildItem -Path "$logFile\*.log" | Where-Object {$PSItem.LastWriteTime -lt $start} | Remove-Item
        # Get-ChildItem -Path "$logFile\*.log" | Where-Object {$PSItem.LastWriteTime -lt $start}
        Write-host "$($ [$logfile]"

Then we can call it, optionally specifying the age of the log files we want to purge using the -age parameter. I incorporate the Test-Path code to ensure we’re not throwing an error for a website that is stopped and has never run. This is often the case in the aforementioned Lync/Skype for Business servers, where the default web site is disabled.

As you can see, PowerShell can be great at making sure your servers don’t get packed full of log files, while still maintaining enough logs to be helpful.


I’ve never been one to really solicit donations for my work. My offerings are created because *I* need to solve a problem, and once I do, it makes sense to offer the results of my work to the public. I mean, let’s face it: I can’t be the only one with that particular issue, right? Quite often, to my surprise, I’m asked why I don’t have a “donate” button so people can donate a few bucks. I’ve never really put much thought into it. But those inquiries are coming more often now, so I’m yielding to them. If you’d like to donate, you can send a few bucks via PayPal at Money collected from that will go to the costs of my website (hosting and domain names), as well as to my home lab.

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

October 10th, 2016 No comments


As 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.


I’ve never been one to really solicit donations for my work. My offerings are created because *I* need to solve a problem, and once I do, it makes sense to offer the results of my work to the public. I mean, let’s face it: I can’t be the only one with that particular issue, right? Quite often, to my surprise, I’m asked why I don’t have a “donate” button so people can donate a few bucks. I’ve never really put much thought into it. But those inquiries are coming more often now, so I’m yielding to them. If you’d like to donate, you can send a few bucks via PayPal at Money collected from that will go to the costs of my website (hosting and domain names), as well as to my home lab.

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.

Categories: PowerShell Tags: , ,

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.


I’ve never been one to really solicit donations for my work. My offerings are created because *I* need to solve a problem, and once I do, it makes sense to offer the results of my work to the public. I mean, let’s face it: I can’t be the only one with that particular issue, right? Quite often, to my surprise, I’m asked why I don’t have a “donate” button so people can donate a few bucks. I’ve never really put much thought into it. But those inquiries are coming more often now, so I’m yielding to them. If you’d like to donate, you can send a few bucks via PayPal at Money collected from that will go to the costs of my website (hosting and domain names), as well as to my home lab.


Categories: PowerShell Tags:

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.

Categories: PowerShell Tags:

Script: Install-OfficeWebAppsLanguagePacks.ps1 – Easier Installation of Selected Language Packs

March 7th, 2015 No comments


I was working with a global customer lately who has datacenters in various global regions (as most global orgs do). The customer had not decided, and basically, hadn’t even thought about what language packs to install on their Office Web Apps Servers (OWAS). I suggested that there are 49 language packs including the English pack that I install by default on every OWAS server. Those languages are:

Azeri (Latin)
Bosnian (Latin)
Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditional)
Irish – Ireland
Macedonian (FYROM)
Malay (Malaysia)
Norwegian (Bokmal)
Portuguese (Brazil)
Portuguese (Portugal)
Serbian (Cyrillic)
Serbian (Latin)

The customer decided on which language packs to install.

If you’ve ever tried to install these, you know you go to the language pack download page, and pick your desired language. When the next page comes up, you notice that it’s in the language of the desired language pack. You hope you’re clicking on the right link, download the file, then run the installer, which is mostly in the desired language, and go from there. It can be somewhat confusing, but extremely repetitive – especially if you’re installing a lot of language packs. It got me thinking that this was an area ripe for automation (what area isn’t?).

Well, as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’m lazy (as most coders are). So I wrote this script to make my life easier, and as a result, you gain from it. Here’s what the script does:

  1. Detects which (if any) language packs are installed on the local machines. This is accomplished by looking for the correct GUID in the Uninstall branch of the registry.
  2. Displays a grid list of the language packs that are available and not already installed on the machine (see image below). You can select one or more language packs to install and click “Ok”.
  3. The script will download the language pack(s)
  4. It will mount (if they are an .img file), or extract (if an .exe).
  5. It will silently install the language pack
  6. It will clean up after itself (unmount or clean up extracted files)

Here is the selection list presented. Notice that English is not in the list as that language pack is already installed.

OWAS language pack selection

Once installation is completed, you’re left with your language packs installed and a nice little log file.

OWAS post installation

Extract the files to any folder. The script and the .csv file MUST be in the same folder. Run it by calling Install-OWASLanguagePack.ps1 and it will default to using the following path structure (which it will create if it doesn’t already exist):

Path Purpose 
c:\_Install Root working folder. Can be changed using -TargetFolder when calling the script.
c:\_Install\logs Log files from the script are stored here
c:\_Install\OWASLanguagePacks Downloaded language pack files are stored here. Folder name can be changed using -OWASLanguagePackFolder. Language packs are placed in sub folders of this folder. The sub folders match the language of the language pack.

A little bit of a rant. I *REALLY* wish the language packs were an MSI file that supported silent install instead of an .img file that must be mounted or an .exe that must be extracted, and then each called with complex syntax.


Install-OWASLanguagePacks.ps1 [[-TargetFolder]][[-OWASLanguagePackFolder]] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [-IncludeTotalCount] [-Skip] [-First][<commonparameters>]


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.


I’ve never been one to really solicit donations for my work. My offerings are created because *I* need to solve a problem, and once I do, it makes sense to offer the results of my work to the public. I mean, let’s face it: I can’t be the only one with that particular issue, right? Quite often, to my surprise, I’m asked why I don’t have a “donate” button so people can donate a few bucks. I’ve never really put much thought into it. But those inquiries are coming more often now, so I’m yielding to them. If you’d like to donate, you can send a few bucks via PayPal at Money collected from that will go to the costs of my website (hosting and domain names), as well as to my home lab.




v1.0 – 03-07-2015 –


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

Changelog: Install-OfficeWebAppsLanguagePacks.ps1

March 7th, 2015 No comments

This is the changelog page for Script: Install-OfficeWebAppsLanguagePacks.ps1 – Easier Installation of Selected Language Packs. 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.

v1.0 – 03-07-2015

  1. Initial version
Categories: PowerShell Tags:

One Liner: Set-TaskbarGrouping – Configure Desktop Taskbar Grouping

February 18th, 2015 No comments

In One Liner: Configuring Shutdown Tracker in Windows Server I mentioned that it’s often preferable to quickly configure some server settings when building servers. As a consultant, I like to set up my server profile when building servers in a manner that’s efficient and convenient for me. One thing that drives me completely insane is the default taskbar group setting. Taskbar grouping is how Windows groups common items together on the taskbar. By default, all similar items are lumped together, i.e. all Internet Explorer windows. So to go back to an IE window could take two mouse clicks instead of one. Let’s take a look at streamlining this configuration for Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2.

Taskbar grouping has three settings. The default “always combine” mentioned previously, “combine when taskbar full” which doesn’t start grouping until there are enough items to fill the taskbar, and my favorite, “never combine”. As you can probably guess, “never combine” doesn’t group taskbar items at all. Since I usually don’t have more than 4 or 5 apps open when building servers, this suits my style.

Just like the shutdown tracker, this setting is stored in the registry. A one liner for this would look like this:

Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" -Name TaskbarGlomLevel -Value 0

0 is the value for “always combine”, 1 for “combine when taskbar full” and 2 for “never combine”. In order for the setting to take effect, one of two things has to happen. Either log off/restart, or restart the explorer.exe process. The later can be performed by running the following:

Stop-Process -ProcessName explorer -force

If you’d like to use a function for this, we can use something like the code below in our server build script:

function Set-TaskbarGrouping {
	[CmdletBinding(SupportsShouldProcess = $True, SupportsPaging = $True, DefaultParameterSetName = "NeverCombine")]
		# Always combines similar shortcuts into groups
		[Parameter(ValueFromPipeline = $False, ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName = $True, ParameterSetName = "AlwaysCombine")]		
		[switch] $AlwaysCombine,
		# Combines similar shortcuts into groups only when the taskbar is full
		[Parameter(ValueFromPipeline = $False, ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName = $True, ParameterSetName = "CombineWhenTaskbarFull")]
		[switch] $CombineWhenTaskbarFull,
		# Never combines similar shortcuts into groups
		[Parameter(ValueFromPipeline = $False, ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName = $True, ParameterSetName = "NeverCombine")]
		[switch] $NeverCombine,
		# Restarts explorer in order for the grouping setting to immediately take effect. If not specified, the change will take effect after the computer is restarted
		[switch] $NoReboot
	switch ($PsCmdlet.ParameterSetName) {
		"AlwaysCombine" {
			Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" -Name TaskbarGlomLevel -Value 0
		"CombineWhenTaskbarFull" {
			Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" -Name TaskbarGlomLevel -Value 1
		"NeverCombine" {
			Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" -Name TaskbarGlomLevel -Value 2
	if ($NoReboot){
		Stop-Process -ProcessName explorer -force
		Write-Verbose "Change will take effect after the computer is restarted"
} # end function Set-TaskbarGrouping

I use parameter set names so that only one of the parameters can be used when the function is called. The three options are “NeverCombine” “CombineWhenTaskbarFull” and “AlwaysCombine”. But since I define the parameters in a param block, you get tab completion. So no need to even remember the options. For example:

Set-TaskbarGrouping -NeverCombine

If you also include the -NoReboot parameter when calling the function, it will restart explorer.exe to avoid the need to log off/restart.

One Liner: Configuring Shutdown Tracker in Windows Server

February 17th, 2015 1 comment

When you spend time building servers, there are often some minor tweaks that you use to make life easier. In many environments, Group Policy Objects (GPOs) are used to configure these settings. But in a lot of environments, that’s not the case. If you build a lot of servers, you may have some scripts to help streamline the process. I often see this being the case among consultants who are engaged to deploy a solution. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that’s what I do. And I look for many ways to streamline the deployment. Many solutions I write are all about the actual deployment, whereas this particular post is about the working environment I’ll be spending time in.

One thing that always drives me nuts is the Shutdown Tracker. That’s the little dialog box that pops up when you want to restart or shutdown a server. You’re presented with a prompt to pick the reason why you’re restarting or shutting down. While this can certainly have its place in an enterprise environment, it’s not generally needed during a deployment. And it’s not likely needed in a lab environment where you might be testing various configurations and restarting often. So let’s gag that annoying prompt.

To disable Shutdown Tracker, open an elevated PowerShell prompt and enter the following one line:

Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Reliability" -Name ShutdownReasonOn -Value 0

This will take care of the problem. If you later want to enable the Shutdown Tracker, you can simply run it again, specifying a 1 for the value.

We can make this a little more flexible by creating a function to let us enable or disable as needed.

function Set-ShutdownTracker {
	[CmdletBinding(SupportsShouldProcess = $True, SupportsPaging = $True, DefaultParameterSetName = "disabled")]
		# Disable the shutdown tracker
		[Parameter(ValueFromPipeline = $False, ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName = $True, ParameterSetName = "disabled")]
		[switch] $Disabled,
		# Enable the shutdown tracker
		[Parameter(ValueFromPipeline = $False, ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName = $True, ParameterSetName = "enabled")]
		[switch] $Enabled
	switch ($PsCmdlet.ParameterSetName) {
		"enabled" {
			Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Reliability" -Name ShutdownReasonOn -Value 1
		"disabled" {
			Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Reliability" -Name ShutdownReasonOn -Value 0
} # end function Set-ShutdownTracker

And the script can be called with either the -Enabled or -Disabled parameters.

Adding the one liners or the function to your deployment scripts might make life a little easier.