Tag Archives: powershell


Formatting Strings In PowerShell Using Fixed Width Columns

Working with strings in PowerShell is fun, I don’t care what you say. In this post, I’m going to show you how to clean up the strings your code outputs, at least in some situations.

Say you have a variable $fileExtensions which you populated with this command.

And, for some reason, instead of the default output which is formatted like a table, I want output presented like this.

This is a silly example, but notice that even though there are extensions of varying length (.ps1 and .dll are four characters including the dot, and .xlsx is five), all of the “file extension: <number>” is aligned.

How’d I do that? Let’s start with some code that doesn’t work.

How incredibly unfortunately unattractive! Luckily, it’s not too hard to fix. Check out this code.

Oh yes look at that goodness. In this example I’m using the -f  operator to insert the variables into the string. Let’s break down the new string I’m creating.

{0} and {1] are basically placeholders. The -f operator is going to insert the variables that come after it ($_.Name and $_.Count) into the 0 and 1 spots.

The ,-8 is a formatting instruction. The 8 means that this part of the string is going to be a column that takes up 8 characters worth of space. The negative sign means that the data inserted is left aligned. If I had used “positive eight” it would have been right aligned.

Now you can take this and run, to do fun things like this.


Beginner PowerShell Tip: The .Count Property Doesn’t Exist If A Command Only Returns One Item

If you’re just getting started in PowerShell, it’s possible that you haven’t bumped into this specific issue yet. Perhaps you’ve got a variable $users and you’re assigning it a value like this.

This will get all the users in your Active Directory whose username ends with “thmsrynr”.

Great! Now how many users got returned? We can check the Count property to find out.

Continue reading


Beginner PowerShell Tip: Using Variable Properties In Strings

If you’re just getting started in PowerShell, it’s possible that you haven’t bumped into this specific issue yet. Say you’ve got a variable named $user and this is how you assigned a value to it.

Using the Active Directory module, you got a specific user. Now, you want to report two properties back to the end user: SamAccountName and Enabled. The desired output looks like this:

Continue reading


Add A Work Note To A ServiceNow Incident With PowerShell

I have previously written about working with the ServiceNow API, and I’ve continued to use it since my last post on the topic. One of the things that I find myself doing a lot is using PowerShell to add a work note to an incident. Luckily, ServiceNow has an API that you can use to interact with it and do this (among many other things).

Continue reading


PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit 2018 Tickets Are On Sale

Registration for the PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit just opened today. This thing sells out every year so now is the time to start getting approval to attend if you need it, and buy a ticket.

Check out the event brochure for info about the conference. You can use it as leverage to convince whoever needs convincing that you should go. The PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit speaker line up and session schedule is also up right now, and as you’ll see, it’s absolutely stacked. This is also a great chance to meet people who work at Microsoft on the PowerShell (and other) teams, as well as a bunch of MVPs at the top of this field. Make no mistake, this is a crazy good networking opportunity.

There are limited hotel discount codes available, and plane tickets will probably only rise in price as you wait, so get on it if you’re going to come!

Some of the sessions I’m most excited for are Kirk Munro’s Become a PowerShell Debugging Ninja, Warren Frame’s Connecting the Dots with PowerShell, Eli Hess’ PowerShell IoT, Ryan Coates Build Release Pipeline Model For Mere Mortals, Will Anderson’s Automate Problem Solving with PowerShell, Azure Automation and OMS, and of course the session that I’m presenting, A Crash Course in Writing Your Own PSScriptAnalyzer Rules.

It’s going to be really hard to go to a “bad” session, though. With this line up, it’s going to be impossible not to learn something valuable no matter which sessions you attend.

Hope to see you there!


Working With The PowerShell ActiveDirectory Module As A Non-Privileged User

As a best practice, as an administrator you should have separate accounts for your normal activities (emails, IM, normal stuff) and your administrative activities (resetting passwords, creating new mailboxes, etc.). It’s obviously best not to log into your normal workstation as your administrative user. You’re also absolutely not supposed to remote desktop into a domain controller (or another server) just to launch a PowerShell console, import the ActiveDirectory module, and run your commands. Here’s  better way.

Continue reading


Using PowerShell To Split A String Without Losing The Character You Split On

Last week, I wrote a post on the difference between .split() and -split in PowerShell. This week, we’re going to keep splitting strings, but we’re going to try to retain the character that we’re splitting on. Whether you use .split() or -split, when you split a string, it takes that character and essentially turns it into the separation of the two items on either side of it. But, what if I want to keep that character instead of losing it to the split?

Continue reading


What’s the difference between -split and .split() in PowerShell?

Here’s a question I see over and over and over again: “I have a string and I’m trying to split it on this part, but it’s jumbling it into a big mess. What’s going on?” Well, there’s splitting a string in PowerShell, and then there’s splitting a string in PowerShell. Confused? Let me explain.

Continue reading