Category Archives: News

Community Build Server

We’ve recently been discussing the possibility of hosting a build environment for the PowerShell community.  For those who are unfamiliar with the benefits, such an environment allows you to do things like:

  • Automatically run a suite of tests when new code is checked into source control.  These tests can be run on multiple operating systems or versions of PowerShell concurrently.
  • Publish pass/fail information back to your source control repository for each tested commit.
  • Automatically release code which passes your tests to repositories such as Chocolatey or PowerShellGet, etc.

However, such an environment would require some amount of cloud resources, and those cost money.  The exact amount would depend on how often a build needs to run, but we’re estimating the costs will likely be somewhere in the range of two to six thousand dollars (US) per year.  So, at this point, we’re looking for contributions to help us make this idea a reality.  These contributions can come from companies or from individuals.  We can accept payments via the PayPal “Donate Now!” button on this page, or if you prefer, we can accept payments by check as well.  If desired, we can provide invoices for the donations.  Unfortunately, for legal reasons, we’re not a non-profit entity (because we are in support of PowerShell, a commercial product).  This means that donations for the community build server are not tax deductible.

In an upcoming article, I’ll go into more details about how this environment will work.  What I can tell you right away is that it will be freely available for any open-source, PowerShell-related project, and that we will have build agents running PowerShell 2.0 through 5.0.  Pester will be available for running tests on all of these agents, and we will also have the PowerShellGet module available if you want to automatically publish modules to that environment.

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Announcing our 2015 PowerShell Heroes

The nominations are in, and the votes are tallied!

PowerShell Heroes is our way of recognizing the people who are making significant contributions to the PowerShell community, but who haven’t received any other formal recognition (such as Microsoft’s MVP Award). In many cases, these are the rising stars we hope to see receive an MVP someday, but in all cases they’re out there, working hard to make a difference. They were nominated by their peers, and selected by the 2014 PowerShell Hero honorees.

We’ve got nine PowerShell Heroes this year, so without further ado:

$heroes | Get-Random -Count $heroes.Count
  • Stéphane Van Gulick (@stephanevg):  Stéphane’s blog got a lot of attention in this year’s nominations. He’s also organizing a PowerShell User Group, and has several useful PowerShell scripts that are freely available to download.
  • Adam Bertram (@adbertram):  Adam is also an extremely active blogger. His main site is , but we’ve also seen articles from him on MCPMag. Aside from the general PowerShell love, Adam’s sharing a ton of knowledge about how to use PowerShell in tandem with System Center ConfigMgr, and he’s got some great career- and community-focused content as well.
  • Micky Balladelli got a ton of love from the French-speaking PowerShell community this year, receiving more nominations than any other individual. His blog can be found at , and in particular, his “First Steps” article ( has been praised for helping systems administrators to learn PowerShell, even those who are completely new to scripting / programming. Toujours PowerShell!
  • Mike Laughlin:  As far as we can tell, Mike is actually a robot, who needs no sleep and is dedicated to helping people out on the TechNet forums. Seriously, the man’s racked up over fifty thousand points in less than two years, with more than half of his posts being tagged as either answers or helpful by the community. However, it’s not just about the numbers. His posts are friendly and he follows up on them, and it’s extremely common to see posters making comments like this in his threads: “Sweet! This is EXACTLY what I’m looking for, Thank you so much!”
  • Nickolaj Andersen (@NickolajA):  Like Adam, Nickolaj has a particular focus on System Center ConfigMgr (as you might have guessed from his blog URL: .) However, that involves lots of PowerShell, and there’s plenty of it on his blog (including many free scripts for download.) What we saw in his nominations, though, was how much time Nickolaj puts into personal communication with the community: emails, Skype chats, you name it. He’s out there, helping people to get things done.
  • Matt Johnson (@mwjcomputing):  Matt is the founder of the Southeast Michigan PowerShell User Group, and the lead developer of the PoshSec security framework. He’s heavily involved in communities – speaking and volunteering at conferences, doing podcasts, etc. – for both Systems Administration and Infosec. (something which, frankly, we all need to learn more about. Been paying attention to the news for the last year or two?) His blog can be found at .
  • Bob McCoy is constantly helping people to solve problems over at and SpiceWorks. At any given time, you can fire up the or forums, and we’d be very surprised if you didn’t see multiple threads with “Latest post by Bob McCoy” listed in both.
  • June Blender (@juneb_get_help):  If you use PowerShell, June has helped you, whether you know it or not! When she worked for Microsoft, she was responsible for much of the built-in documentation that we get by running the Get-Help command. She’s also always been active in blog posts and on Twitter, spreading the joy of PowerShell. These days, she’s a Technology Evangelist over at SAPIEN, where she continues to do so.
  • Craig Duff is extremely active in the PowerShell forums over at SpiceWorks, usually the first person to respond to questions there. His solutions have been praised as clean, efficient and easy to understand, and there are lots and lots of them! (437 posts marked as “Best Answer”, as of this writing). His blog can be found at

Congratulations to our 2015 PowerShell Heroes!!

Our NaNoWriMo Challenge: Write a PowerShell Article

In honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I wanted to offer a smaller, and more unique, challenge.

Send me a PowerShell article.

Seriously. My name is Don Jones, and this is, so you can probably figure out how to contact me. Send me an article between 800 and 3,000 words (including code) in Microsoft Word format. Don’t attach any scripts. Please keep the formatting super-simple: paste code from the PowerShell ISE, and use Word’s default styles otherwise. If you must include screen shots, please embed them in the doc, but also include them as a a separate PNG in your e-mail.

You can write about anything, provided it’s PowerShell-related. What’s best? Some challenge that stumped you – and that you eventually solved (and please, tell us how). Something that you think folks could benefit from, or could learn to do better. Even an article that lays out both sides of a particular question, and outlines the pros and cons of each argument. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you write. 

I will personally commit to reading every single one, and providing you with feedback on your article. When suitable, I’ll make some specific suggestions for improving the article. If you then fix it up accordingly, I’ll run it by a professional editor – and I’ll have it published. In some cases, we’ll publish it right here on In other cases, I’ll submit it to my friends at 1105 Media for their consideration in one of their IT magazines, like Redmond Magazine or Still others will go into the TechLetter, which would be a huge help to our editors, who are always hungry for content.

Being able to communicate well is important in all walks of life, but being willing to share is even more important. Think you’ve got nothing to share? Wrong. You have unique experiences that everyone can learn from. You do not need to be an expert in order to have something valuable to share. We would all benefit a lot more if more people shared their experiences and successes – so now it’s your turn.

The deadline is November 30th, of course, and I’ll work my way through them all as quickly as possible. You’re not going to be judged on your grammar or spelling (although do use Word’s tools to help those as much as it can). Don’t try to write fancy, or overly formal. In fact, just write like you’d talk. Read your piece back to yourself aloud, and if it sounds weird, fix it so it doesn’t. If it sounds good, it’ll read well.

C’mon. Take up the challenge. And tweet folks over to this article, too. Let’s make it a thing. My goal is to help at least a few folks because regular bloggers, either here or elsewhere, and my dream is to find maybe a couple of folks who can pick up a full-time column with a magazine or other publication. That’d be awesome. I know you’re out there – let’s get the party started.


UCS Power Scripting Contest – Unleash the Power of Cisco UCS

Cisco UCS servers (both managed by UCS Manager and standalone rackmount servers) can be managed with PowerShell scripts. Cisco is running a contest looking for the best PowerShell scripts that manage, automate, monitor, and perform tasks like inventory gathering about UCS Servers and other connected infrastucture, like hypervisors, applications, and operating systems. The Cisco UCS Power Scripting Contest is now open and will run until May 11th, 2014. A winner will be announced in the DevNET Zone at Cisco Live on May 20th at 5PM PT. Head over to the contest site for more details on how to win great prizes, our celebrity judging panel and support your fellow community members! For more information head to:

UCS Scripting:
UCS Communities:
UCS Developed Integrations:

About UCS PowerTool

Cisco UCS PowerTool for UCS Manager is a PowerShell module that helps automate and manage configurations within UCS Manager including service profiles, policies, pools, equipment, and network and storage management. Cisco UCS PowerTool for IMC is a PowerShell module that helps automate and manage configurations within a standalone C-Series rackmount server including BIOS settings, boot order, firmware updates, and administrative settings such as LDAP, syslog, SNMP, etc. Cisco UCS PowerTool enables easy integration with existing IT management processes and tools. The PowerTool cmdlets manipulate on the Cisco UCS Manager’s Management Information Tree (MIT). These cmdlets allow you to create, modify, or delete actions on the Managed Objects (MOs) in the tree.

Up Next: Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson talking PSSAT007 and his new book

Join us Thursday Jan 23, 2014 as our guest will be the Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, as he talks about PowerShell Saturday 007 in Charlotte (Feb 8, 2014); his new book Windows PowerShell Best Practices and who knows what else. We record live at 9:30PM EST hope to see you then.

Up Next: Steve Roberts from Amazon talking about the AWS Tools

Join us this Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 at 9:30 PM EST as we talk with Steve Roberts from Amazon about the AWS Tools. Read more about it here:


Tonight on the PowerScripting Podcast: Rick Claus and Symon Perriman talk about Build a Windows Server and System Center Environment with the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit

Join us tonight at 9:30 PM as Rick Claus and Symon Perriman talk about how to Build a Windows Server and System Center Environment with the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit.



Need Desired State Configuration Modules?

You’ve probably been hearing about Desired State Configuration from a number of sources (Runas Radio, the PowerScripting Podcast, or the Channel 9 TechEd video for example).  If you haven’t go check out those previously mentioned resources, I’ll wait…

Ok, now that you have a basic understanding of what Desired State Configuration (DSC) is, I have an announcement.

PowerShell.Org is building a repository of DSC modules for the community to use and contribute to.

As I’ve started working with Desired State Configuration, I began building up a repository of modules I would use in configuring my systems.  I started to round them out with some basic documentation and decent logging messages and began pushing them to GitHub.

I’ve also seen several others starting to post some DSC modules on Github and elsewhere.  Since we are very early in the Desired State Configuration lifecycle (it’s still not RTM yet), I would like our community to come together on a central location for our community contributions.  I reached out to Don and the PowerShell.Org team and they graciously offered to host the contributions on the PowerShell.Org GitHub repository.  What that means is that this effort is no longer under the control of one person (me), but owned by the community, by PowerShell.Org.

There’s not much in the repository yet, so if you’ve been experimenting with DSC and would like to share your efforts with the community, feel free to send a pull request (if you’re into the whole GitHub thing) or file an issue on the GitHub site and we’ll figure something out.

There is some basic “Getting Started With Developing DSC Modules” information at the GitHub repository as well.

Would you contribute enterprise software reviews? [OFFTOPIC]

I’ve been working with a couple of folks lately who’ve been trying to review and pilot Active Directory auditing solutions. Both bemoaned the fact that, unlike consumer products of nearly any kind, IT products (specifically, enterprise software in this instance), don’t really get reviews from the admins who use those products.

So, I’m curious. If you could (a) anonymously, and (b) without giving your organization’s name, would you (c) leave reviews of enterprise software for other admins? You’d need to leave some obvious details, like the approximate size of your organization (number of users), what you expected the software to do, what it really did, what you liked, what you didn’t like, and so on.

Such a site would be a lot better (I think) than magazine or “professional” reviews, since you’d be reading the experiences of people who actually use the stuff every day. Yeah, as with any publicly-contributed content, review quality will vary – but you already know how to read between the lines, right? 😉

Drop a comment, or even send a tweet to @concentrateddon with “Reviews: YES!” or “Reviews: NO!” comment. Or if you prefer Facebook, leave that comment on my FB page. It sure seems like we IT professionals could use something like this – it’d be a good place to start researching solutions to particular problems, and a good place to share some real-world intel on how different solutions really work. Even if you don’t like writing reviews, would you use such a site as part of your research process?

“Super Secret” Snover Session at TechEd

So what’s with the “super secret” PowerShell session being given by Jeffrey Snover at TechEd 2013?

First, if you’ll be in New Orleans, plan to attend this. The deal is pretty simple: Microsoft has got a lot of information pertaining to v.Next under embargo, which means people can’t talk about it yet, or even tell you the title of the session. But trust me, if you’re interested in the world of DevOps (and if you use PowerShell, you are), you’ll want to be at this session. PowerShell MVPs were given a sneak peek at what Snover will be discussing, and it’ll frankly blow your mind. It will, over the long haul, put PowerShell in a completely new place – and you’ll want to get in on the ground floor.

Like most sessions at TechEd, it appears as if they’ll be recording this, so even if you can’t attend in person be sure to check back once the recording is live. That usually takes a day or two after the talk itself.

And spread the word a bit. There’s a bit of a worry that, because even the title of the session won’t be announced until TechEd formally commences, folks won’t have much time to realize the session exists and it’ll go empty. We don’t want that to happen – as with any new developments in PowerShell, it’s crucial to get folks thinking about it early, to get their feedback early, and to start planning for it early.

The new PowerShell Class is Coming to a CPLS Near You!

Looking for a great getting-started PowerShell class? Or perhaps you’d like to send a colleague or peer to some PowerShell “zero to hero” training?

We’ve just finished the official beta-teach of Microsoft’s 10961, Automating Administration with Windows PowerShell, and it went great. The sequencing of the class was spot-on, and we had an absolutely incredible group of students. Many were n00bs, which was perfect; a couple had “some” shell experience but wanted to learn “the right way.” And they did.

Through a series of 12 modules, you’re led through the basics all the way up to writing your own script. The grand semi-finale has you creating a script that provisions a brand-new, freshly-installed Server Core instance – all without logging on to that instance at all. The high moment for me was when one student, after struggling a bit to get started on the provisioning lab, concluded with a “well, that did it.” Everything came together for him: command discovery, help, scripting, variables, remoting, all of it. He did the task, from scratch, with practically no help. He’s there. 

10961 replaces MS course 10325, and it will soon be supplemented by a Microsoft Courseware Marketplace title that goes further into scripting, error handling, debugging, and more… what I’ve taken to calling toolmaking. We’ll hopefully continue to refresh both courses as PowerShell evolves.

So call your local Microsoft Certified Partner – Learning Systems (“training center”) and see when they’re offering 10961. A bit of caution: this is a class where, unfortunately, an inexperienced MCT will be really challenged. While the course book is a full, almost-500-page book (you’re welcome), it’s tightly timed and you’ll definitely want to check the credentials and experience of whatever trainer is running the class. You can’t just “read the slides” to stay a module ahead of the students on this one.

This class is strongly based upon Learn Windows PowerShell 3.0 in a Month of Lunches, in terms of how the material is presented, although the sequence and narrative was altered a bit to better accommodate Microsoft requirements and classroom logistics. I’m really proud of how the course turned out – so if you’ve got folks who need some PowerShell training, tell ’em to look it up. Many CPLS centers offer remote training, too, meaning you can attend from the comfort of your own home or office.

If you take the class, I’d love to hear what you think.

Verify Your PowerShell Skills

A long time ago… about a year, in fact… Jason Helmick and I started talking about a community-owned PowerShell “certification.” It went nowhere. Well, not very far.

Some background on exams: Microsoft, in my opinion, will never do a PowerShell cert. I say this having been part owner of a company that did outsourced exam development for the company. The deal is that Microsoft tries to certify job tasks, not tools. Nobody (well, maybe me) wakes up thinking, “gonna do me some PowerShell today.” No, PowerShell is the means to an end: “gonna automate me some user creation today” is more likely. And Microsoft tries to certify that end. PowerShell’s an important tool, and it already shows up on certification exams here and there.

For the most part, I agree with Microsoft’s reasoning, there. The argument can be summarized as saying “bosses don’t hire IT pros based on their ability to operate a low-level tool, they hire them to perform job tasks, which encompasses the tool.” Except that, in the case of PowerShell, I think it’d be tremendously useful for an employer to use PowerShell expertise as a discriminating factor in hiring. I mean, “someone who can automate stuff” is more valuable than “someone who can only do stuff manually,” in any situation.

So “PowerShell Verified” was intended to be a way for someone to prove – at least to themselves – that they’ve taken their PowerShell skills to the minimum level necessary to be an effective automator. Not a guru. Not an expert. Not Poshoholic. Minimally effective, who could then grow from there with experience.

So that’s what I’m going to put together.

I want to explain why I’m not using the word “Certification,” though. In my mind, certifications come from, mainly, first-parties like Microsoft. Microsoft has to jump through a lot of hoops to make sure their exam content is accurate, legally defensible, blah blah blah. They worry about security, brain dumps, and other stuff that diminishes the value of the certification. I don’t have that kind of bandwidth or their resources, so in many ways my little program will be less effective than a “real” certification. Plus, few bosses will give a rat’s patooty what that Don Jones guy said about your skillz (I can’t even convince bosses to buy you guys 12-core 64GB workstations for your desk). So my “Verified” program is going to be low stakes, meaning you take it to prove something to yourself.

Here’s how this is going to go.

Continue reading

PowerShell Summit: Best Conference Deal Ever!

What’s the average tech conference cost these days? $1500? $2000? And that’s just to get in, to say nothing of hotel, air, food, and whatnot.

The PowerShell Summit North America 2013 has an idea. Lets do a community-owned event, with a goal of breaking even and supporting an annual event, but not worry about a profit.

Lets say you live in the US. A ticket to Seattle in April will run you $500-700 after taxes. Maybe less if you can get on a discount carrier like Southwest – they fly to SEA. Hotel will run you under $450 for three nights. Say you decide to splurge on a car for four days, probably for under $200 (including all the ridiculous taxes on rental cars). Toss in another $250 for food? That takes you to under $1600. PowerShell Summit only costs $550 – less if you register during one of the Early Bird tiers; as low us $450, in fact. That’s $2100-2200 total, or just a bit over what some conferences charge for their registration fee alone!

What about quality? Well, you’ll get the same food Microsoft employees get. So that can’t be all bad. You’ll attend sessions delivered by Microsoft product team members, along with independent experts. You’ll interact directly with PowerShell team managers, too, in a small-event format that lets you provide product feedback directly to them. Heck, with under 100 fellow attendees, you’ll get plenty of face time with everyone.

It’s going to be a great event, and it will definitely be affordable. It’s being run by members of the community, not a conference company. This will hopefully become OUR event, an annual gathering of PowerShell enthusiasts, experts, and team members. A chance to network, to learn, to share, and to grow.

I hope you’ll be able to join us!

PowerShell Summit “I’m Feeling Lucky” Tickets on Sale – $400 each!

That’s right, for just $400 you can guarantee yourself a seat at the PowerShell Summit North America 2013, to be held at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, WA. Just 10 tickets will be made available at this low-low-low price, which is $150 off the normal registration rate.

Why so low? Why are they called “I’m Feeling Lucky” tickets? Because while we’re committed to an April 2013 date, we haven’t actually locked in dates with Microsoft, yet. So to purchase these, you’ve got to be feeling flexible… or lucky!

But it’s not a marriage. The tickets are completely refundable, up to 30 days prior to the event. So if we manage to lock in the three dates you can’t attend, we’ll give you your money back. You can also transfer the ticket to someone else, at any time (although they’ll be paying you directly for the ticket, and we won’t get involved in that transaction).

Once these sell out, or we lock in our dates, we’ll commence the Early Bird period, with a rate of $475 and just 30 tickets available. That rate will be good through the end of December, unless we sell out. Full rate of $550 kicks in after that, when we’ll sell the remaining tickets to fill our roughly 100-person venue.

Thinking about presenting? Start submitting topics in the Forums! You can get all the other juicy details on the Summit’s dedicated site, and catch the Summit’s Twitter feed for ongoing announcements.