Category Archives: Miscellaneous

ACLs Folder class

‘Sup PSHomies,

I recently had to make a quick Backup & Restore of ACLs three levels deep. Nothing fancy, just two functions, but that got me thinking…

Why not make a class of this?

And so I did! Here’s the framework for the class:


Here’s a list of the methods:

  • Backup. Backup SDDL from the property $Folder of the class
  • Restore. Restore SDDL to the property $Folder of the class
  • Clone. Clone will take a target Folder and clone the SDDL of $Folder to it
  • ConvertSDDLToAccess. This will enumerate what the SDDL stands for

Default Constructor


The default constructor will evaluate the folder used to instantiate the object. If successful, the SDDL, Owner and Access is retrieved using  the Backup() method. All actions are registered for future reference.

Instantiating is pretty straightforward:




This will retrieve the SDDL for the folder and enumerate the Access.



Restore is a bit tricky. For one you need to make sure it isn’t empty. Set-Acl has no problem setting an empty SDDL, blowing everything open (worst case scenario, and that’s why you should test this in a lab first!). The other challenge is having a valid SDDL string. You can change the SDDL string if you want to something gibberish, hence the typecast as a precaution.



The same goes for cloning. In this case we need to test the target path. Alternatively, you could  also change the Folder to a new path… It works, you’d just have misleading ActionHistory entries… I wonder if there’s a way to make this read-only,  just thinking out loud here… (note to self)


This is just a lil’ something extra. Like I said in a previous blog SDDL really gives more information. For one, the SID will let you know which domain this object belongs to. One thing I ran into with ReACL is that SIDHistory will resolve to the current NTAccount. This had me puzzled for a while until I saw that the SIDs in SDDL where different.

Here’s what the ouput looks like:


Now for those of you that are wondering just what is this AccessMask, wonder no more! 🙂

Remember the RoboCopy ExitCodes blog I did a while back? Well it’s the same principal 🙂 This is why classes & everything related should be on your radar…


Here’s how this works…

Say I wanted to evaluate the AccessMask of a SDDL entry


Here I have the SID & the NTAccount. This is the builtin administrators account but it also works for Domain accounts.classACLConvertSDDLToAccess

There’s a private function that will translate the SID accordingly.

To see what the account can actually do we can enumerate the AccessMask


This is what we’d see using the advanced Security GUI tab of a folder.AdvancedPermissions

Not bad… Not bad at all…

I can’t state this enough, SDDL is NOT to be be trifled with. Yes you need admin rights and please try this is a testlab first.  SDDL is very potent, if used with caution, it could do a whole bit of good!

So finally, here’s the code…

Hope it’s worth something to you…



RoboCopy class

‘Sup PSHomies,

It all started a year ago… Always wanting to learn anything PowerShell related, classes caught my eye ever since it was introduced in v5.  I wanted to try my hand at classes with a real life application… So I got on twitter for some tips…



Doug was kind enough to reach out and point me in the right direction, for which I owe him a great debt! Appreciate it Doug!!!

Like I said, I wanted to try my hand at classes with a real life application… If you’ve read my blogs then you’ll know that I’m a fan of robocopy, seriously, huge fan! . Did I mention how awesome robocopy is? 😛 I think I found my real life application 😉

When I started out with my Robocopy class, it was just about logging initially, but it could be so much more! Classes are native to v5. Now that v5 is mainstream I decided to finish the class. Richard Siddaway’s article  was just the spark I needed to get me going (again)!

Here’s what the Robocopy class looks like:


Here a quick rundown on the properties:

The source/destination properties of the class are self explanatory (if you’re familiar with robocopy). The property logdir and JobID will be used to define a valid logfile name (with extension .log). Robocopy has quite a bit of options. I wanted to keep it as generic as possible. The property $this.Options is still a work in progress. The property $this.WildCards  is where you’ll define what will be filtered.  I’ll get back to rcCMDs and rcExitCodes later on…

These are the methods I came up with (so far, still a work in progress)

  • Mirror(). Mirrors $this.Source to $this.Destination with some default options
  • Move(). Moves this.Source to $this.Destination with some default options
  • RollBack(). Rollback $this.Destination to $this.Source with some default options
  • Sync(). Sync will synchronize the delta’s from $this.Source to $this.Destination using any additional $this.Options defined (at least that’s the idea). I’ve added a few options by default, mostly to exclude files and folders, think recycle.bin “System Volume Information” and the likes.
  • VerifyPaths(). This let’s you know if the $this.Source, $this.Destination and $this.LogDir are valid.
  • GetlistSource(). This will list the content of the $this.Source
  • GetListDestionation(). This will list the content of $this.Destination
  • GetLogSummary. This will return a summary of the log file (Hehe). The method is static so that you don’t have to instantiate the class in order to use it. (Thanks again Doug!)

The two methods: StartRCProcess and ExecuteRCCMD are actually helper methods. I just haven’t figured out how that works in classes. Ideally I’d like to have them hidden or as a function if that even makes sense. So here’s where they come in. At first I just executed robocopy with the necessary arguments. If you’re not interested in the exitcode then using ExecuteRCCMD is what you need. I wrote a blog about enumerating RoboCopy Exitcodes. Using $LastExitCode isn’t going to cut it if you decide to run robocopy jobs parallel. That’s where StartRCProcess comes in.Using Start-Process comes with an overhead of say 20 MB, which could add up in the long run. You do need to wait until the process has finished to retrieve the exitcode. If you really need the exitcode then StartRCProcess is what you need. The property $this.rcExitCodes will only be populated if StartRCProcess is used. Both will populate the $this.rcCMDs property.

Ok I think I’ve covered the basics, time to show some code! 😉

Here what’s happening in the List methods:


GetListSource() is using $this.StartRCProcess to generate a list of $this.Source using some default option. While writing I noticed that I forgot to add the wildcards to the parameter. All I had to do was add it!. I added it at the beginning so it lines up accordingly… Robocopy is fickle like that…  GetListDestination does the same only it uses ExecuteRCCMD instead.

Here’s what’s going on in StartRCProcess and ExcuteRCCMD


Both StartRCProcess and ExcuteRCCMD will save the robocopy command using Write-Information. I’m loving Write-Information more and more! StartRCProcess saves the exitcode with some extra information. Here’s where the robocopy exitcode enumeration came in handy! ExecuteRCCMD will run robocopy with the specified arguments. Truth be told I’m more partial to the ExecuteRCCMD method. I added the StartRCProcess more for demo purposes and finally getting to use my Robocopy exitcode enumeration!

For Mirror(),Move() and RollBack(), I omitted the Wildcards. These methods all or nothing in my opinion. If omitted, . will be the default.

Sync() had me going for a while. I still have some issues with Options. For now Sync() uses some default switches. Like I said work in progress…

Quite a bit of code, so does it work? Here’s some code to play with. be sure to edit the source,destination and logdir to your liking. Just remember that robocopy is unforgiving so make sure not to use it of production folders!

#region Main
$rc = [RoboCopy]::New('C:\scripts\move','C:\temp\move','rc-0001','c:\scripts\log',@('*.*'))

#Run RoboCopy methods

#Get RoboCopy LogFile Summary

#Get RoboCopy executed CMDs

First I instantiate the class with arguments. I then run the methods Sync(),GetListSource() and GetListDestination(). Up next is retrieve the LogSummaries from the methods. Here’s a screenshot of the Sync LogSummary


I did a select of $rc.rcCMDs to give you an idea what is being stored


Only want ListDES?

$rc.rcCMDs |
Where-Object{$_.Tags -contains 'ListDes'} |
Select-Object -Property Time*,Tag*,Mess*


The information stream is quite handy! The tags will definitely come in handy when you need to filter on action verb or job ID.

The methods GetListSource() & Mirror() both make use of StartRCProcess(), so let’s see what $rc.rcExitcode has shall we?



This is by far my longest blog, if you made this far then… Congratulations! There’s still so much to discover when it comes to classes.

Classes definitely  makes your code look and feel more like a developer 😉 . I feel more comfortable giving a colleague this class than a bunch of scripts. In Richard’s article he’s using both classes and modules. There are sure to be some gotcha’s… Do you go all in with classes or only partial?

I’m hoping that the community can shed some light on the subject. I’d love to hear from you guys on how to improve on this… Let’s make this year, a year of PowerShell Classes! 😛

Hope it’s worth something to you…




SMB shares Operational readiness

Sup’ PSHomies!

In migration mode! It’s been awhile since I’ve done post-configuration of File Servers. I needed to recreate a DFSn structure in our Datacenter. A great opportunity to try out the new dfsn en smb cmdlets! 😉

The SMB & DFSn cmdlet work with CIMSessions.  Before I can create the DFS structure I need to create the shares… Here’s an impression of what the csv file looks like:

Server	ShareName	Path	FullAccess	ChangeAccess	ReadAccess
AZR-FS-01	FS_ARC001$	E:\FS_ARC001	NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users
AZR-FS-01	FS_ARC002$	E:\FS_ARC002	NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users
AZR-FS-01	FS_ARC003$	E:\FS_ARC003	NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users
AZR-FS-01	FS_ARC004$	E:\FS_ARC004	NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users
AZR-FS-01	FS_ARC005$	E:\FS_ARC005	NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users
AZR-FS-01	FS_ARC006$	E:\FS_ARC006	NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users

I’ll be using the servername to retain the cimsession amongst other things. Instead of giving everyone FullAccess to the share, we’re giving ‘Authenticates users’ FullAccess. To complete the list I’ve added Change- and ReadAccess as well even though I won’t be using them.

Here’s a quick rundown of the script. I’ve created quite a few checkpoints. First, see if the share exists then verify if the paths are identical. You never know if the share already exists and is pointing to another folder, I’ve learned that from past migration. If it doesn’t exist create it!

The reason for this setup is that I want to be able to re-run this script in the future. Without the check we’d end up with quite some errors… Incidentally, this is how I did my validation pre Pester… 😉

Ok now for the fun part!

This time I didn’t make use of snapshots and went straight to the source! Using the csv file I can verify that the shares have been create using the right path and that ‘Authenticated Users’ have Full access.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 12.40.06

Looking at the creation script you might wonder why bother with an OV script (Operation Validation)? As chance would have it, one of the File Server’s  volume needed to be recreated. Which meant shares had to be recreated (and validated…) Now I wasn’t part of the recreation process, but I could validate that the shares were available as intended once the recreation took place! 😉 It’s all about having peace of mind… I just ran the test before posting this blog, everything is as it should be… 🙂

Hope it’s worth something to you









Operational Readiness validation gotchas

Sup’ PSHomies,

Back from the PSConfEu 2016 in Hannover! It was awesome!!! It was great meeting so many in person! I highly recommend attending a conference if ever given the chance! Tobias did a great job organizing PSConfEU 2016!

The presentations were top notch! Two presentations I definitely wanted to follow were June Blenders’ Real world Pester TDD tests & Ravikanth Chaganti Operations Validation Framework. I enjoyed Ravikanth’s approach: a simplistic and a comprehensive test. June’s presentation was insightful! There were definitely a few aha moments for me! So I decided to re-evaluate what I had learned so far now that I’ve seen how it should be done! 😉 .

Simplistic tests

Think of simplistic tests as kicking the tires. Here’s where the obvious tests go:

  • Are the sets aligned?
  • Did the object count meet your expectation?

Things of that nature. Here are some tests to help you understand some gotcha moments.

Validating the count seems pretty straight forward right? Well, not always… I’ll explain…

When the sets to validate are identical validation is pretty straight forward. This is the best case scenario. I did one validation with and without Group-Object (I’ll explain later on).

Simplistic Identical sets - Count

Simplistic Indentical sets

By using Group-Object I can get the “real” count of a set. Group-Object will gauge the uniqueness of the set, but I also found a test where that might not always be useful… So my next test was to omit an entry from the Verify set

Simplistic Missing entry sets - Count

Simplistic missing an entry in Verify

The test failed as it should. Now for some fun, let’s add a double entry to the Verify set.


Simplistic Double entry sets - CountThis is an odd test, it could be a typo. Imagine having a list where double entries aren’t that obvious, this should catch it. Now ideally you’d use your source code that you used during deployment. I’m assuming you did automate your process eh? 😉 Without the Group-Object the count is identical. With Group-Object you only have one entry! This could explain an exception happened during deployment… Accidents will happen…

The last test is a fun one: different sets.

Simplistic Different sets - Count

Different sets

Surprise! Both validation count test passed, but the sets are totally different!

Bonus Test!

Simplistic Different sets double entry - Count

Different set with a double entry

This one almost got away. While doing the comprehensive test, it dawned on me that I should be testing both counts, with and without Group-Object. I updated the screenshot accordingly.

Take away Simplistic test:

Don’t only rely the count of a set. By using Group-Object you can gauge a set’s uniqueness. The bonus test showed that exceptions may happen. It’s totally valid as a starting point, that’s why it’s a simplistic tests. Here’s the code for the Simplistic test for count validation:

$savedADConfig= @{
   GlobalCatalogs = @(

$verifyADConfig= @{
   GlobalCatalogs = @(

#region Example Operational validation Simplistic test
Describe 'Active Directory configuration operational readiness' {
   Context 'Verifying GlobalCatalogs count without Group-Object'{
      it 'Total GlobalCatalogs match' {
         @($savedADConfig.GlobalCatalogs).Count |
         Should be @($verifyADConfig.GlobalCatalogs).Count

   Context 'Verifying GlobalCatalogs count with Group-Object'{
      it 'Total GlobalCatalogs match' {
         @($savedADConfig.GlobalCatalogs  | Group-Object).Count |
         Should be @($verifyADConfig.GlobalCatalogs | Group-Object).Count

If you’d like to try out the simplistic tests just add/remove entries to the saved-/verifyADConfig sets. Now for the Comprehensive tests!

Comprehensive tests

Here’s where in-depth analysis goes. When I did the AD Operational Readiness test, I had a feeling I was missing something. I saw June using sort-object in one of her validations. That triggered me to re-valuate this test.

Comprehensive Identical sets

Comprehensive Identical sets

Depending on which set you used for your enumeration you could end up with different results. When the sets are identical, all goes well. Next test, omit an entry in Verify set.

Comprehensive Missing an entry

Comprehensive missing an entry

Enumerating from the saved test caught the missing entry, enumerating from verify didn’t. Both found ‘DC-DSC-01.pshirwin.local’. The simplistic test caught this, that is why you need both! Next up: Double entry in Verify.

Comprehensive Double entry

Comprehensive double entry in verify

Enumerating from the saved set caught the double entry. Enumerating from the verify set just enumerated the entry twice. If you’re visually inclined, you might miss this.

Hey all my tests results are green and purple! Yeah…

Last test: Different sets.

Comprehensive Different sets

Different sets

At this point you’re comparing apple with oranges. This should fail.

Take away comprehensive tests:

The set you’re enumerating from matters! To cover validation, best bet is to do both! Here’s the code for the Comprehensive Test:

#region Example Operational validation Comprehensive test
$savedADConfig= @{
   GlobalCatalogs = @(

$verifyADConfig= @{
   GlobalCatalogs = @(

Describe 'Active Directory configuration operational readiness' {
   Context 'Verifying GlobalCatalogs enumerating from saved configuration'{
      $savedADConfig.GlobalCatalogs |
         it "Server $($_) is a GlobalCatalog"{
            $verifyADConfig.GlobalCatalogs.Contains($_) |
            Should be $true
   Context 'Verifying GlobalCatalogs enumerating from verify configuration'{
      $verifyADConfig.GlobalCatalogs |
         it "Server $($_) is a GlobalCatalog"{
            $savedADConfig.GlobalCatalogs.Contains($_) |
            Should be $true

Validation is great, but you need to make sure your validating with the right set in the right order!


  • Create Simplistic & Comprehensive tests.
  • Simplistic tests should take care of the obvious.
  • Comprehensive tests is where in-depth analysis takes place.
  • Validate by enumerating from both sets!
  • Never trust a test that doesn’t fail 😉

I’m glad I visited both presentations! Now it’s time to update my Operational readiness tests accordingly! 🙂

Hope it’s worth something to you



Active Directory configuration report

‘Sup PSHomies,

Last blog I talked about how to create a AD configuration snapshot. I saved the AD Configuration using the Export-Clixml cmdlet. As promised here’s the follow up: How to create a report from the saved snapshot.

I’m a fan of HTML for reporting purposes. In the past I’ve dabbled in creating reports using XML in combination with CSS. The challenge was creating a well-defined XML file. If you’ve ever had the idea of using Export-Clixml to combine with CSS then you’re in for a disappointment! ConvertTo-HTML is a better fit for reporting. Having said that, creating a well-defined XML file can also be a challenge. As luck would have it there’s a mini-series on the subject, check it out if you want to go down that route.

My favorite way of creating HTML reports these days is using PScribo, brought to us  by Iain Brighton. I saw him demonstrate the module at the PowerShell Conference in Stockholm on youtube. PScribo sure makes creating reports easier! PScribo supports different output formats:

  • HTML
  • Word
  • Text
  • XML

You can also edit the style of your document. To get a better impression of all the possibilities have a look at the video. The module has enough examples to help you get started. Before you know it you’ll be hooked!

Here’s the script:

I’ve recently discovered markdown. If you’re comfortable creating HTML documents, then MD shouldn’t be much of a challenge ;-). BTW if you’re looking for a good MD reader, vscode has you covered. VSCode is gaining momentum in the PowerShell community. I’ll admit to being hooked on ISESteroids, still,  Tobias Weltner said there will be a major update pretty soon… So who knows what this might mean?

I decided to give it a try in MD Format as well!

Not bad…

MD Format ADConfiguration

MD format has a small footprint which could be interesting. MD files can be converted to other formats. Doug Finke has an excellent vscode extension to render md files in pdf, word or html, using PanDoc.

PScribo is definitely worth a try! MD is also an option. Generating reports in Powershell just got easier thanks to Iain & Doug! Great addition guys! Keep up the good work!

Hope it’s worth something to you



Pester to validate ADUser properties

‘Sup PSHomies,

See if you can relate. You’re in the middle of a migration, the users need to be created asap. You get a xlsx file with all the necessary properties. A quick Copy/Paste to csv file, Import-Csv  user.csv -Delimiter "`t" | New-ADUser and presto! Whew! Glad we got that out of the way 😉

Feels pretty awesome right? 15 minutes after, your project manager comes asking: “Say, which file did you use?” The one you sent me last week, why? “Uh, there’s a new version on sharepoint, did you use that one?” Well I did ask which file I should use (in my defense I did, that’s why I always email, written proof!). “Well there’s an updated version, could you make sure the users get updated? Thanks!!!” Sigh, here we go again…

At this point I can do two things:

  1. Just delete and recreate. Thing is you’ll loose SIDs and access to homedirectory etc etc. Not exactly ideal.
  2. Update the user properties. Definitely a better option. Still tricky especially using the Set-ADUser cmdlet, but that’s another story.

But before you go off to update the user settings, how about validating what has been changed? Maybe the damage isn’t that bad. I mean if it’s under five changes, I just might  do it manually… Oh who am I kidding? Wait, gimme a minute to catch my breathe from laughing! 😛

Enter Pester for ADUser validation!

With a Pester script to validate your ADUser settings, you’ll never have to second guess if the settings are as they should.

Here’s the result:ADPesterResults

Here’s a quick rundown of the script:

First I’ll just get all the user settings using $verify = Get-ADUser -Identity $user.SamAccountName -Properties *.

$ADPropertiesToVerify =  ($csvADUsers | Get-Member | Where-Object {$_.membertype -eq 'noteproperty'}).name will get me all the properties in the csv file. No need to map properties manually. Now I can loop through any amount of properties!

Next up, making sure empty properties get $null

if (([string]::isNullOrEmpty($user.$attribute))) {
   $user.$attribute = $null

$null isn’t equal to empty (Ofcourse you already knew that!)

Now compare what’s in the csv to what Get-ADUser found:

if($attribute -eq 'Path'){
   it "User is located in $($user.$attribute)" {
   it "User property $($attribute) value is $($verify.$attribute)" {
      $user.$attribute | Should be $verify.$attribute

Quick note: I used Path to create the user in a specific OU. There’s no Path property in Get-ADUser. So I did the next best thing, just verify that path is part of the user’s distinguishedname 😉

I also added a little bonus to verify the user’s homedirectory exists and that the user is also the owner.

Being able to validate will definitely give you peace of mind…

Hope it’s worth something to you



Custom Intellisense for AD cmdlets with SearchBase parameter

Sup’ PSHomies!

You gotta love the PowerShell community! Found this little gem in my twitter feed (again) :-). Trevor Sullivan demonstrates how we can create custom intellisense for cmdlets if they haven’t been provided as yet. Great video! Trevor really does a great job explaining this.

The first thing that came to mind was Active Directory! I can’t tell you how often I needed the DistinguishedName of an OU. Now imagine having a dynamic list generated for you! No more errors,  just select and you’re good to go! Excited??? I sure am!

Sometimes you need to limit your searchbase depending on you AD size. Let’s say I want to retrieve all users starting from a specific point

Get-ADUser -Filter * -SearchBase 'OU=Users,OU=IT,DC=pshirwin,DC=local'

A simple typo will generate an error. Distinguished names are notorious for being lengthy…

Now the obvious AD cmdlets would be Get-ADUser,Get-ADGroup & Get-ADComputer. So that got me thinking , just how many AD cmdlets have SearchBase as a parameter?

Get-Command -Module ActiveDirectory |
   $psItem.Name |
   Where-Object {
        (Get-Command $psItem).ParameterSets.Parameters.Name -eq 'SearchBase'

Turns out there are quite a few using SearchBase

  • Get-ADComputer
  • Get-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy
  • Get-ADGroup
  • Get-ADObject
  • Get-ADOptionalFeature
  • Get-ADOrganizationalUnit
  • Get-ADServiceAccount
  • Get-ADUser
  • Search-ADAccount

So I can have Intellisense on all these cmdlets? Awesome!!!

Intellisense completed the DistinguisedName on -SearchBase for me. No need to type it in, no errors, just select and go!


Here’s the result:


I’m sure you guys will find your own use for this… Thanks again Trevor for bring this to our attention! Good looking out for the community! Be sure to watch Trevor’s video for in depth explanation.

Hope it’s worth something to you…