Thursday, 30 October 2008

Get-Scripting Podcast Episode 3 - (Richard Siddaway - Powershell MVP)

Welcome to Episode 3 of the Get-Scripting podcast! Tune in to listen to us talk and interview people about Powershell.

Download it here, subscribe in iTunes or via a different feed reader.

In this episode we welcome long time friend of the show Alan Renouf as our new co-host - you can find out more about Alan via his blog:

Today's interview is with Richard Siddaway - Powershell MVP.

Blog note links:

Ways to learn Powershell:

Go to a Powershell Usergroup.


Richard Siddaway's Blog

Richard's book, Powershell in Practice

How to add SQL 2008 snappin into your own Powershell Profile

Make Powershell talk to you

$SpVoice = New-Object -Com "SAPI.spvoice"
Function Global:Say { $SpVoice.speak("$Args") | Out-Null }
Say "X"

(Thanks to Andrew Tearle for sending this in.)


Send us feedback at

get [dash] scripting [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk

or leave a comment here on the blog

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Monday, 27 October 2008

My stuff is moving......where and why

So with the imminent arrival of the new podcast co-host I decided it would make sense for me to split off my own posts and leave the Get-Scripting blog for the podcast only.

So you can now find my own postings over at:

and from now everything on here will be about the podcast.

Speaking of which we shall be recording Episode 3 tomorrow night Tue 28th Oct, so hopefully should have the show out by the end of this week.

Friday, 17 October 2008

70-113: TS: Windows® Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring - Beta Exam

After seeing James' post about this exam I decided to give it a shot - given the fact that you have a pretty good chance of getting 3 free exam vouchers valid for any other MS test it seemed like a useful way to spend a couple of hours.

The interesting thing about this exam is the interactive lab sections. For a long time in some corners the MS exams have been looked down on for people's ability to pass them without having much experience of the products themselves. This was particularly so back in the NT4 days, although the situation seems to have improved a fair amount with the 2003 track.

Taking this forward MS seems keen to add a more interactive element to the exam, i.e. gearing it more to the use of the product, rather than just theory. This is obviously a good step since it should give the certification more credibility.

Having passed the upgrade for the MCSE 2003 back in March which includes a third on AD 2008, I decided to not spend too much time preparing for it, just a general refresh, so here's how it went. (Obviously I cannot reveal details of the exam, but I can give you a flavour of the experience)


There were two performance labs to complete and then a third section with the standard multiple choice type questions - each section had 60 minutes to complete it.

Problem #1

So I'm all geared to start the first lab and click the launch button to start it. It appears to be connecting to a virtual machine on the Internet, similar to the test labs available on the Technet website, but it fails to connect. So I try again, and again, and again...eventually give up after about the 10th time. I call in the exam moderator, show her the problem and she suggests I continue to the next section and leave comments about the problems.

Problem #2

So I continue to the next section, it warns me I can't go back and then presents the comments screen. I intend to leave some notes, but for some reason the keys I type don't match what appears on the screen! So I give up with that too.

Problem #3

So I'm now on Lab 2, hit start lab, it tries to connect and fails with the same 'lab not available' message as Lab 1. At this point I'm starting to think I've wasted my time, its not going to work, maybe even this machine doesn't have web access. Give it another couple of tries, still nothing. Just about to give up, one more try and it works - the lab begins, hurray! I've never been so pleased to start an exam. :-)

(I guess that's why it's a beta exam)

The lab works as smoothly as you would expect connecting to a VM over the Internet. You are presented with a set of tasks which you can complete in any order during the time limit - this is useful because if you get stuck on one you can just skip it and come back to it later.

The difficulty level ranged from the fairly basic to some where more advanced knowledge would be required, i.e. knowledge of command line tools - overall I felt it was a good mix.

Tip #1: If you get stuck, don't forget although there is no Internet access you do have access to Windows Help. :-)

Once complete, it was then on to the final section which was very familiar to the multiple choice style of exam if you have taken MS exams before.

Funnily enough I felt I did a lot better on the interactive section than the multi-choice questions and this has left me with the opinion that this is definately a good route for the exam style to take since it tests your ability to use the product, rather than just memorising factual information.

Overall, I'm pleased the exams are heading in this direction, they just need to iron out the issues connecting to the labs because you really wouldn't want the experience I had if you were taking the exam for real.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Episode 2 - Competition

In Episode 2 of the Podcast those great guys at Specops gave me a couple of the below magic pens to give away. Not only are they a nice pen, but they also contain a 1GB USB drive and a laser pointer.

So if you want to win one all you have to do is send in your favourite Powershell cmdlet and why. We'll pick the best couple and announce the winners (x2) in Episode 3 (recording towards the end of Oct). We've had a few entries so far, but there's still time to send yours in. Send them to

get [dash] scripting [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk

Also, I'm pleased to say joining us from the next episode will be a regular new co-host to beef up the Powershell knowledge on the show. He's UK based and is a well known member of the Powershell community through his forum postings and blog. If you want to take a guess at who it is then send an email to the usual address before the next show and we'll draw any correct entries out of a hat and dig something out of the Get-Scripting prize cupboard for you.

Clue 1: He has quite an interest in VMware.

get [dash] scripting [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Powershell UK User Group November Meeting

Richard has confirmed details of the next Powershell UK User Group Meeting.

Date: Thursday 20th November
Time: 6.30 - 9.30pm
Location: Memphis Room, Building 3, Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading


Powershell Introduction: Objects and get-member
PowerGUI SQL Server Reporting Services powerpack
Powershell in SQL Server 2008

If you want to attend please send an email to so that you can have a badge waiting for you on arrival.

These are always great events and are well worth attending for anyone with an interest in Powershell (or even SQL this time!). There'll be free pizza too. :-)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008 was the first time that we met.

I just found out I won I competition I entered, run by Technet Plus subscription, for a place at tech.ed in Barcelona next month! This is so exciting!

I keep re-reading the email because I can't quite believe that I won!

I'm going to be able to get such great material for the podcast........

The only thing is I think on my budget (i.e. the reason I had no chance of going in the first place) I'll have to hitch-hike my way there and stay at the YMCA, but who cares. :-)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Specops Remote Admin CTP

So I recently saw a demo of Specops Remote Admin CTP, an update on the very popular GPUpdate tool, which is now based around Powershell. I was particularly excited by it because they have taken a similar approach to the Exchange 2007 team , i.e. build the GUI tool on top of Powershell cmdlets and show in the tool the Powershell commands which are running to complete your GUI actions. This approach is great because it gets people interested in Powershell and shows them how simple it is to be very effective with it.

There are two flavours, GPUpdate 2.0 and Remote Admin. GPUpdate is free, Remote Admin is currently CTP and will be chargeable on full release.

The Setup Assistant gets you up and running by checking if you meet the system requirements and installing them for you if you don't have them. Basically you need .Net 3.5, Powershell and register a Display Specifier in AD.

Once installed, within ADUC right-click a computer and you will see Specops Remote Admin.

Choosing Specops Remote Admin displays a list of the tools you can use.

Selecting one of the tools shows the available options you can execute or schedule and best of all it shows the Powershell code which is running the command!

Of course you can use all of these tools from the command line. First you need to add the Specops snapins to your profile.

add-pssnapin Specopssoft.GpUpdate
add-pssnapin Specopssoft.Adx

Then you can find the commands available to you from Specops.

So, say you want to get all the machines in a particular OU to check in with the WSUS server, its as simple as:

Try it out for yourselves here. You can also listen to Thorbjörn Sjövold CTO of Special Operations Software talk about the tool in Episode 2 of the Get-Scripting Podcast.