Vol. 23, #11 - March 19, 2018 - Issue #1173

WServerNews: Spotlight on PowerShell

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 

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SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

Download Free Tool


Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter shines places Windows PowerShell on the center stage and shines a spotlight on what's new and useful and interesting and newsworthy about Microsoft's powerful scripting platform. Enjoy!

Have you ever wanted to be an actor? I don't know about you but I get frightened with the idea of being up on a stage in front of people and having a spotlight turned on me. Naturally I turned to Dilbert to try and find a way of overcoming my stage fright fears:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fkbc3fpf/

Well, that didn't help much.

FitITproNews is a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that is devoted to helping IT pros become fit, lose weight, and live happily ever after as they face the daily grind of being in the IT profession. Each week well-known Microsoft Press author and former fat IT pro Mitch Tulloch offers up an assortment of tips, news, stories, interviews, and fun stuff all designed to help IT pros transform their life through exercise and good nutrition. Subscribe to FitITproNews today!

http://www.wservernews.com/go/emtoq9wo/

 

Ask Our Readers!

WServerNews now has over 400,000 subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at [email protected]



From the Mailbag

In Issue #1171 Privacy Briefs in a section titled "Imitating Windows 10" we mentioned that Windows isn't the only operating system that slurps up user data and sends up into the vendor's cloud under the guise as telemetry data because the Ubuntu distribution of Linux now does something similar. This drew the following comment from a reader named Wayne from Western Australia:

Hi Mitch love the newsletter and regularly find snippets of information that are of benefit. With regard to telemetry data, unlike surveys and "intelligence tests", telemetry collects all the information, so that it eliminates the bias inherent in voluntary surveys. How often have you been asked to reply to a survey and skipped it because you have what you need and don't feel like assisting some marketing company? Whereas when you have a negative experience you are more likely to make a comment? 

However, how many people find ways to do their job in such a way that it avoids using components of their windows machine. For example I have a number of tabs that automatically open when I open Chrome, some to do with work and some to do with my personal life. If you relied on the telemetry data, the only thing you would think I use the start menu for is to access the shutdown. In reality I regularly use it, particularly on other people's machines to access settings and check that applications are loaded. 

Those are good observations concerning both the value and limits of using telemetry data as a feedback mechanism for software improvement. What do other readers think about Windows 10's telemetry features? Email me at [email protected]

And now on to the main topic of this week's newsletter…


PowerShell news

First let's get the skinny on what's been happening recently with PowerShell. With the release of an open-source version of PowerShell Core the future of Windows PowerShell has become somewhat cloudy. Adam Bertram (a.k.a. Adam the Automator) tries to untangle things in a provocatively-titled post "End of the Road for Windows PowerShell?" on his blog here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/w4p64yxr/

It's also worth carefully reading the roadmap that the PowerShell Team at Microsoft recently published for PowerShell Core so you can learn about the past, current, and future direction of the Core platform:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qnimxqf8/

Those readers who have been learning how to use PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) may also want to know more about Microsoft's future plans in this area too. Check out the following post on the PowerShell Team Blog:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/lo7r5kk5/


PowerShell tools

Next let's look at a few tools that can make "powershelling" more easier for you (yes that grammatically incorrect deliberately was). First off you might want to know about the new itnetX PowerShell DSC Manager which provides a "single pane of glass" for implementing configuration management for DSC. Thomas Maurer has the details on his blog here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/nfwijlmv/

Next up is Plaster, a template-based file and project generator written in PowerShell that is designed to help make it easier for you to create PowerShell modules. Plaster can be found on GitHub here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3p3gvwu1/

Mike Robbins has written a helpful tutorial on how to use Plaster to create a PowerShell Script Module template:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kmphl5pb/

By the way, if you're thinking of designing and building your own PowerShell tool you might first want to read an article by Mike Wragg titled "A PowerShell Tool Scorecard" which you can find here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/a5g1thx9/

Another useful tool (solution really) is AppVeyor which comes in both hosted and enterprise versions. Doug Finke, a nine-time Microsoft MVP, has an article on GitHub that shows how you can use AppVeyor with GitHub to test your PowerShell scripts to make sure they work in both v5 and v6 versions of PowerShell:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1glivycs/

For more information about AppVeyor see their site here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/d1igy943/

For something similar see this other article by Doug on how to test your PowerShell scripts for Windows, Linux and macOS:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/127z0hk9/

On the lighter side (as in simple, not funny) is the PowerShell module DNSSuffix written by The Lonely Administrator which lets you use PowerShell to configure the DNS suffix for a Windows computer:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ss7nl2i0/

And in the futuristic kinda fun end of things, the LazyWinAdmin has a post about a small PowerShell module he created that interacts with the SpaceX Data REST API and allows you to gather data about vehicles, launch sites, launch data, and more:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/768ivlir/

Who says PowerShell can't be fun to play around with?

Got other PowerShell tools, templates, or modules you'd like to share with readers? Email me at [email protected]

 

PowerShell security

A couple of quick notes concerning PowerShell and security. CSO Magazine has an article by David Storm that describes how to protect your network from PowerShell exploits. The article requires registration to read:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/7tckczc1/

A blog called Hacking and Security posted an article a few months ago that demonstrated how to perform penetration testing (pentesting) using PowerShell together with a framework called Nishang:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/hgam57de/

 

PowerShell videos

Now let's check out a few videos by PowerShell guru Don Jones for those of you who like to learn visually. The videos below are companion content for his excellent "Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches"

http://www.wservernews.com/go/t2jlau2k/

http://www.wservernews.com/go/6bgr95us/

http://www.wservernews.com/go/n8pi253j/

A great way of boosting your PowerShell skills is to watch all of Don's videos. You might also want to buy the book of this title by Don Jones and Jeffery Hicks:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/sif1b5rc/



PowerShell training

Finally, for those who want to learn more about how they can use PowerShell it may be worthwhile taking some training on the platform. Global Knowledge offers a course called Automating Administration with Windows PowerShell that's available in live or virtual classroom format (5 days) or on-demand (34 hours):

http://www.wservernews.com/go/944t0g7j/

InfoSecAddicts is offering a course later in March called Offensive PowerShell with Cyber Range:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/6uszefol/

They also have another course coming in June called PowerShell for InfoSec Profressional:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/yhhba3o1/

Both of those sound like really interesting for IT pros who are bent towards the security end of things.

 

Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]


Recommended for Learning

Free ebook: The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society

Register now!Written by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, and Harry Shum, Executive Vice President of Microsoft AI and Research Group

http://www.wservernews.com/go/onhp5gba/

 

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Introduction to Microsoft PowerShell with SharePoint Server

If you're not a developer or programmer by trade, but you want to automate a certain redundant procedure within SharePoint Server 2016, Microsoft PowerShell is your answer! Get the details in this practical introductory course, which starts with the basics and wraps up with a helpful demonstration of the concepts and technology. Learn what PowerShell is and why to use it, along with the basic construct of PowerShell cmdlets. See how to make cmdlets, hear the minimum permissions required to run them in SharePoint, and take a look at the different ways to get help on cmdlets and how to use them in your day-to-day tasks. Determine which cmdlets are available, and find out about parameter sets. Don't miss this opportunity to learn about PowerShell and how it can interact with SharePoint Server 2016 to manipulate web apps, site collections, and more.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/jd53m0zj/


Factoid of the Week - Keep calm and carry on

Last week's factoid and question  was this:

Self-driving cars will leave 'THIRD of population JOBLESS' as AI sparks MASS UNEMPLOYMENT!! OK that's the downside, now what's the upside?

A reader named Wayne responded:

I've yet to see a robot that can intelligently trace a cable and only unplug that cable if the rack is the usual rats nest that develops in most comms rooms.

Wayne also titled the subject of his email as follows:

AI may make many people unemployed but there will always be a need for Internet plumbers.

Another reader named Michael who was probably having a bad day said:

What's the upside? I guess I am just old and bitter, since I see no upside. Every single industry is trying to automate as many processes as possible to save money. And nowadays, most corporations are so short sighted, that they would cut off their nose, to spite their face, if it saved them money. Short term gains rule over any form of long term stability. Disruptive technologies... bah humbug. Just another fancy buzz word to marginalize us humans in an increasingly automated world. Hmmm, buzz... that reminds me, I need to reorder my happy pills so that amazon drones can deliver them to my front door, then use the installed self-aware home security system to let themselves in, and drop off my happy pills on my kitchen counter. The drones know where my kitchen counter is because my robot vacuum cleaner has mapped out my house's floor plan and the company has sold them to amazon so that the drones know where the kitchen counter is. I know it's all for my convenience, so, hey, it's ok. When my happy pills have been delivered to my kitchen counter, the amazon drones will then then lock everything back up when they leave. And the best part, shipping is always free. Woohoo! Thanks again for the newsletter. 

That's kinda how I feel today, maybe because I haven't taken my free happy pills from Amazon.

Michael also offered this more sobering take on the subject of autonomous cars:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ap2751zq/

What do other readers think about this subject? Email me at [email protected]

Anyways, let's move on now to this week's factoid:

Fact: Meditation DOESN'T make you a calmer person: Buddhist practice leaves people just as aggressive and prejudiced, reveals study. 

Sourcehttp://www.wservernews.com/go/8z0817m2/

Question: How do YOU as an IT pro calm down when things go wrong in your server room or datacenter? 

Email your answer to us at [email protected]

Until next week, 

Mitch Tulloch

 

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Restore single files or entire VMs from a storage snapshot in minutes. Free Veeam Explorer is #1 granular recovery for the world’s leading storage vendors: HPE, Dell EMC, Net App, IBM, Lenovo.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/t69arszp/ 


Have you ever had issues with corrupt PST files? Or needed to restore a whole backup only to search for a single email? Then you should give the free trial of MailStore Server a try. It´s an email archiving solution, easy to install and supports most email systems.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/swmxihic/


Why partner with AppRiver? AppRiver is the go-to firm for channel partners who want the best Office 365 margins available, along with rock-solid security services backed by Phenomenal Care®.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/k4og54ji/


Building real-time web apps with PowerShell Universal Dashboard:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/raw0f6a5/


PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio 2017 is a set of tools for developing and debugging PowerShell scripts and modules in Visual Studio:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/hfb42a5b/


The AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell lets you perform many of the same actions available in the AWS SDK for .NET:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/g8ct4t1i/



This Week's Tips

ConfigMgr - Create and deploy apps using PowerShell

Triple Six Seven has a short article that explains how to use PowerShell commands to create and deploy an application using only a few lines of code without having to use the SCCM console GUI:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/b3hgigtk/


Active Directory - Who hasn't logged on for 6 months?

VirtuallyAware explains how you can use a PowerShell command to identify any Active Directory users in your environment who have not logged onto your network for at least 180 days:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/moo91sei/


Intune - Send notification messages using PowerShell

The Swedish blog called Windows-Noob has a step-by-step post that explains how you can send notification messages using PowerShell in Microsoft Intune:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0iwfaxop/



Events Calendar


Microsoft Tech Summit on March 28-29, 2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands

http://www.wservernews.com/go/jeua5kvf/

Microsoft Ignite 2018 on September 24-28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/f6gtgfpp/


Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]


New on TechGenix.com

Blockchain primer: What CIOs must know and understand now

Blockchain is 2018's buzziest buzzword, yet many IT leaders may be confused as to what it is — and isn't. This blockchain primer is for them.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/euf59ezl/


Cyber kill chain: How understanding what it is can help you stop cyberattacks

If you don't know how a cyberattack happens, you may be defenseless to stop it. A cyber kill chain can help you learn your enemies' strengths and weaknesses.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/mtax907r/


What you should know about data backup tools and solutions

Everyone knows how important data backup is. But not everyone has a viable plan. Here's what to keep in mind when you go shopping for data backup tools.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qy66qqp8/


All you need to know about Windows SMB signing

SMB signing provides an extra layer of security and avoids packet tampering and man-in-the-middle attacks. In this guide, we take a comprehensive look into SMB signing.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/icqkq4c7/


Citrix Ready workspace hub lets enterprise users manage multiple workstations

Citrix Ready workspace hub has just been unveiled. The new device is aimed at helping enterprise users seamlessly manage their accounts from various workstations.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wch54jln/

 

Tech Briefing - Hyper-V

How to create VHD sets

Veeam blog

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fsx4ryh5/


Quick Tip–Adding Same ISO DVD Image To All Hyper-V Lab VMs

250 Hello

http://www.wservernews.com/go/21xk3oga/


Securely erase physical drives with dban and Hyper-V

Bob German

http://www.wservernews.com/go/dq23zx95/


Hyper-V Backup – Products & Options

Helge Klein

http://www.wservernews.com/go/4f08wh06/


In practice: How customers are using Shielded Virtual Machines to secure data

Windows Server Blog

http://www.wservernews.com/go/2vtp5pag/

 

Other Articles of Interest

Learn more about what VMware AppDefense is and how it works

VMware Appdefense turns traditional security on its head and offers valuable integrations and benefits, but also carries with it the potential for additional cost and complexity.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/tp3w9h6x/


Use Red Hat Systems Roles to smooth Ansible integration

In the Ansible playbook, IT users can make it easier to manage a Red Hat Linux enterprise environment. Increase efficiency with node management on Ansible with System Roles.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kob2eiba/


DevOps team structure and culture: Lessons from Vince Lombardi

Football is the ultimate team sport, which is why lessons and team insights from the greatest coaches resonate with IT leaders striving to build a winning DevOps team structure.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/o3p3t9ql/


How do you use VMware replication for disaster recovery?

Admins can protect their data centers from disaster recovery by replicating them to another location with vSphere Replication, which supports replication across sites and clusters.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/hzhx5t16/

 

WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

This week we wanted to share some emails we received from a reader named Peter that will probably make you cringe as an IT pro when you watch them.

Mitch; While very funny and not a movie, the British sitcom titled "The IT Crowd" (about a dysfunctional IT department) has some very cringe-worthy moments for us techies. Once such example for me is how people embellish utter nonsense, such as presenting the internet in a box…

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ghuzhlsf/


I laughed hard when I watched that and asked Peter afterwards if he could suggest any other links to similar content, and he replied:

Anyone who has worked on a helpdesk will find this series quite a hoot (but be warned it contains adult humour and be quite edgy at times)! The series is on Netflix:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/63wzj7ra/

and WatchSeries:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/4g7el196/

It was only 4 seasons with 6 episodes each season. It was produced by Channel 4:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kbn1gjke/

which has one final / reunion episode.

The IT Crowd Phone Situation:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/9dyw3j1b/

What tech support sometimes acts like, or more precisely, what end-users think IT acts like.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/262yly15/


Have any other readers found similar content they'd like to recommend for our Fave Links section? Email us at [email protected]

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 

Image

SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

Download Free Tool

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.