A Guide to PowerShell – part 3

Welcome to part 3 of 3 of The Solving A guide to PowerShell. Check also Part 1 and Part 2.

In this final part we will combine the concepts learnt so far and demonstrate practical uses of PowerShell for System Administrators. PowerShell can make the life of an IT Administrator much easier and can be used to manage your infrastructure effortlessly. PowerShell is a fantastic tool at making server management simple, it is great at gathering information about your Server and displaying that data in different formats.

This part of the guide will introduce several new concepts. Take your time and work through each part individually. (more…)

A Guide to PowerShell – part 2

Welcome to part 2 of 3 of The Solving A guide to PowerShell. Click here for Part 1 and Part 3. Here we will introduce importing & exporting data to and from the Shell.

Importing Data into PowerShell

PowerShell supports a large number of data formats which can be imported into it. This gives administrators the ability to execute tasks or commands against the data input. There are 2 key commands to grasp, Get-Content and Import-csv. The Get-Content cmdlet will get the content of an item at a defined location, this is usually text or a string. Import-Csv creates a table-like custom object using the data and headings from a csv file. Remember you can read more by typing get-help get-content -full and get-help import-csv -full

To demonstrate this I will be using The-Solving 2012 R2 Lab. I have created a text file with the server hostnames and saved it to C:\Temp\Test.txt

test file - hostnames (more…)

A Guide to PowerShell – part 1

Welcome to part 1 of 3 of The Solving A guide to PowerShell. Click here for Part 2 and Part 3.

Windows PowerShell is a vast subject, the aim of this guide is to provide system administrators a simple, usable guide to the fundamentals of PowerShell. We will also demonstrate scripts and commands which can be used in typical day-to-day tasks. This guide will give you the basic steps to get you started, it will teach you the core skills needed to open the door to PowerShell and object oriented scripting.

What is PowerShell?

Windows PowerShell is a command line shell, a scripting language and an automated task framework from Microsoft. It is based on .NET framework and is great at automating batch jobs and system tasks. PowerShell is available on both Windows and Linux platforms, and has been integrated into Microsoft operating systems since Windows Server 2003 R2. Today, PowerShell is installed by default on all Microsoft Server releases, and all professional versions of their modern desktop operating systems. Additionally you can download it direct from the Microsoft website if required. (more…)

When and How to use Sysprep

Sysprep is the Microsoft system preparation tool used by system administrators often during the automated deployment of Windows Server based operating systems. Sysprep is most frequently used in virtualized environments to prepare a system image which will be cloned multiple times.

Typically, a system administrator creates a template for a system build and customizes the operating system to their requirements. During the build process, the Operating System allocates the server with a unique SID (System Identifier). Each time you clone the system image/template, you will also clone the SID.

In a Microsoft Windows Server network, duplicate SIDs can cause problems. Issues such as WSUS incompatability, Volume Licence key activation problems as well errors in Microsoft Office products. Other non Microsoft products such as Citrix do not work correctly on environments with duplidated SID. (more…)

Mouse and keyboard suddenly not working? How to fix the KB4074588 update bug

Microsoft has recently issued a Windows 10 update, code KB4074588, that is causing many headaches to system admins and IT staff.

It’s not clear what triggers the problem, but in the affected systems the update compromises the USB ports causing input devices such as mouse and keyboard to stop working.

The user is left without the possibility to interact in any way with his PC.

How to fix this mess?

Configure a Radius server on Windows Server to authenticate Cisco VPN users

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows to connect to a private network through the Internet, from anywhere in the world.

It may be very helpful to business users willing to access from outside the internal resources of their company.

In this post we’ll see how you can allow Active Directory users to perform the login to a VPN, configured on a Cisco router.

The setup includes a Cisco 1801 router, configured with a Road Warrior VPN, and a server with Windows Server 2012 R2 where we installed and activated the domain controller and Radius server role.

How to balance the network traffic with Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP)

We’ve already wrote about the Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP) in our previous article. HSRP is a proprietary protocol developed by Cisco, that allows to decouple the IP addresses from the physical interfaces and to associate them to groups of interfaces, providing hardware redundancy.

In this article we’ll see how to balance the network load with the 2 HSRP groups, allowing to assign 2 virtual gateways to every group of PCs. The result will be a network scheme with load balancing that allows the 2 hosts to connect to the Internet even in case of failure of a gateway.