Top 25 list of Windows PowerShell commands for administrators

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Getting started with PowerShell or just need a quick refresher? This tip lists the most common PowerShell commands, with details on when to use them.

Even though Windows PowerShell has been around for a while, there are plenty of administrators who may not venture…

Let’s take a look at 25 very common tasks you can accomplish with Windows PowerShell.

Common entries (just to get started)

1. Navigate the Windows Registry like the file system:
cd hkcu:

2. Search recursively for a certain string within files:
dir –r | select string “searchforthis”

3. Find the five processes using the most memory:
ps | sort –p ws | select –last 5

4. Cycle a service (stop, and then restart it) like DHCP:
Restart-Service DHCP

5. List all items within a folder:
Get-ChildItem – Force

6. Recurse over a series of directories or folders:
Get-ChildItem –Force c:\directory –Recurse

7. Remove all files within a directory without being prompted for each:
Remove-Item C:\tobedeleted –Recurse

8. Restart the current computer:
(Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_OperatingSystem -ComputerName .).Win32Shutdown(2)

Collecting information

9. Get information about the make and model of a computer:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_ComputerSystem

10. Get information about the BIOS of the current computer:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_BIOS -ComputerName .

11. List installed hotfixes — QFEs, or Windows Update files:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_QuickFixEngineering -ComputerName .

12. Get the username of the person currently logged on to a computer:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_ComputerSystem -Property UserName -ComputerName .

13. Find just the names of installed applications on the current computer:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -ComputerName . | Format-Wide -Column 1

14. Get IP addresses assigned to the current computer:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration -Filter IPEnabled=TRUE -ComputerName . | Format-Table -Property IPAddress

15. Get a more detailed IP configuration report for the current machine:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration -Filter IPEnabled=TRUE -ComputerName . | Select-Object -Property [a-z]* -ExcludeProperty IPX*,WINS*

16. Find network cards with DHCP enabled on the current computer:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration -Filter “DHCPEnabled=true” -ComputerName .

17. Enable DHCP on all network adapters on the current computer:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration -Filter IPEnabled=true -ComputerName . | ForEach-Object -Process {$_.EnableDHCP()}

Software management

18. Install an MSI package on a remote computer:
(Get-WMIObject -ComputerName TARGETMACHINE -List | Where-Object -FilterScript {$_.Name -eq “Win32_Product”}).Install(\\MACHINEWHEREMSIRESIDES\path\package.msi)

19. Upgrade an installed application with an MSI-based application upgrade package:
(Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -ComputerName . -Filter “Name=’name_of_app_to_be_upgraded'”).Upgrade(\\MACHINEWHEREMSIRESIDES\path\upgrade_package.msi)

20. Remove an MSI package from the current computer:
(Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -Filter “Name=’product_to_remove'” -ComputerName . ).Uninstall()

Machine management

21. Remotely shut down another machine after one minute:
Start-Sleep 60; Restart-Computer –Force –ComputerName TARGETMACHINE

22. Add a printer:
(New-Object -ComObject WScript.Network).AddWindowsPrinterConnection(“\\printerserver\hplaser3”)

23. Remove a printer:
(New-Object -ComObject WScript.Network).RemovePrinterConnection(“\\printerserver\hplaser3 “)

24. Enter into a remote PowerShell session — you must have remote management enabled:
enter-pssession TARGETMACHINE

25. Use the PowerShell invoke command to run a script on a remote servers:
invoke-command -computername machine1, machine2 -filepath c:\Script\script.ps1

Bonus command

To dismiss a process you can use the process ID or the process name. The -processnameswitch allows the use of wildcards. Here’s how to stop the calculator:
Stop-Process -processname calc*

 

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