Auto Install Defender Updates, but Not All Updates

Issue

Fun times! Updates. Which are not separated in the defined GPOs available to Sys Admins.

Many sources of this issue:
[SOLVED] Server 2016 – Auto install definition updates but nothing else? – Windows Server – Spiceworks

Autoupdate Windows Defender (microsoft.com)

Windows Server 2016 auto install security updates – Microsoft Q&A

Issue: Defender Definition updates come ever day, no separate GPO to differentiate other Windows system updates from these. Other updates require manual install for service availability reasons.

*NOTE* This is how to do this while retaining the update option #3: Auto Download and notify for install. Incase you need to maintain guided (human controlled) updates, but not for the definition updates.

Solution:

Use either:

For 2008 R2 (Source)
A) C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe -Signature Update

For 2016 + 2019 (Source)
B) PowerShell Cmdlet: Update-MpSignature

Implementation:

Create a script, configure a GPO to deploy it to server as a scheduled task.
*This post to be update with better, step by step tasks. Just a place holder for now with references.

Step 1: Create a script

If you need help with this, you can use my script as a reference, or just use it, similar to this.

Step 2: Determine shared location

Save the script to a share available to domain system (I heard SYSVOL is accessible by all). If this is not acceptable you can follow this guys guide in which he creates a standard SMB share from an alternative server.

Step 3: Fall Down a Rabbit Hole

OK… this is where things got a bit tricky. There’s one slight issue if you want to run a task from a systems’ perspective when the source is on a SMB share that requires domain creds. In the guide I provided about the Op simply created a shortcut link to the network shared script, which will run under a users context.

In this guide, by SysOps, he mentions the use of SYSTEM and the escalated privilege’s it has, but later mentions that he’s sourcing the script local but you could use a network share, however, not mentioning the issue I just did here.

Of course I figured, ok what a good time learn using gMSA accounts to run the task. It should be able to read the script file, it should have the required rights. (expect this is super good to know Thanks Leon! – If you have “Run whether user is logged in or not” your gMSA must be member of the Log on as a batch job or the local Administrators group to be able to run.) Also don’t have to worry about managing a password for the account, it should be a win all around. Let’s do it.

Pick Your Poison

You can either A) copy the script to a local path on the server, and create a scheduled task to run the script, either as system, or any standard user.

or B) create a domain account, or gMSA, and place the script in a SMB location and use a GPO to create the scheduled task on all machines.

I choose B…. but….

This is a bit of a rabbit hole so feel free to avoid this tangent by skipping to part B.

Turns out there’s no governance around the ExecutionPolicy in windows.

Microsoft has changed how definition updates are seen in update history.

Note usually you should grant access to manage the machine password permission to a group, instead of machines directly, and if done so permission to the gMSA can be applied without reboot. (Though I’m sure the same might apply when applied directly to the system as well, but I have tested).

Now my mind started to wonder a bit, Is there a limitation to how many machines can have access to a gMSA? Even this more nitty gritty blog post on gMSAs doesn’t seem to state any limitations. This reddit post asking specifically around gMSA limitation.. nothing.

“unique_username065
3 years ago
You also need to give the gMSA permission to run scripts. There is a technet blog article that explains all the necessary steps to run scheduled tasks and scripts. I am on mobile, so I can’t look for it.

Just be very careful because everyone with access to the machine can potentially exploit gMSAs AFAIK.

Disclaimer: all I wrote is based in theories”

Well that TechNet blog would have been useful, I’ll keep sourcing my findings as we move along here.ย  So I’ll test it on a single machine, but I have multiple systems in an OU which ties GPOs, so how to push a GPO to just one machine in a OU?

Of course this has it’s own rabbit hole you have to considerSee here for all the details.

In short… ‘If adding “Authenticated Users” with just “Read” permissions is not an option in your environment, then you will need to add the “Domain Computers” group with “Read” Permissions. If you want to limit it beyond the Domain Computers group: Administrators can also create a new domain group and add the computer accounts to the group so you can limit the “Read Access” on a Group Policy Object (GPO).’

In my case the computer account it’s self should suffice, or as mentioned a group with computer accounts. This was the scope and the read permission will both be applied via the same group, and if needing to add more machine only need to add them to the appropriate groups not mess with GPO scopes or permissions. (AKA scalable design)

Then I had one final question pop in my head, “If you can define a GPO to copy a file from a shared network path to the local machine, how does it do that? If scheduled Tasks can only run via ‘SYSTEM’.”

My highly intelligent friend said something, and seems to be backed by this source as well.

“This can only be done during system startup – you’re copying to a system protected folder. During system startup you’ll need to grant the computer itself read access to the source directory share. There are two ways of doing this.

– Create a computer group and grant that group read access. You’ll then need to add every computer to it. You could use the built in Domain Computers group for this as well

or

– Put all the files you want copied into the GPO folder. This folder is read-only for computers as they start.”

Ohhh weird… but you can’t use the computer account to run scheduled tasks?

Apparently not well poop. So that explains all that….

I wanted to test my script as a scheduled task, and noticed a random change from the last time I test.

Old results: Click Check for updates, Definition Update was available, but had to click Install for them to be installed.,

New results (without deploying this script): Click check for update, definition update installs by itself after clicking check for update.

Oh well in that case, lets just up the amount of times it checks for updates.

Apply the GPO setting “Automatic Updates Detection Frequency”

Check the next morning….

As you can see, the detection frequency was applied, but I guess it’s not being adhered to. The last update is well beyond 2 hours.

Time to deploy the script.

K so to pull this off…

Step 3: Create a gMSA

  1. create a group for granting access to manage the MSA password
    New-ADGroup -Name "Update Defender Definitions" -SamAccountName UpdateDefenderDefinitions -GroupCategory Security -GroupScope DomainLocal -DisplayName "Update Defender Definitions" -Description "This group is granted ManagePassword rights on the gMSAtskUDDspt" -Path "CN=Managed Service Accounts,DC=zewwy,DC=ca"
  2. create the gmsa
    New-ADServiceAccount -Name gMSAtskUDDspt -DNSHostName gMSAtskUDDspt.zewwy.ca -PrincipalsAllowedToRetrieveManagedPassword UpdateDefenderDefinitions
  3. grant the group access to the GMSA, by adding computers into the group created in step 1.
    Add-ADGroupMember -Identity SvcAccPSOGroup -Members SQL01,SQL02

    Step 4: Create a GPO that creates a Scheduled Task to run the script

Right click in GPMC where you want your GPO to be linked, and select “create new GPO and link it here”

Remove Authenticated Users from the scope (if you need to test this one one machine, when multiple machines are in one OU, else skip this stuff). Then add the computer account in the scope area. (It appears the computer account is granted read rights on the GPO now.)

Edit the GPO -> Computer -> Preferences -> Scheduled Tasks (at least Windows 7)

It’s super important to know the differences between the actions types.

Action : Update Create

Name: InstallDefinitionUpdates

[Document remaining steps]

Caveats

Shit… I forgot, you have to add the gMSA to all computers that would need this applied too.. and you can’t automate that via GPO, like you can everything else.

Did a update force and saw the scheduled task, finally something, but…

I clearly forgot about Leon’s advise… and double checking that the option to run if the user is logged in or not.

gpupdate /force….. no change to task…. what… ok delete task…..

gpupdate /force… No new task… what?

Go to GPO, switch the option back to run when user is logged on…

gpupdate /force… new task is there… OK what gives?

Try to set the task to run if user is logged on or not manually by editing the task…. I get a cred box pop-up. As for most services using gMSAs, left the password field blank and clicked ok…

I love IT work….

OK… what did I miss this time?

OK, I’ve been digging in the PowerShell properties for scheduled tasks for a while now… How the heck do I set to run logged on or not via powershell?

Main answer, says to use a principal with type password, but it’s a service account? Second main answer says to use system, like no this is a gMSA and we need a domain account for the issues stated above. For shits I tried setting the principal logon type to S4U, as mentioned by one commenter, but it gave me access denied response, then I picked password type and it took it, somehow it is set now… what?! (See picture below)

I went to check the task history… It worked!

Holy Bloody Mary, it actually worked!

OK but it’s seem really stupid when you define the option to run when logged on or not it won’t deploy the task, but if you leave it as user as to logon it does, then you have to use powershell to set the proper logontype. So another powershell script… Ughhhh, there’s also the issue of installing the gMSA on the computer account, I wonder if I could have two additional tasks to run powershell commands to those needfuls.

Ahhh crap, if the GPO action is replace… and I just had to do manual steps I haven’t automated yet….

gpupdate /force… yup back to run when user is logged on crap! Normally the replace action is good if you want to make changes, in this case it’s not wanted, and would be kind of redic to have these multiple scripts to fix themselves go off every time there’s a gpupdate. In this case I changed the Action back to create. K that works, but how do I run these simple powershell commands right after that… automatically.

$principal = New-ScheduledTaskPrincipal -UserId domain\gMSA$ -LogonType password
Set-ScheduledTask -TaskName InstallDefinitionUpdates -Principal $principal

For the first issue, this was the closest I could find. The main answer of using LAPS is poop. The issue around credSSP could be the fact, but not sure if putting creds into a script is a great idea anyway if it is required. I wonder if the system account can run the command… or the “Computer account” maybe via a simplified startup script?

Sine the amount of systems I had to deploy on was small, I skipped this. But if this was wanting to be deployed on end machines, workstations, or laptops. This might be a required step in that case.

As for Issue number two. I ran the above commands manually after installing the gMSA manually. At this point it makes you wonder what was the point of automating the creation of the scheduled task, if I simply have to manually do the other steps. The only answer to that I have is, I didn’t know, I learnt as I go. However it only now required 2 more hurdles to resolve to actually fully automate the process.

Summary

This was another very painful learning experience, all cause definition updates were tied to MS updates, and couldn’t have their own install schedule or install action. I going to create a separate blog post to cover creating a Scheduled Task with a gMSA like this one did. but more specific to that task.

May I suggest you use a standard domain account and just deploy a script pointing to that, and store the creds somewhere if you really need to. This is a painful process.

 

Even More PowerShell Fun

The Story

It’s another day, and we all know what that means… yes, another blog post, and even more PowerShell! Can you feel all the power!?!?!

This time it came down to the storage size of my Exchange servers C:\ which turns out to be due to Logs. Logs are great, and best practice is to only clear them if you have a backup copy. Often is the case that logs can be truncated after a backup via VSS by many backup solutions however in my case I could and probably should get that validated with Veeam (as I can’t seem to get that working ‘out of the box’) at the moment. So instead I wanted to know what was “usually” done server side even if someone was not implementing a backup solution.

Source: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/31117.exchange-201320162019-logging-clear-out-the-log-files.aspx

Neat, but the script is just alright, good for them doing what they want and that’s running it as a scheduled task. Not my goal, but a great source and starting point… let’s have some fun and give this script some roids, much like my last one… I’ll give this a home on GitHub.

Things learned…

  1. Working with the Registry
  2. Determining if Elevated (This is great and I may have a solution to the conundrum in my previous PowerShell post)
  3. Getting a Number, and validating it
  4. Validating Objects by Type
  5. Getting Folder Sizes

Check out my script for all the fun coding bits. I’m a bit tired now as it’s getting late so not much blogging, all more coding. ๐Ÿ™‚

ErrorAction Stop Not Stopping Script

Quick Educational note (Source)

$ETLLogKey2 = 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Search Foundation for Exchange\Diagnostics'
try{Get-ItemProperty -Path $ETLLogKey2 -ErrorAction Stop}
catch{Write-Host "No Key"}
Write-Host "This should not hit"

Produces:

Well poop… The catch block was triggered but the script did not stop…

Oddly, changing to Throw, which is ugly does make the script stop…

$ETLLogKey2 = 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Search Foundation for Exchange\Diagnostics'
try{Get-ItemProperty -Path $ETLLogKey2 -ErrorAction Stop}
catch{throw "No Key"}
Write-Host "This should not hit"

Nice it worked this time, but it’s ugly…

Write-Error is just as ugly, but doesn’t stop the script?

$ETLLogKey2 = 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Search Foundation for Exchange\Diagnostics'
try{Get-ItemProperty -Path $ETLLogKey2 -ErrorAction Stop}
catch{Write-Error "No Key"}
Write-Host "This should not hit"

Produces:

Yet if I follow Sages answer in the source, and do a script variable for the stop action it then works???!?!

$ErrorActionPreference = [System.Management.Automation.ActionPreference]::Stop
$ETLLogKey2 = 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Search Foundation for Exchange\Diagnostics'
try{Get-ItemProperty -Path $ETLLogKey2}
catch{Write-Error "No Key"}
Write-Host "This should not hit"

Those are really weird results, but all still ugly… so it seems even though -ErrorAction Stop causes a non-terminating error to be treated as a terminating error, but depending on what you do in the catch block determines if there’s a break/exit event being done. In my case to have things look nice and actually stop the script I have to do the follow.

$ETLLogKey2 = 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Search Foundation for Exchange\Diagnostics'
try{Get-ItemProperty -Path $ETLLogKey2 -ErrorAction Stop}
catch{Write-host "No Key";break}
Write-Host "This should not hit"

Which finally produced the output I wanted. (I could have also used exit in place of break)

Finally!

Validating URLs:

Source:

Good but broken due to the match on the scheme extension:

function isURI($address) {
	($address -as [System.URI]).AbsoluteURI -ne $null
}

function isURIWeb($address) {
	$uri = $address -as [System.URI]
	$uri.AbsoluteURI -ne $null -and $uri.Scheme -match '[http|https]'
}


isURI('http://www.powershell.com')
isURI('test')
isURI($null)
isURI('zzz://zumsel.zum')

"-" * 50

isURIWeb('http://www.powershell.com')
isURIWeb('test')
isURIWeb($null)
isURIWeb('zzz://zumsel.zum')
isURIWeb('hp:') #Return True

 

Better results with:

function isURI($address) {
($address -as [System.URI]).AbsoluteURI -ne $null
}

function isURIWeb($address) {
$uri = $address -as [System.URI]
$uri.AbsoluteURI -ne $null -and $uri.Scheme -match "http|https"
}


isURI('http://www.powershell.com')
isURI('test')
isURI($null)
isURI('zzz://zumsel.zum')

"-" * 50

isURIWeb('http://www.powershell.com')
isURIWeb('test')
isURIWeb($null)
isURIWeb('zzz://zumsel.zum')
isURIWeb('hp:') #Return True

Powershell fun

PowerShell

Finding specific files

The Folder path in which you need to search
$Path = ‘C:\folder\path’

The Regular Expression you like to match
$RegEx = ‘[^-\w\.]’

The CSV File name
$OutCSV=’C:\temp\fileResults.csv’

Get-ChildItem -Path $Path -Recurse | Where-Object -FilterScript { $_.Name -match $RegEx } | Export-Csv -Path $OutCSV -NoTypeInformation

 

And YA! files modified in the last 24 hrs…

Get-ChildItem -Path $Path -Recurse | Where-Object -FilterScript { ((get-date) - $_.LastWriteTime).totalhours -le 24 } | Export-Csv -Path $OutCSV -NoTypeInformation

Finding Objects Properties

I used to use

$Object | FT *

to try and find properties to use, but easier is

$Object | get-Member

So much easier to see all an objects properties, and methods… and whatever ๐Ÿ˜€

There are obviously endless things you can do with powershell, with a syntax farrrrrrrrr more intuitive then BATCH ever was. That is really thanks to a lot of object operations relying on non other then regular expressions AKA RegEx.

RegEx is powerfull but also hard to grasp at times. Which funny enough has caused this blogger an unknown grief :P, though someone suggests not to use $ in between double quotes but for single quotes.. but it’s not “just that easy” as understanding the difference between using single quotes and double quotes is a big thing in PowerShell and understanding this as PowerShell as much as the RegEx underneith has it’s own special synatx on certain things and certain characters, so not only does PowerShell interpreter have it’s own parser with escape characters… So does RegEx so you have to know the info in the above link, as well as understand RexEx’s syntax, special characters, and escape characters specially when using operators like -like -match -contains or even -AllMatches…

Finding Files With Specific Characters

Outside of setting variables this really comes down to one line in the alternative bloggers script… line 8…

$item.Name | Select-String -AllMatches $UnsupportedChars

Nice, so simple, but as mentioned this breaks if you attempt just specific special characters, such as $ or ^ as these are special characters to RegEx and need to otherwise be escaped to be taken literally.

Now the script in and of itself is simple enough to accomplish a simple task.. to explain in better detail what I mean… here’s my list of files, NTFS accepts more strange characters then I first though, so users can really be creative…

clearly much more complex, so if I run his script what happens….

Now I commented out the line that actually renames the files, so you know, I don’t have to rename them to reset my test. That’s good, but even though he added the money sign in his blog to the “$UnsupportedChars” var, he didn’t actually add it in the final script, and what happens if you do?

ok so in this case, the -AllMatches worked without issues I suppose due to changing to single quotes. but what if we need to change it’s character, let’s copy one of his ifs that changes it and see how it responds…

The results…

hahahha that’s a lot of money, clearly the RegEx got confused when we specified $ in the -Replace operations… so as the source RegEx escape characters says, escape it with \…. lets do that…

Awesome it worked… but I don’t like edited a script every time I need a slight change in my search criteria…. let’s take his script… and well completely redesign it as if it were on Steroids!!! Functions! – to reuse reusable code with returns! Write-Hosts and Read-Hosts for user interaction and input, and heck why not options on results! Export, List, rename sounds good! This along with some dependency checking! (Does the path exist? Do you have rights to modify?)… oh yeah and confirmation of action! ๐Ÿ˜›

This beast will need it’s own GitHub Repo… so… here it is!

OK… now that I’m actually writing this blog actively while I’m polishing my script.. I noticed my export section had a Try, Catch for the creation of the CSV file. Simple but this, in itself, is not actually checking if I have permission… it’s simply checking to see if the I/O operation is actually able to succeed… it may fail due to other reasons (store space for example). So how do I check to see if I actually have permission before continuing? Well check your group membership (along with your own SID) and check the files/folders Access Control Lists (ACLs), obviously.

So how do I get a workaround based machines local user group membership?

Googling I can find easy how to do this for a domain joined machine, which is fantastic if I wanted to validate the path on a network share where the ACE’s and ACL’s are all managed by domain SIDs. But this test and script is all on my “workgroup” machine… and finally after enough searching the holy grail!

Wasn’t done directly by Ed Wilson but close enough, it gave the the code I needed to check the members of the local admin group, but what I really need is simply to validate read/write permissions.. So I found this… and sadly it doesn’t understand the fully distinguished user name when using whoami as the user variable… and it can’t sense inherited permissions… only once I granted my akadmin direct read and execute permissions would the code work…

Like ughhhhhhhhhhh………

I’m gonna skip this in my script for now… rather work on getting export to work properly, and actually getting the rename code in when saying yes. :O.. will update this post when that’s done.

… and yet in my drunken’ stuper I decide to keep trying…

I think the only way is only to iterate through the local groups and verify users.. nope leaving this again, unless a better way comes about.

OK.. so I felt I was on to something…

figured there’s got to be an easy way to do the same cmd as whoami /groups in PowerShell right… wtf is going on here?!?! I thought PowerShell was the easier scripting language… man this is crazy. and this

Not even brah… THIS! This is getting close!

This is gon’ be fun! (Great Source)

$folder = "c:\temp"
$CP = New-Object Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal([Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent())
$UGM = $CP.Identities.Groups | ?{$_.AccountDomainSid -ne $null}
$UGM = $UGM + $CP.Identities.User
$TPP = (Get-Acl $folder).Access
foreach ($P in $TPP.IdentityReference.Translate([System.Security.Principal.SecurityIdentifier]))
{
foreach ($UP in $UGM){if($UP -eq $P){Write-Host "We got permissions here!`n";$TPP | ?{$_.IdentityReference.Translate([System.Security.Principal.SecurityIdentifier]) -match $P}}}
}

Testing this out on my the account I added to a group worked just fine, but on my main machine it failed on me…

Poop, what happened… turned out my code filters the nitty gritty built in groups. By default all users are a part of these and aren’t generally used to define permissions (but can be, E.G Administrators). Since there was only one group my account was a member of the PS Object “$UGM” was not of a multi-value object aka an array object and doesn’t have an addition type method to complete the addition of the user SID, to the what should be array, as I have not defined it as such. So this is a good example to usually always define your variable types or fault to the problems they can inhibit. Also I was stunned I was not able to see the group SID when I called for all local groups, no matter how I called them, so doing the magic translate trick as the source above…

What the heck… None … didn’t even know such a group existed…

Code fixed by doing the following:

$folder = "c:\temp"

$CP = New-Object Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal([Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent())
$UGM = @($CP.Identities.Groups | ?{$_.AccountDomainSid -ne $null})
$UGM = $UGM + $CP.Identities.User
$TPP = (Get-Acl $folder).Access 
foreach ($P in $TPP.IdentityReference.Translate([System.Security.Principal.SecurityIdentifier])) 
{
 foreach ($UP in $UGM){if($UP -eq $P){Write-Host "We got permissions here!`n";$TPP | ?{$_.IdentityReference.Translate([System.Security.Principal.SecurityIdentifier]) -match $P}}} 
}

After enough beers I got it to even let the user know if they are in the admins group but not elevated ๐Ÿ™‚

$folder = "c:\temp\None"

$CP = New-Object Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal([Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent())
$UGM = @($CP.Identities.Groups | ?{$_.AccountDomainSid -ne $null})
$UGM = $UGM + $CP.Identities.User
if(([Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal] [Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent()).IsInRole([Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltInRole] "Administrator")){$UGM = $UGM + ($CP.Identities.Groups | ?{$_.Value -eq "S-1-5-32-544"})}

$TPP = (Get-Acl $folder).Access

foreach ($P in $TPP.IdentityReference.Translate([System.Security.Principal.SecurityIdentifier]))
{
    foreach ($UP in $UGM){if($UP -eq $P){Write-Host "We got permissions here!";$TPP | ?{$_.IdentityReference.Translate([System.Security.Principal.SecurityIdentifier]) -match $P}}}
}

foreach($pu in (Get-LocalGroup Administrators | Get-LocalGroupMember).SID){if($pu -eq $CP.Identities.User -And !([Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal] [Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent()).IsInRole([Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltInRole] "Administrator")){Write-Host "You are an admin, but you are not elevated..."}}

Fixing the CSV Export

So far I have not go the permission checking working just yet. I have however managed to fix the export-csv issue.. old export…

Yeah that System.Object[] isn’t very helpful..

based on this old code:

$shit | Select-Object Name, Directory, MatchedValue| Export-Csv -Path $CSVFile -NoTypeInformation

I was trying all these weird things to try n resolve it (bad ideas)…

a lot of extra code for not good results, I figured there had to be a better way… and sure enough there was… Source

which left me with this code:

 $BadFiles | Select-Object Name, Directory, @{Expression={$_.MatchedValue -join ';'}} | Export-Csv -Path $CSVFile -NoTypeInformation

which now provides this output:

Nice! Until the moment I realized, can user use ; in file names… Ahhh they can! shoot! So now my test files grows larger, but my script help up with very lil modification! first to add it in the list of searchable characters:

function GetChars()
{
    Write-host "Characters to search for !$'&{^,}~#%][);( " -ForegroundColor Magenta -NoNewline
    $UnsupportedChars = Read-Host
    if ( !$UnsupportedChars ){ $UnsupportedChars = "\]!$'&{^,+}~#%[);(" }
    return $UnsupportedChars
}

That was it! the list output is fine:

but the export not so much as I was using ; to join those items…

K well users can use a \ so let’s see if we can use that in the export, again easy code change..

$BadFiles | Select-Object Name, Directory, @{Expression={$_.MatchedValue -join ';'}} | Export-Csv -Path $CSVFile -NoTypeInformation

Let’s test…

Nice, also added =, and let’s also test for @…

easy got em… until I realized you can name a file with a backtack `

and if I search for it on it’s own no problem…

but if I try to extend the default list of characters, I can’t seem to get it to work, even if I specify an escape \ in my list… Woah! I randomly got it!

function GetChars()
{
    Write-host "Characters to search for !$'&{^,}~#%]`[)@=;( " -ForegroundColor Magenta -NoNewline
    $UnsupportedChars = Read-Host
    if ( !$UnsupportedChars ){ $UnsupportedChars = "\]!$'&{^,+}~#%[)@=;(``" }
    return $UnsupportedChars
}

Double backticks worked, what a random thing to try and it actually worked…

That’s it for tonight! I got pretty much every special character covered. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next time I want to cover bulk confirmation with a report, since confirming every one can be annoying, but better to have confirmation then not!

PIssssss!!!!! Source of problem

Oi! I DID IT!!! YES!

From this…

        if(confirm $turd.name $turd.NameToChange)
        {
            Try { Rename-Item $turd.name -NewName ($turd.NameToChange) }
            Catch { Centeralize "Unable to change file's name"$turd.name "Red"}
        }
        else
        {
            Write-Host "Maybe Another time..."
        }

to this (after exporting to it’s own function though)…

        if(confirm $turd.name $turd.NameToChange)
        {
            
            $ThatOldName = $turd.FullName
            if (($ThatOldName).ToCharArray() -ccontains "[") {Write-host "We found a bad char";$ThatOldName -replace "\[", "`["}
            Try { Rename-Item -literalPath $ThatOldName -NewName ($turd.NameToChange) -ErrorAction Stop }
            Catch [System.UnauthorizedAccessException]
            {
                Centeralize "You do not have permission to change this file's name" "Red"
            }
            Catch 
            { 
                $ErMsg = "Unable to change file's name "+$turd.name
                Centeralize $ErMsg "Red"
                $ErrMsg = $_.Exception.Message
                Centeralize $ErrMsg "Red"
            }
        }
        else
        {
            Write-Host "Maybe Another time..."
        }
    }

I can’t believe it worked! wooo results from this:

To this!:

I can’t do much about files that already exists, besides people mentioing way to over-write existing files which I’m not coding for, nope sorry.

but so far so good. This script is awesome!

Today I discovered that Try-Catch only works on terminating exceptions…

Powershell ErrorAction

Sigh… This means I have to do additional coding if I want the script to get all items from main folder, even if there’s a permission restriction on a child folder.

Life’s rough!

RegEx

It’s power and complex.

I was gonna write a blog post, but I got sucked into learning regex for hours… and I’m still baffled at the syntax…

One thing is for sure…. backlooks are difficult without context awareness (variables)…..

Ugh, Example 1 Example 2

Then there’s learning about Anchors or “automatic zero-width assertions” … ooooeeeeeee that’s a mouthful.

Ugh man… I’ll eventually get the results I want, just a matter of time…

Interesting how to get everything but a set string.

Don’t forget it’s sometimes OK to be Greedy and Lazy.

It amazes me how much time I’ve spent reading up on regex… I knew it was powerful… but man…

Exit, Break, and Return

The Break, The Return, and the Exit are all well break dance moves even the newest of new comers knows about.
Hahaha, Nah I’m just making that shit up. They are however great tools for powershell scripting.
However, do you know what the difference in all of them are, and when best to use them?

For a longer answer and some explainations visit this site. ๐Ÿ˜€
If not whatever here’s the quick low down so you can save going to that day of class. ๐Ÿ˜›

1) Break terminates execution of a loop or switch statement and hands over control to next statement after it.
2) Return terminates execution of the current function and passes control to the statement immediately after the function call.
3) Exit terminates the current execution session altogether. It also closes the console window and may or may not close ISE depending on what direction the wind is facing.

Arrays Gone Astray

I love powershell, and as one figures you’ll have to deal with arrays. and when you learn them, they become a handy tool for any dev/scripters toolkit.
This guy covers it well. in short do this

PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit = @("Apple","Banna","Orange")
PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit.Add("Kiwi")
Exception calling "Add" with "1" argument(s): "Collection was of a fixed size."
At line:1 char:1
+ $Fruit.Add("Kiwi")
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : NotSpecified: (:) [], MethodInvocationException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NotSupportedException

PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit = $Fruit + "Kiwi"
PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit
Apple
Banna
Orange
Kiwi
PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit.GetType()

IsPublic IsSerial Name                                     BaseType
-------- -------- ----                                     --------
True     True     Object[]                                 System.Array


PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit = $Fruit - "Kiwi"
Method invocation failed because [System.Object[]] does not contain a method named 'op_Subtraction'.
At line:1 char:1
+ $Fruit = $Fruit - "Kiwi"
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (op_Subtraction:String) [], RuntimeException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : MethodNotFound
PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit = $Fruit -ne "Kiwi"
PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit
Apple
Banna
Orange
PS C:\Scripts> $FruitIsFixedSize
PS C:\Scripts> $Fruit.IsFixedSize
True

Center Write-Host Output

Write-Host

It’s great and it’s main purposes is to well write to the host. Nothing more. So often people abuse it and leaving people to rant about it.
E.G. This guy and the “Gurus”
I agree with both of them in terms of displaying data, hands down. However, when it comes to simple informing the admin/user of the script the “it displays and gets rid of that info” is efficient, and interactive (colors).

With that out of the way. I am working on a script to clear web parts from a sharepoint page via powershell.
I always like clean code an usually my scripts are interactive, for other non-interactive scripts I’d stick with Write-Output as described by the scripting guys.
However since I like to display things colorfully and neatly Write-Host is perfect!

The Problem

Turns out there’s no easy way to get-write host to center it’s output, no mater how hard I googled. This reply from James Bernie however kicked off the idea it was possible.
There were actually a decent amount of issues with his propsed idea, when implemented. First we’ll want a static variable of the window size at start of script.
Then it turns out Bernies fancy full integer trick may return whole numbers, but does so as a dang string type. Instead of wasting time dicking around with another method, i simply did this trick of dividing by 1 on the variable.
The final problem with his concept which was driving me nuts for a good while was due to the fact of how padding method actually works.
PadLeft adds spaces to the left of a string.
This is handy for numeric out-put because padding keeps the numbers properlly aligned on the right.
This was exactly the problem I was facing, testing my existing function with a series of dots of different lengths, I found them all to be right aligned, and not centered.
Another issue I found was that the pipe into measure method under an expression based section of code and calling its sub routine of count ($var | measure).count wasn’t returning the correct value.
That line was pretty stupid anyway when you can simply call any variable thats of a string type length method.
And the final nail in the logical coffin, the padding was again aligning more right of center than actual center due to the fact that’s what it was comparing to first in the convert.
So it made more sense to take ((Wdith of screen) – String.Length)/2 + String.Length, this associated with a left and right padding, creates a centered master piece!!
Finally!!Here’s the final thing I had to overcome. My function I wanted to support Write-Host outputs color param.
As it turns out, overloading functions isn’t supported in powershell, but that didn’t stop someone from comming up with a work around!
This guy and his buzz works… Woo Ad-hoc Polymorphism!!! OK OK… here’s my final piece of code for you guys. NOTE I didn’t do fully ad hoc polythingy I cheated and only supprted foreground color via an if else.
If you *burp* want to make it support background and foreground… Uhhhhh.. do it yourself… getting to wasted right now…

#Function to Centralize Write-Host Output, Just take string variable parameter and pads it
#Nerd Level over 9000!!! Ad-hoc Polymorphic power time!!
$pswwidth = (get-host).UI.RawUI.MaxWindowSize.Width
function Centralize()
{
  param(
  [Parameter(Position=0,Mandatory=$true)]
  [string]$S,
  [Parameter(Position=1,Mandatory=$false,ParameterSetName="color")]
  [string]$C
  )
    $sLength = $S.Length
    $padamt =  "{0:N0}" -f (($pswwidth-$sLength)/2)
    $PadNum = $padamt/1 + $sLength #the divide by one is a quick dirty trick to covert string to int
    $CS = $S.PadLeft($PadNum," ").PadRight($PadNum," ") #Pad that shit
    if ($C) #if variable for color exists run below
    {    
        Write-Host $CS -ForegroundColor $C #write that shit to host with color
    }
    else #need this to prevent output twice if color is provided
    {
        $CS #write that shit without color
    }
}

*Update* This code is being managed on GitHub, please download or fork the latest version from there, maybe one day I’ll implement background color.. :S