PowerShell Cheat Sheet for Active Directory

Old school MicrosoftAll right, pop quiz, hotshot:

Do you still use any of the following commands?

  • DSRM
  • PING

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of the previous items, you failed.

ALL of those commands have been replaced by PowerShell.

And they were replaced over a year and a half ago.

News flash: You’re falling further behind in your IT career.

“But PowerShell is hard to remember…” which is true.

Good news though. There’s a handy 4-page cheat sheet to help wean you off the sour milk of the command prompt and get you eating the solid food of PowerShell.

Title: PowerShell Command Line Conversion Guide: Active Directory
Published: 01/02/2013
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
File name: PowerShell Cmd Line Conversion Guide AD.pdf
Pages: 4
Size: 48 KB
Download URL: Click here for download

PowerShell Command Line Conversion Guide: Active Directory

Enjoy your meal!

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Upgrading SQL Evaluation to Volume License


  • You’ve installed SQL 2008 R2 (or newer) in 180-day evaluation mode as a pilot project (or proof-of-concept).
  • The project is successful and you get a green light.
  • The client purchases SQL through Microsoft Volume Licensing.
  • You want to simply add the license key to the SQL server that’s currently in evaluation mode, activate it, and move on.


  1. And if you look up your keys in Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (MS VLSC), there are no keys for SQL.Dude - where's my SQL volume license keys
  2. And the second problem is that even if you had the key, the location to enter the SQL key on the trial server isn’t very obvious.

SOLUTION 1 – How to Get Your MS VLSC SQL Key

If you call Microsoft Volume License support, they will tell you that the keys are imbedded in the product (which is true) and that they can not give you the key information (which may or may not be true, depending on who you’re talking to).

Even worse, the VLSC tech support folks will advise you to remove the SQL installation, download the VLSC ISO, and install FROM SCRATCH.

This is a complete waste of time and a bunch of garbage!

Side note: I asked the VLSC support specialist why there’s a place to enter the key in SQL if the Volume License version of SQL doesn’t have a key. She said “That key is just for if you purchase Retail SQL”.

Again, this is complete garbage!

Rest easy and fear not! — You don’t have to reinstall SQL all over again just to activate it with a volume license key.

Here’s the work-around I used:

IMPORTANT: These steps are on a Hyper-V Server.
NOT on your SQL Evaluation server!

  1. Log into Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center and download your SQL ISO (this ISO is pre-keyed).

    Download the pre-keyed SQL ISO from VLSC

  2. Spin up a generic Server 2012 or 2012 R2 virtual machine in Hyper-V.
    (This should only take about 5 minutes if you have a pre-baked VM).
  3. Add the .NET 3.5 Framework

    GUI version
    Server Manager | Manage | Add Roles and Features | Next | Next | Next | Next | .NET Framework 3.5 Features | Next | Install

    Install-WindowsFeature Net-Framework-Core

  4. Attach the SQL Volume License ISO to the virtual machine.

    Attach the ISO to the virtual machine

  5. Boot the VM, set the admin password in the OOBE windows, then run the Setup.exe file on the SQL DVD / ISO.

    Double-click the SQL Setup.exe installer

  6. Run the program without getting any help.*

    *If you get a compatibility error on 2012 R2 with SQL 2008 R2, you can safely ignore it. (We’re just using this VM to get the key and will blow the VM away when we’re done).

    Ignore this error 

    …the setup bootstrapper continues…


  7. Installation | New installation or add features to an existing installation.

    New installation of SQL on the Hyper-V VM (temporary

  8. Run the program without getting help.
    (Ignore the Program Compatibility Assistant warning again.)

    Ignore this error too

    …as the SQL turns…

    more waiting

  9. On Setup Support Roles, click OK.

    Please put your tray tables and seat backs in the full upright position to prepare for departure

    …more SQL zzzzzz…

    stuck on the tarmac

  10. …and BOO-YAH, there is your Microsoft Volume License key for SQL!

    Touchdown! Here's your SQL Volume License key!

  11. Record that SQL Volume License key in a safe place.
  12. You can now shut down and blow away that virtual server.

SOLUTION 2 – The Key Entry Location

Here are the instructions for where to install the SQL Volume License key on your trial server to activate it into a full-blown VL goodness.

IMPORTANT: These steps are on the SQL EVALUATION server.
Make sure you have a good backup of the server before you continue!

  1. Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 | Configuration Tools | SQL Server Installation Center (64-bit)

    SQL Server Configuration Manager

  2. Maintenance | Edition Upgrade

    Edition upgrade

    …SQL churns…

    Circling the airport

  3. On the Setup Support Rules page, click OK.

    Click OK again

    …more SQL churning…

    Last wait period

  4. Enter the product key | Next.

    Enter your SQL Volume License key here

  5. Accept the EULA | Next.

    Accept the EULA

  6. Specify the instance of SQL Server (the evaluation one) | Next.

    Pick your SQL instance



  7. On the Edition Upgrade Rules page, click Next.

    Click next

  8. On the Ready to upgrade edition page, click Upgrade.

    Click Upgrade

  9. Congratulations, you’re done! Click Close.

    Click close.

Hopefully this tip will save you from the ‘mandatory’ reinstallation of SQL just to change from evaluation mode to a Volume License key.

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PowerShell 5.0 May 2014 Preview – Gotcha

I case you haven’t heard, the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview May 2014 got released at TechEd 2014 this week.

Link: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/archive/2014/05/14/windows-management-framework-5-0-preview-may-2014-is-now-available.aspx

Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview May 2014

Once installed, you should be seeing version 5 in the PowerShell console.

PowerShell 5.0 Preview May 2014

There’s some awesome stuff in PowerShell 5.0 preview (like PowerShellGet). Jeffrey Snover and Don Jones had two *awesome* PowerShell presentations at TechEd North America 2014 this week, shown below:

Windows PowerShell Unplugged with Jeffrey Snover
Speakers: Don Jones, Jeffrey Snover

Windows PowerShell Unplugged with Jeffrey Snover

Windows PowerShell Best Practices and Patterns: Time to Get Serious
Speaker: Don Jones

Windows PowerShell Best Practices and Patterns: Time to Get Serious

PowerShell 5.0 Preview GOTCHA

Per the release document, do NOT install Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview May 2014 on Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard. It’s not supported yet.

Don't install WMF 5.0 Preview on SBS 2011

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Download – PowerShell 4 Quick Reference Guide

Title: Windows PowerShell 4.0 and Other Quick Reference Guides
Published: 04/23/2014
Publisher: Microsoft / PowerShellMagazine.com
Size: 2.08 MB
Download URL: Click here for download


Quickly learn tips, shortcuts, and common operations in Windows PowerShell 4.0, Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration, Windows PowerShell Workflow, Windows PowerShell ISE, Windows PowerShell Web Access, Server Manager for Windows Server 2012 R2, WinRM, WMI, and WS-Man.


  • Windows PowerShell 4.0 Examples
  • Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) 4.0
  • Windows PowerShell 4.0 Language Quick Reference
  • Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Overview
  • Windows PowerShell Web Access
  • Elements of Windows Management Infrastructure (WMI)
  • WMI in Windows PowerShell 4.0
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Download – New Office Visio Stencil

Title: New Office Visio Stencil
Published: 04/22/2014
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
File name: FLEX_Stencil_121412.vss
Size: 3.9 MB
Download URL: Click here for download


This stencil contains more than 300 icons to help you create visual representations of Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office 365 deployments including Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, Microsoft Lync Server 2013, and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013.

Note: This is an updated version (April 22, 2014) of the old Office Visio Stencil


New Office Visio Stencil

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Download – Active Directory Replication Status Tool

Title: Active Directory Replication Status Tool
Published: 04/17/2014
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
Version: 1.1
Size: 5.7 MB
File name: adreplstatusInstaller.zip
Download URL: Click here for download


The Active Directory Replication Status Tool (ADREPLSTATUS) analyzes the replication status for domain controllers in an Active Directory domain or forest. ADREPLSTATUS displays data in a format that is similar to REPADMIN /SHOWREPL * /CSV imported into Excel but with significant enhancements.


  • Expose Active Directory replication errors occurring in a domain or forest
  • Prioritize errors that need to be resolved in order to avoid the creation of lingering objects in Active Directory forests
  • Help administrators and support professionals resolve replication errors by linking to Active Directory replication troubleshooting content on Microsoft TechNet
  • Allow replication data to be exported to source or destination domain administrators or support professionals for offline analysis
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Remote Desktop Connection Tips

OK, so I’m probably the last person on the planet to learn of this feature, but on the left side of Remote Desktop Connection (MSTSC.exe) there’s a drop-down that exposes features for Windows 8, 8.1, Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2.

Drop-down for Windows 8 in latest RDP client

This is helpful when you’re on a Win8.x or 2012/R2 machine, RDPed into another machine and you’re not sure if (when you mouse up to the top-right or bottom-right) if you’re popping up the charms menu for your machine or the remote machine.

Also, speaking of Remote Desktop, there are 2 pieces to the puzzle:

  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) – server
  • Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) – client

Below are the current versions and key features.

RDP 8.0 update (10/23/2012)
Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2

  • RemoteFX for WAN
  • RemoteFX Network Auto Detect
  • RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics
  • RemoteFX Media Streaming
  • RemoteFX USB Redirection for non-RemoteFX vGPU virtual desktops
  • Support for nested sessions
  • Performance counters for monitoring user experience

RDC 8.1 update (2/10/2014)
Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2

  • Full support of transparent windows
  • Moves and resizes of RemoteApp windows
  • Thumbnails, aero peek, and live taskbar
  • Dynamic monitor and resolution changes
  • Support for session shadowing
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PowerShell Tip – Get List of VMs, MACs, IPs & VHDs

Sometimes I wish you could add more fields to the Hyper-V Console, like MAC Addresses or IP Addresses.

As always, PowerShell to the rescue!

Here’s a quick tip to get a list of virtual machines on a Hyper-V host, along with the MAC addresses and IP addresses.

Here’s the PowerShell code:

Get-VM | Select -ExpandProperty NetworkAdapters | Select VMName, MACAddress, IPAddresses

And here are the results:

PowerShell code to get a list of VMs, MACs & IP Addresses

As you can see from the screen shot above, only *running* VMs show IP addresses.

Want to take it a step further and see which VMs are running Legacy NICs and which VMs have Synthetic NICs? Even virtual switch names?

Easy enough – just lose the second filtering statement.

Get-VM | Select -ExpandProperty NetworkAdapters

PowerShell - show legacy NICs in use on VMs

And this one is for Stanley…

Need a list of which VHDs are attached to which VM?

Get-VM | Get-VMHardDiskDrive | Select-Object -Property VMName, VMID, ComputerName, ControllerType, ControllerNumber, ControllerLocation, Path | Sort-Object -Property VMName | Out-GridView -Title "Virtual Disks"

PowerShell - list of virtual hard disks per VM

Source: PowerShell blog & Keith Mayer’s blog

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Top Support Solutions for SBS 2011 Standard

Microsoft recently (18 Feb 2014) posted a very detailed list of top Microsoft Support solutions to the most common issues experienced using Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard (updated quarterly).

Note: Some content that applies to earlier versions of Windows Server is listed, because it can be helpful with SBS 2011 Standard issues also.

The blog post contains solutions related to:

  • Active Directory and Directory Services
  • Client Computers issues
  • Internet Information Services (IIS)
  • Licensing
  • Mail flow issues
  • Network and Web Connectivity
  • Reliability and Performance
  • Small Business Server (SBS) Components
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Installation and Migration



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Training – Server 2012 R2 Essentials Now on MVA

Server 2012 R2 Essentials is finally getting some love from the Microsoft Virtual Academy!

Behold: 4.5 hours of Essentials 2012 R2 goodness!
Instructor: David Fabritius – Microsoft Product Marketing Manager

Description: ​Join Microsoft Product Marketing Manager David Fabritius​ as he takes you through Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and the new Windows Server Essentials Experience role available on the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2.

MVA - Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

URL: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/windows-server-2012-r2-essentials


  1. Overview (36 minutes)
  2. Deployment Options and Licensing (36 minutes)
  3. Installation, Migration, and Getting Started (48 minutes)
  4. Server Management and Monitoring (46 minutes)
  5. Cloud Integration and Add-Ins (40 minutes)
  6. User and Computer Management (32 minutes)
  7. User Experience (33 minutes)

BONUS: There is also a TechNet Virtual Lab for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9836955

Source: Small Business Server Blog

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