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Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 : Working with cmdlets (part 1) - Using Windows PowerShell cmdlets, Using cmdlet parameters

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Cmdlets provide the basic foundation for working with a computer from within the Windows PowerShell. Although there are many different cmdlets with many different available uses, cmdlets all have common features, which I’ll examine in this section.

Using Windows PowerShell cmdlets

At the Windows PowerShell prompt, you can get a complete list of cmdlets available by typing get-command. However, the output lists both cmdlets and functions by name and definition. For cmdlets, the definition provided is the syntax, but the full syntax rarely fits on the line. A better way to get information about cmdlets is to use Get-Help.

If you type get-help *-*, you get a list of all cmdlets, including a synopsis that summarizes the purpose of the cmdlet—which is much more useful than a list of commands. To get help documentation on a specific cmdlet, type get-help followed by the cmdlet name, such as:

get-help get-variable

Windows PowerShell uses online and updatable help files. Because of this, you may see only basic syntax for cmdlets and functions. To get full help details, you’ll have to either use online help or download the help files to your computer. For online help, add the -online option to your get-help command, such as:

get-help get-variable -online

Use the Update-Help cmdlet to download and install the current help files from the Internet. Without parameters, Update-Help updates the help files for all modules installed on the computer. However, Update-Help:

  • Downloads files only once a day

  • Installs files only when they are newer than the ones on the computer

  • Limits the total size of uncompressed help files to 1 GB

You can override these restrictions using the -Force parameter. Table 1 provides a list of cmdlets you’ll commonly use for administration. Although many other cmdlets are available, these are the ones you’re likely to use the most.

Table 1. Cmdlets commonly used for administration

CMDLET NAME

DESCRIPTION

Add-Computer, Remove-Computer, Stop-Computer, Restart-Computer

Adds or removes domain membership or stops or restarts a computer

Add-JobTrigger, Get-JobTrigger, New-JobTrigger, Set-JobTrigger

Cmdlets for adding, getting, creating, and setting triggers for scheduled jobs.

Checkpoint-Computer, Restore-Computer

Creates a system restore checkpoint for a computer, or restores a computer from a checkpoint

Compare-Object, Group-Object, Sort-Object, Select-Object, New-Object

Cmdlets for comparing, grouping, sorting, selecting, and creating objects

Connect-PSSession, Disconnect-PSSession

Connects or disconnects of PowerShell remote session.

ConvertFrom-SecureString, ConvertTo-SecureString

Cmdlets for creating or exporting secure strings

Get-Alias, New-Alias, Set-Alias, Export-Alias, Import-Alias

Cmdlets for getting, creating, setting, exporting, and importing aliases

Get-AuthenticodeSignature, Set-AuthenticodeSignature

Cmdlets for getting or setting the signature object associated with a file

Get-Command, Invoke-Command, Measure-Command, Trace-Command

Cmdlets for getting information about cmdlets, invoking commands, measuring the run time of commands, and tracing commands

Get-Counter

Gets performance counter data

Get-Credential

Gets a credential object based on a password

Get-Date, Set-Date

Gets or sets the current date and time

Get-EventLog, Write-EventLog, Clear-EventLog

Gets events, writes events, or clears events in an event log

Get-ExecutionPolicy, Set-ExecutionPolicy

Gets or sets the effective execution policy for the current shell

Get-Host

Gets information about the PowerShell host application

Get-HotFix

Gets the Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) updates that have been applied to a computer

Get-Location, Set-Location

Displays or sets the current working location

Get-Process, Start-Process, Stop-Process

Gets, starts, or stops processes on a computer

Get-PSDrive, New-PSDrive, Remove-PSDrive

Gets, creates, or removes a specified PowerShell drive

Get-ScheduledJob, Disable-ScheduledJob, Enable-ScheduledJob, Set-ScheduledJob

Cmdlets for getting, disabling, enabling, and setting scheduled jobs

Get-Service, New-Service, Set-Service

Gets, creates, or sets system services

Get-Variable, New-Variable, Set-Variable, Remove-Variable, Clear-Variable

Cmdlets for getting, creating, setting, and removing variables as well as for clearing variable values

Import-Counter, Export-Counter

Imports or exports performance counter log files

New-EventLog, Remove-EventLog, Limit-EventLog

Creates or removes a custom event log and event source, or sets the size and age limits for an event log

Read-Host, Write-Host, Clear-Host

Reads input from, writes output to, or clears the host window

Reset-ComputerMachinePassword

Changes and resets the machine account password that the computer uses to authenticate in a domain

Show-EventLog

Displays a computer’s event logs in Event Viewer

Start-Sleep

Suspends shell or script activity for the specified period

Stop-Service, Start-Service, Suspend-Service, Resume-Service, Restart-Service

Cmdlets for stopping, starting, suspending, resuming, and restarting system services

Wait-Process

Waits for a process to be stopped before accepting input

Write-Output

Writes an object to the pipeline

Write-Warning

Displays a warning message

Using cmdlet parameters

All cmdlet parameters are designated with an initial dash (-). To reduce the amount of typing required, some parameters are position-sensitive, so you can sometimes pass parameters in a specific order without having to specify the parameter name. For example, with Get-Service, you don’t have to specify the -Name parameter, you can simply type:

get-service ServiceName

where ServiceName is the name of the service you want to examine, such as:

get-service MSExchangeIS

This command line returns the status of the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service. Because you can use wildcards, such as *, with name values, you can also type get-service mse* to return the status of all Microsoft Exchange–related services.

All cmdlets support the common set of parameters listed in Table 2. However, to use these parameters, you must run the cmdlet in such a way that these parameters are returned as part of the result set.

Table 2. Common cmdlet parameters

PARAMETER NAME

DESCRIPTION

Confirm

Pauses processes and requires the user to acknowledge the action before continuing. Cmdlets beginning with Remove and Disable have this parameter.

Debug

Provides programming-level debugging information about the operation.

ErrorAction

Controls the command behavior when an error occurs.

ErrorVariable

Sets the name of the variable (in addition to the standard error) in which to place objects for which an error has occurred.

OutBuffer

Sets the output buffer for the cmdlet.

OutVariable

Sets the name of the variable in which to place output objects.

Verbose

Provides detailed information about the operation.

WarningAction

Determines how a cmdlet responds to a warning message. Valid values are SilentlyContinue (suppress the warning and continue), Continue (display the warning and continue), Inquire (display the warning and prompt to confirm before continuing), and Stop (display the warning and halt execution). The default value is Continue.

WarningVariable

Sets the name of the variable (in addition to the standard error) in which to store warnings that have occurred.

WhatIf

Allows the user to view what would happen if a cmdlet were run with a specific set of parameters. Cmdlets beginning with Remove and Disable have this parameter.

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