Monthly Archive


Windows 10

You have to laugh

Sometimes things just happen and you have to laugh.

So I decided I wanted to get back to working with the Windows 10 Insider previews (and Windows Server previews). This time I decided to use VMs rather than my working machine so that interruptions were minimised.

I created a new Windows 10 VM and as normal for VMs I set the initial memory to 512MB and used dynamic memory so that the machine could claim more RAM if required. Windows 10 installed with no problems. (Remember this).

I then went into Window Update and signed into the Windows Insider program. After triggering a scan fro updates build 16241 showed up and started downloading. Great.

It tried to install but failed with a message that 2GB of RAM was needed to perform the install!

So I can install from scratch with less than 2GB of RAM but I can’t update the build unless I have 2GB RAM.

Nice piece of joined up thinking there guys.

Sometimes you just have to laugh.

PowerShell Direct failure

PowerShell Direct is introduced with Server 2016/Windows 10. it enables you to create a remoting session from the Hyper-V host to a VM using the VM name or ID. I recent discovered a PowerShell Direct failure that I couldn’t explain until now.

Normally you do this:

PS> New-PSSession -VMName w16cn01 -Credential (Get-Credential w16cn01\administrator)

Id Name    ComputerName  ComputerType  State  ConfigurationName  Availability
-- ----     ------------  ------------    -----  -----------------  ------------
1 Session1       W16CN01  VirtualMachine  Opened                       Available

But on one particular machine I was getting this

PS> New-PSSession -VMName w16as01 -Credential (Get-Credential w16as01\administrator)
New-PSSession : [W16AS01] An error has occurred which Windows PowerShell cannot handle. A remote session might have ended.
At line:1 char:1
+ New-PSSession -VMName w16as01 -Credential (Get-Credential w16as01\adm ...
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : OpenError: (System.Manageme....RemoteRunspace:RemoteRunspace) [New-PSSession], PSRemotin
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : PSSessionOpenFailed

I couldn’t find an explanation for this particular PowerShell Direct failure

I’ve been working with PowerShell v6 and OpenSSH the last few days and I noticed that the PowerShell directory had been removed from the system path by the installation of one of these pieces of software.

W16AS01 had been the first machine I experimented with PowerShell v6/OpenSSH and it was the first to experience this PowerShell direct failure.

I checked W16AS01 and sure enough the PowerShell folder was missing from the system path. Adding the Powershell folder back onto the path (and restarting the machine for luck) then retrying PowerShell Direct gives:

PS> New-PSSession -VMName W16AS01 -Credential (Get-Credential W16AS01\Administrator)

Id Name            ComputerName    ComputerType    State         ConfigurationName     Availability
-- ----            ------------    ------------    -----         -----------------     ------------
1 Session1        W16AS01         VirtualMachine  Opened                                 Available

Looks like I’ve found a solution for this particular PowerShell direct failure

Updating built in modules

Windows 10 and Server 2016 automatically install a module called Pester which is used for testing code. Its the foundation of Test Driven Development or Behaviour Driven Development using PowerShell.

The version  installed by default is 3.4.0.

Pester is originally an open source module that has been incorporated into Windows. The latest version from the PowerShell Gallery is 4.0.2

Normally you’d use Update-Module to install the new version BUT you didn’t install pester from the gallery using Install-Module so you’ll get a big fat error message.

The answer is to use

Install-Module pester –Force

You might still get an error message about the Pester module not being catalog signed. if you do and still want the latest version then use

Install-Module pester -Force -SkipPublisherCheck

Windows 10 uptime

One of the things that managers seem to be fascinated with is up time. For Windows server operating systems its a fairly simple calculation

PS>  (Get-Date) - (Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem | select -ExpandProperty LastBootUpTime)
Days              : 0
Hours             : 3
Minutes           : 46
Seconds           : 45
Milliseconds      : 465
Ticks             : 136054659217
TotalDays         : 0.157470670390046
TotalHours        : 3.77929608936111
TotalMinutes      : 226.757765361667
TotalSeconds      : 13605.4659217
TotalMilliseconds : 13605465.9217

You can get a bit more precise by using the time the event log service is started as that’s early in the boot sequence while LastBootUpTime really records when the machine is ready to access. If you want to use the event log methodology see

With Windows 10 (actually with Windows 8 or 8.1 as well) this breaks down.

PS> (Get-Date) - (Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem | select -ExpandProperty LastBootUpTime)
Days              : 23
Hours             : 6
Minutes           : 57
Seconds           : 55
Milliseconds      : 371
Ticks             : 20122753718697
TotalDays         : 23.2902242114549
TotalHours        : 558.965381074917
TotalMinutes      : 33537.922864495
TotalSeconds      : 2012275.3718697
TotalMilliseconds : 2012275371.8697

I use my computer a lot but 23 days is a bit excessive even for me.

If we look at the last boot time

PS> Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_OperatingSystem | select LastBootUpTime

11/02/2017 10:00:35

You can see the calculation is correct.

This happens because Windows 10 (and 8 and 8.1) don’t fully power down when you do a Shut Down. They enter an extreme sleep state. This is the reason that start up times shrunk so dramatically when Windows 8 was introduced.

So how can you determine when your Windows 10, 8.1 or 8 machine was used.

You might be tempted to look in the System event log – where you’ll find entries like this each time the Windows machine is woken up

PS> Get-EventLog -LogName system -InstanceId 2147489661 | select -First 1 | Format-List
Index              : 8668
EntryType          : Information
InstanceId         : 2147489661
Message            : The system uptime is 1995412 seconds.
Category           : (0)
CategoryNumber     : 0
ReplacementStrings : {, , , ...}
Source             : EventLog
TimeGenerated      : 06/03/2017 12:17:24
TimeWritten        : 06/03/2017 12:17:24
UserName           :

Unfortunately this takes us back to out 23 days

PS> New-TimeSpan -Seconds 1995412
Days              : 23
Hours             : 2
Minutes           : 16
Seconds           : 52
Milliseconds      : 0
Ticks             : 19954120000000
TotalDays         : 23.0950462962963
TotalHours        : 554.281111111111
TotalMinutes      : 33256.8666666667
TotalSeconds      : 1995412
TotalMilliseconds : 1995412000

Using the event log service start up also gives us the hard power up date

PS> Get-EventLog -LogName system | where{(($_.EventId -eq 6005) -or ($_.EventId -eq 6006)) } | select -First 1 | Format-
Index              : 6275
EntryType          : Information
InstanceId         : 2147489653
Message            : The Event log service was started.
Category           : (0)
CategoryNumber     : 0
ReplacementStrings : {}
Source             : EventLog
TimeGenerated      : 11/02/2017 10:00:30
TimeWritten        : 11/02/2017 10:00:30
UserName           :

There is an entry in the System event log for when the machine comes out of its power down mode:

PS> Get-EventLog -LogName system -InstanceId 1 | where Message -Like '*low power*' | select -First 1 | Format-List
Index              : 8683
EntryType          : Information
InstanceId         : 1
Message            : The system has returned from a low power state.

Sleep Time: 2017-03-05T22:00:54.261033400Z
Wake Time: 2017-03-06T12:17:26.089189400Z

Wake Source: 0
Category           : (0)
CategoryNumber     : 0
ReplacementStrings : {2017-03-05T22:00:54.261033400Z, 2017-03-06T12:17:26.089189400Z, 1245, 1590...}
Source             : Microsoft-Windows-Power-Troubleshooter
TimeGenerated      : 06/03/2017 12:17:28
TimeWritten        : 06/03/2017 12:17:28

so you could calculate uptime as

PS> (Get-Date) - (Get-EventLog -LogName system -InstanceId 1 | where Message -Like '*low power*' | select -First 1 | sel
ect -ExpandProperty TimeGenerated)
Days              : 0
Hours             : 4
Minutes           : 54
Seconds           : 9
Milliseconds      : 174
Ticks             : 176491748155
TotalDays         : 0.20427285666088
TotalHours        : 4.90254855986111
TotalMinutes      : 294.152913591667
TotalSeconds      : 17649.1748155
TotalMilliseconds : 17649174.8155

If you really wanted to you could dig into the log entries and use the sleep and wake times in the message block

PS> Get-EventLog -LogName system -InstanceId 1 | where Message -Like '*low power*' | select -First 1 | select -ExpandPro
perty ReplacementStrings


PS> $rs = Get-EventLog -LogName system -InstanceId 1 | where Message -Like '*low power*' | select -First 1 | select -ExpandProperty ReplacementStrings

From which you can calculate the time the machine was powered down (asleep)

PS> [datetime]$rs[1] - [datetime]$rs[0]
Days              : 0
Hours             : 14
Minutes           : 16
Seconds           : 31
Milliseconds      : 828
Ticks             : 513918281560
TotalDays         : 0.59481282587963
TotalHours        : 14.2755078211111
TotalMinutes      : 856.530469266667
TotalSeconds      : 51391.828156
TotalMilliseconds : 51391828.156

So how much have I been using the machine in the last week

$now = Get-Date
$start = $now.AddDays(-7)

$events = Get-EventLog -LogName system -InstanceId 1 -After $start  |
where Message -Like '*low power*'

$lastevt = $events.Count - 1

## time since last wake up
$usetime = $now - [datetime]$events[0].ReplacementStrings[1]

for ($i=0; $i -lt $lastevt; $i++){

$Sleep = [datetime]$events[$i].ReplacementStrings[0]
$Wake = [datetime]$events[$i+1].ReplacementStrings[1]

$tt = $sleep - $wake

$usetime += $tt



Days              : 2
Hours             : 15
Minutes           : 46
Seconds           : 20
Milliseconds      : 736
Ticks             : 2295807363007
TotalDays         : 2.65718444792477
TotalHours        : 63.7724267501944
TotalMinutes      : 3826.34560501167
TotalSeconds      : 229580.7363007
TotalMilliseconds : 229580736.3007

Calculating Windows 10 uptime isn’t simple but can be done with these techniques

Linux on the desktop

My sense of humour has some quirky moments – as my friends will tell you. Last night I had a lot of time to sit and think (why is a story for another time and place) and it one point a thought about Linux on the desktop struck me.


Back in the 1980s when I worked in seismic exploration and desktop computers were emerging I remember seeing articles at least once every year that “this is the year that Unix takes over the desktop”


This then morphed to “this is the year that Linux takes over the desktop”


Of course neither of these fantasies were actually likely to happen – and I’m deliberately ignoring the Mac OS which is unix based.


However, my thought yesterday was that *nix on the desktop is actually a reality. Windows 10 includes the Bash on Ubuntu on Windows option which brings the bash shell to Windows.

Bet this way of getting *nix on the desktop was ever envisaged. Smile

PowerShell finally the de facto shell

After 10 years PowerShell has become the de facto shell for Windows!


Windows Insider Preview build 14971 released yesterday uses PowerShell instead of cmd.exe as the default shell in Start Menu or File Explorer.



for this and other new features

New Hyper-V switch on Windows 10

My test/lab machine had been running Windows Server 2016 TP 5. With Server 2016 now RTM it was time for a rebuild.  Unfortunately, 2016 RTM carried on from TP5 and decided not to work with my wireless card.


Decided to try using Hyper-V on Windows 10 – it recognises the wifi card and is happy to work with it.


After installing the Hyper-V feature I needed to create some Hyper-v virtual switches

PS> New-VMSwitch -SwitchType External -Name 'LAN' -NetAdapterName 'LAN'
New-VMSwitch : Cannot validate argument on parameter 'SwitchType'. The argument "External" does not belong to the set
"Internal,Private" specified by the ValidateSet attribute. Supply an argument that is in the set and then try the
command again.
At line:1 char:26
+ New-VMSwitch -SwitchType External -Name 'LAN' -NetAdapterName 'LAN'
+                          ~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidData: (:) [New-VMSwitch], ParameterBindingValidationException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : ParameterArgumentValidationError,Microsoft.HyperV.PowerShell.Commands.NewVMSwitch


But External is a valid switch type


PS> New-VMSwitch -SwitchType x
New-VMSwitch : Cannot bind parameter 'SwitchType'. Cannot convert value "x" to type
"Microsoft.HyperV.PowerShell.VMSwitchType". Error: "Unable to match the identifier name x to a valid enumerator name.
Specify one of the following enumerator names and try again:
Private, Internal, External"
At line:1 char:26
+ New-VMSwitch -SwitchType x
+                          ~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidArgument: (:) [New-VMSwitch], ParameterBindingException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : CannotConvertArgumentNoMessage,Microsoft.HyperV.PowerShell.Commands.NewVMSwitch


Wonder how many of these issues I’m going to find!

Upgrading WSL

If you start  WSL (Bash on Ubuntu on Windows) and see messages like this:


7 packages can be updated.
1 update is a security update.


You can view the available updates:

root@RSsurfacePro2:~# apt-get update
Hit:1 xenial InRelease
Get:2 xenial-updates InRelease [95.7 kB]
Get:3 xenial-security InRelease [94.5 kB]
Get:4 xenial-security/main amd64 Packages [160 kB]
Get:5 xenial-security/main Translation-en [65.8 kB]
Get:6 xenial-updates/main amd64 Packages [415 kB]
Get:7 xenial-security/universe amd64 Packages [51.9 kB]
Get:8 xenial-security/multiverse amd64 Packages [1,176 B]
Get:9 xenial-updates/main Translation-en [159 kB]
Get:10 xenial-updates/universe amd64 Packages [356 kB]
Get:11 xenial-updates/universe Translation-en [128 kB]
Get:12 xenial-updates/multiverse amd64 Packages [5,492 B]
Fetched 1,532 kB in 35s (42.9 kB/s)
Reading package lists... Done


And to install the updates use:

apt-get upgrade

Latest Windows 10 build fixes Surface Pro 2 wireless issue

The latest Windows 10 build  - 14926  -  fixes the issue that took out the wireless adapter on my Surface Pro 2 in build 14915.


Wasn’t a major issue as I could successfully revert to 14905 but unexpected for  all that.  Still think its funny that Windows took down the wireless adapter on Microsoft hardware

Does Microsoft hate wireless?

Not having a lot of success with Windows new builds and wireless adapters this year.


First off Windows 2016 TP5 didn’t work with wireless – needed to install a patch to get it working. It still drops the connection when machine is powered down but while a pain is easy to remedy.


Windows 10 preview build 14195 appeared yesterday. Installed it and my wireless adapter stopped working. Looks to be a similar issue to Windows 2016 – oops.  In this case just rolled back to the previous build


What’s really funny about the Windows 10 issue is that I’m using a Surface Pro 2 built by – wait for it – Microsoft. So a Microsoft OS kills Microsoft hardware. I’ve seen this in the past with OS/2 and IBM kit but thought we were past those sort of errors