PowerShell Syntax Highlighting

With Windows 10 / Server 2016, PowerShell got command-line syntax highlighting. And what a difference that makes! With syntax highlighting, it's easier to see a mistyped line of code as you make the mistake. Combined with intelligent tab-completion, my errors/command ratio is way, way down.


Many of the same advantages accrued to readers of this blog -- by having syntax highlighting turned on, it was easier to follow the logic of the scripts and commands I posted here. Unfortunately, the tool we were using for that has 'issues', and hasn't been actively developed or updated in several years. Reluctantly, the overall Site Admins for (who are GODDESSES and loved beyond belief!) have had to remove that plugin. It just had too many problems and with no active development, little chance they'd get fixed.  The result? All the code on this site is now plain text ugly. :(


ETA: Fixed. Mivhak to the rescue. It's not perfect, but a huge improvement over nothing. And it looks like it's easily customizable, so I might do some tweaking to improve contrast without going to a dark theme.


But wait! There's hope! We think we've identified a solution that we can use, and that is still being actively maintained. It supports PowerShell, and it supports WordPress Multi-site. Both absolute requirements. The plug in is being actively tested while they continue the work of cleaning up the mess that the previous plugin created. Unfortunately, however, it will require me to go in and edit every single post that includes PowerShell code to enable the new plugin for that code. That process will take time. I'll start with some of the most recent, and the most popular, and slowly work my way through them.


ETA: Whew! Mivhak is smart enough to recognize all my posts that had PRE tags and automatically syntax highlight them as PowerShell. That saves a BUNCH of work.


Until we have a confirmed solution, and I've had time to go in and edit each post, I'm afraid you'll have to do it the hard way. Copy and paste the code into the syntax highlighting editor of your choice. And, speaking of which, have you tried Visual Studio Code? This is a slick, new, FREE, editor that supports easy customization, has full IntelliSense support(!!), and even has a plugin to enable Vi mode editing! How cool is that?! I've been playing around with it a lot lately, and I'm almost ready to switch from my beloved gVim.

Resizing the PowerShell Console

Windows 10's support for high DPI displays is much better than previous iterations of Windows, but there are still some times it gets a bit confused. One such problem occurs when you have multiple high DPI displays or two displays of different sizes. If you move PowerShell console windows between displays or log back in after being logged out for a while, you can end up with a scrunched up PowerShell window. Nothing I had to deal with when all I had was a pair of standard FullHD monitors, but ever since I got my Surface Book, and connected it to a 28 inch 4k monitor, I've had periodic problems. Very annoying when your PowerShell window changes to 37 characters wide and 7 lines long!


The fix is to reset the window size. Now I can do this graphically (right click on the title bar, select Properties, and then the Layout tab), but that's a nuisance at best, and besides, the whole idea of using the GUI to fix a console just isn't right. The answer is to leverage the built-in $host variable:

$host | Get-Member

   TypeName: System.Management.Automation.Internal.Host.InternalHost

Name                   MemberType Definition
----                   ---------- ----------
EnterNestedPrompt      Method     void EnterNestedPrompt()
Equals                 Method     bool Equals(System.Object obj)
ExitNestedPrompt       Method     void ExitNestedPrompt()
GetHashCode            Method     int GetHashCode()
GetType                Method     type GetType()
NotifyBeginApplication Method     void NotifyBeginApplication()
NotifyEndApplication   Method     void NotifyEndApplication()
PopRunspace            Method     void PopRunspace(), void IHostSupportsInteractiveSession.PopRunspace()
PushRunspace           Method     void PushRunspace(runspace runspace), void IHostSupportsInteractiveSession.PushRunspace(runspace runspace)
SetShouldExit          Method     void SetShouldExit(int exitCode)
ToString               Method     string ToString()
CurrentCulture         Property   cultureinfo CurrentCulture {get;}
CurrentUICulture       Property   cultureinfo CurrentUICulture {get;}
DebuggerEnabled        Property   bool DebuggerEnabled {get;set;}
InstanceId             Property   guid InstanceId {get;}
IsRunspacePushed       Property   bool IsRunspacePushed {get;}
Name                   Property   string Name {get;}
PrivateData            Property   psobject PrivateData {get;}
Runspace               Property   runspace Runspace {get;}
UI                     Property   System.Management.Automation.Host.PSHostUserInterface UI {get;}
Version                Property   version Version {get;}

OK, there's some interesting bits there, but the one that looks most promising is UI. So:

 $host.UI | Get-Member

   TypeName: System.Management.Automation.Internal.Host.InternalHostUserInterface

Name                    MemberType Definition
----                    ---------- ----------
Equals                  Method     bool Equals(System.Object obj)
GetHashCode             Method     int GetHashCode()
GetType                 Method     type GetType()
Prompt                  Method     System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary[string,psobject] Prompt(string caption, string message, System.Collection...
PromptForChoice         Method     int PromptForChoice(string caption, string message, System.Collections.ObjectModel.Collection[System.Management...
PromptForCredential     Method     pscredential PromptForCredential(string caption, string message, string userName, string targetName), pscredent...
ReadLine                Method     string ReadLine()
ReadLineAsSecureString  Method     securestring ReadLineAsSecureString()
ToString                Method     string ToString()
Write                   Method     void Write(string value), void Write(System.ConsoleColor foregroundColor, System.ConsoleColor backgroundColor, ...
WriteDebugLine          Method     void WriteDebugLine(string message)
WriteErrorLine          Method     void WriteErrorLine(string value)
WriteInformation        Method     void WriteInformation(System.Management.Automation.InformationRecord record)
WriteLine               Method     void WriteLine(), void WriteLine(string value), void WriteLine(System.ConsoleColor foregroundColor, System.Cons...
WriteProgress           Method     void WriteProgress(long sourceId, System.Management.Automation.ProgressRecord record)
WriteVerboseLine        Method     void WriteVerboseLine(string message)
WriteWarningLine        Method     void WriteWarningLine(string message)
RawUI                   Property   System.Management.Automation.Host.PSHostRawUserInterface RawUI {get;}
SupportsVirtualTerminal Property   bool SupportsVirtualTerminal {get;}

Hmmm. Even more interesting stuff. I can tell I'm going to be doing some poking around in here! But, for our purposes, let's take a look at RawUI.

That looks the most promising:

$host.UI.RawUI | Get-Member

   TypeName: System.Management.Automation.Internal.Host.InternalHostRawUserInterface

Name                  MemberType Definition
----                  ---------- ----------
Equals                Method     bool Equals(System.Object obj)
FlushInputBuffer      Method     void FlushInputBuffer()
GetBufferContents     Method     System.Management.Automation.Host.BufferCell[,] GetBufferContents(System.Management.Automation.Host.Rectangle r)
GetHashCode           Method     int GetHashCode()
GetType               Method     type GetType()
LengthInBufferCells   Method     int LengthInBufferCells(string str), int LengthInBufferCells(string str, int offset), int LengthInBufferCells(cha...
NewBufferCellArray    Method     System.Management.Automation.Host.BufferCell[,] NewBufferCellArray(string[] contents, System.ConsoleColor foregro...
ReadKey               Method     System.Management.Automation.Host.KeyInfo ReadKey(System.Management.Automation.Host.ReadKeyOptions options), Syst...
ScrollBufferContents  Method     void ScrollBufferContents(System.Management.Automation.Host.Rectangle source, System.Management.Automation.Host.C...
SetBufferContents     Method     void SetBufferContents(System.Management.Automation.Host.Coordinates origin, System.Management.Automation.Host.Bu...
ToString              Method     string ToString()
BackgroundColor       Property   System.ConsoleColor BackgroundColor {get;set;}
BufferSize            Property   System.Management.Automation.Host.Size BufferSize {get;set;}
CursorPosition        Property   System.Management.Automation.Host.Coordinates CursorPosition {get;set;}
CursorSize            Property   int CursorSize {get;set;}
ForegroundColor       Property   System.ConsoleColor ForegroundColor {get;set;}
KeyAvailable          Property   bool KeyAvailable {get;}
MaxPhysicalWindowSize Property   System.Management.Automation.Host.Size MaxPhysicalWindowSize {get;}
MaxWindowSize         Property   System.Management.Automation.Host.Size MaxWindowSize {get;}
WindowPosition        Property   System.Management.Automation.Host.Coordinates WindowPosition {get;set;}
WindowSize            Property   System.Management.Automation.Host.Size WindowSize {get;set;}
WindowTitle           Property   string WindowTitle {get;set;}

BINGO! I see BufferSize and WindowSize, and I know from the GUI Properties page that those are the relevant settings, but just to verify:

$host.UI.RawUI.BufferSize | Get-Member

   TypeName: System.Management.Automation.Host.Size

Name        MemberType Definition
----        ---------- ----------
Equals      Method     bool Equals(System.Object obj)
GetHashCode Method     int GetHashCode()
GetType     Method     type GetType()
ToString    Method     string ToString()
Height      Property   int Height {get;set;}
Width       Property   int Width {get;set;}

$host.UI.RawUI.WindowSize | Get-Member

   TypeName: System.Management.Automation.Host.Size

Name        MemberType Definition
----        ---------- ----------
Equals      Method     bool Equals(System.Object obj)
GetHashCode Method     int GetHashCode()
GetType     Method     type GetType()
ToString    Method     string ToString()
Height      Property   int Height {get;set;}
Width       Property   int Width {get;set;}

And there we have it.  Both of them can be retrieved and set.  So, I came up with a little script, Set-myConSize, that lets me restore the window to its default size, or set it to a new size if I'm doing something that needs a bit of window size tweaking.

Resets the size of the current console window
Set-myConSize resets the size of the current console window. By default, it
sets the windows to a height of 40 lines, with a 3000 line buffer, and sets the 
the width and width buffer to 120 characters. 
Restores the console window to 120x40
Set-myConSize -Height 30 -Width 180
Changes the current console to a height of 30 lines and a width of 180 characters. 
.Parameter Height
The number of lines to which to set the current console. The default is 40 lines. 
.Parameter Width
The number of characters to which to set the current console. Default is 120. Also sets the buffer to the same value
    Author: Charlie Russel
 Copyright: 2017 by Charlie Russel
          : Permission to use is granted but attribution is appreciated
   Initial: 28 April, 2017 (cpr)
     $Height = 40,
     $Width = 120
$Console = $host.ui.rawui
$Buffer  = $Console.BufferSize
$ConSize = $Console.WindowSize

# If the Buffer is wider than the new console setting, first reduce the buffer, then do the resize
If ($Buffer.Width -gt $Width ) {
   $ConSize.Width = $Width
   $Console.WindowSize = $ConSize
$Buffer.Width = $Width
$ConSize.Width = $Width
$Buffer.Height = 3000
$Console.BufferSize = $Buffer
$ConSize = $Console.WindowSize
$ConSize.Width = $Width
$ConSize.Height = $Height
$Console.WindowSize = $ConSize

One quick comment on this script -- you can't set the BufferSize to smaller than the current WindowSize. With a Height buffer set to 3,000, that's not likely to be a problem, but if you don't want scroll bars on the bottom of your console windows (and you do NOT, trust me!), then you need the console WindowSize.Width to be the same as the BufferSize.Width. So if your reducing, you need to change the WindowSize first, then you can reduce the BufferSize. If you're increasing width, you need to do the buffer first.


Finally, I set an alias in my $Profile:

Set-Alias -Name Resize -Value Set-myConSize


Getting the Free Disk Space of Remote Computers Revisited

Several years ago, I wrote a fairly simplistic script to get the free disk space of remote computers. It wasn't all that sophisticated, but it got the job that I needed done, so I shared it here on my blog, since I thought others might find it useful. Which, based on the number of hits here, and the comments, they did. However, based on some of those comments, it had a problem for some users.


The problem was that I used Write-Host in it. That was fine for me, because I only used it to write to my screen. But it's a bad practice to be using Write-Host unless you really need to manipulate screen colours. The reason it's a bad practice is that it prevents any sort of redirection! This meant that those users who wanted to capture the result of the script in a file were horked, because Write-Host will ALWAYS write to ( ... wait for it...  )


The Host. You can't redirect it. The fix, of course, is easy -- use Write-Object instead, which is what I should have done in the first place.


While I was in the process of making that change, I thought it would be nice to add in a basic Get-Help page for it, which was trivial. But then it occurred to me that I really should let it handle pipeline input, allowing me to use other PowerShell commands to select the group of machines I wanted the free disk space on, and then pipe that result directly to Get-myFreeSpace.


Seemed like a good idea, but it turned out I had to almost completely rewrite the script to use the Begin{}/Process{}/End{} syntax. Accepting pipeline input is not as simple as just saying you do in the Parameter statement, you need to actually process that input. The result is the new, improved version of Get-myFreeSpace.ps1 shown below. (If you care about how I got to this script in the first place, do check out the original post, here. There's some useful information there about the whole process. )


Gets the disk utilization of one or more computers

Get-myFreeSpace queries an array of remote computers and returns a nicely formatted display of 
their current disk utilization and free space. The output can be redirected to a file or other 
output option using standard redirection. 

Gets the disk utilization and free space of all drives on the local host. 

Get-myFreeSpace -ComputerName Server1,Server2
Gets the disk utilization and free space of all drives on the Server1 and Server2

(Get-VM -Name "*server*" | Where State -eq 'Running' ).Name | Get-myFreeSpace
PS C:\>(Get-VM -Name "*server*" | Where-Object {$_.State -eq 'Running').Name | Get-myFreeSpace

Gets a list of running VMs with Server in their name, and passes it to Get-myFreeSpace to process for 
their current disk utilization. The first version of this example uses PowerShell v5 syntax, while 
the second version uses the older syntax that works on earlier versions. 
.Parameter ComputerName
An array of computer names from which you want the disk utilization


    Author: Charlie Russel
 Copyright: 2017 by Charlie Russel
          : Permission to use is granted but attribution is appreciated
   Initial: 26 Nov, 2014 (cpr)
   ModHist: 29 Sep, 2016 -- Changed default to array of localhost (cpr)
          : 18 Apr, 2017 -- Changed to use Write-Output,accept Pipeline,added man page,  (cpr)
     $ComputerName = @("localhost")

Begin {
   if ($Input) {
      $ComputerName = @($Input)
   Write-Output ""
   # Save ErrorActionPreference so we can reset it when we're done
   $eap = $ErrorActionPreference

Process {
   $ErrorActionPreference = 'SilentlyContinue'
   ForEach ( $Computer in $ComputerName ) {
      Write-Output "Disk Utilization for Computer $Computer is: " 
      Get-WmiObject  -ComputerName $Computer -Class Win32_Volume `
         | Format-Table  -auto `
               Expression={"{0:N0}" -f ($_.FreeSpace/1GB)};`
            @{Label="% Free";`
               Expression={"{0:P0}" -f ($_.FreeSpace / $_.Capacity)};`
               Expression={"{0:N0}" -f ($_.Capacity / 1GB)};`
            @{Label="Volume Label";`
      } #EndForEach
} #EndProcessBlock

End {
   # Reset ErrorActionPreference to original value
   $ErrorActionPreference = $eap

And there you have it. A new and improved version of one of the most popular scripts I've ever posted here. You can use it to get the disk utilization on your current machine, or any list of remote computers to which you have the rights to run WMI against.


I hope you find this script useful, and I'd love to hear comments, suggestions for improvements, or bug reports as appropriate. As always, if you use this script as the basis for your own work, please respect my copyright and provide appropriate attribution.

PowerShell: Get-Credential from a file

If you routinely have to log into a separate domain, it can be a nuisance to always have to run Get-Credential. Plus writing scripts with a -Credential parameter is a nuisance because if you call Get-Credential in the script, it will always prompt you.


I run a separate lab network here, with an Active Directory domain of I got tired of always having scripts prompt me for credentials, or even more annoying, have routine PowerShell commands against computers in the lab fail because I didn't have credentials for that domain. The answer is pretty simple -- first, I stored my password securely in a file with:

Read-Host -AsSecureString `
         | ConvertFrom-SecureString `
         | Out-File $Home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\TCred.txt

Now, I can use that password to create a PSCredential object that I can pass into a script.

$tPW = Get-Content $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\TCred.txt `
         | ConvertTo-SecureString
$tCred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential `
                    -ArgumentList "TreyResearch\Charlie",$tPW


Because of the way SecureString works, and how Windows encrypts and decrypts objects, this password can only be read from the account that created it. Now, if I want to add a -Credential parameter to my scripts, I use the following:

      $Credential = $NULL

if ( $Credential ) {
   $tCred = $Credential
} else {
   $tPW = Get-Content $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\TCred.txt `
        | ConvertTo-SecureString 
   $tCred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential `
                       -ArgumentList "TreyResearch\Charlie",$tPW

ETA: if you create a script for this, you'll need to "dot source" the script to add the credential to your environment, but you can use that script in the pipeline to insert a credential into the pipeline. Or, add the relevant lines into your $Profile, and the credential is then available in your environment.

Starting a PowerShell window as a Domain Admin

If you run as a limited user on your own desktop, as you should, it's useful to keep a separate PowerShell window open as the Domain Administrator. I give that window a nice dark red background so I know instantly that I'm in a powerful window and to be appropriately careful. But how can I actually start a window as a different account, and using Run As Administrator? Ah, so glad you asked.

$AdminCred = Get-Credential -UserName "TreyResearch\domainadmin" `
                            -Message "Enter your password for the DomainAdmin account:" 
Start-Process PowerShell.exe -Credential $AdminCred `
                             -ArgumentList "Start-Process PowerShell.exe -Verb RunAs" `

Save this as "Start-myAdmin.ps1" or equivalent and it's always available. The nice thing about using Start-Process with the NoNewWindow parameter is that it doesn't leave a spare window open. Try it. It will make it just that much easier to run as a limited user with no administrative rights, even on your own workstation. And really, when you have the power to be a domain admin, you really, really, really shouldn't run any other way.

Starting PowerShell Automatically – Revisited

A few months ago, I posted a quick blog on how I set PowerShell to start automatically when I log in. Well, it occurred to me that I should extend that to show you how I set the console window parameters so that my PowerShell windows are the right size and font, since on all my systems I use the same basic settings (except for my Surface Book with the 4K addon monitor -- my old eyes need a bit bigger on that, so I adjusted the values accordingly.)

The function I use to set the console size, font and font weight is: (FontSize here translates to 18 point on my FullHD systems)

Function Set-myDefaultFont () {
   $64bit = "HKCU:\Console\%SystemRoot%_System32_WindowsPowerShell_v1.0_powershell.exe"
   $Default = "HKCU:\Console"
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $Default -Name FaceName   -Value "Consolas"
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $Default -Name FontSize   -Type DWord -Value 0x00120000
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $Default -Name FontWeight -Type DWord -Value 0x000002bc
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $Default -Name FontFamily -Type DWord -Value 0x00000036 
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $Default -Name QuickEdit  -Type DWord -Value 0x00000001
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $64bit -Name FaceName     -Value "Consolas"
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $64bit -Name FontSize     -Type DWord -Value 0x00120000
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $64bit -Name FontWeight   -Type DWord -Value 0x000002bc
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $64bit -Name FontFamily   -Type DWord -Value 0x00000036 
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $64bit -Name QuickEdit    -Type DWord -Value 0x00000001

That's all there is to it. I've added this function to the Set-myPowerShellStart.ps1 script, and I call that whenever I create or log onto a new system. If you prefer different sizes or a different font, simply change the values to match what you need. For example, if you want a 16 point font, try a value of 0x00100000.

ETA: Fixed value of FontSize.

Setting Console Colours

As I described in my previous post, I always open both an admin and non-admin PowerShell window when I log on to a computer. To tell the two apart, I set the background colour of the Admin window to dark red, with white text, and the non-admin window to a white background with dark blue text. The result is clearly and immediately different, warning me when I'm running as an administrator. To do that, I use the following:

$id = [System.Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent() 
$p = New-Object$id)

# Find out if we're running as admin (IsInRole). 
# If we are, set $Admin = $True. 
if ($p.IsInRole([System.Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltInRole]::Administrator)){ 
   $Admin = $True 
} else { 
   $Admin = $False 

if ($Admin) { 
      $effectivename = "Administrator" 
   } else { 
      $effectivename = $ 


That works great for older versions of the Windows PowerShell console, but starting with PowerShell v5, that can have an unintended side effect. In PowerShell v5, we now have PSReadLine that does context sensitive colouration of the command line. But the default PowerShell console has a dark blue background, with white text. And when I changed the background colour of my non-admin PowerShell window to white, it gets a little hard to read!! So, to fix that, I use Set-PSReadLineOption to change the various kinds of context sensitive colour changes to something that works with a light background. We don't want to do that for the dark red background of the Admin window, so we'll need to check which colour we are and adjust accordingly.

First, get the current colour:

$pData = (Get-Host).PrivateData 
$curForeground = [console]::ForegroundColor 
$curBackground = [console]::BackgroundColor

You'll only want to configure the context sensitive colouring options if you're running on Windows 10 or Server 2016. Prior versions of Windows didn't have the new system console that comes with Windows 10. So you'll want to check that the build number is > 10240

$Build = (Get-WmiObject Win32_OperatingSystem).BuildNumber

If $Build -ge 10240, then set the various context sensitive tokens to work with the colour we have.

# PowerShell v5 uses PSReadLineOptions to do syntax highlighting. 
# Base the color scheme on the background color 
If ( $curBackground -eq "White" ) { 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind None      -ForegroundColor DarkBlue  -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Comment   -ForegroundColor DarkGray  -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Keyword   -ForegroundColor DarkGreen -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind String    -ForegroundColor Blue      -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Operator  -ForegroundColor Black     -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Variable  -ForegroundColor DarkCyan  -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Command   -ForegroundColor DarkRed   -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Parameter -ForegroundColor DarkGray  -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Type      -ForegroundColor DarkGray  -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Number    -ForegroundColor Red       -BackgroundColor White 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Member    -ForegroundColor DarkBlue  -BackgroundColor White 
      $pData.ErrorForegroundColor   = "Red" 
      $pData.ErrorBackgroundColor   = "Gray" 
      $pData.WarningForegroundColor = "DarkMagenta" 
      $pData.WarningBackgroundColor = "White" 
      $pData.VerboseForegroundColor = "DarkYellow" 
      $pData.VerboseBackgroundColor = "DarkCyan" 
   } elseif ($curBackground -eq "DarkRed") { 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind None      -ForegroundColor White    -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Comment   -ForegroundColor Gray     -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Keyword   -ForegroundColor Yellow   -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind String    -ForegroundColor Cyan     -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Operator  -ForegroundColor White    -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Variable  -ForegroundColor Green    -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Command   -ForegroundColor White    -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Parameter -ForegroundColor Gray     -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Type      -ForegroundColor Magenta  -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Number    -ForegroundColor Yellow   -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      Set-PSReadLineOption -TokenKind Member    -ForegroundColor White    -BackgroundColor DarkRed 
      $pData.ErrorForegroundColor   = "Yellow" 
      $pData.ErrorBackgroundColor   = "DarkRed" 
      $pData.WarningForegroundColor = "Magenta" 
      $pData.WarningBackgroundColor = "DarkRed" 
      $pData.VerboseForegroundColor = "Cyan" 
      $pData.VerboseBackgroundColor = "DarkRed" 

Finally, let's make sure that console window is the right size, and while we're at it, set the window title. (This is a workaround for a PITA bug in recent builds of Windows 10/Server 2016 that seems to have problems setting the console window size and keeping it!)

$host.ui.rawui.WindowTitle = $effectivename + "@" + $HostName +" >" 
$Host.UI.RawUI.WindowSize = New-Object System.Management.Automation.Host.Size(120,40)


Now, with all of this, you have effective, context-sensitive, command-line colouring of your PowerShell windows.

Clearing the Archive Attribute Bit

I use a whole set of PowerShell scripts to create my lab environment when I’m working on a book or article. The master scripts all reside in a Build directory on my labhost. The problem is that when something goes wonky, or I need to tweak a script to do something a bit different, I’m usually working from the lab client, not the host. What I don’t want to do is lose any changes I’ve made if I blow away a client (which happens fairly often in a lab!) So I try to remember to copy the change up to the master Build directory. But that’s not 100%, so I wanted a quick way to copy only the changed files back up to the host. The easy way to do it should be using the filesystem’s Archive attribute bit, but it turns out Windows PowerShell is just plain brain-dead about how it handles file attributes. You have to resort to binary ANDs and binary XORs to manipulate them. Well, that’s just not fun. So, having spent the time to get it working, I thought I’d just share the script I use to clear the Archive attribute for one or many files. Enjoy.

Clears the archive bit on a set of files 
Clear-myArchiveBit returns a list of files whose archive bit is set to on, and resets 
them to off. This is command supports the -Recurse parameter. 
Clear-myArchiveBit *.ps1 
This command clears the archive bits of all ps1 files in the current directory

Clear-myArchiveBit *.ps1 -Path $home\psbin -recurse 
This command clears the archive bit of all PS1 files in the $home\psbin directory, 
and all subdirectories of $home\psbin.

.Parameter Filter 
The filename filter to use. Aliases are Name and Filename. Default is *. 
.Parameter Path 
The path to the files to be changed. Default is ".". 
.Parameter Recurse 
If specified, the change is made to the Path and all subdirectories of the Path. 
    Author: Charlie Russel 
 Copyright: 2016 by Charlie Russel 
          : Permission to use is granted but attribution is appreciated 
   Initial: 16 May, 2016 (cpr) 
     [string]$Filter = "*", 
     [string]$Path = ".", 
Write-Verbose "Clearing the Archive bit on $filter in $path" 
# This is how we'll XOR the bit when we get to that. 
$Archive = [io.fileattributes]::Archive

# First, get all the files whose Archive bit is currently set. 
if ($Recurse) { 
   $chgdFiles = Get-ChildItem -Filter $Filter -Path $path -Recurse ` 
                  | Where {$_.mode -match "a" } 
} else { 
   $chgdFiles = Get-ChildItem -Filter $Filter -Path $path ` 
                  | Where {$_.mode -match "a" } 

# Now, we clear the bit on those files using a binary XOR. 
ForEach ($file in $chgdFiles ) { 
   Set-ItemProperty -Path $file.FullName ` 
                    -Name Attributes ` 
                    -Value ((Get-ItemProperty $file.FullName).Attributes ` 
                            -bXOR $Archive ) 
Write-Verbose "The following files have had their Archive attribute cleared: " 
Write-Verbose "" 
$chgdFiles | Write-Verbose

Starting Windows PowerShell Automatically

Most system administrators routinely start a command line window of some sort when they log onto a computer. For me, obviously, that’s a PowerShell window. Actually, two PowerShell windows – one as a limited user, the other as an administrator, but that trick is for a different blog post. For this one, I’ll show you how to have Windows automatically start a PowerShell windows whenever you long on to your computer.

The key to this is the Run key in the registry. Specifically HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Programs listed in this key automatically start when the user (HKCU) logs on to the computer. So, all we need to do is insert a new value into the key for PowerShell. Easy enough, with New-ItemProperty. Here’s a function to do that:

Function Set-myPowerShellStart () {
   if (Get-ItemProperty HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run `
                        -Name "*PowerShell" 2>$NULL ) {
      write-verbose "Already an entry for starting PowerShell"
   } else {
      New-ItemProperty HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run `
                       -Name  "Windows PowerShell" `
                       -Value "C:\Windows\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\PowerShell.exe"
      write-verbose "Added value for automatic PowerShell start"

Now, all you need to do is call that function, and it will insert a key in the registry, and the next time you log on to the computer, you’ll automatically have a PowerShell window open and ready to go.