Category Archives: WMI

What Are You?

Here’s a quick way to tell whether a given machine is real or not: check the Win32_Baseboard class. You can use either Get-WmiObject or Get-CimInstance. Notice the results from a few physical machines.

Now see the result when querying a Hyper-V virtual machine:

I don’t have any VMware available so I don’t know what kind of result that would show. I also haven’t done extensive testing with items like a Microsoft Surface. I threw together this simple function you could use.

Have fun.

Creating Your Own PowerShell Command

atomic powershellLast week, I posted a PowerShell function that you could use as an accelerator to create your own PowerShell tools. My tool takes command metadata from an existing PowerShell cmdlet and gives you the structure to create your own tool wrapped around what is in essence a proxy function.

The advantage, besides saving a lot of typing, is that by using a proxy function you can take advantage of the wrapped cmdlet’s features and parameters. But perhaps it would help to see an example. With the Get-CommandMetadata function loaded into the PowerShell ISE, I run this command:

Instead of using CDXML, or writing my own function to call Get-Cimstance, I’m going to create a proxy to Get-Ciminstance that designed to retrieve operating system information. Here’s what I start with.

As with any PowerShell scripting project, you have to think about who will run your command and what expectations they might have. In my example, I simply want to be able to specify a computer name or a CIM Session and retrieve information from the Win32_Operatingsystem class. So to begin with I can delete all the parameter definitions except Computername and CIMSession. I’ll also keep the OperationTimeOut parameter just in case. As you can see in the code sample, Get-CimInstance also has a number of parameter sets. Again, I can delete references to ones I’m not going to use.

Here’s my revised parameter definition.

One change I made was to give the computername a default value for the local computer. I amd doing this so that the PSComputername property will always have a value.

But you may be wondering, what about the classname? This is where the fun begins. I am going to hard-code other parameters into the function.

When the wrapped command is executed it will use these values which is what I want. At this point, I could save the function and run it. But the output would be the same as if I had run Get-Ciminstance and I have a specific output in mind. Here’s how.

First, copy and paste a new version of the $scriptCmd line. Comment out the original line.

What I need to do is create my own script command, which must be a single pipelined expression.

I still want the wrapped Get-Ciminstance command to run but then I’m going to pipe the results to Select-Object and specify some custom properties. That is the extent of my major changes, although I also will add some additional Write-Verbose lines for tracing and troubleshooting. After updating comment based help, here’s my final command.

Now to test it out:

I can specify a computername:

Or use CIMSessions.


I didn’t have to write any code to use the CIMSessions. I let the wrapped cmdlet handle everything for me. The end result is that I now have a very complete PowerShell tool that didn’t take much time to create. I probably spent more time getting the comment-based help written than anything.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of how to take your PowerShell toolmaking to the next level.

Creating CIM Scripts without Scripting

When Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 came out, along with PowerShell 3.0, we got our hands on some terrific technology in the form of the CIM cmdlets. Actually, we got much more than people realize. One of the reasons there was a big bump in the number of shipping modules and cmdlets was CDXML. With some work and a properly formatted XML file, you could create your own commands based on WMI and CIM classes. Modules like SMBShare were built the same way. But creating a CDXML based module is not a task for someone just getting started with PowerShell.

So I decided to build a tool that just about anyone could use to create their own CIM-based commands, using relatively common PowerShell scripting techniques. You might find some of the things I do in my script just as interesting or useful. I was also motivated because I know that many IT Pros want to script but don’t have the time or feel they don’t have the skills. I hope what I’ve come up with will help jump start or accelerate the process.

My script, CIMScriptMaker.ps1, will guide you through identifying a WMI class and create an advanced function to get instances of that class. You can even add a filter and select which properties to display. You can then edit the function further if you want and end up with a practical tool that didn’t take a lot of time to write. Let me walk you through the process. The script works in either the console or the ISE. I’ll launch the script from the prompt.

The script defaults to the local computer, but you can specify a remote computer running PowerShell 3 or later. The script then enumerates the namespaces and presents a list using Out-Gridview. I use the title as a prompt.

I’ll select Root\CimV2 and click OK. My script then queries all the classes in that namespace and again displays a list using Out-Gridview. What’s nice is that you can use the filtering capability to quickly find a class you are interested in.

I’m going to select Win32_PageFileUsage and click OK. Using the Popup method from the old Wscript.Shell VBScript object I prompt if the user wants to test retrieving all instances of the selected class.

Naturally, I do. If there are results, they will be displayed in Out-Gridview again.

The script will wait for me to close the gridview. After which I’ll be prompted to continue.

Next the script will display a list of properties for the class and ask if I want to filter.

If you opt to filter, you’ll get a gridview with a list of operators to choose from. The default is =. Then you’ll get a Visual Basic message box asking you to enter in a value. For this demo I clicked Cancel to skip filtering.

Next I am prompted to select the properties. Clicking cancel will in essence give you the full CIM object. If you select properties then behind the scenes I’m generating code that is piping a Get-CimInstance command to Select-Object. I’ll select a few.

And that’s it! The script will generate an advanced function based on the selections you have made. The function defaults to a name using the Get verb and the noun is the class name. The function is copied to the clipboard so that you can paste it into your script editor and also saved to a global variable, $cimscript, just in case you accidentally overwrite the clipboard

If you are in the console, you can right-click to paste it right into your current session. The function includes comment based help. The function can take computer names or you can use CIMSessions.

Here’s what the generated code looks like.

Now I have a CIM based tool that just works or I can develop it further.

Right now, all my script does is generate a command to get WMI information using Get-CimInstance. With a little more work I could probably have it generate commands that do things as well using WMI class methods. But that’s for another day. In the mean time, here is my script.

What do you think?