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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Archive for the ‘CommandLine’ Category

Reminder to self: script blocks inside .ForEach calls can have Begin/Process/End blocks

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/10/21

I need to write some tests for this, but it looks like you can use the keywords Begin/Process/End with code blocks when the script block is inside a .ForEach member call.

The behaviour seems to be the same as if these blocks are part of a function that executes inside a pipeline (Begin and End are executed once; Process is executed for each item in the pipeline).

It’s hard to Google on this, as all hits of all queries I tried got me into these keywords in the context of functions.

The below links are on my reading list.

Microsoft documentation:

SS64 docs (which has guidance on which of the 3 foreach constructs to use when):

Social media and blog posts:

StackOverflow entries:


Posted in CommandLine, Development, PowerShell, PowerShell, Scripting, Software Development | Leave a Comment »

Some links on xargs simulation in PowerShell

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/10/13

On nx, I’m used to xargs which allows to convert from a pipe of output into arguments passed to a command. This is useful, as many commands only accept arguments as parameters.

In PowerShell, you can usually avoid an xargs equivalent because commandlet output is a stream of objects that you can post-process using . I for instance used that in PowerShell: recovering from corrupt empty *.nupkg files after a disk was accidentally full during update.

Here are some xargs equivalency examples:

  • [WayBack] PowerShell tips for bash users, part 1 • Five


    Xargs is one of the most powerfull UNIX commands. It is used to build and execute command lines from standard input. For example:
    $ cat dirs | xargs mkdir
    will use cat to take the strings (be it newline or blank character separated) from file ‘dirs’ and pass them through pipe to xargs which will then send one by one line as argument to mkdir which will then create those dirs or complain if those are existent.

    PowerShell equivalent:

    PS> cat dirs | %{mkdir $_}

    There is no ‘xargs’ command in PS, but you can use ‘foreach ‘ loop and pass the piped variable ‘$_’ to the mkdir. Shorthand for ‘foreach’ is ‘%’. This time also only newlines will separate the strings apart. If multiple strings separated by blanks are found in same line, mkdir will create a directory with blanks in the name, while we must quote to have the same in bash:

    $ cat dirs | sed 's|^|"|g' | sed 's|$|"|g' |xargs mkdir

  • [WayBack] What’s the equivalent of xargs in PowerShell? – Stack Overflow


    The POSIX-defined xargs command takes all of the items it receives from standard input and passes them as command-line arguments to the command it receives on it’s own command line. E.g: grep -rn "String" | xargs rm.

    What’s the equivalent in PowerShell?

    The following questions all ask this:

    but there is no correct answer because all the answers either use ForEach-Object, which will process items one-at-a-time (like xargs -n1) which gets the desired result for the examples given, or store the intermediate result in a variable, which offends my functional commandline-fu.


    There are two ways that I’ve found. The first is probably more idiomatic PowerShell, and the second is more true to the pipe-based spirit of xargs.

    As an example, let’s say we want to pass all our cat pics to myapp.exe.

    Method #1: Command substitution

    You can do something similar to using $(command substitution) in sh by embedding your pipeline in the command string:

    &"myapp.exe" @(Get-ChildItem -Recurse -Filter *.jpg | Another-Step)

    The @(...) creates an array from the command inside it, and PowerShell automatically expands arrays passed to & into seperate command-line parameters.

    However, this does not really answer the question, because it will only work if you have control over the command you want to pass to, which may not be the case.

    Method #2: True piping

    You can also construct a “double pipeline” by having a sub-expression to pipe your objects, collecting them to an array, and then piping the array to your final command.

    ,@(Get-ChildItem -Recurse -Filter *.jpg | Another-Step) | %{&"myapp.exe" $_}

    The @(...) as before collects the items into an array, and the array is then piped to the final command which is invoked using % (ForEach-Object). Ordinarily, this would then loop over each item individually, because PowerShell will automatically flatten the array when it’s piped, but this can be avoided by prepending the , operator. The $_ special variable is then used as normal to embed the passed array.

    So the key is to wrap the pipeline you want to collect in ,@(...), and then pipe that to something in %{...}.



Posted in *nix, *nix-tools, bash, CommandLine, Development, Power User, PowerShell, PowerShell, Scripting, Software Development, xargs | Leave a Comment »

Some Windows 10 updates remove registry values; not sure how widely

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/10/12

After watching an autologon system not logging on automatically over the past years, the pattern seems to be that at least major, and some less minor Windows updates remove autlogon parts of the registry.

I’m not sure where the boundary between “major” and “less minor” lies (though I suspect “cumulative updates” and larger), nor if more than these values are affected:

  • key "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon"
    • value name AutoAdminLogon gets removed or becomes value 0
    • value DefaultUserName gets removed
    • value DefaultPassword gets removed

This means that now after each startup, I need to schedule a task that runs a script setting the values I need depending if a password is needed or not.

The script also needs credentials, so I need to figure out how to properly do that.

I still need to decide between PowerShell or batch file script, as I already have the batch file from How to turn on automatic logon in Windows and automatic logon in Windows 2003.

For my future reference, some more links on things that can get deleted:

Hopefully these links will help me writing the scripts:


Posted in Batch-Files, CommandLine, Development, Power User, PowerShell, PowerShell, Scripting, Software Development, Windows, Windows 10, Windows Development | Leave a Comment »

PowerShell error in a script but not on the console: The string is missing the terminator: “.

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/09/29

The below one will fail in a script, both both work from the PowerShell prompt:


Get-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "File and Printer Sharing" | ForEach-Object { Write-Host $_.DisplayName ; Get-NetFirewallAddressFilter -AssociatedNetFirewallRule $_ }


Get-NetFirewallRule –DisplayGroup "File and Printer Sharing" | ForEach-Object { Write-Host $_.DisplayName ; Get-NetFirewallAddressFilter -AssociatedNetFirewallRule $_ }

The error you get this this:

At C:\bin\Show-File-and-Printer-Sharing-firewall-rules.ps1:5 char:52
+ ... -TCP-NoScope" | ForEach-Object { Write-Host $_.DisplayName ; Get-NetF ...
+                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The string is missing the terminator: ".
    + CategoryInfo          : ParserError: (:) [], ParentContainsErrorRecordException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : TerminatorExpectedAtEndOfString

Via [WayBack] script file ‘The string is missing the terminator: “.’ – Google Search, I quickly found these that stood out:

Cause and solution

Before DisplayGroup, the first line has a minus sign and the second an en-dash. You can see this via [WayBack] What Unicode character is this ?.

Apparently, when using Unicode on the console, it does not matter if you have a minus sign (-), en-dash (–), em-dash (—) or horizontal bar (―) as dash character. You can see this in [WayBack] tokenizer.cs at function [WayBack] NextToken and [WayBack] CharTraits.cs at function [WayBack] IsChar).

When saving to a non-Unicode file, it does matter, even though it does not display as garbage in the error message.

Similarly, PowerShell has support for these special characters:

    internal static class SpecialChars
        // Uncommon whitespace
        internal const char NoBreakSpace = (char)0x00a0;
        internal const char NextLine = (char)0x0085;

        // Special dashes
        internal const char EnDash = (char)0x2013;
        internal const char EmDash = (char)0x2014;
        internal const char HorizontalBar = (char)0x2015;

        // Special quotes
        internal const char QuoteSingleLeft = (char)0x2018; // left single quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteSingleRight = (char)0x2019; // right single quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteSingleBase = (char)0x201a; // single low-9 quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteReversed = (char)0x201b; // single high-reversed-9 quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteDoubleLeft = (char)0x201c; // left double quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteDoubleRight = (char)0x201d; // right double quotation mark
        internal const char QuoteLowDoubleLeft = (char)0x201E; // low double left quote used in german.

The easiest solution is to use minus signs everywhere.

Another solution is to save files as Unicode UTF-8 encoding (preferred) or UTF-16 encoding (which I dislike).


Posted in .NET, CommandLine, Development, Encoding, PowerShell, PowerShell, Scripting, Software Development, Unicode, UTF-16, UTF-8, UTF16, UTF8 | Leave a Comment »

Chocolatey: force install sysinternals after hash mismatch

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/09/28

Shortly after UltraVNC mismatching sha256 hash the chocolatey checksum check (Chocolatey: when upgrades or installs keep insisting the hash has changed, and over time the mismatch changes as well), I bumped into another occasion: now (because of a zero sized .nupkg file), I had to force reinstall sysinternals.

The problem however is that sysinternals chocolatey will always install the latest version as per [WayBack] Chocolatey Software | Sysinternals 2019.12.19


  • This package supports only latest version.
  • This package by default installs to tools directory which will create shims for all applications. When you install to different directory, shims are not created but directory is added to the PATH.
  • This package downloads the nano edition of sysinternals suite when installing it on a nano server.
  • To have GUI for the tools, install nirlauncher package and use /Sysinternals package parameter.

It means that when reinstalling an older version (in the process of fixing a broken chocolatey install), it is OK to ignore the error caused during forced reinstall:

C:\bin\bin>choco install --force --yes sysinternals
Chocolatey v0.10.15
Installing the following packages:
By installing you accept licenses for the packages.
sysinternals v2019.6.29 already installed. Forcing reinstall of version '2019.6.29'.
 Please use upgrade if you meant to upgrade to a new version.
Progress: Downloading sysinternals 2019.6.29... 100%

sysinternals v2019.6.29 (forced) [Approved]
sysinternals package files install completed. Performing other installation steps.
Sysinternals Suite is going to be installed in 'C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\sysinternals\tools'
Downloading sysinternals
  from ''
Progress: 100% - Completed download of C:\Users\jeroenp\AppData\Local\Temp\chocolatey\sysinternals\2019.6.29\ (29 MB).
Download of (29 MB) completed.
Error - hashes do not match. Actual value was 'AE0AB906A61234D1ECCB027D04F5A920D78A31494372193EE944DD419842625C'.
ERROR: Checksum for 'C:\Users\jeroenp\AppData\Local\Temp\chocolatey\sysinternals\2019.6.29\' did not meet 'db59efe1739a2262104874347277f9faa0805a1a7a0acd9cc29e9544fb8040c5' for checksum type 'sha256'. Consider passing the actual checksums through with --checksum --checksum64 once you validate the checksums are appropriate. A less secure option is to pass --ignore-checksums if necessary.
The install of sysinternals was NOT successful.
Error while running 'C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\sysinternals\tools\chocolateyInstall.ps1'.
 See log for details.

Chocolatey installed 0/1 packages. 1 packages failed.
 See the log for details (C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\logs\chocolatey.log).

 - sysinternals (exited -1) - Error while running 'C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\sysinternals\tools\chocolateyInstall.ps1'.
 See log for details.

So in this case, as always the most recent Sysinternals file is used, it is OK to follow the bold guideline above (and quoted below) use the checksum for that file. You might even want to ignore it, as the file is downloaded over https so tampering is virtually impossible:

Consider passing the actual checksums through with --checksum --checksum64 once you validate the checksums are appropriate. A less secure option is to pass --ignore-checksums if necessary.

For this checksum, the forced reinstall becomes choco install --force --yes sysinternals --checksum AE0AB906A61234D1ECCB027D04F5A920D78A31494372193EE944DD419842625C

Alternatively (with a slight chance of yet another checksum) would be choco install --force --yes sysinternals --ignore-checksums


Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in .NET, Chocolatey, CommandLine, Development, Power User, PowerShell, PowerShell, Scripting, Software Development, SysInternals, Windows | Leave a Comment »

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