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

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Archive for the ‘CommandLine’ Category

VFrontDe/ESXi-Customizer-PS: PowerCLI script that greatly simplifies and automates the process of creating fully patched and customized VMware ESXi installation images

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/11/30

On my list of things to try, as it allows me to have an ISO at hand in case I ever need to quickly re-install a machine to the current patch level (for instance when the USB boot stick breaks down: these things happen in reality): [Wayback] VFrontDe/ESXi-Customizer-PS: PowerCLI script that greatly simplifies and automates the process of creating fully patched and customized VMware ESXi installation images

ESXi-Customizer-PS is a Powershell script that greatly simplifies and automates the process of creating fully patched and customized ESXi 5.x and 6.x installation ISOs using the VMware PowerCLI ImageBuilder module/snapin.


  • A Windows computer (XP or newer) with Powershell 2.0 or newer
  • VMware PowerCLI version 5.1 or newer

You can get the code from [Wayback] ESXi-Customizer-PS/ESXi-Customizer-PS.ps1 at master · VFrontDe/ESXi-Customizer-PS.

The old site (which still has most of the documentation) can be reached at two places:

A video showing how to use it is below the signature.

The above links via [Wayback] Custom ESXi ISO with ne1000 driver for install on Intel NUC Frost Canyon –


Oh: you can check if you have a PXE, USB or HDD installation of ESXi via the steps here: Determining the ESXi installation type (2014558) | VMware KB.

More on a failing USB stick later…



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Posted in CommandLine, Development, ESXi6, ESXi6.5, ESXi6.7, ESXi7, Power User, PowerShell, PowerShell, Software Development, Virtualization, VMware, VMware ESXi | Leave a Comment »

Windows 10: remove applications from the uninstall list

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/11/04

After doing Windows upgrades to Windows 10, every now and then I bump into applications that do not fully uninstall themselves and get stuck on the uninstall list (that you get when running appwiz.cpl or browse to the Control Pannel installed programs list).

[WayBack] How to Manually Remove Programs from the Add/Remove Programs List mentions to inspect registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall, but that didn’t include some of the applications.

Then I found [WayBack] Remove entry from Windows 10 Apps & Features – Super User, where the answers mentions two other keys (thanks users [WayBack] Kreiggott and [WayBack] NutCracker):

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall


So I made the below PowerShell script to dump installed programs.

It grabs the list of registry keys containing installed software and their registry values, then empirically filters out most values that are also now shown in AppWiz.cpl.

Like database work, the values can have properties having a value or being null. So it’s SQL like expression galore to do the filtering.

This post is slightly related to Still unsolved since 2015 NetBeans: Bug 251538 – Your Installer is Creating Invalid Data for the NoModify DWORD Key which crashes enumeration of the Uninstall Key in at least PowerShell, where I already did (without documenting) some Uninstall spelunking.

## The collection of registry keys gives Name and Property of each registry key; where Property is compound containing all registry values of that key.
## Get-ItemProperty will get you all the values on which you can filter, including a few special PS* values that allow you to browse back to the registry key.

# x86 installs on x64 hardware:
$nonUninstallableSoftwareRegistryKeys = (@
(Get-Item HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\*)) + 
(Get-Item HKLM:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\*) + 
(Get-Item HKLM:\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\*)
#$nonUninstallableSoftwareRegistryKeys | Get-Member
#$nonUninstallableSoftwareRegistryKeys | Out-GridView
#$nonUninstallableSoftwareRegistryKeys | Get-ItemProperty | Get-Member
#$nonUninstallableSoftwareRegistryKeys | Get-ItemProperty | Out-GridView
$nonUninstallableSoftwareRegistryNameValues = $nonUninstallableSoftwareRegistryKeys | 
    Get-ItemProperty |
    Where-Object {
        $_.SystemComponent -ne 1 -and $_.NoRemove -ne 1 -and
        $_.UninstallString -ne "" -and $_.UninstallString -ne $null
# Filters out most things that AppWiz.cpl will leave out as well.
# Might need more fine tuning, but is good enough for now.

# PSPath shows the path to the underlying registry key of each value
$nonUninstallableSoftwareRegistryNameValues |
    Select-Object SystemComponent, NoRemove, DisplayName, DisplayVersion, UninstallString, PSChildName <#, PSPath #> |
    Sort-Object DisplayName |
# Need to find a good way to output this in a really wide Format-Table text format.


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

Terminating a script in PowerShell – Stack Overflow

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/11/03

I have the same problem mentioned in the answer to [WayBack] Terminating a script in PowerShell – Stack Overflow: confused by most answers, and keeping to forget what each method means (there is Exit, Return, Break and (if you love exception handling to do simple flow control), Throw.

So here is the full quote of what [WayBack] User New Guy answered:

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Posted in *nix, CommandLine, Development, Power User, PowerShell, PowerShell, Scripting, Software Development, Windows | Leave a Comment »

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 »

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