Lead Image © Maurizio Ascione, Fotolia.com

Lead Image © Maurizio Ascione, Fotolia.com

Client management in the domain using PowerShell

On My Mark

Article from ADMIN 37/2017
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PowerShell offers the perfect client management solution using DIY scripts and a simple storage solution.

Tools such as System Center Configuration Manager, opsi-winst, or Puppet offer client management, but the learning curve can be huge. Instead, a flexible combination of DIY scripts and a simple storage solution offers a perfect solution. In this article, I automate various client management tasks in a domain with PowerShell with a focus on the following areas:

  • Printer management.
  • Checking for installation of certain Windows features.
  • Listing a computer's group memberships.
  • Entering DNS servers.

I am using Windows 10 client with a Windows Server 2012 R2 domain, with PowerShell v5 on the client and PowerShell v4 on the server.

Administration via a CSV File

In PowerShell remoting, a distinction is made between 1:1 and 1:n (fan-out) relationships. 1:1 remote management is implemented through the PsSession concept. Fan-out remote management – that is, simultaneous processing of instructions on multiple target computers – is achieved through invoke-Command and its parameters. In this process, separating the configuration settings from the programming logic is useful for maintaining the script. The data can be stored in a database, or an XML or text file.

In particular, a structured, comma-separated values (CSV) file provides a simple and practical approach. It is easily maintained – even for administrators with less scripting experience. The columns in the CSV table include the IP address of the Windows client, the DNS servers, desired Windows features, printers, required group memberships, and optionally other control information. The script is executed remotely via a central management computer. This eliminates the need for time-consuming local modification of individual clients. On running the script, you may need to pass in the required authorization context via the -Credential

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