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Entries in vbug (12)


8th July, Newcastle: Key features in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2

If you're a Windows sys admin, the biggest contacts on your approach radar right now are Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, due to release later in the year (but be complete and released to manufacture next month). This free event, on the Newcastle University campus, couldn't be much more timely then.

Rik Hepworth, the IT Director at Black Marble, will cover some of the great new features of the two operating systems, including BranchCache, XP Mode and what I personally think is the number one feature (after PowerShell V2 of course), DirectAccess.

This is bound to be a popular event, so sign up early over at the VBUG site.


Free events in Newcastle this month

As I previously posted, Thursday 14th May sees Eileen Brown from Microsoft come up to the Newcastle University campus to talk about Unified Messaging. This should be a really interesting presentation, and unfortunately possibly the last time we'll get to see Eileen presenting in the North East as a member of the TechNet team, since she blogged yesterday that her current role is being impacted by the recently announced layoffs at Microsoft.

Sign up for your free place at the VBUG site (membership is not required).

Since the last Monday of May is a bank holiday, the SuperMondays event this month is being held on a Tuesday, but don't let that put you off because the line-up is one of the best yet. The event is being held on the 26th May in Newcastle University's Culture Lab and will feature some of the really interesting work being done there and more.

See for more details and sign up at Eventbrite.

Thanks to Alistair for pointing out in the comments that there's also BarCampNorthEast2 on the 16th and 17th.


VBUG Newcastle IT Pro Event 14th May: Unified Communications with Eileen Brown

For the second VBUG Newcastle IT Pro event, we're fortunate to have a great speaker. Eileen Brown is the manager of Microsoft's TechNet UK IT Professional Evangelist Team, and writes a hugely popular blog on Management, Messaging, Mobility and Real Time Collaboration.

Here's the overview of Eileen's talk:

"If the PCs on our desks do much more than they did 10 years ago, why don't our phones ?

On a Mobile phone calls are dialled from your phone book - UC allows your PC contacts to be used to place calls rather than re-keying the number into a desk, and identifies your contacts by name when they call you and routes your calls to the best phone. Unified communications is bringing together Voice, Fax, Video, Email and Instant messaging, into one system. So Voice mail which arrives in your mailbox And e-mail which can be read to you over the phone. With UC you can see if someone is around to take a call or answer a message before you contact them - and choose the best medium. And a conversation can move seamlessly from email, to instant message, to data sharing and video conference. Harnessing UC can mean less travel, less frustration and greater productivity."

The presentation will take place in Room 118 of Claremont Tower, Newcastle University on Thursday 14th May, 18:30 (for a 19:00 start). If you plan to attend, please could you sign up at the VBUG site (just so we have numbers for refreshments, etc):

You don't have to be a VBUG member and the event is free to attend.

If you're on Twitter, you might like to follow Eileen.


PowerShell: 0-60 in One Evening

VBUG Newcastle's first IT Pro event on Tuesday night was certainly a positive start, and one of my most enjoyable presentations. I promised to post links to the tools that I covered, so here they are, along with an overview and some things that I didn't get to in the presentation, which are good resources for people getting started with PowerShell...

In the first half of the session I did an overview of the PowerShell language, starting with the four cmdlets that let you discover what you can do with the shell and objects: Get-Help, Get-Command, Get-PSDrive and Get-Member. We then covered variables, arrays, objects and the pipeline, filtering and how to use the -whatif and -confirm parameters to save yourself from accidentally breaking things!

After a break for refreshments, I talked about and demoed a selection of free tools that can help you get up to speed and work better with PowerShell...

Free Tools


  • TechNet Script Center's PowerShell Graphical Help which contains more than Get-Help and is nicer to browse.
  • Sapien's iPowerShell provides a handy copy of the PowerShell built-in help on iPhone and iPod Touch.


  • /\/\o\/\/'s PowerTab is tab-completion on steriods!
  • Quest's PowerShell Commands for Active Directory provides cmdlets for managing AD objects.
  • SDM Software's GPMC PowerShell Cmdlets let you work with Group Policy objects as long as you don't way to alter the internals of a GPO (they have a paid verison for that) - the free cmdlets let you copy/link/backup/etc.
  • In the words of the Codeplex description: PowerShell Community Extensions (PSCX) is aimed at providing a widely useful set of additional cmdlets, providers, aliases, filters, functions and scripts for Windows PowerShell that members of the community have expressed interest in.

To build rich UIs with PowerShell

  • Sapien's Primal Forms is a wysiwig editor for building a Windows Forms application with PowerShell. Primal Forms does all the code for the GUI and you add in your code to add the functionality.
  • Joel Bennet's PowerBoots is a neat framework for creating Windows Presentation Foundation apps.
  • PowerShellASP lets you include PowerShell code in your existing ASP.NET applications.

The biggest recommendation of the evening was to download and try Quest's PowerGUI, for both the main application, which can help you build PowerShell code by using the GUI, and for the script editor, which is great considering it's free. You should check out the additional PowerGUI Power Packs and forums at too.

Other Resources

I particularly encourage people to check out, for the forums, Tobias' excellent daily email tips, a quick link (labeled "Live Chat") to the #powershell IRC channel on (a great place to ask your PowerShell questions), and more.

In addition, it's worth looking at:

If you're on Twitter, you can find lots of folk from the PowerShell community listed at and on (where you can add the PowerShell tag to your Twitter account).


VBUG Newcastle: Free PowerShell Event: 24th March

I've been working with Andrew Westgarth, who runs the VBUG Newcastle events, to try to provide IT Pro (i.e. sys admin) content as well as their traditional developer events. The idea is that we'll run free developer and IT Pro events alternate months on the Newcastle University campus.

The first of the IT Pro events will be held on the 24th March in Claremont Tower and I will be presenting "Windows PowerShell: 0-60 in One Evening". The presentation will highlight a number of free tools to help you get up to speed quickly with PowerShell.

All the details are on the VBUG site at:

If you'd like to come along, please book your free place through the VBUG site (just so we don't run short of refreshments).