Accessing the Registry with PowerShell
Accessing the Registry with PowerShell
Editing the PowerShell registry is a knack. In the beginning, accessing values in the registry using PowerShell is deceptively difficult, but once you master the syntax of HKLM:\ the technique it becomes reassuringly easy.
Topics for Editing a PowerShell Registry Key
As a beginner, people will tell you that accessing the registry with PowerShell is as easy as accessing the file system. Guy says that doing useful work means learning knack. Let start with PowerShell's PSDrive provider, which opens the door to the registry. Thus you can type:
CD HKLM:\ (Similar to typing: cd C:\)
I reminder that HKLM is an abbreviation of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, which is well-known to PowerShell. There is also the users section of the registry at HKCU.
Let us go back a step, this is how you make the connection between PowerShell, the registry, and the file system; simply type: Get-PSDrive
a) Using the familiar aliases cd and DIR
# PowerShell Registry Access
Note 1: You need a carriage return after the first line.
b) This is how you can get the same result as above, but using native PowerShell commands:
# PowerShell Registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE listing
Note 3: The backslash makes sure that you connect to the root of HKLM.
Note 4: -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue suppresses the error message PermissionDenied to the SECURITY hive. It can be abbreviated to EA 4.
Note 5: In other scripts if you see 'SKC' it means SubKey count, and VC means Value count.
Using PowerShell to Search for Registry Entries
Note 6: The backtick means the command continues on the next line.
SolarWinds' Network Performance Monitor will help you discover what's happening on your network. This utility will also guide you through troubleshooting; the dashboard will indicate whether the root cause is a broken link, faulty equipment or resource overload.
What I like best is the way NPM suggests solutions to network problems. Its also has the ability to monitor the health of individual VMware virtual machines. If you are interested in troubleshooting, and creating network maps, then I recommend that you try NPM now.
PowerShell Displays Registry Values with Progress Bar
This script has the same heart as the above example, but it features Write-Progress, and also Start-Job followed by Receive-Job. The benefit of the progress bar is to indicate to the user that the script is working in the background.
Superficially, the simple commands shown above work as expected. Problems start when you try to view values in the registry, and they get worse if you try and change Reg_SZ or DWORD setting. This is where analogies with the file-system break down, and we need to learn new techniques.
Scenario: you want to check or enumerate the name of the user who is logged on.
# PowerShell Registry Key Winlogon
Note 7: To omit the dot (period) after -Path is fatal. -Path. is correct.
Note 8: Finding this PowerShell registry key also
works without the final \'
Note 9: Here is an alternative version without the final '\'
# PowerShell Registry Key example
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is one of the hidden treasures of Microsoft's operating systems. Fortunately, SolarWinds have created a Free WMI Monitor so that you can discover these gems of performance information, and thus improve your PowerShell scripts.
Take the guess work out of which WMI counters to use when scripting the operating system, Active Directory, or Exchange Server. Give this WMI monitor a try - it's free.
We have already had a lucky break, because we've been tipped off there is PowerShell cmdlet called Get-ItemProperty. Now we can exploit this knowledge by checking for similar nouns to ItemProperty.
# Research more PowerShell registry cmdlets
Eureka! Let us investigate Set-ItemProperty and see if it has any parameters to change settings in the registry.
# Find more about the PowerShell Set-ItemProperty cmdlet
Note 10: Do you see a parameter called -Value? Now we have the skill to employ PowerShell to change values in a named registry key.
I have chosen to adjust the CachedLogonsCount.
# Example of a PowerShell registry change
Note 12: The last line is optional.
Summary of Editing the PowerShell Registry
The union between PowerShell and the Registry is a marriage made in heaven. If you are a minor expert on Regedit then PowerShell scripting is a wonderful alternative way of making changes. From a learning point of view, go slowly at first. Tune-In to the PowerShell method for navigating the registry keys, and go slowly through the syntax for enumerating the values. Once you learn about Set-ItemProperty then you can script changes to your favorite registry hacks.
If you like this page then please share it with your friends
See more Microsoft PowerShell Examples of Real Life Tasks
Please email me if you have a better example script. Also please report any factual mistakes, grammatical errors or broken links, I will be happy to correct the fault.