Month: August 2011

Find Users Actively Connected to a Share

The work I do for AT&T deals extensively with performing data migrations; moving user and group data from one server to another.  To make the data transition easier for the active share users I send emails to them indicating when a share is going to move, and what its new location will be?

Q:How do I capture that active user information?

A:  I use a WMI query using the class Win32_ServerConnection.

With Powershell you can easily query a remote server to find out what accounts are connected to all shares, or a specific share.

One of the very nice things about Powershell is that you can create a “one-liner” to grab the information quickliy.  This would be used  as a quick reference.  Here is an example of a one liner to find all of the employees connected to server ServerBravo1

Get-WmiObject Win32_ServerConnection -ComputerName ServerBravo1 select username, sharename, computername | sort sharename | Format-Table -AutoSize

Here is the break down of that command:

Get-WmiObject Win32_ServerConnection: Performs the WMI query using the Get-WMIObject cmdlet.

-ComputerName ServerBravo1: Runs the query on the remote server ServerBravo1.  If the -ComputerName property is excluded then the command is run on the local computer.

selectusername, sharename, computername:  This determines which properties are returned from the query.  I find these to be the most useful properties, but there are a lot more that can be returned.

Here is a list of the properties that could be useful:

Name                           MemberType
—-                                ———-
ActiveTime               Property
Caption                       Property
ComputerName      Property
ConnectionID          Property
Description              Property
InstallDate               Property
Name                          Property
NumberOfFiles       Property
NumberOfUsers     Property
ShareName              Property
Status                         Property
UserName                Property

sort sharename: This sorts the results based on the value of the ShareName property.

Format-Table-AutoSize: This formats the output in columns.  The -autosize option places the columns in a nice compact presentation.  Other output options include format-list, and my personal favorite out-gridview.

The one-liner is nice but you have to type the full text each time.  Since I use this command so much, I prefered to make a function where I can type the function name followed by a server name.  The required typing is a lot less for each use, and you don’t really need to remember the specific property names.

Here is how that funtion would look:

Function to Find Active Share Users on a Server

function get-ShareUsers




Determine which shares are actively being used by employees.


This provides a live time view of shares currently being accessed by employees. The output can be to the Powershell screen, the out-gridview window, a CSV file, or all of the above.


.PARAMETER <paramName>

ServerName – Used to determine the server to scan.

GridView – Enables the output to the gridview.

Export – Enables the output to a CSV file using the export-csv cmdlet.


get-ShareUsers S47715C014001



This command scans a server called S47715C014001 for active share users. The result is sent to the Powershell screen.


get-ShareUsers S47715C014001 -Gridview



This command scans a server called S47715C014001 for active share users. The result is sent to the Powershell screen, and to the out-gridview window.


get-ShareUsers S47715C014001 -Gridview -Export



This command scans a server called S47715C014001 for active share users. The result is sent to the Powershell screen, to the out-gridview window, and to a CSV file called S47715C014001 _Share_Users.csv





#First parameter

[parameter(Mandatory=$true, #Makes this a required parameter. The user will be prompted for this item if it is not provided.

ValueFromPipeline=$true)] #Allows the server name to be “Piped” into the function.

[String[]] $ServerName, #The name against which to run the query.

#Second parameter – Sends the output to the out-gridview display.

[switch] $Gridview,

#Third parameter – Sends the output to a CSV file for later used.

[switch] $Export



#Default output to the Powershell interface.

Get-WmiObject Win32_ServerConnection -ComputerName $ServerName | select username, sharename, computername | sort sharename | Format-Table -AutoSize

if ($Gridview -eq $true) #Use this switch if you want to output to the Out-Gridview window.


Get-WmiObject Win32_ServerConnection -ComputerName $ServerName | select username, sharename, computername | sort sharename | Out-GridView -Title “$computername Share Users”


if ($Export -eq $true) #Use this switch if you want to output to a CSV file.{

[string]$filename = $ServerName+ “_Share_Users.csv”

Get-WmiObject Win32_ServerConnection -ComputerName $ServerName | select username, sharename, computername | sort sharename | Export-Csv -Path $filename -NoTypeInformation



A few final comments:

  • To make this function available all of the time when you are using PowerShell, paste the function into your PowerShell profile document.  When you do that it will load each time you start PowerShell.
  • Once it is loaded into your PowerShell session, you can find help on this function by typing the following in the PowerShell command line window:

help get-shareusers -Full

This will give examples of how to use the function, and also give detailed information on each of the parameters.

  • Finally, to make it easier to use this function, I have uploaded the text of the script here at my Google page:


I hope this is a helpful utility for you.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this, or any of my other posts.

Have a good day.



How to Run a PowerShell Script from Batch File

A friend was lamenting to me recently that there was an aspect of Powershell that he found annoying. He didn’t like the fact that you had to open a PowerShell command line window to run a script. Well guess what, dear friend – you don’t really need to do that!


This blog entry details the quick and easy method for running a PowerShell script from a shortcut on your desktop. To get started let’s have a quick little script on hand to test how this works.

1. Open notepad, copy the below text into it, and save it as PowerShellTest.ps1. Keep track of where you save it.

$name = Read-Host “What is your name?” #Get name from CLI.

$quest = Read-Host “What is your quest?” #Get quest fromCLI

$windowObject = new-object -comobject #Create windows message box object.

$output = $windowObject.popup(“Hello $name.`nYour quest sounds exciting!”,0,”Quest: $quest”,1) #Display the message.

Now, here is how you can open that script in Powershell by just clicking on an icon.

2. Where ever you saved PowerShellTest.ps1, right click and select New Document.

3. Name the file “PowerShellTest.cmd“. The cmd is used to assign a file extension type of command to the text file. This lets it operate as an executable file.

4. You will see the following popup message:

Select “Yes” to confirm.

5. Now right click the PowerShellTest.cmd file that you just made, and select “Edit“. This will open up the CMD file in Notepad, and allow you to finish this process.

6. Inside of the cmd file, type in “Powershell.exe”, a space, and then the name of the PowerShell file you made in step 1.

Notice that I added “.” to the front of the file name. This is required by Powershell to help indicate that this is a file, and not a variable. It is called “Dot Sourcing” in Powershell.

The actual text I used is: Powershell.exe .PowerShellTest.ps1

7. Save and then close the CMD file to continue.

8. Now, to test the final product, double-click on the CMD file that you made in steps 3 and 4. You will get the following result:

You are going to be prompted for your name, and your quest. Just make up something dreadfully clever for each. Once you type the text, press Enter for each line. After your final entry a message box is displayed, indicating the the script has completed.

So, there you go. You were able to run a PowerShell script by simply clicking on a CMD text file. I generally store the CMD file with the PowerShell script file to make them quickly accessible.


While this program is simple, it does highlight the method for opening a PowerShell script from Windows Explorer. Incidentally, it shows the method to prompt a script user for input, and also shows how to display a Windows message box output.

As always, let know if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you, Patrick