Browsing Posts published by Sarah

Sarah here. Ever find yourself wanting to learn new technology but not sure where to start?  Not familiar with Azure but wondering what it has to offer to IT professionals?  Working with System Center and need to learn more?  Want to know what’s coming up in SQL Server 2014?  Have no fear – the Microsoft Virtual Academy is here!

FREE eBooks

There are many Microsoft eBooks that are available for FREE!  Some of the titles available include:

  • Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • Microsoft System Center: Designing Orchestrator Runbooks
  • Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals
  • Rethinking Enterprise Storage: A Hybrid Cloud Model
  • Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals

These are just some of the titles available.  These eBooks are available in various formats – including PDF, EPUB, and Mobi for Kindle.  Did we mention that they’re FREE? You can find these books at:

Online Courses

Regardless of whether you’re at home, in the office, in a hotel on the road, in a coffee shop, or anywhere else with Internet access, you can brush up your skills by taking online courses through the Microsoft Virtual Academy.  So many courses to choose from!  Some topics that are covered include:

  • Security Fundamentals
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  • Datacenter for a Private Cloud: Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Office 365 Fundamentals
  • SharePoint Online Overview for IT Pros
  • You can find all of these courses over at the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Live Events

If you happen to be able to get away from work to sharpen your skills, there are also Live Events offered by the Microsoft Virtual Academy. Don’t be fooled by the name – these aren’t in-person events.  The MicrosoftVirtual Academy is keeping it virtual, but these online sessions are at a scheduled time, with live presenters.  They also have recorded sessions from past events.  Interesting topics include:

  • DevOps: An IT Pro Guide
  • What’s New in Windows 8.1 Update
  • Moving to Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure
  • Core Solutions of Exchange Server 2013 Jump Start

You can find these and more at:


Microsoft has provided a resource for techies to get up to speed on their various technologies – take advantage of this resource to help stay up on where technology is and where it is going!  Check out the Microsoft Virtual Academy at:

Sarah here.  Bob posted the Lync webinar on administering Office 365 with PowerShell. You can download the presentation here.  Since the video is a bit grainy, I wanted to cover some of the topics and screenshots here. These are some of the things that were covered.

Company & Subscription Information

Some of the things you can do with the company and subscription cmdlets include:

  • See company information – name, address, city, state, whether directory synchronization is enabled, and many other fields
  • Set technical and marketing contacts


Some of the things you can do with users include:

  • Assign Office 365 licenses to users
  • Change a user’s password
  • Restore deleted users from a recycle bin

Security Groups

Some of the things you can do with security groups include:

  • Create and remove groups
  • Assign members to groups

Administrator Roles

Some of the things you can do with administrator roles include:

  • Create and remove roles
  • Assign users to roles


This is just a small glimpse of administering the Office 365 core functionality.  I didn’t cover Lync Online, SharePoint Online, or Exchange Online in the webinar.  However, I will cover those in future PowerShell Tidbits posts!

Sarah here. Are you one with the command line? Do you find yourself writing batch scripts to automate tasks? Perhaps you’re writing KiXtart scripts or even VBScript to help with your day-to-day tasks. How would you like another tool for your scripting toolbelt?

I’ve convinced Bob to let me share with you some tidbits from my favorite scripting language – PowerShell!  PowerShell is Microsoft’s scripting language running on the .NET Framework. It is part of the Windows Management Framework suite, along with Windows Remote Management (WinRM) and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).

What can I do with it?

Whether you’re doing network audits, migrating to Office 365, administering servers with products such as Exchange, IIS, SQL Server, or Active Directory, or even managing remote workstations, PowerShell can be a great tool to know.  Adding groups of users from your local Active Directory to Office 365, for example, doesn’t need to be a time-consuming, GUI-clicking party – although if that’s your thing, go for it.  You can make it happen much quicker by writing a PowerShell script to query your Active Directory and create the new users, roles, contacts, etc. needed in Office 365.  Managing group policies, setting up mailboxes, understanding a SQL Server’s configuration, spinning up new websites in IIS – just some of the many, many things you could script with PowerShell!

This sounds handy!  What do I need to run it?

If you have Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, PowerShell 2.0 is already installed.

If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008, PowerShell 2.0 is available for download:

If you have Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, then PowerShell 3.0 is already installed.

If you have Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, or Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2, PowerShell 3.0 is available for download:

Okay… I think I have it installed already.  But I’m not entirely sure which version I’m working with.

If you start PowerShell and aren’t really sure which version you’re running, look at the $Host variable, as seen below:

PowerShell Host variable


Look forward to more PowerShell tidbits in the future!