Friday, August 12, 2016

Update Mount-ADDatabase for PowerShell v2

I'm working on some Active Directory (AD) disaster recovery projects right now and one of the recovery methods we're implementing is AD snapshots. With AD snapshots, you have a copy of your AD data to identify and recover from accidental changes.

The client I'm working with has Windows 2008 R2 with PowerShell 2.0 for their domain controllers. PowerShell is my preferred method for automating anything at this point but AD snapshots don't have any PowerShell cmdlets.

Fortunately Ashley McGlone, a Microsoft PFE, has created some PowerShell functions that help you manage and use AD snapshots. One of the coolest things in there is a function (Repair-ADAttribute) that lets you pull attributes from the snapshot and apply them to the same object in the production AD. You can read more about these functions and download them from these two locations:
The minor issue I ran into is with the Mount-ADDatabase function. This function has a -Filter parameter which displays a list AD snapshots and lets you choose which one to mount. In Ashley's function this is done by using Out-GridView with the -OutputMode parameter which requires PowerShell v3. Using Out-GridView is an easy way to allow the user to select the snapshot. I wish it worked for my servers using PowerShell v2. Here is the line from the function:

 $Choice = $snaps | Select-String -SimpleMatch '/' |  
       Select-Object -ExpandProperty Line |  
       Out-GridView -Title 'Select the snapshot to mount' -OutputMode Single  

For my project, getting all of the DCs upgraded to using PowerShell v3 would take a while. I also didn't want to leave the project in a place where a whole bunch of manual steps were required to mount an AD snapshot older than the previous day. So, let's convert this to a method that works in PowerShell v2.

Now I needed a way to convert a list of snapshots in to a menu. My starting point was a TechNet discussion posting from Grant Ward (Bigteddy). You can view his solution for a discussion here:
Using that example I created the following code:

 $choices = $snaps | Select-String -SimpleMatch '/' | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Line  
 $menu = @{}  
 foreach ($s in $choices) {  
      Write-Host "$i --> $s"  
 [int]$ans = Read-Host 'Enter selection'  
 $Choice = $menu.Item($ans)  

This code takes the list of snapshots in the variable $snaps and does two things:
  • Writes a menu to the screen
  • Add each menu item to the array $menu
After the menu is displayed on the screen and the user selects an option (the $ans variable), the option is used to place the snapshot name into the $Choice variable for further processing. Now we have a version that works in PowerShell v2.

1 comment:

  1. The snapshot functions mentioned here are no longer available at the links above. Ashley Mcgone has archived them on his own GitHub at They are in a zip file.