Working with PowerShell Jobs

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PowerShell Jobs is very effective way to achieve faster, recently I used to work with it and provides big improvements, but it shouldn’t be used in all cases, but only when you need your Script to run in parallel threading

for example, if you you have 1000 files, and you want to run powershell script to process it, you can split your script to run for 100 file per job, and this will optimize running time by over 80%

but still PowerShell jobs is a bit tricky in executing and debugging, in this post will summarize what you really want to use PowerShell Jobs efficiently

for($i =0; $i -lt 5; $i++)
$job=Start-Job -Name "Job-$i" -ScriptBlock {
    Start-Sleep -s 5
    $x = 10
    $z = $x + 5
    (Get-Random -Minimum 1 -Maximum 1000).ToString()   >> "C:\temp\file.txt"

Debug-Job -Job $job;

Debugging process is also tricky, you should be aware of few things

  • The .ps1 file must be saved before debugging
  • Write-host will not work in the job, instead use Out-file to write in a log file
  • Put break point on the Debug-Job line
  • If the job ends quickly then debug will not work, make the function run for longer, by adding “start-sleep -s 5” in the job it self, like in the above example

If you want to bypass a parameter to the Job, you can do this in many ways

  1. Pass parameter directly to the job, using $input method, like the below (Please make sure to use $input word (case sensitive), otherwise it will not work
for($i =0; $i -lt 5; $i++)
$job=Start-Job -Name "Job-$i" -InputObject $i -ScriptBlock {
    Start-Sleep -s 10
    $z = $input
    $input   >> "C:\temp\file.txt"

Debug-Job -Job $job;

2. The job only takes one single input, you can send array of string as object in this input, and process it in the job

3. you can write your input in a file, and then the job read it

In general I prefer to use file with jobs, it is easier in handling like the below

for($i =0; $i -lt 5; $i++)
$job=Start-Job -Name "Job-$i" -InputObject $i -ScriptBlock {
    Start-Sleep -s 5
    C:\Temp\otherscript.ps1 -param1 $input


Please leave me a comment if you face any issues with the Jobs



How to read Excel files without having Excel installed on your machine using .NET ?

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Luckily, there is a way to read from Excel files that has (*.xlsx) or (*.xls) extensions, without having Office Excel installed on your machine.

This way can be used with .NET Windows, or Webs, also can be used with PowerShell, however, I will address below how to use it with .NET only in details, and will give some guidance how to use it with PowerShell

1. Open your visual studio, and Create a new .NET Project (web app, or windows app, or other) with .NET v4.0 or more
2. Create a new Class, and lets name it “ExcelAdapter.cs”
3. Paste the blow block in “ExcelAdapter.cs”

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using DocumentFormat.OpenXml;
using DocumentFormat.OpenXml.Packaging;
using DocumentFormat.OpenXml.Spreadsheet;
using System.Data;
using System.Globalization;

namespace ExcelReader
    public class ExcelAdapter
        public static DataTable ReadExcel(string path, string sheetName)
            var data = new DataTable();
            using (SpreadsheetDocument spreadsheetDocument = SpreadsheetDocument.Open(path, false))
                // Get the worksheet we are working with
                var sheets = spreadsheetDocument.WorkbookPart.Workbook.Descendants<Sheet>().Where(s => s.Name == sheetName);
                var worksheetPart = (WorksheetPart)spreadsheetDocument.WorkbookPart.GetPartById(sheets.First().Id);
                var worksheet = worksheetPart.Worksheet;
                var sstPart = spreadsheetDocument.WorkbookPart.GetPartsOfType<SharedStringTablePart>().First();
                var ssTable = sstPart.SharedStringTable;
                // Get the CellFormats for cells without defined data types
                var workbookStylesPart = spreadsheetDocument.WorkbookPart.GetPartsOfType<WorkbookStylesPart>().First();
                var cellFormats = workbookStylesPart.Stylesheet.CellFormats;

                ExtractRowsData(data, worksheet, ssTable, cellFormats);
            return data;
        private static void ExtractRowsData(DataTable data, Worksheet worksheet, SharedStringTable ssTable, CellFormats cellFormats)
            var columnHeaders = worksheet.Descendants<Row>().First().Descendants<Cell>().Select(c => Convert.ToString(ProcessCellValue(c, ssTable, cellFormats))).ToArray();
            var columnHeadersCellReference = worksheet.Descendants<Row>().First().Descendants<Cell>().Select(c => c.CellReference.InnerText.Replace("1", string.Empty)).ToArray();
            var spreadsheetData = from row in worksheet.Descendants<Row>()
                                  where row.RowIndex > 1
                                  select row;
            foreach (string columnHeader in columnHeaders)
            foreach (var dataRow in spreadsheetData)
                var newRow = data.NewRow();
                for (int i = 0; i < columnHeaders.Length; i++)
                    // Find and add the correct cell to the row object
                    var cell = dataRow.Descendants<Cell>().Where(c => c.CellReference == columnHeadersCellReference[i] + dataRow.RowIndex).FirstOrDefault();
                    if (cell != null)
                        newRow[columnHeaders[i]] = ProcessCellValue(cell, ssTable, cellFormats);
                if (!newRow.ItemArray.All(field =>
                    string s = null;
                    if (field != null)
                        s = field.ToString();
                    return string.IsNullOrEmpty(s);
        // Process the valus of a cell and return a .NET value
        private static Func<Cell, SharedStringTable, CellFormats, Object> ProcessCellValue =
            (c, ssTable, cellFormats) =>
                if (c.CellValue == null) return null;
                // If there is no data type, this must be a string that has been formatted as a number
                if (c.DataType == null)
                    if (c.StyleIndex == null) return c.CellValue.Text.Trim();
                    var cf =
                    if (cf.NumberFormatId >= 0 && cf.NumberFormatId <= 13) // This is a number
                        return double.Parse(c.CellValue.Text, NumberStyles.Any);
                    if (cf.NumberFormatId >= 14 && cf.NumberFormatId <= 22) // This is a date
                        return DateTime.FromOADate(Convert.ToDouble(c.CellValue.Text));
                    return c.CellValue.Text.Trim();
                switch (c.DataType.Value)
                    case CellValues.SharedString:
                        return ssTable.ChildElements[Convert.ToInt32(c.CellValue.Text)].InnerText.Trim();
                    case CellValues.Boolean:
                        return c.CellValue.Text == "1";
                    case CellValues.Date:
                        return DateTime.FromOADate(Convert.ToDouble(c.CellValue.Text));
                    case CellValues.Number:
                        return double.Parse(c.CellValue.Text, NumberStyles.Any);
                        return c.CellValue != null ? c.CellValue.Text : string.Empty;
        public static List<string> GetSheet(string filename)
            DataTable dataTable = new DataTable();
            List<string> list = new List<string>();
            using (SpreadsheetDocument spreadsheetDocument = SpreadsheetDocument.Open(filename, false))
                IEnumerable<Sheet> enumerable = spreadsheetDocument.WorkbookPart.Workbook.Descendants<Sheet>();
                foreach (Sheet current in enumerable)
            return list;

4. This is an open source library, To install it you need to open “Package Manage Console” in visual studio and then run this command : Install-Package DocumentFormat.OpenXml -Version 2.9.1


5. If you cannot see the Package manage console, please show it from Tools > NuGet Package Manager > Package Manager Console


6. If you prefer to do it manually, you can search google on DocumentFormat.OpenXml, download the .dll, and use add to reference

7. Now the Document Format should be installed in your project, check the references to confirm

8. Rebuild the project, should be no errors

9. To start using the functions create a new form, or class, and start using the functions, this function will return list of sheets in the excel file

List<string> sheets = ExcelAdapter.GetSheet(@"C:\temp\file.xlsx");

10. Now we will get the data in one of the sheets, and load it to a datatable, then to DataGrid, to do this write the below

DataTable dt = ExcelAdapter.ReadExcel(@"C:\temp\file.xlsx", "Sheet1");//please be aware that Sheet1 is case sensitive!
 this.dataGridView1.DataSource = dt;
 //Please don't forget to add databind if you are using with

12. and you will have your Dataload as below

If you want to use it with PowerShell, it will be a little bit more complicated, you will need first to, convert this module to *.dll then reference it to your PowerShell script like in this link

Get InfoPath Usage in your SharePoint Online site using PowerShell

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I was involved recently in a project to get InfoPath usage in SharePoint Online site.
This script is useful to know How many InfoPath file is created in your Site/Tenant, it also differentiate between InfoPath path form, and InfoPath Custom list form.
This also works on SharePoint 2013 & SharePoint 2016 as it is relying on Client Object Model, but you will point to SP2013/SP2016 Client dlls

Function Get-SPOContext([string]$Url,[string]$UserName,[string]$Password)
$SecurePassword = $Password | ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText -Force
$context = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($Url)
$context.Credentials = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($UserName, $SecurePassword)
return $context
$Header = "Site Url; Web Url; Base Template; List Title; Item Count; "
$UserName = ""
$Password = Read-Host -Prompt "Password"
$Url = ""
$context = Get-SPOContext -Url $Url -UserName $UserName -Password $Password
$site = $context.Site
$rootWeb = $site.RootWeb
$webs = $rootWeb.Webs
$AllWebs= @()
$AllWebs += $rootWeb
$AllWebs += $webs
foreach ($web in $AllWebs)
$lists = $web.Lists;
foreach ($list in $lists)
#Write-Host $list.Title $list.BaseTemplate -ForegroundColor Yellow
if($list.BaseTemplate -eq 115 )
Write-Host "XML InfoPath Forms " $list.Title $list.BaseTemplate -ForegroundColor Green
elseif ($list.BaseTemplate -ne 101)
if($list.ContentTypes.Count -gt 0)
if ($list.ContentTypes[0].EditFormUrl.Contains("editifs.aspx"))
Write-Host "Custom InfoPath List :" $list.Title $list.BaseTemplate -ForegroundColor Cyan

You an adjust the script to output the results to csv or excel
Please leave me a comment if you faced any issues with it
Enjoy !

Extract Audit Logs for Office 365 Services using PowerShell

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It was always confusing while using Search-UnifiedAuditLog, because you need first to load Exchange libraries.
In this script we will retrieve the Audit logs from Office 365 for the below services

  1. Skype for Business
  2. Exchange
  3. Yammer
  4. OneDrive for Business
  5. SharePoint Online

Please be aware that the command “Search-UnifiedAuditLog” will never loads until you load the Exchange New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange, this means you have to use the Tenant admin to execute the below code.

The extraction will be very useful to get audit logs for your Office 365 Services, and it will be extracted to CSV files

$Username = ""
$TenantODFBUrl = ""
$TenantAdminUrl = ""
$Pass = "PaSSword!"
[String]$Output = ".\report_$((Get-Date -uformat %Y%m%d).ToString()).csv"
$usersList = Get-Content "C:\temp\TargetUsers.txt"
$cred = [System.Net.CredentialCache]::DefaultCredentials
[System.Net.WebRequest]::DefaultWebProxy.Credentials = $cred
$creds = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($Username,(ConvertTo-SecureString $Pass -AsPlainText -Force));
$session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -Authentication Basic -ConnectionUri -AllowRedirection:$true -Credential $creds
Import-PSSession $session -AllowClobber
$startDate = $(Get-Date).AddDays(-60).Date
$endDate = $(Get-Date).AddDays(-1).Date
Search-UnifiedAuditLog -StartDate $startDate -EndDate $endDate -ResultSize 5000 |Sort-Object CreationDate -Descending | Export-Csv .\SearchResult.csv -NoTypeInformation
#Skype for Business
Search-UnifiedAuditLog -StartDate $startDate -EndDate $endDate -RecordType "SkypeForBusinessCmdlets","SkypeForBusinessPSTNUsage","SkypeForBusinessUsersBlocked" |Sort-Object CreationDate -Descending | Export-Csv .\SkypeSearchResult.csv -NoTypeInformation
Search-UnifiedAuditLog -StartDate $startDate -EndDate $endDate -RecordType "ExchangeAdmin","ExchangeItemGroup","ExchangeItem","ExchangeAggregatedOperation" |Sort-Object CreationDate -Descending | Export-Csv .\ExchangeSearchResult.csv -NoTypeInformation
Search-UnifiedAuditLog -StartDate $startDate -EndDate $endDate -UserIds $usersList -RecordType "yammer" |Sort-Object CreationDate -Descending | Export-Csv .\YammerSearchResult.csv -NoTypeInformation
$OneDriveworkload = '*"Workload"' + ":" + '"OneDrive"*'
Search-UnifiedAuditLog -StartDate $startDate -EndDate $endDate -UserIds $usersList | Where-Object {$_.AuditData -like $OneDriveworkload } |Sort-Object CreationDate -Descending | Export-Csv .\OneDriveSearchResult.csv -NoTypeInformation
#SharePoint Online
$workload = '*"Workload"' + ":" + '"SharePoint"*'
Search-UnifiedAuditLog -StartDate $startDate -EndDate $endDate -UserIds $usersList -RecordType "SharePointFileOperation","SharePoint","SharePointSharingOperation" | Where-Object {$_.AuditData -like $workload} |Sort-Object CreationDate -Descending | Export-Csv .\SPSearchResult.csv -NoTypeInformation

Please leave me a comment if you faced any issues with it
Regards !

Check if PowerBI Workspace exists using Get-UnifiedGroup PowerShell Command

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We will validate if Certian PowerBI workspace exists or not using Get-UnifiedGroup PowerShell Command in this link

The Get-UnifiedGroup is a little bit tricky because you cannot Load it unless you setup a Microsoft.Exchange connection through O365, and after than you can use the Get-UnifiedGroup command

The below PowerShell script is connected to O365 Exchange then get the unified Group.

Any PowerBI Workspace created is associated with O365 Group, If the workspace is deleted for any reason, the O365 Group will be deleted accordingly.
The Group Id should be part of the Workspace PowerBI Url as follow:

$Username = ""
$Password = "P@ssw0rd"
[System.Net.WebRequest]::DefaultWebProxy.Credentials = [System.Net.CredentialCache]::DefaultCredentials
$creds = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($Username,(ConvertTo-SecureString $Password -AsPlainText -Force));
$session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -Authentication Basic -ConnectionUri -AllowRedirection:$true -Credential $creds
Import-PSSession $session -AllowClobber
Get-UnifiedGroup -Identity 05cb4ff7-7bcb-4f71-a8f9-f9135ed7a577

Please leave a comment if you faced any issues while running this script

How to Remove Duplicates items in SharePoint Online List and keep one by PowerShell ?

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Hello folks,

We have faced recently a critical situation with a customer:
He was running a certain PowerShell script to update a SharePoint Online list with Data, it reaches 7000 items, a certain issue occurred in the script, and he found that he as 20,000 items in the same list, 70% was duplicates.

He wants to solve the situation in a safe way with no risk, by removing duplicate items and keep the Original one.
To solve the situation I did the following, This solution can be applied on all SharePoint versions 2010, 2013, 2016, & SharePoint Online, as the script is written to work as Client Object Model.

      1. I took back-up from the List, if you use SharePoint On-premise version, you can take back-up of the site. If you are using SharePoint Online, you can use Sharegate, however this step is not mandatory.
      2. Export AllItems to Excel using the Excel action in the ribbon, and make sure the ID Column is part of the export.
      3.  Download and setup a free tool named Kutools for Excel from here , the page contains also description how to use it to mark the duplicated column.
      4. Now take of the IDs from the Excel, and paste it in a text file on your harddrive
      5. Then run the below PowerShell Script
        Add-Type -Path "C:\Path\SPOnline\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.dll"
        Add-Type -Path "C:\Path\SPOnline\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Runtime.dll"
        $siteurl = ""
        $UserName = ""
        $SecurePassword = Read-Host -Prompt "Please enter your password" -AsSecureString
        $Credentials = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist $userName, $SecurePassword
        $SPOCredentials = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($UserName, $SecurePassword)
        $context = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($siteurl)
        $context.Credentials = $SPOCredentials
        $web = $context.Site.RootWeb
        $listTitle = "List Name"
        $list = $Context.Web.Lists.GetByTitle($listTitle)
        $TargetSites = Get-Content "C:\temp\List-of-Ids.txt"
        foreach ($targetSite in $TargetSites)
        $caml = @"<View Scope="RecursiveAll"><Query><OrderBy><FieldRef Name='ID' Ascending='TRUE'/></OrderBy><Where><Eq><FieldRef Name='ID' /><Value Type='Number'>$id</Value></Eq></Where></Query><RowLimit Paged="TRUE">1</RowLimit></View>"
        $query = new-object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.CamlQuery
        $query.ViewXml = $caml
        $items = $list.GetItems($query)
        if ($items.Count -gt 0)
        for ($i = $items.Count-1; $i -ge 0; $i--)
        Write-Host "Deleted: " $items[$i].Id.ToString() -ForegroundColor Yellow


    Now, the items will start to be deleted, you can change the PowerShell script to fits your need.
    This method is safe because you see exactly what do you want to delete before executing the deletion script

Display PowerShell Full Exception Message with (Out-String)

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I was requested to write a detailed PowerShell Script that can log the Caught exception as string.

Actually it wasn’t easy as it looks like at first.

I tried to use write-host with a lot of Exception properties, as below, and all didn’t work as expected, I never found the error location as the Out-of-the-box PowerShell exception.

This is what I expected to see, detailed Exception with location error

then I came across one article mentioned that I need to use Out-String during the catch { }, this gives me exactly the details for the  exception I’m looking for

$v= 9/0
write-host ($_ | Out-String) -ForegroundColor Red

Now the Exception looks really detailed and meaningful.