Monthly Archives: July 2011

SQL Async backup script

Do you have a large SQL server with a lot of databases that all need to be backed up overnight? Well I do, so I had to come up with a way to backup all databases at once.

I ran in to a little problem where the backup events were not updating the status so I had to do a little tom foolery with a timer.

Over all seems to work well but you can’t run them as a SQL Powershell job because the powershell that SQL uses is limited and some of the things I use in this script are not supported.

I created the full backup script and a tlog script which can be found on Posh or Technet

here are the links for technet.

Async SQL Backup

SQL Log Backup

Let me know what you think!

Validate NetBIOS Domain Name to see if its in use or just test to see if its valid. Powershell/C#


Recently someone in the forums asked how they could check to see if a NetBIOS Domain Name was in use or not. Come to find out there isn’t a .NET methods for doing this that I could find but there is an API function for that. First I’ll show the C# and then I’ll show how to use it in Powershell. Creating a C# console app was how I went about figuring this out for Powershell.

First I took a look at the API which looked pretty easy to bring in to C# and then I called it within my Main() function. Here is the complete C# console code.

using System;

using System.Runtime.InteropServices;


public class NetworkUtil



    public static extern UInt32 NetValidateName(string lpServer,string lpName, string lpAccount,string lpPassword, int NameType);


    static void Main()


        UInt32 rtn = NetValidateName(null, "jrich-pc", null, null, 1);





So lets walk through this. First I only included (using) the System and InteropServices (PInvoke) and then created a class for this. I used NetworkUtil so that I could extend my class in my NetStat powershell cmdlet if I wanted (I suspect this will grow over time).

I then used the DLLImport to pull in the function from the .dll file. I’ve included the SetLastError simply because I saw it on most but its not really needed. The CharSet being set to Unicode is very important. That part threw me for a loop. The docs don’t really talk about it and the only reference is in their example. I stumbled across it when looking at another example of a similar call (

The question that should be running through your mind right about now is, how did you convert the C++ function signature to C#? The answer is simple, I guessed based on what it implied. The first time I started to play with PInvoke stuff I was surprised at how forgiving the types were. Granted this can get you in trouble, but if you know what you are expecting in return, you can go from there and tweak it.

The C++ signature is as follows.

NET_API_STATUS NetValidateName( __in LPCWSTR lpServer, __in LPCWSTR lpName, __in LPCWSTR lpAccount, __in LPCWSTR lpPassword, __in NETSETUP_NAME_TYPE NameType );


The return type is a structure of error codes that boil down to numbers, so I said hey, lets make it a INT32, I later found a negative error code so I changed it to UINT32, you almost never see negative numbers (I’ll look at that in a bit). Then we need to keep the name the same. For the param’s we’ll see most are LPCWSTR which is a string (docs tell you and the STR gives it away) so I simple made them all strings in the C# code. The last param is of type NETSETUP_NAME_TYPE which is defined in the docs to be a simple ENUM that is 0-5. At first I created the ENUM but then decided it was easy enough to just send it a number and if I needed to change it I’d reference the docs.

Then I get to testing this from my main function with a simple call.

UInt32 rtn = NetValidateName(null, "jrich-pc", null, null, 1);

Reading the docs you’ll see the inputs are pretty basic;

Server – The server to query again, null is the local machine, this should be fine for most.

Name – The name you want to query for

Username and Password – If you query a server (an AD server) you can provide creds, if you don’t it uses the current context (you)

Name Type – This is the type of query you want to preform.

The Name Type can be found on the docs page, but I’ve copied them here for simple reference. The two that seem to be of most value are 1 and 3.





The nametype is unknown. If this value is used, the NetValidateName function fails with ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER.



Verify that the NetBIOS computer name is valid and that it is not in use.



Verify that the workgroup name is valid.



Verify that the domain name exists and that it is a domain.



Verify that the domain name is not in use.



Verify that the DNS computer name is valid.

This value is supported on Windows 2000 and later. The application must be compiled with _WIN32_WINNT >= 0x0500 to use this value.


These are pretty well documented and make good sense. As I said typically you’ll use 1 and 3 and maybe even 4 depending on how you want to code your app.


The part that was hardest was tracking down these error codes. I found the best way was to google the display names that the docs showed. Here is a table I made with the Error Codes I was able to track down.










It found what you were looking for



It wasn’t able to connect to your query server





















Found query server but RPC wasn’t available


Most of these codes are pretty obvious and should make sense once you start to test it.



Now, lets use this in powershell. Its actually pretty easy once we figure that part out.

Add-Type -TypeDefinition @"
using System;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

public class NetworkUtil
    public static extern UInt32 NetValidateName(string lpServer,string lpName,string lpAccount,string lpPassword,
        int NameType);

Function Test-NetBIOSName{

param([string] $Name, [int] $NameType)


Test-NetBIOSName “myserver” 1

The function I created is very basic. You could tweak the param’s to validate input and the such, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Hope this helps!

Powershell: Working with Strings – The basics

$name = “Justin”
$date = get-date
#### all double quotes – variables evaluated
## old style concat

“hello ” +  $name + “, how are you this ” + $date.dayofweek
## powershell way, my favorite
“hello $name, how are you this $($date.dayofweek)”
## .net formatting, can be very useful.
“hello {0}, how are you this {1}” -f $name,$date.dayofweek
## static method of string class
[string]::Concat(“hello “, $name, “, how are you this “, $date.dayofweek)
## here-string – these are cool!
hello $name
how are you this $($date.dayofweek)
“@##### single quotes – variables are NOT evaluated in quotes
‘hello ‘ +  $name + ‘, how are you this ‘ + $date.dayofweek
‘hello $name, how are you this $($date.dayofweek)’
‘hello {0}, how are you this {1}’ -f $name,$date.dayofweek
[string]::Concat(‘hello ‘, $name, ‘, how are you this ‘, $date.dayofweek)@’
hello $name
how are you this $($date.dayofweek)

Powershell has a lot of great ways to work with text and one of my favorite ways is inline. If you have a string with a variable in it that variable will be evaluated as show above with

“hello $name, how are you this $($date.DayOfWeek)”

The output of this is:

hello Justin, how are you this Friday

I didn’t need to do anything special to make this work, and as you can imagine with building larger strings, this can be very helpful. Speaking of larger strings, lets jump down to the Here-String, another great feature of Powershell.

hello $name
how are you this $($date.dayofweek)

To start a Here-String you must end the line with @”, and to end it, the line must start with “@ (Thanks Larry).

whatever…. @”    <end of line here>
content of here string in here….
<start of line> @” whatever…..

Great for building email bodies or the such.

Single Quote Vs. Double Quote

The top section of code uses all double quotes, and you’ll notice that the variables are evaluated with in those quotes, where as on the bottom it’s a literal string, meaning nothing is evaluated with in the quotes.

How Evaluation works

There is one thing to keep in mind when evaluating variables with members. As you can see in the code we have two variables, a basic String and a DateTime object. With the string I just use the variable inline and it evaluates, but with the DateTime object I have to wrap it to access a member item, otherwise it evaluates just the $Date.


You’ll notice the difference in the output,

07/01/2011 09:16:31.DayOfWeek

$() evaluates the expression inside of the () before writing it, so you can use it to access members but you can also use it to do other things.

“2 + 3 = $(2+3)”

String Format

You can even use the string Format to display info which is like the old C/C++ way. Normally I wouldn’t bother with this method, but it’s great with numbers and dates.

“{0}” –f $date

“{0:MM-yy}” –f $date

Great for building dates for use with filenames. There are 3 parts to the Format Item syntax


This is also good for building tables. lets say you have a first and last time and you want them to line up well, you can specify the size of the field (using negative for left alignment).

“-{0,15}-” -f $name
“-{0,-15}-” -f $name

Cool huh?

More info here

A Bonus – Static Members

I’m such a big fan of Get-Member that I have to mention it as much as I can. You’ll notice at the top there is a line for Concat. Would I ever use this? Pretty unlikely, But it shows something cool, Static Member’s.

Get-Member –inputobject “” –Static

This will give you a Strings Static members. We can use Static Members like so



Note: System. is assumed in class references!

Hope this helps!

Second Installment!