Monthly Archives: October 2012

Using Powershell to get a list of user IDs from AD

One of my network admin friends needed an easy way to provide some users with a list of names vs AD account names.

In many organizations, this is easy to guess, for example if my name is  Jack Basement, my id might be jbasement, but in this case, it wasn’t that easy so we needed to go to AD.

There are AD cmdlets, but they are not in powershell by default.

If you have the Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 installed, then you’ll find a link to “Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell” in your administrator tools menu.


Using that we can easily get a list of the users needed and select just the columns we want

for example

Get-ADUser -identity domainuser #gets info on that user

Get-ADUser -filter {name - like "jack*"} #returns all the people named Jack

We can combine that with the select statement such as this:

Get-ADUser -filter {name - like "jack*"} | Select name, SamAccountname

Which gives us a nice list


Get-ADUser -filter {name - like "jack*"} | Select name, SamAccountname | convertto-csv

which will out put it as a comma separated CSV (Perfect for importing into Excel)


Get-ADUser -filter {name - like "jack*"} | Select name, SamAccountname | convertto-csv | out-file userlist.txt

which outputs the same thing, but to a file.


Now one neat trick, is that often you want to output all the users of a group in AD (technically this is called an Organizational Unit, or OU)

There is an LDAP filter type we can use for this

Whats cool here is that LDAP filters are sometimes a pain to get “just right” so we can cheat:

We can use the distinguished name of a known user in that group and grab the group from that

so for example

Get-ADUser -identity domainbJack

results in a bunch of output, the first field is the distingished name and we can copy and paste that for our next command

Get-ADUser -filter * -SearchBase = "OU=mygroup,DC=basementjack,DC=com"

this outputs all the users in that OU

again we can chain for flexibility

Get-ADUser -filter * -SearchBase = "OU=mygroup,DC=basementjack,DC=com" select name, SamAccountName | sort-object name


Lastly don’t forget get-help

Get-Help Get-ADUser -examples

shows a few good examples.

Cleaning up Newsgator controls from SharePoint

On our farm, we have multiple URLS, multiple site collections etc.

One of them has a social add in called newsgator social sites.

I kept seeing errors in the ULS logs of other sites saying things like:

Failed to create a custom control from assembly ‘NewsGator.NewsManager.Web’ .. The type is not registered as safe.

I know from experience that this means the control isn’t listed in the web.config for the given site, nor should it be – I don’t have, nor want newsgator to have anything to do with the site in question.

I also know that the errors aren’t really hurting anything, but if nothing else they are making the ULS logs a little bigger and honestly, I don’t want a farm that has known errors in it.

So I set out to understand where they were coming from and how to safely get rid of them.

Finding these in the ULS logs

They are all over our ULS logs, but it’s nice to have  a quick way to validate if they are still there so I did a search with the windows Findstr command:

findstr /C:"is not allowed for web" *.log


The first thing I wanted to do was see if there was an obvious, easy fix – ie from site settings, site features, or site collection features, is there a newsgator feature that’s enabled that I can just turn off?

I tried this and no, there wasn’t

The solution turned out to be painfully simple.

In the ULS logs, there were entries like this:

Failed to create a custom control 'CustomMenu_NewsStreamAdmin', feature 'NewsGator.NewsManager_Actions' (id:16c89384-881d-44aa-a6f5-f66301596851) using attributes (ControlSrc='', ControlAssembly='NewsGator.NewsManager.Web, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=a1b9791f4e4509c7', ControlClass='NewsGator.NewsManager.Web.NewsStreamAdminActions': System.ArgumentException: The control with assembly name 'NewsGator.NewsManager.Web, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=a1b9791f4e4509c7' class name 'NewsGator.NewsManager.Web.NewsStreamAdminActions' is not allowed for web
at URL ''. The type is not registered as safe.

The error above is always paired with another less descriptive error – but the error above turns out to have all the information we need – the id. (In this case id 16c89384-881d-44aa-a6f5-f66301596851)

In powershell, Get-SPFeature will list all the features on the farm – in my case it showed the above ID.

Now, given that newsgator is legitimately installed on our farm and on ONE web application (URL) I didn’t want to remove it from the farm!

What was helpful was the command:

get-spfeature  -webapplication

This showed that the feature was associated with that web application and it also showed that it was webapplication scoped.

So next I used the command

Disable-SPFeature -Identity 16c89384-881d-44aa-a6f5-f66301596851 -URL

I had to do this for a few different features – pulling the ID from the ULS logs and running the disable command- While I’m sure it potentially could be automated, I preferred handling it “Hands On” doing them one at a time and confirming my SharePoint sites still worked as expected.

After that, the errors in the ULS log stopped for that site, and get-spfeature -webapplication no longer showed that feature.

It was a great feeling to get these nagging recurring ULS entries to stop!

Update: This post from Phil Childs’ excellent Get-SPScripts site has a more robust script for finding a feature in a farm and removing it everywhere if that is needed. (note that is a different use case than the one above so be sure to understand what the script does before running it!)


Remove Stuck Item from FAST search

I manage a fast installation with a few million documents.

Something went wrong and FAST is returning results for files that no longer exist.

The “Normal” way to fix this is to do another crawl of the content source – In this case, it did not work.

The “best” way to fix this is to reset the index and re-crawl all the content.

Unfortunately, because of the size of our fast install, this is not practical – it takes over a week to index everything.

In other words, fixing this problem the “right” way will also bring down fast for at least a week for some content – not good.

On a support call with Microsoft – they told me of a quick way to remove individual results – it’s not quite as effective as a full index reset, but it has it’s place – for example – say that a confidential document got crawled, and the summary is showing up in search results. You’d want to get that out of the way right away – this approach can be good for that.

First download the free tool FS4SP Query Logger by Mikael Svenson – I found version 3 on codeplex with a quick internet search.
Run this on the fast server and click the start logging button, then go do your search using whatever search page is returning the bad results.
Once you see your search term show up on the upper left, look at the result XML and find the result.
you’ll want to grab the value of the “contentid” field – it will look something like this:


Be sure the Area of XML you are looking at matches the search result you are trying to eliminate!

now, also on the fast server, open a FAST powershell command.
enter the command:
DOCPUSH -c sp -U -d ssic://YourNumberHere

Just like that, your search result should stop appearing in search results.


As a side note, while we were looking at some things, we used a clever powershell command to search multiple directories for some text

 select-string  [0-9]*[0-9]index_dataurlmap_sorted.txt

Select-string is like Grep in Unix or Findstr in windows – it looks for strings.
what was neat here was the Regular expression for the path it limited the search to just a few key directories. – ie