Summary: Maybe you missed them; maybe you just need a quick review. Here are the top ten Scripting Guy blog posts from 2011.

Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, is here. Happy New Year! I do not know about you, but for the Scripting Wife and I, the year named 2011 absolutely flew by. We were really fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to lots of scripters from coast-to-coast in the United States—beginning with the MVP summit in Seattle, Washington and ending with the Pittsburgh PowerShell Users group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the photo that follows, you’ll see Windows PowerShell MVP, Kirk Munro; Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson; Scripting Wife, Teresa Wilson; and Windows PowerShell MVP, Shane Hoey standing around after breakfast and prior to the opening ceremonies of the Microsoft MVP Summit.

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For the Scripting Wife and I, the new year will begin on  January 3rd with a remote presentation to the newly formed Madison PowerShell Users Group and January 4 with a live lunch meeting for the Virtual PowerShell Users Group. Our first in-person appearance will be on January 5 at the Charlotte Microsoft Office in North Carolina for the Charlotte Windows PowerShell Users Group. The president and founder of that user group, Microsoft MVP, Jim Christopher, has worked really hard to make this (their first meeting) a successful one. It will be an absolute blast, and we are looking forward to it.

It seems that in addition to looking forward, January is also a time to look back at the previous year. I was going over the numbers of blogs that I wrote this year, and I decided it would be cool to share the top ten Hey, Scripting Guy! blog posts of 2011. This will serve two purposes: the first is that it is possible you missed the blogs, and so it gives you a chance to catch up a bit with your reading. The second purpose is that the popularity of blogs provides a bit of insight into what readers of this column find useful and important. This does not cover blogs that were written by guest bloggers, nor does it cover blogs from prior years.

The number one Hey, Scripting Guy! blog post of 2011 is not even really a blog—it is the 2011 Scripting Games All-In-One page. As you may recall, the 2011 Scripting Games were the most successful ever, and the popularity of this page is a tribute to this success. One thing to note, is that this page continues to garner numerous hits every month because people use this page and the 2011 Scripting Games materials for private study and reference. When you begin your preparation for the 2012 Scripting Games, begin with this page. Participation in the 2012 Scripting Games makes a GREAT New Year’s resolution!

The number two Hey, Scripting Guy! blog post was a Quick Hits Friday blog that talked about installing Windows PowerShell on Windows XP, but it also had a great piece about troubleshooting a script that copied files. The continuing popularity of Windows XP and the phenomenal success of Windows PowerShell 2.0 make a great combination, and that provides insight into the popularity of this page. If you already have Windows PowerShell 2.0 installed, take a look at the piece about troubleshooting…it is cool in its own right.

Number three in our hit parade of Hey, Scripting Guy! blog posts is another Quick Hits Friday blog called How Do I Install PowerShell on Windows 7 and Other Questions. It is interesting that Windows 7 ships with Windows PowerShell 2.0 already installed. Unfortunately, it is “hidden” under the All Programs/Accessories/Windows PowerShell folder off the Start button. Of course, once you have Windows PowerShell 2.0 installed, you might need to know if you are running the 32-bit or 64-bit version, or you might want to know how to read an offline registry file, or how to work with security logs. All of these topics are covered in this very popular blog.

The number four Hey, Scripting Guy! blog post for 2011 is Use Scheduled Tasks to Run PowerShell Commands. Windows PowerShell and scheduled tasks seem to go together like peanut butter and chocolate (one of my favorite combinations). Smart Windows admins automate tasks, and scheduled tasks are a key component to that automation. What is so great about Windows PowerShell with scheduled tasks? So many Windows PowerShell commands are one liners, so they plug right into the command block on a scheduled task. Perfect!

Rounding out the top five blogs for 2011 talks about using Windows PowerShell to filter event logs. This is an excellent post, if I do say so myself. But it is not just me—lots of faithful HSG readers voted with their mouse and moved this into the top five blogs of the year. Why do I like this blog so much? Well, back when I was a network administrator, I spent the first hour of each day (assuming that I did not have an emergency to deal with) reviewing the event logs on my servers. It was a time consuming and tedious task, but it helped me learn a great deal about what was going on with the network. In addition, I soon learned that certain events are indicators of impending disasters. This has not changed—if anything, logs are even more important. However, the sheer number of entries and the numbers of servers to manage has made manual checks increasing futile. This is where Windows PowerShell appears. Check out the blog, it will change the way you work.

Interestingly enough, both the number 4 blog and the number 5 blog feature a picture of Dr. Scripto (one in the snow and one on the beach). I wonder if there is a pattern here.

The number six Hey, Scripting Guy! blog post  talks about one of my favorite features in Windows Server 2008 R2, and that is the ability to use Windows PowerShell and Group Policy for a logon script. It is a cool technique, and a way cool blog.

At number seven, we have a blog that talks about adding a progress bar to a Windows PowerShell script. This is some bread-and-butter type information; it is a useful technique to add to your bag of tricks. In fact, the progress bar is amazingly flexible, and much more capable than a simple progress bar. I wrote about it for an entire week.

The number eight Hey, Scripting Guy! blog of 2011 is one that I wrote about the top ten mistakes I saw during week one of the 2011 Scripting Games. This blog easily becomes a sort of worst practices. Or turn it around, the ten things I suggest in this blog will take your scripting to the next level…immediately!

The number nine Hey, Scripting Guy! blog of 2011 is the first installment of my top ten favorite Windows PowerShell tricks. This blog grew out of repeated questions that I heard when I was speaking at various user group meetings and conferences. These questions would usually take the form of, “What is your favorite Windows PowerShell trick or tip that you can give me?” When I started writing this blog, it was going to be a single list of ten items. But it quickly dawned on me that the techniques and tricks were more important than the simple list of items, so I decided to illustrate why each technique was one of my top ten favorite tricks. Taken together, these three blogs will make you much more productive.

Rounding out the top ten Hey, Scripting Guy! blogs of 2011 is a blog that talks about using Windows PowerShell and WMI to obtain processor information. Seems to me that this blog is not that great—but hey, who am I to argue with success? This blog is a basic use Windows PowerShell and WMI to find cool things sort of blog. I guess the reason it is so popular is that everyone at one time or another must obtain certain information from the CPU. I mean, a computer is not too useful without one, is it?

Well, there you have it, the top ten Hey, Scripting Guy blog posts from 2011. Tomorrow, I will review the top ten community submitted scripts to the Scripting Guys Script Repository.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at scripter@microsoft.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy