Tag Archives: Programming

PowerShell Script: New-RandomString.ps1

I need to automate the setting of passwords on some Active Directory accounts. Since resetting passwords is also a task that I’m asked to perform with some routine, I decided to make a more generic tool script that could be used in a variety of tasks ( I listened to Don Jones‘ advice on building Tools and Controllers).

I also got a head start from Bill Stewart’s useful Windows IT Pro article Generating Random Passwords in PowerShell.  Among the changes I made are source character class handling, and a new SecureString output option. Please let me know if you find the script useful, or if you find any bugs.

Generates one or more randomized strings containing specified
character classes.

The length of the string to be generated.

.PARAMETER CharacterClasses
An array of Character Classes from which to generate the string. The string
will contain at least one character from each specificied class. You may also use the alias 'Classes' for the parameter name

Valid Character classes are:

    Upper    - A..Z
    Lower    - a..z
    Digits   - 0..9
    AlphaNum - shorthand for Upper,Lower,Digits
    Symbols  - !"#$%&'()*+,-./:;<=>?@[\]^_`{|}~
    Safe     - #$%+-./:=\_~  (ODBC Safe, Shell Safe if quoted)

If no classes are specified, a string is generated with mixed-case letters,
digits, and symbol characters (i.e., ALL the classes).

.PARAMETER IncludeCharacters
A string of characters to include in the generated string:

.PARAMETER ExcludeCharacters
A string a characters to exclude in the generated string:

The number of strings to be generated.

.PARAMETER AsSecureString
Specifies that the new random string(s) will be returned as Secure String
objects, to make their use as passwords easier.

> New-RandomString.ps1 -CharacterClasses Lower,Digits -Length 14 -Count 5
Generated five strings, each fourteen characters long, comprised of lowercase
letters and digits.

> New-RandomString.ps1 -Classes AlphaNum,Symbols -length 21
> New-RandomString.ps1 -length 21

The previous two commands are equivalent, because the default character classes
used are upper and lowercase letters, digits, and symbol characters.

> New-RandomString.ps1 -Class 'AlphaNum' -Include '#$%^'

The generated string will contain characters from the UpperCase, LowerCase
and Digits classes, as well as at least one character from among the four

> New-RandomString.ps1 -Class 'AlphaNum' -Exclude 'O0l1'

The generated string will contain characters from the UpperCase, LowerCase
and Digits classes, but will not contain the "look-alike' characters.

Author     : Geoff Duke <Geoffrey.Duke@uvm.edu>
Last Edit  : 2014-11-07 

Based on script "Get-RandomString.ps1" for Windows IT Pro:



#Requires -version 3

        $length = 21,

        $count = 1,

        $CharacterClasses = @('Upper','Lower','Digits','Symbols'),

        $IncludeCharacters = '',

        $ExcludeCharacters = '',



Set-StrictMode -version 'Latest'

# Additional parameter wrangling
# --------------------------------------------------------------------
[string[]] $Classes = $CharacterClasses.ToLower()

if ( $Classes.Contains('safe') -and $Classes.Contains('symbols') ) {
    write-warning 'You specified both "Symbols" and "Safe" character classes; this is the same as just specifying "Symbols".'
    $Classes = $Classes | where { $_ -ne 'safe' }

# Replace alphanum with the upper,lower, and digits classes
if ( $Classes.Contains('alphanum') ) {
    $Classes = $Classes | where { $_ -ne 'alphanum' }
    $Classes += 'upper','lower','digits'

# remove any duplicated classes
$Classes = $Classes | select -unique

# Setup source characters
# -------------------------------------------------------------------- 

# Character classes - functionally, a strongly-typed hash of string arrays
#       (addresses issue of singleton arrays turning into simple strings)
$chars = New-Object 'Collections.Generic.Dictionary[string,char[]]'

$chars['lower']    =  97..122 | foreach-object { [Char] $_ }
$chars['upper']    =  65..90  | foreach-object { [Char] $_ }
$chars['digits']   =  48..57  | foreach-object { [Char] $_ }
$chars['symbols']  = (33..47+58..64+91..96+123..126) | foreach-object { [Char] $_ }
$chars['safe']     = '#$%+-./:=\_~'.ToCharArray()

write-verbose $( 'String must include a character from each of ' +
              $( $Classes -join ',' ) +
              $( if ( $IncludeCharacters ) { " plus [$IncludeCharacters] " } ) +
              $( if ( $ExcludeCharacters ) {
                  "but must not include any of [$ExcludeCharacters]" } ) )

if ( $IncludeCharacters ) {
    $Classes += 'include'
    $chars['include'] = $IncludeCharacters.ToCharArray()

[char[]] $char_source  = $chars[ $Classes ] | % { $_ } | select -unique

if ( $ExcludeCharacters ) {
    $char_source = $char_source | Where { $_ -NotIn $ExcludeCharacters.ToCharArray() }

write-verbose "Source chars: $(-join $char_source)"

# Generating the random string(s)
# --------------------------------------------------------------------
$string_count = 0
:NewString while ( $string_count -lt $Count )  {

    $output = ''
    for ( $i=0; $i -lt $length; $i++) {
        $output += get-random @($char_source)
    write-debug "NewString: generated string is -> $output"

    # Ensure that the requested character classes are present
    :CharClass foreach ($class in $Classes) {
        foreach ( $char in $output.ToCharArray() ) {
            if ( $chars[$class] -Ccontains $char ) {
                write-debug "CharClass: '$char' is in $class"
                continue CharClass # check the next character class
        } # end foreach $char, didn't match the current character class
        write-debug "CharClass: No character from $class! Start again"
        continue NewString # Need to generate a new string
    } # end foreach #class

    # string matches required character classes"

    if ( $AsSecureString ) {
        ConvertTo-SecureString $output -AsPlainText -Force
    else {
} # end while

It was while I was writing this script that I ran into the Loop Label documentation error. In PowerShell, as in Perl, Loop Labels do not include the colon when used with a break or continue statement.

Compiling OpenSSL for Win x64

I’m upgrading the components of the user provisioning system I built. Previously, I used ActiveState Perl and the UWinnipeg PPM repository to get the Net::LDAPS stack working.

This time, though, I decided I wanted to use the native architecture of my Server 2008 R2 systems. I am using the Perl64 install from ActiveState, but I have to build my own SSL libraries (and maybe roll up PPMs for the needed perl mods).

I just compiled OpenSSL for x64 (amd64), mostly following the instructions in the INSTALL.W64 and INSTALL.W32 documents. I’m blogging the step for my future reference:

  1. Open a VS x64 Win64 Command Prompt and navigate to the source directory
  2. perl Configure VC-WIN64A –prefix=c:\local\openssl
  3. ms\do_win64a.bat
  4. nmake -f ms\ntdll.mak
  5. nmake -f ms\ntdll.mak test (all tests passed)
  6. nmake -f ms\ntdll.mak install

Running the openssl command succeeds:

C:\local\openssl\bin>openssl version 
OpenSSL 1.0.0a 1 Jun 2010

Range Retrieval

Working on the Server 2008 hard limit of 5000 attribute values max per query, which breaks our Identity Management process. I’m looking at having to write a clone of LDIFDE that can issue queries using Range Retrieval and then synthesizes a single LDIF entry for groups with more than 5000 members.

Safari Tech Books online provides some good resources, including The .NET Developer’s Guide to Directory Services Programming [at Amazon], which provides a good code example in Listing 6.8. Range Retrieval Using DirectorySearcher.

Or maybe I should just post-process the LDIFDE-generated LDIF file…