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$shell = new-object -com Shell.Application
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Now let s open the control panel applet that controls the desktop settings. Run the following command
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$shell.ControlPanelItem("desk.cpl")
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WINDOWS OBJECTS: COM AND WMI
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The Display Properties control panel applet will appear on the desktop. Likewise, if we want to run the Add/Remove Programs wizard, we can use the following command
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$shell.ControlPanelItem("appwiz.cpl")
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In fact, you can open any of the control panel applets found using
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dir $env:windir\system32 recurse include *.cpl
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Now let s move on to another COM class used for scripting Windows. Example: Working with the WScript.Shell class The WScript.Shell class should be familiar to most VBScript users. It contains a collection of common services useful for writing scripts on Windows. Let s explore this control. First we create an instance to work with:
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PS (1) > $wshell = new-object -com WScript.Shell
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Now let s see what it can do using Get-Member:
PS (2) > $wshell | Get-Member TypeName: System.__ComObject#{41904400-be18-11d3-a28b-00104bd 35090} Name ---AppActivate CreateShortcut Exec ExpandEnvironmentStrings LogEvent Popup RegDelete RegRead RegWrite Run SendKeys Environment CurrentDirectory SpecialFolders MemberType ---------Method Method Method Method Method Method Method Method Method Method Method ParameterizedProperty Property Property Definition ---------bool AppActiva... IDispatch Crea... IWshExec Exec ... string ExpandE... bool LogEvent ... int Popup (str... void RegDelete... Variant RegRea... void RegWrite ... int Run (strin... void SendKeys ... IWshEnvironmen... string Current... IWshCollection...
The purpose of many of these methods is fairly obvious. For example, to pop up a message box, we can use the Popup method. We enter the following command:
PS (24) > $wshell.Popup("Hi there") 1
And up pops a message box that looks like what s in figure 12.5. One nice thing about calling this method: This message box doesn t get lost on your desktop. You ll remember we had that problem with the WinForms message box. Now let s look at something a bit more sophisticated.
WORKING WITH COM IN POWERSHELL
Figure 12.5 When you use the WScript.Shell object to pop up a message box, it will look like this.
Example: Sending keystrokes to a Windows application One of the methods on the WScript.Shell class is SendKeys(). This lets you send keys to an application as if you were typing them yourself. Let s look at how we can use this to automate a Windows GUI application. We ll work with the Windows calculator in this example. First we need an instance of the object. (If you re following along with these examples, you can reuse the same instances. There s no need to keep creating new ones.)
$shell = new-object -com WScript.Shell
Next we start the calculator. Since PowerShell is a shell, we could enter calc on the command line and be done with it. Instead, since we re working with this object, we ll use its Run() method to start the application.
[void] $shell.Run("calc")
Now give the application a second to start, then use the AppActivate() method to set the focus on the calculator. Once we re sure it s active, we ll send a sequence of keys to the application, waiting for a second between each operation.
start-sleep 1 if ($shell.AppActivate("Calculator")) { "Calculator activated..." start-sleep 1 $shell.SendKeys("10{+}") start-sleep 1 $shell.SendKeys("22") start-sleep 1 $shell.SendKeys("~") start-sleep 1 $shell.SendKeys("*3") start-sleep 1 $shell.SendKeys("~") start-sleep 1 $shell.SendKeys("%{F4}") }
If you run this script, you ll see 10 appear in the result window, followed by 22, then the two are added to give 32, and so on. Finally we send the sequence <alt><f4>
WINDOWS OBJECTS: COM AND WMI
to tell the application to close. (This is why we make sure that the calculator is active. Closing the wrong window could be bad.)
AUTHOR S NOTE
If you re interested in this kind of thing, there is a freely available tool called AutoIT that many people recommend as being a better approach to this type of activity.
So far, we re still just opening and manipulating windows, so let s move on to some non-shell-related classes. 12.1.2 Networking, applications, and toys In this section, we ll look at some of the networking classes, some examples of working with Microsoft Office applications, and, finally, an entertaining application that uses the MSAgent class to do some animations. We ll start with the networking class. Example: Looking up a word using Internet Explorer In this example, we re going to use Internet Explorer to access a web page through its COM automation object. The goal is to use the Wiktionary website to look up the definition of a word. The script takes two parameters the word to look up and an optional switch to tell the script that we want to make the browser window visible and leave it open during the search. This script is shown in listing 12.3.
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