AD Is Full of Bitmasks, Decipher Them with Powershell

Active Directory uses bit masks, or bit fields, or bit flags or bit maps or whatever you want to call them.  Anyway, AD uses them, a lot.  Let's say you're digging deep into Active Directory internals, and you want to see all the attributes in your schema that are eligible for being made confidential.  We know that something called "base schema attributes" cannot be made confidential, and that we know whether an attribute is a base schema attribute or not based on a certain bit that is set in that attribute's systemFlags attribute.

Get-ADObject -LDAPFilter "(objectClass=attributeSchema)" `
             -SearchBase (Get-ADRootDSE).schemaNamingContext `
             -Properties SystemFlags

That'll give us all attributes (regardless to what type of object they apply) in the schema, including their systemFlags property.  Problem is, the systemFlags property is all condensed into an integer, and unless you're Rain Man and have no problems doing it all in your head, you might like it if that systemFlags property were translated into something more meaningful.

This is where the magic of enumerations comes in.

Add-Type -TypeDefinition @'
    public enum SystemFlagsAttr : uint
        FLAG_ATTR_NOT_REPLICATED         = 0x00000001,
        FLAG_ATTR_REQ_PARTIAL_SET_MEMBER = 0x00000002,
        FLAG_ATTR_IS_CONSTRUCTED         = 0x00000004,
        FLAG_ATTR_IS_OPERATIONAL         = 0x00000008,
        FLAG_SCHEMA_BASE_OBJECT          = 0x00000010,
        FLAG_ATTR_IS_RDN                 = 0x00000020,
        FLAG_DISALLOW_MOVE_ON_DELETE     = 0x02000000,
        FLAG_DOMAIN_DISALLOW_MOVE        = 0x04000000,
        FLAG_DOMAIN_DISALLOW_RENAME      = 0x08000000,
        FLAG_CONFIG_ALLOW_LIMITED_MOVE   = 0x10000000,
        FLAG_CONFIG_ALLOW_MOVE           = 0x20000000,
        FLAG_CONFIG_ALLOW_RENAME         = 0x40000000,
        FLAG_DISALLOW_DELETE             = 0x80000000

So a smart reader already knows that since we are looking for "base schema objects," which in the enum above equates to 0x10 hex, which is 16 decimal which is the fourth bit... then it becomes pretty easy to spot all the attributes that have a SystemFlags of 16 in our above Powershell command. But what about when bit 4 and bit 2 and bit 26 are all turned on?  This is why enums are our friends.  Let's retry our Powershell command using the enum now:

Get-ADObject -LDAPFilter "(objectClass=attributeSchema)" `
             -SearchBase (Get-ADRootDSE).schemaNamingContext `
             -Properties SystemFlags | `
             Select Name, `
             @{n='SystemFlags'; e={[Enum]::Parse('SystemFlagsAttr', $_.SystemFlags)}}

Now it's a lot more readable:

ms-DS-Assigned-AuthN-Policy      FLAG_SCHEMA_BASE_OBJECT

Pretty easy to filter those results and see which attributes are base schema attributes, and which are not.

Lastly, as an exercise I will leave to the reader, you can also use the SearchFlags (not SystemFlags) property of an attribute to determine whether the attribute is already set as confidential or not.

    public enum SearchFlags
        fATTINDEX              = 0x0001,
        fPDNTATTINDEX          = 0x0002,
        fANR                   = 0x0004,
        fPRESERVEONDELETE      = 0x0008,
        fCOPY                  = 0x0010,
        fTUPLEINDEX            = 0x0020,
        fSUBTREEATTINDEX       = 0x0040,
        fCONFIDENTIAL          = 0x0080,
        fNEVERVALUEAUDIT       = 0x0100,
        fRODCFilteredAttribute = 0x0200,
        fEXTENDEDLINKTRACKING  = 0x0400,
        fBASEONLY              = 0x0800,
        fPARTITIONSECRET       = 0x1000


Just a little Powershell I wrote when I had nothing better to do.  It's kinda' reminiscent of procdump's ability to wait until a certain threshold is crossed before it takes action.  That's what this Cmdlet does.  It just watches a performance counter (any performance counter, also works against remote computers,) and when the specified threshold is crossed, it executes whatever file you specified in the "Action" parameter.  I wrote it because it helps solve performance-related cases where a repro is hard to catch.

Watches a Windows performance counter, and executes the specified file
once the specified counter threshold is crossed.
Watches a Windows performance counter, and executes the specified file
once the specified counter threshold is crossed. You must know the 
name and path of the performance counter you're after. Use Get-Counter
if you want to explore the syntax of performance counter paths. You
may monitor performance counters on a remote machine as well. The
specified Action can be any executable file, an exe, a vbs, a bat file,
etc. You can also specify the PollFrequency, in seconds. Default is 5.
Use the Verbose switch for extra detail.
.PARAMETER CounterName
This is the full path of the performance counter that you want to monitor.
It may be from the local machine or from a remote machine.
.PARAMETER Threshold
When the performance counter crosses this threshold, the specified action will be triggered. 
It could be an absolute value or it could be a percentage, depending on the perf counter.
This can be any file that exists and is accessible - it will be executed when the performance
counter threshold is crossed.
.PARAMETER PollFrequency
The frequency, in seconds, that the performance counter will be polled. Default is 5 seconds.
C:\PS> Watch-PerfCounter -CounterName '\processor(_total)\% processor time' -Threshold 90 -Action 'C:\MyFile.bat' -PollFrequency 10 -Verbose
Polls the processer time performance counter every 10 seconds, and executes MyFile.bat once the CPU is over 90%. Outputs Verbose information.
C:\PS> Watch-PerfCounter -CounterName '\\host02\memory\% committed bytes in use' -Threshold 25 -Action 'C:\Compress.exe'
Polls the memory perf counter on remote computer HOST02, and executes a program once it crosses 25%.
Powershell written by Joseph Ryan Ries, but it was Justin Turner's idea.
Function Watch-PerfCounter
    #Version: 01.00 - September 17 2015 - Initial release.
    #Version: 01.01 - September 17 2015 - Added the word "seconds" to the sentence "Polling ever x seconds."
          [ValidateScript({Test-Path $_ -PathType Leaf})]
            [Int]$PollFrequency = 5)
        Set-StrictMode -Version Latest
        [Diagnostics.Stopwatch]$Stopwatch = [Diagnostics.Stopwatch]::StartNew()

        Write-Verbose "$($PSCmdlet.CommandRuntime) beginning on $(Get-Date)."

            Get-Counter $CounterName -ErrorAction Stop | Out-Null
            Write-Verbose "Performance counter $CounterName was found."
            Write-Error "Perfermance counter was not found or could not be read! `n`n $($_.Exception.Message)"

        Write-Verbose "Polling every $PollFrequency seconds."
        Write-Verbose "Use Ctrl+C to abort."

        [Bool]$ThresholdCrossed = $False

        While (-Not($ThresholdCrossed))
                $CookedValue = (Get-Counter $CounterName -ErrorAction Stop).CounterSamples.CookedValue

                Write-Verbose "$CounterName = $CookedValue"

                If ($CookedValue -GT $Threshold)
                    Write-Verbose "Performance counter $CounterName has crossed the threshold of $Threshold!"
                    $ThresholdCrossed = $True
                Write-Error "Error reading performance counter. This error may be transient. `n`n $($_.Exception.Message)"

            If (-Not($ThresholdCrossed))
                Start-Sleep -Seconds $PollFrequency

        Invoke-Expression $Action

        # Reminder: This code block still executes even if we return prematurely from the BEGIN block.
        Write-Verbose "$($PSCmdlet.CommandRuntime) completed in $([Math]::Round($Stopwatch.Elapsed.TotalSeconds, 2)) seconds."