by Njål

TeamCity: Executing commands and programs on a remote machine using Powershell

Windows Sysinternals has a range of pretty neat tools. My favorite is PsExec – which lets me execute programs on a remote computer. It’s like Remote Desktop – but with the console. Or you could think of it as a Windows alternative of SSH – if you’re a *NIX guy.

It’s perfect when you need to restart a server where Remote Desktop Services is fubar.


I can execute

psexec \myWebServer cmd.exe

and I am now running a console window on the webserver.

It is also handy when scripting/automating tasks – such as building, deploying and making backups of software projects.

But invoking PsExec from TeamCity isn’t a walk in the park, to say the least. PsExec does some funky things with the standard input/output, and invoking this from Java (which TeamCity is built on) raises all kinds of problems and stability issues.

Luckily – Powershell takes care of business.

The script below stops an IIS 7 ApplicationPool on a remote server.

[string]$HostName = “myWebServer”
[string]$Cmd = C:WindowsSystem32inetsrvappcmd.exe stop apppool MyMainAppPool”
Invoke-WmiMethod –class Win32_process -name Create -ArgumentList ($Cmd) -ComputerName $HostName

Change $HostName and $Cmd in order to run other commands.