Creating WPF GUI Applications with Pure PowerShell

When creating a GUI application in PowerShell, I usually use Visual Studio, or Blend for Visual Studio, to design a WPF application, then copy and run the XAML code in PowerShell.  Designing in VS is generally easier and quicker and creates less code, but it is also perfectly possible to create a WPF GUI using pure PowerShell, which is more akin to the Windows Forms method of GUI creation.  For more complex applications that’s not the ideal way because it takes longer and creates a lot more code, but for simple applications, or if you are used to designing something in Windows Forms, why not give it a go?  You simply need to create a window from the [System.Windows] .Net namespace, then add some controls from the [System.Windows.Controls] namespace, and you’re away!

Here’s a simple example application that displays the running processes on your machine, the list of services, and a little game “Click the Fruit” as a bonus 😉


# Add required assembly
Add-Type -AssemblyName PresentationFramework

# Create a Window
$Window = New-Object Windows.Window
$Window.Height = "670"
$Window.Width = "700"
$Window.Title = "PowerShell WPF Window"

# Create a grid container with 2 rows, one for the buttons, one for the datagrid
$Grid =  New-Object Windows.Controls.Grid
$Row1 = New-Object Windows.Controls.RowDefinition
$Row2 = New-Object Windows.Controls.RowDefinition
$Row1.Height = "70"
$Row2.Height = "100*"

# Create a button to get running Processes
$Button_Processes = New-Object Windows.Controls.Button
$Button_Processes.Height = "50"
$Button_Processes.Width = "150"
$Button_Processes.Margin = "10,10,10,10"
$Button_Processes.HorizontalAlignment = "Left"
$Button_Processes.VerticalAlignment = "Top"
$Button_Processes.Content = "Get Processes"
$Button_Processes.Background = "Aquamarine"

# Create a button to get services
$Button_Services = New-Object Windows.Controls.Button
$Button_Services.Height = "50"
$Button_Services.Width = "150"
$Button_Services.Margin = "180,10,10,10"
$Button_Services.HorizontalAlignment = "Left"
$Button_Services.VerticalAlignment = "Top"
$Button_Services.Content = "Get Services"
$Button_Services.Background = "Aquamarine"

# Create a button to play Click the fruit
$Button_Cool = New-Object Windows.Controls.Button
$Button_Cool.Height = "50"
$Button_Cool.Width = "150"
$Button_Cool.Margin = "350,10,10,10"
$Button_Cool.HorizontalAlignment = "Left"
$Button_Cool.VerticalAlignment = "Top"
$Button_Cool.Content = "Play 'Click the Fruit'"
$Button_Cool.Background = "Aquamarine"

# Create a datagrid
$DataGrid = New-Object Windows.Controls.DataGrid
$DataGrid.MinHeight = "100"
$DataGrid.MinWidth = "100"
$DataGrid.Margin = "10,0,10,10"
$DataGrid.HorizontalAlignment = "Stretch"
$DataGrid.VerticalAlignment = "Stretch"
$DataGrid.VerticalScrollBarVisibility = "Auto"
$DataGrid.GridLinesVisibility = "none"
$DataGrid.IsReadOnly = $true

# Add the elements to the relevant parent control
$window.Content = $Grid

# Add an event on the Get Processes button
    $Processes = Get-Process | Select ProcessName,HandleCount,NonpagedSystemMemorySize,PrivateMemorySize,WorkingSet,UserProcessorTime,Id
    $DataGrid.ItemsSource = $Processes

# Add an event on the Get Services button
    $Services = Get-Service | Select Name,ServiceName,Status,StartType
    $DataGrid.ItemsSource = $Services

# Add an event to play Click the fruit

    $Fruit = @{
        Apples = "Green"
        Bananas = "Yellow"
        Oranges = "Orange"
        Plums = "Maroon"

    $Fruit.GetEnumerator() | Foreach {
        # Create a transparent window at a random location on the screen
        $NewWindow = New-Object Windows.Window
        $NewWindow.SizeToContent = "WidthAndHeight"
        $NewWindow.AllowsTransparency = $true
        $NewWindow.WindowStyle = "none"
        $NewWindow.Background = "Transparent"
        $NewWindow.WindowStartupLocation = "Manual"
        $Height = Get-Random -Maximum (([System.Windows.SystemParameters]::PrimaryScreenHeight) - 100)
        $Width = Get-Random -Maximum (([System.Windows.SystemParameters]::PrimaryScreenWidth) - 100)
        $NewWindow.Left = $Width
        $NewWindow.Top = $Height

        # Add a label control for the fruit
        $NewLabel = New-Object Windows.Controls.Label
        $NewLabel.Height = "150"
        $NewLabel.Width = "400"
        $NewLabel.Content = $_.Name
        $NewLabel.FontSize = "100"
        $NewLabel.FontWeight = "Bold"
        $NewLabel.Foreground = $_.Value
        $NewLabel.Background = "Transparent"
        $NewLabel.Opacity = "100"

        # Add an event to close the window when clicked

        # Add an event to change the cursor to a hand when the mouse goes over the window
        $this.Cursor = "Hand"

        # Display the window
        $NewWindow.Content = $NewLabel

# Show the window
if (!$psISE)
    # Hide PS console window
    $windowcode = '[DllImport("user32.dll")] public static extern bool ShowWindowAsync(IntPtr hWnd, int nCmdShow);'
    $asyncwindow = Add-Type -MemberDefinition $windowcode -name Win32ShowWindowAsync -namespace Win32Functions -PassThru
    $null = $asyncwindow::ShowWindowAsync((Get-Process -PID $pid).MainWindowHandle, 0) 

    # Run as an application in it's own context
    $app = [Windows.Application]::new()

Temporarily Increasing the ConfigMgr Client Cache Size for a Large Application

Recently I had to deploy an application whose content files were larger than the default SCCM client cache size (5120 MB).  This will return an error in the Software Center, such as:

0x87D01201 (The content download cannot be performed because there is not enough available space in cache or the disk is full.)

I didn’t want to permanently increase the cache size, or require that user do it manually, so I investigated some options and came up with a couple of simple PowerShell scripts that can increase or decrease the cache size.  I put these scripts into a standard package and created a program for each script using a command-line like:

powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -WindowStyle Hidden -File .\Increase-CCMCacheSize

You then have various options for how you can run that.  For example, my application was being deployed using a task sequence as there are multiple steps, so I simply right-click the task sequence and on the Advanced tab, I check the option to Run another program first:


This will increase the cache size before the task sequence starts to run, which means it will no longer give an error.

To restore the cache to it’s default size after the application install, I simply add an additional step in the task sequence at the end using the package I created:


I haven’t tested it, but you could do something similar with the standard package model by right-clicking the package program, and setting the Run another program first option. The only issue there is that there is no option to run the script to restore the cache size after, unless you create a kind of dependency chain, ie:

Restore Cache size > (depends on) My Package > (depends on) Increase Cache size

For applications, you could also use the capability for a dependecy chain, but you would need to create the script as an application and use a detection method.


# Increase SCCM Client cache size to 20000 MB (20GB)
$CCM = New-Object -com UIResource.UIResourceMGR
$CC = $CCM.GetCacheInfo()
$CacheSize = $CC.TotalSize

if ($CacheSize -lt 20000)
        write-host "Setting cache size to 20000"
            $CC.TotalSize = 20000


# Restore SCCM Client cache size to default (5120 MB)
$CCM = New-Object -com UIResource.UIResourceMGR
$CC = $CCM.GetCacheInfo()
$CacheSize = $CC.TotalSize

if ($CacheSize -gt 5120)
        write-host "Setting cache size to 5120"
            $CC.TotalSize = 5120

Detection Method

For an application detection method, you could also use a PowerShell script, something like this:

# Detection method to check the SCCM Client cache size
$CCM = New-Object -com UIResource.UIResourceMGR
$CC = $CCm.GetCacheInfo()
$CacheSize = $CC.TotalSize

if ($CacheSize -eq 20000)
    write-host "Compliant"
    write-host "Not-Compliant"