PowerShell: GUI to Script and Back to GUI

Michael Berthold

Published On: January 23, 2020

Categories: Monitoring, PowerShell 0

GUI -> Script -> GUI?

Some time back, a customer and I were working with the SentryOne PowerShell Module. Our PowerShell Module lets you manage the targets you are monitoring with SentryOne using a script or command line rather than the UI. This is a great time saver when you’re administering performance monitoring for hundreds or thousands of database servers.

The customer and I worked together to type up the commands they wanted for their script. They mentioned how it would be great if there were a GUI for this. This seemed odd initially, because the reason we were doing this in the first place was to automate these actions outside of a GUI. We spoke on it for a bit, and their meaning become clear. They envisioned a simple GUI used to guide in defining the commands for the PowerShell Module. I agreed that this would be helpful in getting a head start on scripting automation. I decided to find a way to fill this need.

This post explores one way to create a GUI using PowerShell. I’m using the SentryOne PowerShell Module for this example, but this method can be used for any PowerShell script.

PowerShell GUI Designer

This needs to be quick and easy. Building up a whole project in an IDE would be much more overhead than we want. It would act against our objective of “quick and easy.” We also want the ability to repeat this for other scripts later. Luckily, there’s a community that provides some great tools for this.

POSHGUI is a great community full of PowerShell projects and resources. They have a GUI editor meant to serve our exact purpose. We’ll be using that for this example.

Step 1: Design Your Interface

The PUSHGUI editor is intuitive. Place different controls from the “TOOLS” area onto the form area.


The form for my example lets me:

  1. Pick a file that lists server names
  2. Define the location of my SentryOne database server
  3. Add the servers defined in my file to the SentryOne monitored target inventory

It won’t win any beauty contests, but it gets the job done, and designing it was easy and efficient.

SentryOne Monitored Target Inventory

Step 2: Copy Generated Code

Once you have your design, move from “DESIGNER” to “CODE” on the menu. Copy this code for use in your favorite PowerShell IDE (I use PowerGUI).

Move from "DESIGNER" to "CODE" on the menu.

Step 3: Add Logic

The final step is adding your own logic. This is how you tell the controls defined for the GUI how to behave when you use them.

Add-Type -AssemblyName System.Windows.Forms

$Form                            = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Form
$Form.ClientSize                 = '600,800'
$Form.text                       = "Form"
$Form.TopMost                    = $false

$Label1                          = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label1.text                     = "1)"
$Label1.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label1.width                    = 25
$Label1.height                   = 10
$Label1.location                 = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(44,46)
$Label1.Font                     = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$TextBox1                        = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.TextBox
$TextBox1.multiline              = $false
$TextBox1.width                  = 287
$TextBox1.height                 = 20
$TextBox1.location               = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(107,172)
$TextBox1.Font                   = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$TextBox2                        = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.TextBox
$TextBox2.multiline              = $false
$TextBox2.width                  = 287
$TextBox2.height                 = 20
$TextBox2.location               = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(107,224)
$TextBox2.Font                   = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Label2                          = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label2.text                     = "SentryOne Server Name"
$Label2.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label2.width                    = 25
$Label2.height                   = 10
$Label2.location                 = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(169,136)
$Label2.Font                     = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Label3                          = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label3.text                     = "SentryOne DB Name"
$Label3.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label3.width                    = 25
$Label3.height                   = 10
$Label3.location                 = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(184,200)
$Label3.Font                     = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Label4                          = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label4.text                     = "2)"
$Label4.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label4.width                    = 25
$Label4.height                   = 10
$Label4.location                 = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(44,165)
$Label4.Font                     = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$LoadDB                            = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Button
$LoadDB.text                       = "Connect"
$LoadDB.width                      = 106
$LoadDB.height                     = 30
$LoadDB.location                   = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(197,260)
$LoadDB.Font                       = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Label7                      = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label7.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label7.width               = 60
$Label7.height              = 30
$Label7.location            = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(422,260)
$Label7.Font                = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Label5                          = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label5.text                     = "3)"
$Label5.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label5.width                    = 25
$Label5.height                   = 10
$Label5.location                 = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(43,382)
$Label5.Font                     = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$outputBox = New-Object System.Windows.Forms.TextBox 
$outputBox.width              = 400
$outputBox.height             = 200
$outputBox.location           = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(69,416)
$outputBox.MultiLine = $True 
$outputBox.ScrollBars = "Vertical"

$Label6                          = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label6.text                     = "Insert Target Servers"
$Label6.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label6.width                    = 25
$Label6.height                   = 10
$Label6.location                 = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(176,380)
$Label6.Font                     = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Label7                      = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label7.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label7.width               = 60
$Label7.height              = 30
$Label7.location            = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(432,40)
$Label7.Font                = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Loadservers                     = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Button
$Loadservers.text                = "Load Servers"
$Loadservers.width               = 107
$Loadservers.height              = 30
$Loadservers.location            = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(321,687)
$Loadservers.Font                = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Reset                       = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Button
$Reset.text                    = "Reset"
$Reset.width                   = 99
$Reset.height                  = 30
$Reset.location                = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(78,687)
$Reset.Font                    = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$Label8                          = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Label
$Label8.AutoSize                 = $true
$Label8.width                    = 60
$Label8.height                   = 31
$Label8.location                  = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(432,165)
$Label8.Font                     = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'

$LoadModule                             = New-Object system.Windows.Forms.Button
$LoadModule.text                        = "Load the SentryOne Directory"
$LoadModule.width                       = 240
$LoadModule.height                      = 30
$LoadModule.location                    = New-Object System.Drawing.Point(120,36)
$LoadModule.Font                        = 'Microsoft Sans Serif,10'


#Import SentryOne Module 


    $foldername = New-Object System.Windows.Forms.FolderBrowserDialog
    $foldername.rootfolder = "MyComputer"
	$global:FilePath = $foldername.SelectedPath + '\Intercerve.SQLSentry.Powershell.psd1'
#Error Catcher 	
if(!(Test-Path -Path $global:FilePath)){

 $Label7.Text = "Cannot Import Module"

  Try { 
Import-Module $Global:FilePath -ErrorAction Stop 
  $Label7.Text = "Module Imported"
 $Label7.Text = "Import Failed"


#Connect to SentryOne DB

#Error Catcher
Try {
Connect-SQLSentry -ServerName $TextBox1.Text -DatabaseName $TextBox2.Text -ErrorAction Stop 
  $Label8.Text = "Repository Loaded"

Catch {
$Label8.Text = "Connection Failed"


#Add Targets

$global:string = $outputbox.text -split "`r`n"

$i = 0

#Loop through text box 
ForEach ($line in $($global:string -split "`r`n")){

 If ($line -eq ""){}Else{ 
$i= $i+1
Write-Progress -Activity “Add Target + $line” -status “Found Service $i + `r`n” `
-percentComplete ($i / $global:string.count*100)

$string2 = $String2 + $line
#Error Catcher
try {
Register-Connection -ConnectionType SqlServer -Name $line -ErrorAction Stop 
$string2 = $string2  + "      Success" + "`r`n"}
catch [System.Exception] {
$string2 = $string2 + "      Failed" + "`r`n" 

$Outputbox.Text = $string2

$Outputbox.ReadOnly = $true;

$Outputbox.Text = $global:string
$Outputbox.ReadOnly = $False


Step 4: Enjoy!

Congratulations. You have created a functioning GUI completely in PowerShell. If you are using PowerGUI you can use “Tools -> Compile Script” on the menu to convert the script into an executable.

I hope this quick tutorial is helpful for you with SentryOne PowerShell Module commands, or for any of your other PowerShell needs.

Michael works as a Senior Technical Support Specialist at SentryOne. He assists customers with any questions they have about the SentryOne platform, and he also works with customers to resolve issues they may be encountering with SentryOne solutions.