Optimizing SQL Server Database Performance and Overcoming Unpredictable Challenges

This is a guest post from Tony Branson at ScaleArc.

With the explosion of digital data, achieving optimum database performance has become the primary concern of every database professional. For improving efficiency when managing a complex IT environment, DBAs must stay one step ahead consistently and learn about the best practices, proven strategies, and innovative approaches being applied to different DBA processes. Here are 5 key areas to consider for driving database efficiency even with an exponential increase in data:

1. Knowing What Needs Your Focus

It is important to have a good fundamental understanding of your IT infrastructure as a DBA. It’s critical to understand what’s working well and what’s not performing within the database infrastructure itself – e.g., if you’re having memory issues vs. I/O issues. It’s also critical that you understand how the database is reached – what network issues, application issues, VM issues could be impacting database availability or performance. Ensure your perspective is broad enough to understand the parts of the technology stack that need your attention.

2. Performing Periodic Health Checks

Database corruption hits without warning and has a devastating impact on your data if you are unprepared. Backups are essential but if you are backing up corrupt data, all your efforts are going down the drain. To prevent such a scenario it is important to perform health checks periodically using a standardized process. As a rule of thumb, DBAs should check and validate the consistency and integrity of a database frequently to make sure there is an accurate, valid backup always available in case the need arises.

3. Fine-tuning SQL Server Performance

The biggest challenge facing any DBA is how to improvise, optimize and maintain SQL Server database performance. When tuning a busy system, considering the full range of KPIs can get downright overwhelming. Use online guides to identify the metrics that actually matter and make improvements accordingly. For example, if you see a sudden fall in page life expectancy, it reflects an increase in your I/O requirements, which means you should be checking the processes running at that time.

4. Staying Compliant

Compliance can take a toll on compute resources, giving rise to on-going stress. While it may seem tempting to monitor every single transaction, it can kill your performance because it would need a large amount of storage space.

It is important to have an audit strategy in place with well-defined data and events before you can start. This approach will help you make any necessary adjustments over the time and track all the results for quarterly and annual audits.

5. Leveraging a Modern Database

The emergence of new generation applications that require both scale and speed to function at peak efficiency has exposed the flaws and gaps in existing database technologies. Scale up has reached full capacity, but scale out has historically been really tough. Modern databases support key features that can boost app performance and improve uptime, but taking advantage of these capabilities has required substantial application recoding.

Database load balancing software makes SQL Server management easy, avoiding the need for code changes to support features at the application tier. It enables geo-aware load balancing, supports app-transparent failover, transparently delivers read/write split, enables query routing, and performs multiplexing and connection pooling, enabling DBAs to tackle the challenges of an ever-growing pool of database servers. Deploying database load balancing lets you harness all the capabilities of SQL Server databases. By deploying database load balancing software, DBAs can efficiently address all the issues and problems that impact their ability to manage and optimize SQL Server databases effectively.

young man portrait, isolated on whiteAbout the author: A self-proclaimed tech geek, with a passion for ScaleArc’s disruptive technology innovation in database load balancing. Tony has a passion for dissecting tech topics such as transparent failover, centralized control, ACID compliance, database scalability and downtime effects. On his days off, he can be found watching sci-fi movies, rock climbing or volunteering.

Disclaimer: This post is not an advertisement. The owner of this blog has received no compensation for the placement of this guest post.

What happened to Save-AzureRmProfile?

I’ve been working a lot in the Azure PowerShell area of late. One thing I wanted to be able to do is have my scripts login automatically to Azure. In many examples the cmdlet Save-AzureRmProfile was used to save your Azure credentials, then later you could use Import-AzureRmProfile to import them.

But, when I attempted to run Save-AzureRmProfile I got the error ‘Save-AzureRmProfile is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program’.  Huh? I checked the docs, and it does include a listing for Save-AzureRmProfile.


This is a case of the PowerShell AzureRM module getting ahead of the docs. After beating my head against the wall, I found the cmdlets had been replaced with the new noun of AzureRmContext.

To use them, first login to Azure manually. Then, use the new Save-AzureRmContext to save your information to a file.

# Setup – First login manually per previous section

# Now save your context locally (Force will overwrite if there)
$path = "C:\Azure\PS\ProfileContext.ctx’
Save-AzureRmContext -Path $path -Force

Once that’s done, from then on you can use the Import-AzureRmContext to automate the login.

# Once the above two steps are done, you can simply import
$path = C:\Azure\PS\ProfileContext.ctx’
Import-AzureRmContext -Path $path

Be warned, this does present a security issue. If someone were to steal your context file, they could then login as you. You need to be sure your context file is stored in a safe location no one can get to.

Converting (Remapping) Caps Lock to CTRL

ThinkpadKeyboardI’ve always been a fan of the Lenovo Thinkpad keyboards. The have a good feel, and I especially love the Trackpoint. The Trackpoint is that little red nub between G and H, and acts as a mouse. With it I can do many mouse activities without removing my hands from the keyboard. With most it is a love / hate thing, either they love it or the are mentally deficient and hate it.

I actually have two, one is the USB version which I have plugged into my KVM (Keyboard Video Monitor) switch. The other is a Bluetooth model I use with my Surface Pro 3 when I’m away from home. They are quiet, easy to hold in your lap, and take up very little desk space.

The only complaint I have is with the CTRL key, something we all hit many times a day. Its position makes it difficult to reach with my huge hands. Fortunately there is an easy fix: remapping the seldom used Caps Lock key to turn it into another CTRL key.

While there are many ways and apps to do this, by far the one I trust the most comes from Microsoft in the form of its SysInternals utility Ctrl2Cap v2.0. It’s dirt simple, just follow the instructions and after the next reboot your Caps Lock will function as a CTRL key.

While my Thinkpad keyboards were the reason I needed to do this, Ctrl2Cap will work with any keyboard. If you could use an extra CTRL key, give the utility a try.

Note, it doesn’t swap CTRL and Caps Lock, it just converts Caps Lock to CTRL. All of your existing CTRL keys will continue to work normally. Thus, if you do this, you’ll lose the ability to do Caps Lock. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Not a big deal for me, I rarely “unleash the fury” as they say, needing to type in all caps. It’s not permanent either, if you want to reverse it, Ctrl2Cap has an easy to use uninstall option.

Hope this tip helps, if nothing else this post will help me in the future when I need to setup a new PC.

IT ops and news talk–Episode 3 Secure that Jump Server

I owe everyone an apology, I missed blogging about this at the time it occurred. Last December I was a guest on Don Box’s podcast, “IT ops and news talk”. I appeared on Episode 3, Secure that Jump Server.

In the podcast we discuss the testing of PowerShell code with Pester. After that we got into an interesting discussion on the current state of DevOps. Give it a listen I think you’ll enjoy, it’s about half an hour in length. Don is a great interviewer it was a lot of fun.

As a follow on to the discussion, you might want to learn more about Pester. I have a complete course on the subject in my Pluralsight course Testing PowerShell with Pester. If you don’t know anything about PowerShell, but want to learn, then I’d suggest my Beginning PowerShell Scripting for Developers. Note that even though it says “…for Developers” we don’t mean programmers (although it could), instead it refers to people who wish to develop scripts in PowerShell.

What? What was that? You in the back row waving your hand? You say you don’t have a Pluralsight subscription? Hey, no problem. Just email me, free <at> arcanetc.com and I can send you a code good for 30 days of free access to Pluralsight, with which you can watch not just my courses, but any course from Pluralsight’s library of over 5,000 courses.

SQL Server Reporting Services Playbook now live on Pluralsight!

My newest course, the SQL Server Reporting Services Playbook, is now live on Pluralsight! If you are looking to get up to speed fast writing reports in SQL Server Reporting Services, this is the course for you. In roughly two hours you will have enough information to start cranking out reports for your organization.

Playbooks though are a bit different than traditional Pluralsight courses. Playbooks are specifically designed so you can watch just one segment to gather that piece of information you need right now, and not have to sit through the entire course. For example, if you were comfortable with generating line item reports, but need a refresher on how to use charts in a report, you could watch just the 15 minute module on charts.

The playbook format is also great for times when, after watching a course, you need to come back and refresh yourself on one piece. The organization makes it easy to find the specific piece of information you need.

You’ll find the course at: https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sql-server-reporting-playbook

After watching this course, you may wish to go watch my previous course, What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services. ( https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sql-server-2016-reporting-services ). This course is another brief one which assumes you are comfortable with Reporting Services and want to get up to speed quickly on the new features in 2016.

I for one really appreciate this style of course, as it doesn’t waste time teaching me what I already know about SSRS, and instead just focuses on the things that have changed since the previous version. And let me assure you, a lot has changed in SSRS 2016!

What’s that you say? You don’t have a Pluralsight subscription but really want to view this course? Well no problem my friend, just email me <free at arcanetc.com> and I’ll be more than happy to send you a code that will give you 30 days free at Pluralsight to watch mine or anyone’s courses.

By the way, this is my 13th Pluralsight course, you’ll find the whole list at https://www.pluralsight.com/authors/robert-cain . My courses cover a variety of topics, Reporting Services of course, but also PowerShell, SQL Server Integration Services, and a nifty course introducing you to the concepts of Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence.

What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services–Now live at Pluralsight

So you want to see what’s new in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services? Well I’ve got just the thing for you. My 12th course just went live on Pluralsight, named appropriately “What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services”.

This course is designed specifically for those who are already familiar with SQL Server Reporting Services, and just need to come up to speed with the new features in the 2016 release. Even better you can do it during a long lunch (or two short ones), the course is just under an hour and a half so you can learn quickly.

The course starts with a look at the brand new Report Portal, the replacement for Report Manager. You’ll see how to create KPIs right in the portal, improvements to subscriptions, and how to custom brand the Report Portal so it can integrate right into your companies websites. After that you’ll learn about the new HTML 5 compatibility, something that makes SSRS integrate even better into your web apps and sites.

Some time is then spent on improvements to what Microsoft calls “Paginated Reports”, essentially the same reports you’ve grown to know and love. You’ll see improvements for embedded reports, as well as the two new chart types, sunburst and treemap. Finally, the long awaited ability to arrange parameters is covered.

Last, but certainly not least, the course covers what I consider to be the most exciting piece of the 2016 release, the Mobile Report Publisher. You’ll see how to use it to generate reports, and how they can be used on the web as well as mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

What’s that you say? You want to see it, but don’t have a Pluralsight subscription? Hey, no problem. Just shoot me an email, free at arcanetc.com. I can send you a code good for 30 days during which you can watch this and any of the over 5,000 (yes, FIVE THOUSAND) courses.

SQL Sever 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook has arrived!


SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook by [Priyankara, Dinesh, Cain, Robert C.]I’m proud to announce my latest book, the SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook, has been released! This was a real labor of love, it consumed most of my summer and well into the fall.

This book was published via Packt Press, and my coauthor was Dinesh Priyankara (blog | twitter).

In this book we cover recipes for almost all aspects of SQL Server Reporting Services. What’s inside? Just take a look:

Chapter 1 – Getting it Ready – Configuring Reporting Services.

Chapter 2 – Authoring Reports with SQL Server Data Tools

Chapter 3 – Advanced Report Authoring with SQL Server Data Tools

Chapter 4 – Authoring Reports with Report Builder

Chapter 5 – Improving User Experience – New Designing and Visualization Enhancements

Chapter 6 – Authoring Reports with the Mobile Report Publisher

Chapter 7 – Consuming Reports – Report Access Enhancements

Chapter 8 – Reporting Solutions for BI – Integration

Chapter 9 – SharePoint Integration

Chapter 10 – Administering and Managing Reporting Services

Chapter 11 – Securing Reports in Reporting Services

Chapter 12 – Custom Programming and Integration to .NET applications

That’s a lot of great material, over 500 pages of Reporting Services fun.

You can get the book through the publisher site:


or use this shortcut: http://bit.ly/ssrscook

You can also get it on Amazon.


Or use the shortcut: http://bit.ly/ssrscookbook

Note as of this blog post Amazon has the Kindle version ready, the print version still shows as a preorder, but that will be out shortly. If you want the print version consider going to the publisher site as you can get both the print and e-book version for one low price.

I want to thank my coauthor, Dinesh, who did a great job on his half of the book, as well as in designing the overall contents. Also a shout out to our editor, Amrita, who kept us in line and on track.


PowerShell Book Suggestions from IT/Dev Connections

In my session today at IT/Dev Connections in Las Vegas, several people asked me for book recommendations on PowerShell in general, and DSC (Desired State Configuration) in particular.

The book I’ve used for a while is from APress, Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Revealed.

I found a second DSC book today, Learning PowerShell DSC. To be honest I just found it, but from looking over the table of contents it looks pretty nice. I’ll report back later when I’ve had time to go over it in more depth. (Disclaimer, the publisher this book is also the publisher of my upcoming book, otherwise I don’t have any other affiliation).

A good all around yet deep book is PowerShell In Depth. Two of the authors, Don Jones and Jeffery Hicks, are here with us at IT/Dev Connections. Note the link is to the paper version, if you want the Kindle / iBooks / PDF version you’ll have to go directly to the publishers website. 

Finally, if you are seeking something that would be a fast read but still provide great value, I’d suggest “Learn PowerShell in a Month of Lunches”. The next version will be out in December of this year, but if you can’t wait, you can find the current version here. As with the previous recommendation, you can get the electronic version from the publishers website.

ArcaneCode–Headed your way!

I’ve not done much blogging, as I’ve been swamped with other activities. In addition I’ll be doing quite a bit of speaking, so let me catch you up.

Recently I did a webinar for Pluralsight, “Why you should invest in PowerShell”. If you missed it the recording is now up, take a look, it’s free!


Next, I just completed the first draft of my fifth book, SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services Cookbook. I’m coauthoring with another MVP and great guy, Dinesh Priyankara. The book is available from PACKT Publishing in Alpha form.


I’ll make my debut appearance at IT/Dev Connections next week. I’ll be doing two sessions, the first is on October 11th, 2016: Zero to Hero with PowerShell and SQL Server. We’ll begin with a quick overview of PowerShell, then dive into using it with SQL Server. You’ll see examples of using it for both maintenance and development tasks.

The next day is my second session is “So You Think MDX is Hard?”. This is for people who are new to MDX, and want to learn. You’ll see how to start from no knowledge all the way to building calculated members and sets.

If you’ll be at IT/Dev Connections feel free to come by and say hi, would love to meet as many as possible.

As if that’s not enough, on Saturday October 15th 2016 I will be at the DevSpaces Conference in Huntsville AL. At 4pm I’ll be presenting “High Class PowerShell: Objects and Classes in PowerShell”. You’ll see how to create your own classes using PowerShell. We’ll cover techniques valid in PowerShell versions 3 and 4, as well as see how the new class types in PowerShell version 5 work.

As they say on TV, but wait! There’s more!

On November 1st 2016 I will be coming to Atlanta to the Atlanta SQL Server BI user group. My presentation “Shiny and New: SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services” should be a lot of fun, and introduce you to the new features in SQL Server 2016.

Whew! There’s two more Atlanta based events in Nov/Dec it looks like I’ll be at, once those are finalized I’ll let everyone know.

I’ve also established a GitHub repository for my various samples. You’ll find it at https://github.com/arcanecode. As I move forward I’ll keep this repository updated.

Zero to Hero with PowerShell and SQL Server–Precon at DevDataDay

{dev = data} DAY Birmingham 2016Are you looking to learn about PowerShell? Do you use SQL Server? Then boy have I got a bargain for you!

I’m doing a precon for our upcoming devdataday event. The precon will take place on Friday, August 19th, the day before devdataday.

This is designed to be a course for the PowerShell novice. No prior knowledge required! I’ll start the day with an introduction to PowerShell, basic usage and cmdlets. Next we’ll dive into programming scripts in PowerShell, starting with the basics of loops, conditional logic, and functions. We’ll move into advanced topics, including creating your own reusable modules and testing them.
The real meat of the day comes next, learning how to interact with SQL Server from PowerShell. Both the SQL Provider and SMO (SQL Management Objects) DLL library will be covered in full. Most importantly you’ll learn how to read the online SMO library documentation and how to convert the examples into PowerShell syntax. The day will culminate by building a reusable module for working with many SQL Server common tasks, such as T-SQL code generation, or performing health checks on your servers.
The day will wrap up with a look at Pester, the new open source PowerShell testing tool. You’ll see how to test all the code you generated during the day. Don’t be left behind, learn how to leverage the power of PowerShell in your SQL Server environment.

To register, just go to https://devdatadaypowershellprecon.eventbrite.com/

Updating and Sorting the Microsoft Word QuickStyle Gallery with PowerShell



I’m currently working on my fifth book, this one is for the folks at PACKT Publishing. It’s still in the early stages so I can’t say too much, but if you like SQL Server Reporting Services, you’ll enjoy this book.

All book publishers use their own set of styles in Microsoft Word to allow them to control the layout of the book when it goes to print. There will be special styles for italics, bold, code listings, and more. The techniques here though are applicable to more than just book or magazine publishers.

You’re company may have a limited set of styles it approves for use in internal documents. Perhaps you need to adjust your set of QuickStyles based on what type of document you are authoring. One set for company memos, another for technical documentation, and yet another set of styles for love letters.

Using the PowerShell script in this post can make it easy for you to setup your QuickStyle gallery based on the type of document you are creating.

When working on the book it’s been convenient to clear out the list of built in styles in the QuickStyle gallery, and replace them with the ones I need for my publisher. Doing it manually though is a time consuming process.

Unfortunately I experienced further oddities. Every time I got a chapter back from my editor, my curated list of styles had been replaced. I don’t think it’s anything my editor did deliberately, she’s a really nice lady. I believe it’s some quirk of Word, related to the fact we appear to be on different versions. I knew I couldn’t keep sucking up time adding, removing, and sorting these each time I got a chapter back. I needed a way to automate.

I did some looking online, but couldn’t find a total solution that fit my needs. I found some VBA code for adding and removing styles from the QuickStyle gallery, but nothing on how to sort items in the gallery.

Being the geek I am means I love PowerShell. So I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the Microsoft Word object model. Specifically, I focused in on the Style object.

I’m a firm believer in the adage that you should completely understand any script you cut and paste off the web. So while I’ll place the complete script at the bottom of this post for easy copy / paste, I’ll step through it first to explain the various components.

Before I proceed, one important note: updating the QuickStyle gallery using the code below only updates one specific document. Other existing Word documents, or new documents you create, won’t be affected by this script.

1. Set a variable to hold the file name to update.

$wordFile = 'C:\Book\Chapter02.docx'

I start by setting a variable to hold the file name of the Word document I want to update. At some point I’ll probably turn this into a module and make this a parameter to the main routine, but for today this gets the job done and is easy for people who also want to use the script.

2. Back up the file.

$bakfile = $wordFile + '.bak'
Copy-Item -Path $wordFile -Destination $bakfile -Force


The next thing I do is make a backup. First, if something happens I want to be able to go back. Second, you should always backup before doing something like this, so making it built in prevents issues (as well as avoiding nasty comments on this post). Winking smile

3. Load an array with your desired styles.

$myStyles = @( 'Normal [PACKT]',
               'Numbered Bullet [PACKT]',
               'Screen Text [PACKT]',
               'Code In Text [PACKT]',
               'Code Within Bullets [PACKT]',
               'Code listing [PACKT]',
               'Italics [PACKT]',
               'Figure [PACKT]',
               'Chapterref [PACKT]',
               'Bold [PACKT]',
               'Heading 1,Heading 1 [PACKT]',
               'Heading 2,Heading 2 [PACKT]',
               'Heading 3,Heading 3 [PACKT]',
               'Tip [PACKT]',
               'Layout Information [PACKT]',
               'Figure Caption [PACKT]',
               'Part Heading [PACKT]'

Next up, I load a list of the styles I want to place in my QuickStyles. Also, the array should have the styles in the order you wish them in the gallery. This list is specific to the styles I use most frequently on this project. To see the complete list of available styles within your document, open up Word and load your document. On the bottom right of the QuickStyle gallery is a little button that will bring up the style list.


Once open, you’ll see a list of all the styles available in this document. Here’s the top of the list, scrolling down will reveal a LOT of styles.


The names that appear in here are the ones that you’d use in the array. Just type them into the array declaration exactly as they appear in the Styles list.

4. Load up style type enumerations.

# Load up the style type enumerations.
$wdStyleTypeParagraph = 1  # Paragraph style.
$wdStyleTypeCharacter = 2  # Body character style.
$wdStyleTypeTable = 3      # Table style.
$wdStyleTypeList = 4       # List style.

When we set the property to place something in the QuickStyles gallery, we have to be careful as only certain types of styles may appear in the QuickStyles area. We check this using a property of the Style object called Type, which has several enumerations. While I probably could have loaded the enumerations from the class, sometimes simple is good. Since the values for the enumerations were easily found in MSDN, I just replicated them as variables in PowerShell.

In this script we only use two of them, but for completeness I listed them all should I (or you) ever want to reuse this script as a basis for other Word work with PowerShell.

5. Create a new instance of Word.

$word = New-Object -ComObject Word.Application

The next step is pretty simple. All we do is create a new object of type Microsoft Word, and put a reference to it in the $word variable. Creating the new Word object is akin to opening up Word without a document in it.

6. Make Word visible.

$word.Visible = $true

This next step is optional. By default, when you create a new Word object it is not displayed to the user. If you are applying this to a whole batch of Word documents, I’d omit this step as it will slow down the process. For just one document though it’s not much of an impact. And to be honest, it’s pretty cool to watch Word as it removes then adds the styles.

7. Open the Word document to update.

$doc = $word.Documents.Open($wordFile)

This is probably an obvious step, but we need to load the document we want to update into our Word object. The Open method returns a new variable of type Document (MSDN). The $word variable represents Microsoft Word, the $doc variable represents the specific DOCX file (or DOC) that we want to update.

8. Reset all styles to remove them from the QuickStyles; additionally reset their priority.

foreach ($sty in $doc.Styles)
  # Only these two types can be QuickStyles
  if ( ($sty.Type -eq $wdStyleTypeCharacter) -or ($sty.Type -eq $wdStyleTypeParagraph) ) 
    { $sty.QuickStyle = $false }
  $sty.Priority = 100

This next section is important to understand. The document has a collection of Style objects, stored in the Styles collection. We start by looping over each Style in the document.

Each Style object has a property named QuickStyle, which has a value of true or false. This flag sets whether a style should appear in the QuickStyles gallery (true) or not (false). If you recall from the enumerations section above, there are some styles that cannot be in the QuickStyle area. If we were to attempt to set the QuickStyle property on these, we would get an error (even if setting it to false). Hence the need to check the Type property and only attempt to set the QuickStyle property for those Styles who can appear in the QuickStyle list.

The real challenge in terms of investigation came in ordering the styles within the QuickStyle area. To order them manually, start by clicking the lower right button on the styles dialog.


When the Manage Styles window appears, click on the Recommend tab.



To the left of each style name, you see a number or the word “last”. This number represents the order in which it will recommend styles to you. In other words, the order in which they will appear in the QuickStyles gallery.

With the buttons at the bottom you can rearrange the order in which they appear. Note, it is possible to have multiple styles with the same value. If that happens Word will arrange all styles with the same recommended value alphabetically. The word “last” simply tells Word to put these styles at the very end of the QuickStyles gallery.

It took a lot of research, but I finally figured out the “Recommended” value is contained in a property called “Priority” within the Style object. The word last is represented by the value 100, giving a valid range of 1 to 100 for Priorities.

In the above code I am setting all styles, even the styles built into Word, to 100 which is the equivalent of ‘last’. For my situation this is fine, as I’m only going to be using this specific set of styles in this specific document so I don’t really care about the built in ones. Even if I changed my mind later, all I would need to do is add the built in styles (or any new ones I create) to my array and rerun the script.

At this point then we’ve removed all styles from the QuickStyles gallery, as well as set their priorities to ‘last’. Now it’s time to add the styles we want and order them.

9. Add our desired styles to the QuickStyle gallery and order them.

$priority = 1
foreach ($mySty in $myStyles)
  # Setting to true will make the style appear in the QuickStyle gallery
  $doc.Styles($mySty).QuickStyle = $true
  # The priority is an integer which determines the sort order within the QS gallery
  $doc.Styles($mySty).Priority = $priority++

With this next code, we are going to add our list of styles as well as sort them. It starts by setting the starting point for our Priority (the order) to the value 1, our starting point.

We then enter a foreach loop, where we iterate over each style in the array we assembled back in step 3. Within the loop, we set the QuickStyle property to true. Naturally I’ve only placed style names into the array that are allowed to be in the Style gallery. If you have doubts you could add a check against the Type property, as we did in Step 8, before setting the QuickStyle property.

Note that the Styles collection allows us to address a style by passing in the name of the style. When you assemble the array then, it is important to match the name that appears in Word exactly so it can find it in the array.

Next up is setting the Priority. Again, the Priority is the order in which styles are displayed in the gallery. After assigning the value I use the ++ operator to increase the value for the next iteration of the loop.

Note that since I have far less than 100 items, I don’t have any error checking for exceeding the 100 mark. If you have more than 100 styles for your QuickStyles you’ll need to modify this code. Although quite frankly if you have more than 100 styles in your QuickStyles, it’s not really that quick and you should probably rethink your editing habits. Winking smile

10. Save your work.


As the next to the last step, we’ll have the script go ahead and save the document.

11. Close Word (optional).


If you modified this script to work in a big loop so you could batch updates, or perhaps you will just want to apply the fix and go on, you could have the script go ahead and close Word. On the other hand, if after applying the updates to the style gallery you’ll immediately want to start editing, just comment out this last step. 


A final note to close this out, I’ve tested the script with Word 2016 and PowerShell 5.0. From the documentation in MSDN the same techniques also apply to Word 2013. I’ve not tried it on previous versions of Word, but in theory it should work all the way back to the version in which the QuickStyle gallery was introduced. If you’ve tried it on an older version let us know the results by posting a comment below.

Additionally, while I’ve written this on PowerShell 5.0 I’m not doing anything new or unusual, it should work as far back as PowerShell 3.0.

Below is the script, complete with comments to act as a reminder of the explanations above. Just copy and paste, modify the $wordFile and the $myStyles array, and you should be good to go.


The Script

  Updating and Sorting the Microsoft Word QuickStyle Gallery, ArcaneCode style!

  Author: Robert C. Cain | @ArcaneCode | arcane@arcanetc.com
  This script is Copyright (c) 2016 Robert C. Cain. All rights reserved.
  No warranty or guarantee is implied or expressly granted. Use at your own

  This script may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express
  written consent of the author. 

# Set the path / file name of the file you want to update
$wordFile = 'C:\Book\Chapter02.docx'

# Make a backup before we do changes. Note if the BAK exists it will be overwritten
$bakfile = $wordFile + '.bak'
Copy-Item -Path $wordFile -Destination $bakfile -Force

# Create an array of the styles you wish, in the order you want 
# them to appear in the QuickStyle area 
$myStyles = @( 'Normal [PACKT]',
               'Numbered Bullet [PACKT]',
               'Screen Text [PACKT]',
               'Code In Text [PACKT]',
               'Code Within Bullets [PACKT]',
               'Code listing [PACKT]',
               'Italics [PACKT]',
               'Figure [PACKT]',
               'Chapterref [PACKT]',
               'Bold [PACKT]',
               'Heading 1,Heading 1 [PACKT]',
               'Heading 2,Heading 2 [PACKT]',
               'Heading 3,Heading 3 [PACKT]',
               'Tip [PACKT]',
               'Layout Information [PACKT]',
               'Figure Caption [PACKT]',
               'Part Heading [PACKT]'

# Load up the style type enumerations.
$wdStyleTypeParagraph = 1  # Paragraph style.
$wdStyleTypeCharacter = 2  # Body character style.
$wdStyleTypeTable = 3      # Table style.
$wdStyleTypeList = 4       # List style.

# Create a new instance of Word
$word = New-Object -ComObject Word.Application

# This is optional, if set it will display Word and let you watch the fun
$word.Visible = $true

# Open the document you wish to reset the styles for
$doc = $word.Documents.Open($wordFile)

# First, reset all styles to not be Quick Styles, 
# and set the priorty to 100 (which will be 'last' in Word)
foreach ($sty in $doc.Styles)
  # Only these two types can be QuickStyles
  if ( ($sty.Type -eq $wdStyleTypeCharacter) -or ($sty.Type -eq $wdStyleTypeParagraph) ) 
    { $sty.QuickStyle = $false }
  $sty.Priority = 100

# Now set the styles like we want 'em!
$priority = 1
foreach ($mySty in $myStyles)
  # Setting to true will make the style appear in the QuickStyle gallery
  $doc.Styles($mySty).QuickStyle = $true
  # The priority is an integer which determines the sort order within the QS gallery
  $doc.Styles($mySty).Priority = $priority++

# Save the document. 

# Close up word (Optional, if you want to start editing 
# right away you can comment this out)

I have to give a shout out to the folks at Sapien for their PowerShell Studio tool. It has a great feature, Copy HTML, which takes pieces of PowerShell code, copies it to the clipboard and in the process adds the appropriate HTML tags to do the nice coloring.

Simple Way to Fix SQL Server Page Level Corruption

I’ve decided to try an experiment, and allow the occasional guest blogger. This will give new bloggers additional exposure, and draw eyes to both our sites.

Our first guest blogger is Andrew Jackson. Andrew is a SQL DBA and SQL Server blogger too. He likes to share about SQL Server and the problems related to it as well as their solution, handling database related user queries, server or database maintenance, database management etc.

You can find Andrew online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Jackson/100008825676608

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackson-andrew-401147a5

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jacksonandrew32

Editor & Blog Contributor at: http://www.sqlmvp.org/

Without further delay, here is Andrew’s first contribution, Simple Way to Fix SQL Server Page Level Corruption.


Database corruption is the worst situation for any Database Administrator. The SQL database stores very crucial data, the occurrence of corruption make it inaccessible which causes huddle in workflow in any organization or business. Whenever the corruption issues are discovered, it must be resolved on time by the admin before the issue spread through the data infrastructure. Therefore, it is very necessary to take proper steps to protect the data from such damage. This article explains the causes, troubleshooting, and fixing SQL server page level corruption.

Page Level Corruption

Pages are the most basic unit of data stored in database, all .mdf or .ndf files in a database are logically divided into pages numbered from 0 to n. Whenever the pages of database file are infected by the corruption, DBA will repair each damaged page in isolation. Repairing and restoring the few pages individually is faster than repairing the entire file.


· Hardware malfunction, most of database corruption occurs due to hardware failure.

· Issues in SQL server itself, sometimes when there are internal issues in SQL server results corruption

· Unplanned shut-down when database is opened

· Virus intrusion

· Updating the SQL server in newer version also results corruption

How to Fix Page Level Corruption

Moreover, Admin have their eventual plans to tackle SQL Server database corruption issue, there are strategies like replication, database monitoring, disaster recovery plans etc. However, there are the conditions when admin do not have such solution. In that case, admin need a solution to handle this problem, In SQL 2005 and later version there is a feature called Page Checksum that creates checksum value to detect the scale of the damage in database.

If the problem in SQL database is unreadable by SQL server, then it requires the complete restoration of the database. On other hand if damage is not that severe and lesser pages are infected then DBA can use DBCC utility.

DBCC CHECKDB Command for Handling Page Level Corruption

DBCC CHECKDB is a command that fix the corruption issue in SQL database. It fixes the inconsistency in SQL server database by performing Database Consistency Checks.


The syntax of DBCC CHECKDB command is given below:


Other Possible Solutions

There is also an alternative solution to handle Page level corruption in SQL database, user can opt a third party tool namely that can easily tackle this corruption. It can recover highly corrupted page from both primary and secondary database. It supports all the versions of SQL Database Server. Using these defined ways; user or DBA can easily recover the page level corruption.


Thanks Andrew for your contribution. If you are interested in becoming a guest blogger, just email me info <@> arcanetc.com.

SQL Saturday 498 Chattanooga

Do you like PowerShell? SQL Server? Are you anywhere close to Chattanooga TN? Then don’t miss this SQL Saturday, June 25th 2016.

I’m giving two sessions (yes two for the price of one!). The first session will be PowerShell 201. It covers advanced concepts you need to know, such as debugging, remoting, security, and code signing.

The second session will educate on using PowerShell with SQL Server. We’ll cover the use of the SQL Provider (SQLPS) as well as the more advanced SQL Management Object library (SMO).

You’ll find the full schedule here, as well as links to register, directions, and the like.


Best of all, my demos are already uploaded, so you can download early and play along during the presentation!

I’ll mention Chattanooga is a great vacation town, so bring your whole family. There’s a huge aquarium, discovery museum, Lookout Mountain, and tons of attractions to keep them occupied while you’re having fun at SQL Saturday.

Testing PowerShell with Pester

My newest Pluralsight course is now live, Testing PowerShell with Pester! In this 4 hour course I walk through a complete introduction to Pester, to showing you how to both modify existing code as well as create a brand new module using Pester to guide development using the Test Driven Development methodology. You’ll find all the details at:


Not as familiar as PowerShell as you’d like to be? I have several other courses at Pluralsight that may help, especially my Beginning PowerShell Scripting for Developers course. You can see my full catalog of courses at:


What? You don’t have a Pluralsight subscription? No problem, just shoot me an email to free<at>arcanetc.com and I’ll send you a code good for a 30 day trial to Pluralsight, with which you can watch my courses, or any of the great courses by my fellow Pluralsight authors.