Using Toast notifications in Powershell

Notifications can be quite a bit more than just those annoying pop-ups you see down by your system clock from time to time. When created using Powershell, you can get an incredible amount of functionality out of them.

Toasts are more than pop-ups

Some of my favorite uses include:

  • Giving myself reminders
  • Alerting when things happen on remote endpoints
  • Alerting other staff of important tasks that need done
  • Receiving alerts from monitoring platforms when an issue occurs

Getting started

There are a couple of ways to create toast notifications on Windows 10. You can install a module from the gallery, or if you are feeling frisky, can’t use 3rd party modules, or just plain want too, you can write code using pure .Net classes to create the notifications

Using a pre-built module

I discovered BurntToast a few months ago and fell in love with all the “stuff” that it unlocked for me to alert on. Written by Josh King, it is a fantastic module if you want to get up and running in a hurry. You can get the module a couple of ways:

Using git:

git clone https://github.com/Windos/BurntToast.git

Installing from the Gallery:

Install-Module BurntToast

In its simplest form a toast contains 4 things: A title (Header), a body, an image, and the application name sending it.

Try it:

Import-Module BurntToast
$toastParams = @{
    Text = "Hey, this is my first Toast notification"
    Header = (New-BTHeader -Id 1 -Title "My first Toast")
}
New-BurntToastNotification @toastParams

To discover all the fun things you can do with the BurntToast module, go exploring:

Import-Module BurntToast
Get-Command -Module BurntToast

Using .Net to create toasts

There are a few key pieces to working with .Net to generate a toast notification. For simplicity, I’ve created an example script, which you can get here, but I’ll break it apart and explain it below:

First, you are going to need to load some classes:

$null = [Windows.UI.Notifications.ToastNotificationManager, Windows.UI.Notifications, ContentType = WindowsRuntime]
$null = [Windows.Data.Xml.Dom.XmlDocument, Windows.Data.Xml.Dom.XmlDocument, ContentType = WindowsRuntime]

You’ll also need a toast notification template. Here’s a generic one, which you can store in a here-string:

  $XmlString = @"
  <toast>
    <visual>
      <binding template="ToastGeneric">
        <text>$Title</text>
        <text>$Message</text>
        <image src="$Logo" placement="appLogoOverride" hint-crop="circle" />
      </binding>
    </visual>
    <audio src="ms-winsoundevent:Notification.Default" />
  </toast>
"@

More information on this template, and other templates can be found here

And finally, put it all together to build and send your new Toast notification:

$ToastXml = [Windows.Data.Xml.Dom.XmlDocument]::new()
$ToastXml.LoadXml($XmlString)
$Toast = [Windows.UI.Notifications.ToastNotification]::new($ToastXml)
[Windows.UI.Notifications.ToastNotificationManager]::CreateToastNotifier($AppId).Show($Toast)

For some ideas to get you started, you can take a look at the example content from my most recent User Group presentation here

Written on November 16, 2018