I've created a job in Jenkins to launch a small powershell script on a remote machine using psexec. In my build step, I'm using the powershell plugin and launching the below command:

& "$env:SCRIPTROOT\test_psexec.ps1" -Username $env:USERNAME -Password $env:PASSWORD -Server $env:REMOTESERVER

In the test_psexec.ps1 file, I have the code below:

$filePath = "C:\windows\temp\test_script.ps1"
$server = "server01"
$cmd = "powershell -NoLogo -NonInteractive -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -File $filePath"

Write-Host "Launching powershell on remote system using psexec..."
Write-Host "Command: & $PSScriptRoot\tools\psexec -accepteula -nobanner -u $username -p **** -h \\$server $cmd"

$output = & $PSScriptRoot\tools\psexec -accepteula -nobanner -u $username -p $password -h \\$server $cmd
Write-Host "Script Output: "
Write-Host $output

The test_script.ps1 file contains the following script:

Write-Host "Verifying if server is pending reboot..."

try {
  $regKey = "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired"
  $regItems = Get-ItemProperty -Path $regKey -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

  if($regItems) {
    Write-Host "Server has a reboot pending. Rebooting server..."
  } else {
    Write-Host "Server does not have a pending reboot."
} catch {
  Write-Host "Failed to verify pending reboot or unable to restart server."
  Write-Host $_.Message

The job executes successfully, but for some reason, the output that I display from psexec in Jenkins only returns one line. I executed another test script on the remote machine with a bunch of text, and it seems to be truncating the output at 256 characters. The Jenkins job output looks similar to what is below:

Started by user Test Account
Building in workspace D:\Jenkins\workspace\test_job
[test_job] $ powershell.exe -NonInteractive -ExecutionPolicy ByPass "& 'C:\windows\TEMP\jenkins3570507542870234918.ps1'"
Launching powershell on remote system using psexec...
Command: D:\test_job\tools\psexec.exe -accepteula -nobanner -u testdomain\test_acct -p **** -h \\server01 "powershell" -NoLogo -NonInteractive -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -File C:\windows\temp\test_script.ps1
Connecting to server01...
Starting PSEXESVC service on server01...
Connecting with PsExec service on server01...
Starting powershell on server01...
powershell exited on server01 with error code 0.
Script Output: 
Verifying if server is pending reboot...
Execution successful.
Finished: SUCCESS

If I log onto and launch the script on the remote machine in PowerShell, I get the appropriate output. Also, I am not launching psexec in Jenkins directly as there is other logic around this part of the test_psexec.ps1 script which is irrelevant to this issue.

Does anyone know if I am hitting some sort of buffer limit or know of a setting I can configure to avoid this issue?

  • Please view this post which goes over this. greiginsydney.com/viewing-truncated-powershell-output
    – jbooker
    Jul 21 '17 at 20:30
  • Thanks, but the blog post was regarding the output from cmdlets within powershell. For some reason, the output being returned from stdout using psexec is truncated and subsequently being returned to the Jenkins console without the full output. I don't believe this is related to PowerShell.
    – Jeff Coe
    Jul 25 '17 at 21:04

The reason why this isn't working for you is because your second script is using Write-Host. The output of Write-Host can't be redirected; so when you execute that script remotely, the output is being lost.

In your case, the best alternative is Write-Out which writes objects to the output stream. This should work fine in this particular case, but be aware that Write-Out has unexpected results when used within a function that needs to return other results to the output stream. (In Powershell returning a value from a function is equivalent to Write-Out.)

Another alternative is Write-Verbose which will write the results to the verbose stream. To see those results, you'll need to either add the -Verbose flag to your script invocation, or you can set $VerbosePreference = $true to set it for your session.

Here's a good article that talks about the pitfalls of Write-Host: http://www.jsnover.com/blog/2013/12/07/write-host-considered-harmful/

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