An Introduction to Powershell


PowerShell is a scripting tool used by IT administrators who manage applications, servers, networks, users, and operating systems. It is task-based, meaning the scripts you run can accomplish many complex and repetitive administrative tasks that would otherwise be complicated, cumbersome, and time consuming to perform without it.

THE BASICS :

PowerShell is an advanced command line shell, similar in many ways to a Linux or UNIX command line shell. Many of the commands from these OS shells exists in PowerShell, making it an easy transition for UNIX/Linux administrators. Previously, Windows IT administrators were limited to using the DOS Command Prompt, VBScript, COM objects, or a third party shell, such as Bash shell before powershell.

VERSIONS :

Because PowerShell tasks are so closely related to certain versions of the Windows operating system and the types of tasks that can be performed on them, only certain versions of PowerShell are supported with the different versions of Windows. Note that PowerShell has been included with the latest versions of Windows to be used by IT administrators.

Currently, there are five different versions of PowerShell, with Version 4 being the latest “officially released” edition.

Version 1 – Released in 2006 for Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003. [Optional feature]
Version 2huge upgrade for PowerShell in 2009. It included many new features and a new Integrated Script Environment (ISE 2.0) for writing script and was included with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
Version 3 Was a minor upgrade and was included with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. It was made available for download for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (R2).
Version 4 is the current version of PowerShell. It was included with the release of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2. It is also available for download for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012.
Version 5 including WMF 5.0 and PowerShell ISE was released as a technology review version in May, 2014.

LAUNCHING POWERSHELL : 

Start > type PowerShell > click on Powershell 

power

And a blue command shell will open. Note the “PS” prefix to the left of the command prompt, reminding us that we are in PowerShell – not the normal Command Prompt.

shell

All of the classic DOS commands will work in PowerShell, including many of the commands you may have used in UNIX/Linux shells. For example, you can perform a “DIR” listing as well as an “ls” listing.

WEBSITES : 

Usually, learning PowerShell has been out of necessity by administrators but it should be considered a very powerful tool in every administrator’s toolbox. There are several web sites available to help you get started including tutorial sites to help you learn it. Here are just a few of them. Good luck and best wishes.

The main PowerShell site: 
http://www.microsoft.com/powershell

Microsoft Script Center: 
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/scriptcenter

Windows PowerShell Team Blog: 
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/

Microsoft Virtual Academy PowerShell training:
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/Studies/SearchResult.aspx?q=powershell
Happy Learning !

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