While thinking of some possible topics for the WWITPRO monthly meetings, I thought it might be cool to look into having a meeting about PowerShell. I have seen a couple of people demo it at various meetings and events I have been to and was very curious, after all I entered IT officially in 1995 and cut my teeth on DOS 2.1 so a command line is something I miss. Anyway, it struck me that I had never seen an in depth discussion on the topic so I started to do some research on it. I started by guessing that the Microsoft site which would contain PowerShell information would be www.microsoft.com/powershell. What do you know...I was right! :)
Oh sorry, someone in the back has a question..."What is PowerShell?" Oops...sorry...I'm starting to get excited here! PowerShell is a replacement for the limited command shell, cmd.exe...you know the one...yea that's it, the one the Linux people have been laughing at. Well now you can till those Linux guys and their imaginary girlfriend/boyfriend that we may be late to the party but we've arrived...and with a real date!
The nice shiny new blue background you will notice when you first run the application is just the beginning! You also get a powerful scripting engine that allows you to do almost all of the normal administrative tasks you need to do such as adding user accounts, disabling accounts, sorting through the Event Logs...it will even allow you to automatically open that fancy cup holder located on the front of your server!
One of the first things I noticed about PowerShell when I visited the Microsoft site, was there was a version available for Windows XP, I mistakenly thought it was only available for the new Longhorn server(Windows Server 2008)...note to my Microsoft friends...I can still say Longhorn...ha ha. It is in fact, available for Windows Server 2003, XP and Vista. The other thing you might not know, is it can be used to extend the capabilities of a variety of Microsoft applications such as Exchange Server 2007, System Center Operations Manager 2007, System Center Data Protection Manager V2, and System Center Virtual Machine.
I encourage you to download the version for your computer and play around. If you were reading this post in the hopes that you'd learn all that there was to know about PowerShell, I just have to say that I'm currently playing around so keep checking for some of the cool things I'm learning...I'll keep you updated. To get you started, there is an excellent little booklet written by Frank Koch. You can download it here.
Good Luck and be careful...PowerShell is very powerful. Just remember, as a smart man once said "There's no crying in IT!"...or is that baseball...I get those mixed up sometimes... Anyway, don't come crying to me if you experiment with PowerShell and suddenly your server's cup holder stops working!