Sarah here. Are you one with the command line? Do you find yourself writing batch scripts to automate tasks? Perhaps you’re writing KiXtart scripts or even VBScript to help with your day-to-day tasks. How would you like another tool for your scripting toolbelt?

I’ve convinced Bob to let me share with you some tidbits from my favorite scripting language – PowerShell!  PowerShell is Microsoft’s scripting language running on the .NET Framework. It is part of the Windows Management Framework suite, along with Windows Remote Management (WinRM) and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).

What can I do with it?

Whether you’re doing network audits, migrating to Office 365, administering servers with products such as Exchange, IIS, SQL Server, or Active Directory, or even managing remote workstations, PowerShell can be a great tool to know.  Adding groups of users from your local Active Directory to Office 365, for example, doesn’t need to be a time-consuming, GUI-clicking party – although if that’s your thing, go for it.  You can make it happen much quicker by writing a PowerShell script to query your Active Directory and create the new users, roles, contacts, etc. needed in Office 365.  Managing group policies, setting up mailboxes, understanding a SQL Server’s configuration, spinning up new websites in IIS – just some of the many, many things you could script with PowerShell!

This sounds handy!  What do I need to run it?

If you have Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, PowerShell 2.0 is already installed.

If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008, PowerShell 2.0 is available for download: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968929

If you have Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, then PowerShell 3.0 is already installed.

If you have Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, or Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2, PowerShell 3.0 is available for download: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34595

Okay… I think I have it installed already.  But I’m not entirely sure which version I’m working with.

If you start PowerShell and aren’t really sure which version you’re running, look at the $Host variable, as seen below:

PowerShell Host variable

 

Look forward to more PowerShell tidbits in the future!