PowerShell for Windows Admins

Mar 11 2012   8:40AM GMT

PowerShell books–March 2012

Posted by: Richard Siddaway
PowerShell 3
PowerShell v2

Back in January last year I posted about my preferred set of PowerShell books. http://msmvps.com/blogs/richardsiddaway/archive/2011/01/09/powershell-books.aspx

Its time to update that list

I’ll start by removing the first edition of books where the second edition is now available. As with the previous post these are books that I’ve read or been involved with in one way or another.

NOTE: This is my own highly subjective list. There are other books available. Some I have looked at and won’t recommend; others I have not yet looked at. I am also restricting my list to English language books. I will not recommend a book I haven’t read


Title Author Publisher ISBN
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches Don Jones Manning 978161790213
PowerShell v3 in Depth. An administrator’s guide. Don Jones
Richard Siddaway
Jeffery Hicks
Manning 9781617290558
Windows PowerShell Scripting Guide Ed Wilson Microsoft Press 9780735622791
Windows PowerShell Cookbook
Second Edition
Lee Holmes O’Reilly
Windows PowerShell 2.0 Best Practices Ed Wilson Microsoft Press 9780735626461
PowerShell in Practice Richard Siddaway Manning 9781935182009
PowerShell and WMI Richard Siddaway Manning 9781617290114
Managing Active Directory with Windows PowerShell
Second edition
Jeffery Hicks Sapien Press 9780982131442
Managing VMware Infrastructure with Windows PowerShell Hal Rottenberg Sapien Press 0982131402
VMware vSphere Power CLI Reference Luc Dekens, Alan Renouf, Glenn Sizemore, Arnim van Lieshout and Jonathan Medd Sybex 9780470890790
PowerShell in Action
Second Edition
Bruce Payette Manning



Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches by Don Jones. It is a beginners guide to PowerShell. If you haven’t used PowerShell before this is the place to start. It will take you through the basics of using PowerShell from scratch. At the end of this book you will know what you are doing with PowerShell and have a good idea of how to learn more.

PowerShell v3 in Depth. An administrator’s guide by Don Jones, Jeffery Hicks and myself, is currently being written, and builds on Don’s Lunches book. It is designed to parallel and underpin the domain specific books such as PowerShell and WMI or Managing AD with Windows PowerShell. The book covers  PowerShell v2 and v3 (including all new features). Its premise is showing the administrator how to get the most out of PowerShell and how to work with it so the domain specific pieces for AD, Exchange or WMI are easy to slot into the PowerShell structure they know and understand. Expect it sometime after PowerShell v3 is available.

Windows PowerShell Scripting Guide by Ed Wilson. This takes over where Don’s book stops. It supplies a good introduction to automating basic windows admin tasks with PowerShell

Windows PowerShell Cookbook by Lee Holmes. Now in its second edition it supplies a lot of scripts for using PowerShell. This book is PowerShell orientated and doesn’t cover using Exchange, AD etc. The techniques are useful for using with some of the more advanced or technology specific books. Read this if you want to know how to do something with PowerShell – in terms of using the language for example removing members from an array

Windows PowerShell 2.0 Best Practices by Ed Wilson. Builds on his Scripting Guide and contains good information on designing and testing scripts. Even if you don’t agree with all of the ideas they are worth reading to make you think about how you want to perform these tasks in your organisation. I find my self dipping into this for Ed’s ideas. It is well worth having on your book shelf.

PowerShell in Practice I wrote as a “PowerShell for Administrators” book. Contains lots of examples for working with AD, WMI, DNS, IIS, Exchange, SQL Server and Hyper-V. I wrote it but I still refer to it for syntax & ideas. Predominantly based on PowerShell v2 it is still very applicable today.

PowerShell and WMI will be available soon. WMI is a really powerful technology but the lack of documentation and the difficulty of using it in the past has meant admins have been reluctant to use it. This book is designed to shine a light on to WMI, make it accessible and provide many ready to use scripts. It also covers the new WMI based functionality in PowerShell v3 – the CIM cmdlets and how to turn WMI classes into PowerShell cmdlets. Very relevant as much of the new PowerShell functionality in Windows Server 8 is based on that model.

Managing AD with Windows PowerShell by Jeffery Hicks. Now in its second edition. Mainly based around the Microsoft and AD cmdlets, this overlaps with PowerShell in Practice to some extent but if you just want to automate AD then start here.

Managing VMware Infrastructure with Windows PowerShell by Hal Rottenberg. If you are using VMware you need this. Admin becomes a lot easier.

VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference by Luc Dekens et al. takes a slightly different view to Hal’s book. It is more a book about managing the whole VMware infrastructure from installation onwards. Personally I use both.

PowerShell in Action by Bruce Payette. This is the book for the in depth details on the PowerShell language. If you want to know how and why PowerShell works the way it does this is the book for you. Be aware that it is an advanced text and is NOT recommended for PowerShell newcomers.

This is my view of the PowerShell book world. No doubt other people will have different views. If you think I’ve missed a book that should be on this list please let me know but I will only recommend books I have read.

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