For those who don’t already know, PowerShell is a scripting language that has been around since 2006 (the year before Windows Vista was introduced). Thus, when PowerShell 1.0 was released on November 14 of that year, it originally targeted Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The same day that Vista was released (on January 30, 2007), an installation package for PowerShell was published to the Microsoft Download center. But it wasn’t until Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 came along that PowerShell was integrated right into the Windows release itself. It will stay that way for Windows 8 and the next Windows Server release as well.
Be that as it may, PowerShell is a powerful and worthwhile productivity tool for Windows administrators and power users alike. It combines the power of a typical shell (those familiar with Linux or Unix recognize the korn shell, the C shell, the Bourne shell, and many other shell scripting languages) with the kinds of looping structures and variables that are more common in fully-realized programming languages. Those who dig into PowerShell will almost always find it rewarding and a productivity booster. It’s now out in Version 3.0 as a preview release — due out formally with Windows 8 and the upcoming Windows Server release — whereas PowerShell 2.0 RTM is part of the October, 2009, Windows Management Framework release. Check out this Windows Powershell blog “Download Windows Powershell” for links.
Those seeking a free guided tour deep into PowerShell should sign up for Ed Wilson’s MSDN series entitled “Windows PowerShell for the Busy Admin.” Session 1 takes place today (3/12/2012) with Sessions 2-5 scheduled for the rest of this week (March 13-16). Don’t have time to attend the live sessions? Don’t worry: MSDN will also make recordings available so you can watch after the fact (though you won’t be able to participate in Q&A). Find good scripting resource links on the registration page, too. Be sure to check it out!