Windows PowerShell: What is it & How to Use it
If you are like many typical computer users, you are familiar with the Command Prompt — the command line interpreter that comes standard with most Windows operating systems. But are you familiar with Windows PowerShell? This powerful tool can do everything the Command Prompt does — in fact, it’s designed to replace it — and much, much more. To see this, let’s take a closer look at what Windows Powershell is, and how we can put its power to good use.
What is Windows PowerShell?
Microsoft’s Windows Powershell was developed to facilitate configuration management and task automation.
The name ‘powershell’ is derived from the computer science concept of a ‘shell’: a user interface allowing operator access to the many capabilities of the operating system. The shell can include a graphical user interface (GUI), or it can be utilized via the command line.
Developed using the .NET framework, Windows Powershell includes a scripting language and command line shell. Since Windows NT 4.0, it has been employed across the Microsoft ecosystem in a variety of ways. Windows Powershell gives you the option of using a standard command-line shell or the Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE), a GUI that simplifies the creation of different scripts, eliminating the need to type commands into the command-line.
Difference Between PowerShell and Command Prompt
One of the differences between PowerShell and Command Prompt is that PowerShell uses cmdlets, allowing access to complex system administration functionalities which aren’t available via the command prompt. PowerShell is also object-oriented, providing more flexibility when processing complex data.
How to use Windows PowerShell
Windows PowerShell was designed to help automate repetitive administrative tasks that can become tedious. Using the tool, you can create scripts to run time-consuming tasks in the background while other work is being done. PowerShell contains hundreds of customizable commands that can help to dramatically boost productivity, and it is very helpful for network administrators working with Active Directory.
Because of its ability to simplify management operations and streamline efforts, PowerShell has become extremely popular with many IT administrators. Managers of large networks can implement solutions, such as security patches or other software upgrades, across a vast network of computers or servers, without logging in to each individual machine to make sure the service or solution is installed and running properly. One script created in PowerShell is all that is needed to perform the operation.
Creating a PowerShell script is fairly straightforward. All you have to do is open a file and write your code, then save it. These scripts have a .ps1 extension. You can run your script manually or you can set it to automatically perform daily administration tasks.
Using PowerShell commands and scripts, IT administrators have an easy and efficient way to install software, monitor and collect data about servers, and manage processes, folders services and registries. And while a full listing of the many features of PowerShell is impossible here, they are readily available and easy to discover. Once you get over the initial learning curve, you will be able to use these powerful features and become a superuser!
Are you interested in training? Check out our Windows Powershell training classes here.
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