The word "scripting" probably makes a lot of IT admins cringe, but it's not that scary or difficult to learn. Windows PowerShell is one of the newest scripting languages, and it has a lot of features that IT admins will appreciate. For example, like spelling in the English language, the naming conventions in many scripting languages are inconsistent. PowerShell avoids such inconsistencies, making it much easier to learn and use.
PowerShell provides far more power and flexibility than traditional Windows command shells, such as cmd.exe. To help you take advantage of that power, here are six introductory lessons that explain how to use PowerShell to perform various tasks. Whether you're new to PowerShell or just want to brush up on the basics, this eBook guide is for you.
Table of Contents
PowerShell 101, Lesson 1:
An introduction to the concept of cmdlets, then walks you through how to run the most basic PowerShell commands. It also covers how to use PowerShell's online Help files if you run into problems.
PowerShell 101, Lesson 2:
Shows you how to use a pipeline—that is, a series of cmdlets that pass objects from one cmdlet to the next—to create PowerShell statements. With PowerShell statements, you can perform more complex tasks. This lesson also shows you how to format and sort the output from those statements.
PowerShell 101, Lesson 3:
Introduces you to PowerShell's commonly used operators and wildcards. Most likely you're already familiar with operators (e.g., AND, OR) and wildcards (e.g., *). With PowerShell's operators and wildcards, you can create expressions to use in statements. An expression is simply a block of code that PowerShell evaluates; the result of that evaluation determines what action to take.
PowerShell 101, Lesson 4:
Shows you how to handle strings in PowerShell cmdlets. You'll learn when you need to enclose strings in quotes and whether to use single or double quotes. You'll also learn how to flag, or escape, special characters embedded in quoted strings.
PowerShell 101, Lesson 5:
Covers variables. Variables are virtual suitcases that you can use to store and transport data in PowerShell code. PowerShell lets you use prepacked suitcases (i.e., PowerShell built-in variables and Windows environment variables, which come with data already assigned to them) or suitcases you can pack yourself (i.e., user-defined variables).
PowerShell 101, Lesson 6:
Discusses PowerShell providers and built-in drives. In PowerShell, providers facilitate access to data stores, such as the Windows file system and registry. Despite the important role that providers play, they are, for the most part, invisible to you within PowerShell. What are visible, however, are the PowerShell drives you use to access the providers. In this lesson, you'll learn about the available drives and how to use them.