Windows PowerShell® is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language designed especially for system administration. Built on the .NET Framework, Windows PowerShell helps IT professionals and power users control and automate the administration of the Windows operating system and applications that run on Windows.
Built-in Windows PowerShell commands, called cmdlets, let you manage the computers in your enterprise from the command line. Windows PowerShell providers let you access data stores, such as the registry and certificate store, as easily as you access the file system. In addition, Windows PowerShell has a rich expression parser and a fully developed scripting language.
Windows PowerShell includes the following features:
- Cmdlets for performing common system administration tasks, such as managing the registry, services, processes, and event logs, and using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).
- A task-based scripting language and support for existing scripts and command-line tools.
- Consistent design. Because cmdlets and system data stores use common syntax and naming conventions, data can be shared easily and the output from one cmdlet can be used as the input to another cmdlet without reformatting or manipulation.
- Simplified, command-based navigation of the operating system, which lets users navigate the registry and other data stores by using the same techniques that they use to navigate the file system.
- Powerful object manipulation capabilities. Objects can be directly manipulated or sent to other tools or databases.
- Extensible interface. Independent software vendors and enterprise developers can build custom tools and utilities to administer their software.
Learning Windows PowerShell
To begin learning Windows PowerShell, start with the following resources, which are included in the tool:
- Getting Started with Windows PowerShell. An introduction and tutorial, including system requirements and instructions for installing and starting Windows PowerShell on all supported operating systems.
- Windows PowerShell User's Guide. A detailed introduction, including real-world scripts and scenarios to get you started.
- Windows PowerShell Core Cmdlet Help Topics. An alphabetized list of help topics for the cmdlets, functions, CIM commands and workflows in Windows PowerShell 2.0 and Windows PowerShell 3.0.
- Windows PowerShell Core About Help Topics. An alphabetized list of conceptual ("About") topics for Windows PowerShell 2.0 and Windows PowerShell 3.0.
- Update-Help cmdlet. A Windows PowerShell 3.0 cmdlet that downloads and install the newest versions of help topics for Windows PowerShell modules on your computer. To read the help topics, type:
For more information about the Updatable Help system in Windows PowerShell 3.0, see about_Updatable_Help and Supporting Updatable Help.
- Get-Help cmdlet. A Windows PowerShell cmdlet that you can use to quickly learn about the cmdlets and providers on your system. To begin, start Windows PowerShell, and at the prompt, type:
Resources for Windows PowerShell users
In addition to the Help available at the command line, the following resources provide more information for users that want to run Windows PowerShell.
- Windows PowerShell Team Blog. The best resource for learning directly from the Windows PowerShell product team.
- Windows PowerShell Customer Connection. Make a suggestion, send feedback, or file a bug for the Windows PowerShell team. You can file a code bug, a documentation bug, or a localization (language translation) bug.
- The Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog publishes new content 7 days a week, and is consistently ranked in the top 5 of all Microsoft blogs. The articles are scenario driven and written in an engaging and lively manner.
- The Learn PowerShell page is the Windows PowerShell hub on the TechNet Script Center. This page hosts a series of beginner video sessions conducted by the Microsoft Scripting Guy Ed Wilson. It also contains Windows PowerShell quizzes, links to community content and more.
- Have questions about using Windows PowerShell? Connect with hundreds of other people who have similar interests on the Official Scripting Guys forum.
- One of the best ways to learn scripting is to see examples in action. Search through thousands of Windows PowerShell scripts on the Script Center Script Repository. Here you will find examples of working with all of the major Microsoft products.
- Get involved in the Windows PowerShell user community. See the Script Center Community page for locations of dozens of Windows PowerShell user groups – there is probably one near you. Also keep abreast with the community activities of the Microsoft Scripting Guys.
Resources for Windows PowerShell Developers
- Windows PowerShell SDK. Provides reference content used to develop cmdlets, providers, and hosting applications.
- Windows PowerShell Programmer's Guide. Provides tutorials for creating cmdlets, providers, and hosting applications. Also contains information about fundamental Windows PowerShell concepts.