Getting started with Powershell

4. January 2007 12:39 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

This week I finally manage to sit down and start using the 1.0 release of PowerShell. So far I’m impressed with its capabilities and ease of use. Here are a couple of tips to get you started with PowerShell scripting:

The commands in PowerShell follow the format verb-noun. It is very easy to “guess” a command once you’ve been using PS for a little while. To get the processes on the system, for example, you use the command get-process. To get the contents of a file you use get-contents -path . An so on.

So, guess what command is used to get help? Too easy, isn’t it? get-help is your greatest ally when working with PowerShell. If you are unsure of what a command does or how it works, you just need to invoke the get-help command, followed by the name of the command:

 PS C:\> get-help get-process


    Gets the processes that are running on the local computer.

Also, get-help supports wildcards, so you can use it to search for commands (in case you’re not 100% positive on the exact command name). So, for example, you can do a:

PS C:\> get-help get-*

Name                                 Category                                Synopsis
----                                    --------                                --------
Get-Command                    Cmdlet                                  Gets basic information about cmdlets...
Get-Help                             Cmdlet                                  Displays information about Windows P...
Get-History                         Cmdlet                                  Gets a list of the commands entered ...

Script Security
PowerShell scripts have the extension *.ps1. To execute scripts, you need to do two things:

  1. Enable script execution. This is achieved with the command Set-ExecutionPolicy. To learn more about this command, you can type:
  2. PS C:\> get-help set-executionPolicy

  3. Enter the path to the script. If it is in the local directory, enter .\.ps1. If not, enter the fully qualified path.

Scripting in PowerShell is very easy – the syntax is very C#-like, and it has the power of both the .NET Framework AND COM objects at your disposal.

Use .NET Data Types
PowerShell is built on top of the .NET Framework. Because of that, you can use .NET Data Types freely in your scripts and in the command prompt. You can do things like:

PS C:\> $date = new-object -typeName System.DateTime
PS C:\> $date.get_Date()

Monday, January 01, 0001 12:00:00 AM

Further help
Some great places to get you started with Powershell are:

Windows PowerShell Team blog
Technet’s PowerShell Scripting Center
Just PowerShell it
PowerShell For Fun

Don’t forget to get the Windows PowerShell Help Tool, for free, from Sapien’s website.