Beginner’s Guide: Windows PowerShell – How to Use Tutorial for Dummies

Windows PowerShell for Dummies

Ever wondered, “what is Windows PowerShell, really?” or “how can something like Windows PowerShell actually help me improve my business operations?” Below we’ll take an in-depth exploration how this software tool from Microsoft can help you save time on tedious tasks so you can spend time on the things that matter most to you. Consider this your PowerShell for dummies guide, where you’ll not only learn what PowerShell does, but also how to use it as part of your ongoing efforts to streamline business processes, minimize data entry, automate reports and reduce manual workflow dependence.

What is Windows PowerShell?

We’re glad you asked, because we happen to be experts when it comes to using PowerShell to maximize your system’s performance. The “shell” part of the name is computer lingo for an interface that allows you to access multiple parts of your operating system. From there, PowerShell allows you to then customize and gain more control over how your system works and responds to commands. While it may sound complicated, the beauty of PowerShell is that is actually allows you to simplify your commands by combining them and creating your own scripts.

Microsoft first launched PowerShell in 2006 as a way to help businesses create their own PowerShell scripts quickly and efficiently, so that you wouldn’t have to manually put every needed command into your operating system. It is an automation powerhouse that is worth learning how to utilize for your specific software and business needs.

How to use PowerShell

After you’ve downloaded Windows PowerShell, read the PowerShell 1.0 introduction guides that come with it. This will be a helpful starting point, especially the “GettingStarted.rtf” file. From there you, can open a Windows PowerShell Command Window and start trying out different commands.

Once you start feeling comfortable with Windows PowerShell Commands, you can graduate to running scripts. You can find sample scripts online and start building from there, or you can start with a clean slate and write your own. Sample scripts are a great starting point if you’re new to PowerShell and ready to get started right away — simply google ‘Microsoft repository website sample scripts’ and you should find what you need. There will be all sorts of powerful sample scripts to help you seamlessly manage applications, hardware, directories, logs, networks, storage, and more.

Oh, but don’t forget! Once you’ve copy and pasted a sample or begun writing a new script in Notepad, make sure you save it as .ps1 in the file name, rather than .txt. Now you’re ready to run your new script in PowerShell! As you build more PowerShell commands, the result will be more customized control over your entire operating system.

Benefits of Powershell

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Microsoft added Windows PowerShell to its toolkit to make your life and workflow simpler. Instead of taking hours upon hours to make a change in your system for hundreds or thousands of users, you can create a simple command that does all that work for you. As you can imagine, PowerShell is revolutionary for those who manage directories or software that is accessed by large networks of people. What previously would have taken hours of tedious work to update manually, PowerShell has replaced with simple command codes. These codes are called “cmdlets.”

You can also pull up PowerShell to view all the different drives or USBs that may be plugged into your network of computers. From a security and system management standpoint, this is extremely helpful and saves you from having to travel from computer to computer to obtain this information or address certain issues. You even have the ability to halt certain processes that aren’t responding and download insightful reports in HTML.

Overall, the benefits of Windows PowerShell are vast and designed to save you time on boring and repetitive tasks so you can utilize your skills on larger, more complex aspects of your workload. This Windows PowerShell Tutorial is designed to give you a brief overview of what PowerShell actually does, how it works within its own script language, and how you can utilize it as your personal assistant in making updates to your operating system. At QiPoint, we believe that through the use of practical and modern technology, our products, like our SharePoint admin tools, will help automate and streamline business processes so you can get back to doing what you love most.

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Chris Ang - CCNA, A+, MCPD, MCTS

Chris Ang (New York, NY USA) is a SharePoint Architect with 20 years experience in programming and network infrastructure.

Currently working at QIPoint (http://www.qipoint.com), he has helped architect and develop SharePoint Enterprise products for customers such as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.N. Security Council of Netherlands, Australian Government, U.S. Dept of Treasury, U.S. Dept of Justice, Canadian Dept of Defense, Scotiabank, JPMorgan CHASE Bank, Intel, Ford Motors, Microsoft, NASA, DARPA, SNC Lavalin, Penguin Books, and more.

He is a proud father of 2, and when he has any spare time, he loves to paint portraits of his kids.
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