Chapter 1. Before you begin


We’ve been teaching Windows PowerShell since version 1 was released in 2006. Back then, most of the folks using the shell were experienced VBScript users, and they were eager to apply their VBScript skills to learning PowerShell. As a result, we and the other folks who taught the shell, wrote books and articles, and so forth, all adopted a teaching style that takes advantage of prior programming or scripting skills.

But since late 2009, a shift has occurred. More and more administrators who don’t have prior VBScript experience have started trying to learn the shell. All of a sudden, our old teaching patterns didn’t work as well, because we had focused on scripting and programming. That’s when we realized that PowerShell isn’t a scripting language. It’s a command-line shell where you run command-line utilities. Like all good shells, it has scripting capabilities, but you don’t have to use them, and you certainly don’t have to start with them. We started changing our teaching patterns, beginning with the many conferences we speak at each year. Don also implemented these changes into his instructor-led training courseware.

This book is the result of that process, and it’s the best that we’ve yet devised to teach PowerShell to someone who might not have a scripting background (although it certainly doesn’t hurt if you do). But before we jump into the instruction, let’s set the stage for you.

1.1. Why you can’t afford to ignore PowerShell

1.2. Is this book for you?

1.3. How to use this book

1.4. Setting up your lab environment

1.5. Installing Windows PowerShell

1.6. Online resources

1.7. Being immediately effective with PowerShell