Chapter 2. Meet PowerShell

This chapter is all about getting you situated and helping you to decide which Power-Shell interface you’ll use (yes, you have a choice). If you’ve used PowerShell before, this material might seem redundant, so feel free to skim this chapter—you might still find some tidbits here and there that’ll help you down the line.

Also, this chapter applies exclusively to PowerShell on Windows. Non-Windows versions don’t come in as many options or flavors, so if that’s your situation, you can skip this chapter.

2.1. Choose your weapon

On Windows, Microsoft provides two ways (four, if you’re being picky) for you to work with PowerShell. Figure 2.1 shows the Start screen’s Apps page, with four Power-Shell icons. We’ve highlighted them to help you spot them more easily.

Figure 2.1. You can run PowerShell in one of four possible ways.

On older versions of Windows, these icons are on your Start menu. You point to All Programs > Accessories > Windows PowerShell to find the icons. You can also select Run from the Start menu, type PowerShell.exe, and hit Enter to open the PowerShell console application. On Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 or later, hold the Windows key on your keyboard and press R to get the Run dialog box. Or press and release the Windows key, and start typing powershell to quickly get to the PowerShell icons.

On a 32-bit operating system, you have only two (at most) PowerShell icons; on a 64-bit system, you have up to four. These include

2.2. It’s typing class all over again

2.3. Common points of confusion

2.4. What version is this?

2.5. Lab