Chapter 1. Before you begin


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

Since late 2009, however, a shift has occurred. More and more administrators who didn’t have prior VBScript experience started trying to learn the shell. All of a sudden, my old teaching patterns didn’t work very well, because I was focused on scripting and programming. That’s when I realized that PowerShell isn’t really a scripting language. It’s really 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. I started changing my teaching patterns, beginning with the many conferences I speak at each year, and moving into the instructor-led training courseware that I’d written.

This book is the result of that process, and it’s the best way that I’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 actual instruction, let me 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