What is Windows PowerShell And How to Use It?

While many casual users know about the Command Prompt, very few have heard about Windows PowerShell. In a way, PowerShell is a tool that’s intended to replace the Command Prompt and deliver more power and control over the Windows operating system. That’s why we decided to get a taste of PowerShell and then explain to all our readers what this tool is, why it is so powerful and who tends to use it more often. This guide will explain you what is Windows PowerShell And How to use it?.

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what is Windows PowerShell And How to Use It?

What is PowerShell?

To give you a better understanding of PowerShell, we should first define what a shell is. No, we’re not talking about a turtle’s shell. 🙂 In computer science, a shell is basically a user interface that gives you access to various services of an operating system. A shell can be command-line based or it can include a graphical user interface (GUI).

Windows PowerShell is a shell developed by Microsoft for purposes of task automation and configuration management. This powerful shell is based on the .NET framework and it includes a command-line shell and a scripting language.

On top of the standard command-line shell, you can also find the Windows PowerShell ISE. ISE stands for Integrated Scripting Environment, and it is a graphical user interface that allows you to easily create different scripts without having to type all the commands in the command line.
To give you an idea of how powerful PowerShell really is, it should be enough to keep in mind that until now, it has been used across the entire Microsoft ecosystem ever since Windows NT 4.0 for all types of operations.

The first version of PowerShell was released in November 2006 for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista. The latest version of PowerShell is Windows PowerShell 4.0 and it was released in October 2013. It is delivered by default with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

What Is The Use Of PowerShell?

Microsoft designed Windows PowerShell as a tool that helps you automate and quickly solve a lot of tedious administration tasks. For example, you can use PowerShell to display all the USB devices installed on one or multiple computers in a network or you can set a time consuming task to run in the background while you do other work. You can also identify and kill processes that are not responding or filter specific information about computers in a network and export it in HTML format.

PowerShell’s capabilities allow you to simplify and automate tedious and repetitive tasks by creating scripts and combining multiple commands together.

If you are a network administrator, you will find that PowerShell very helpful in working withActive Directory . Given that it contains hundreds of customizable commands, which are called cmdlets, the degree to which PowerShell can help you become more productive is extremely high.

PowerShell lets you do a lot more than can be discussed in this article, so if you really want to learn more about it, we highly recommend that you purchase and read Ed Wilson’s book,Windows PowerShell 3.0 First Steps, which we have recently reviewed.

Where Can You Find PowerShell in Windows 8.1?

If you don’t have a tile for PowerShell on the Start screen, the easiest way to open it is by going to the Start screen and typing “powershell”. Then, select PowerShell from the results list.

Windows 8.1, PowerShell what is Windows PowerShell And How to Use It?

Another way of opening PowerShell is through the Apps view: go to the Start screen and move the cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen, just below the last tile on the first column. Click the down facing arrow icon to display the application list. On a touch-enabled device, go to the Start screen and slide upwards to access the Apps view.

Then, click or tap Windows PowerShell in the Windows System folder.

Windows 8.1, PowerShell what is Windows PowerShell And How to Use It?

A third way of opening Windows PowerShell is by pressing Windows Key + R to bring up theRun dialog then typing in “powershell” and clicking OK.

Windows 8.1, PowerShell what is Windows PowerShell And How to Use It?

All these methods will launch Windows PowerShell and display it on screen as shown in the screenshot below.

Windows 8.1, PowerShell what is Windows PowerShell And How to Use It?

Where Can You Find PowerShell in Windows 7?

In Windows 7, you can search for the word “powershell” in the Start Menu search box and click the appropriate search result.

Windows 7, PowerShell what is Windows PowerShell And How to Use It?

Also, you can use the mouse to navigate the Start Menu and go to “Accessories -> PowerShell”.

Windows 7, PowerShell what is Windows PowerShell And How to Use It?

Obviously, using the Run window, just like in Windows 8.1 also works.

Who Tends to Use PowerShell Regularly?

Without any doubt, PowerShell is the weapon of choice for many IT administrators out there. And for good reason, since it can tremendously simplify management operations and effort in large corporate networks.

To give you an example, let’s say you are managing a large network containing over five hundred servers and you need to implement a new security solution that is dependent on a certain service that has to run on those servers. You could, of course, log in to every server and see if they have that service installed and running, it is possible. But it’s also possible that your managers would complain that it took you way too long to finish the task.

If you use PowerShell, you could get to the bottom of that task in just a few minutes, since the whole operation can be done with only one script that gathers information about the services running on the servers you specify and dumps them into a text file, for example. Now that’s productivity!

Conclusion

As you can see from this article, Windows PowerShell is an incredibly powerful tool that is included in Windows. It brings many benefits to power-users and IT professionals.

If you’re an IT administrator who is using PowerShell for his daily work, please leave us a comment and share your experience with it. We’d love to hear how you are using this tool in your daily work.

Arun Prabhakar has written 159 articles

Arun Prabhakar immensely interested in following Windows and other technology developments. Being passionate Windows blogger, he loves to help others on fixing their computer issues.