The Administrator Crash Course: Windows PowerShell v2

by Don Jones


By now you've probably gotten the message loud and clear that Windows PowerShell is pretty important; Microsoft is adding it to more and more products, and going forward, the company's plan is to incorporate PowerShell throughout all of its business products as a baseline administrative layer. For windows administrators who are new to PowerShell, Microsoft MVP Don Jones offers a new book entitled The Administrator Crash Course: Windows PowerShell v2. Covering the most crucial elements of PowerShell v2, Don has constructed a set of practical tips and practice exercises that will get you up to speed in a matter of weeks. Each course section is designed to be reviewed in under an hour, so it's a perfect way to quickly learn how to begin using PowerShell v2!


PowerShell Crash Course Week 1

If you're ready to get started in PowerShell, and have no experience, this is the crash course for you. If you have a bit of Unix or VBScript experience, try to remove that from your brain: PowerShell will look familiar, but it's really something very new and different.

I encourage you to continue exploring beyond this crash course, too. For example, visit to find tips and tricks and FAQs and to ask questions, or drop by the PowerShell team's own blog at for "insider" information. You'll also find a lot of in-person PowerShell instruction at events like TechMentor ( and Windows Connections (

How to Use this Crash Course
I suggest that you tackle a single crash course item each day. Spend some time practicing whatever examples are provided and trying to complete tasks that make sense in your environment. Don't be afraid to fail: Errors are how we learn. Just do it in a virtual environment (I recommend a virtualized domain controller running Windows Server 2008 R2) so that you don't upset the boss! Each "Day" in this crash course is designed to be reviewed in under an hour, so it's a perfect way to spend lunch for a few weeks. This book will be published in five-day increments, so each chapter corresponds to a single week of learning.

By the way, this crash course isn't intended to be comprehensive—I already co-authored Windows PowerShell v2: TFM and don't intend to re-write the same book here! Instead, this is designed to get you up and running quickly with the most crucial elements of the shell. I'm skipping over a lot of stuff to get right to the really good bits, and in some cases, I may gloss over technical details simply because they don't contribute to speedy understanding of the most important things. You should obviously keep exploring; in my blog (linked earlier), for example, I go into a lot of these little details in one short article at a time. You'll also find PowerShell video tips on, and those can help you embrace some of the more-detailed things that I might skip here.

PowerShell Crash Course Week 2

Hopefully, you're ready for the second week of your crash course. The previous five lessons should have you comfortably running medium-complex commands from the command-line. This week, we're going to focus on fine-tuning those skills and giving you some additional options and capabilities.

The courses this week will focus on:

  • Variables
  • Operators and Filtering
  • Formatting
  • Getting "Out"
  • Extending the Shell

PowerShell Crash Course Week 3

Hopefully, you're ready for week 3 of your crash course. The previous ten lessons have covered the majority of Windows PowerShell's core techniques and patterns. This week we're going to start learning about some of its cooler embedded technologies, building on those techniques and patterns.

The courses this week will focus on:

  • Remote Control
  • In the Background
  • Implicit Remoting
  • Making a Simple Reusable Command
  • SELECTing

PowerShell Crash Course Week 4

Welcome to the last week of our crash course! The previous 15 lessons have covered the majority of Windows PowerShell's main functionality. We'll continue building this week, covering intermediate techniques that may prove helpful from time to time.

The courses this week will focus on:

  • Error Handling
  • Debug Trace Messages
  • Breakpoints
  • WMI
  • Tools