Windows PowerShell 2 for Dummies

Yes, I am aware of the fact that this blog has started to look like a Dummies bookstore! 🙂 I am using the Windows command prompt these days for my work. This is mostly to run command-line programs, process their output and to do minor editing using Vim. I found the archaic Windows command prompt quite limiting and decided to try PowerShell. For someone coming from Windows commands or the Linux shells, the PowerShell commands and usage can seem out of this world. So, I chose Windows PowerShell 2 for Dummies, written by Steve Seguis, to familiarize myself with this shell.

Parts I and II of the book provide a basic introduction to PowerShell. The commands of PowerShell are called cmdlets, pronounced as command-lets. All of them are of the form verb-noun, for example Get-Help. Windows and Linux pros need not worry as most of their familiar commands (like dir or ls) are available as aliases for the PowerShell cmdlets. Just like bashrc for bash, PowerShell can be customized with user-written profile scripts. The most power-ful aspect of PowerShell is that its cmdlets deal with .Net objects. Much like text is piped and processed using Linux commands, objects can be handled in the same way in PowerShell. The rest of the book delves deeper into the PowerShell language constructs and some basic Windows administration tasks. Since, I only need PowerShell for basic tasks, I skimmed through these chapters.

I continue to be surprised by the quality of the Dummies books. Windows PowerShell 2 for Dummies was a delight to read and experiment with. I highly recommend this book for all the folks who want to dip their toes into PowerShell.


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