Weekend Scripter: Glimpse into the PowerShell Future

Doctor Scripto

Summary: Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, talks about the future of Windows PowerShell. Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, is here. I don’t know about you, but I “got into IT” because I am easily bored. I don’t mean that I have a short attention span, because I don’t. I can be laser focused when I am working on a problem—and that focus can remain for days, even weeks or months, if need be. But when I have solved a problem, well, then I am no longer interested. That is one reason I loved being a consultant. I was always faced with more problems to solve—larger challenges to overcome. And that is one reason I did not do so well at other kinds of jobs. I love a constant challenge. I love learning. In fact, I have been attending university for nearly thirty years. Anything. It doesn’t matter…science, history, literature, philosophy, art, music. I love to go to school, love to read, love to try out and play with new things. So at this moment, I am as happy as a kitten in a room full of small squeaky toys.

It’s here, it’s here…well nearly

What am I talking about? Well, there are three things that have happened recently that are just super if you love to play around, learn, experiment, and gaze into the future. These are:

  • The September preview of Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.0 (also known as Windows PowerShell 5.0)
  • The Wave 7 release of the Desired State Configuration (DSC) Resource Kit
  • The preview of Windows 10 (which includes a build of the WMF 5.0, aka Windows PowerShell 5.0

Windows PowerShell 5.0

The September preview of WMF 5.0 (Windows PowerShell 5.0) is now available. You can download it from the Microsoft Download Center and begin to play around with it.

Note  This build installs only on Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2. If you have a previous build of WMF 5.0, you need to uninstall it first, reboot, and then install the new package. Why do I want to install and to play around with this? Well, dude! First, because it is cool. Windows PowerShell rocks, and the new stuff really rocks. There are a lot of new things that are awesome in this build. Plus, it is very stable. Warning! After you begin playing with this, you will not want to go back to Windows PowerShell 4.0 on a day-to-day basis. I mean, this stuff is blazingly hot.

Note  You probably already know this, but this is prerelease software. This means that cmdlet names, parameters, behaviors, and even features will change (not might change, but will change) prior to actual release of the product. So, do not bring this into production and begin relying on it on a day-to-day basis. That would not be a smooth move. Put this on your home machine—or better yet, on your wife’s computer (if she happens to be a Windows PowerShell MVP). Or even better—put it on a virtual machine in Client Hyper-V in Windows 8.1. That way, you can play within a nice sandboxed environment. Here is a short list of things to look at, play with, and experiment with:

  • Generate Windows PowerShell cmdlets based on an OData endpoint
  • Manage .zip files with new cmdlets
  • DSC authoring improvements in the Windows PowerShell ISE
  • New attribute for defining DSC meta-configuration
  • Use partial configurations
  • Cross-computer synchronization through DSC
  • Get the current DSC status
  • Compare, update, and publish DSCs
  • Audit Windows PowerShell usage by transcription and logging
  • Extract and parse structured objects out of string content
  • Extend the item noun to enable symbolic links
  • Develop with classes in Windows PowerShell
  • Register a PSRepository with Windows PowerShell Get
  • Network switch management through Windows PowerShell (improvements)

DSC Resource Kit: Wave 7 and Wave 6

The Windows PowerShell team is absolutely amazing. They are busy building the next version of Windows PowerShell, and yet, they still have time to write new providers for Desired State Configuration. The really cool thing is that you can get all of the up-to-date providers in a single package, which is available via the TechNet Gallery: DSC Resource Kit (All Modules). Here are some of the cool things in Wave 7:

  • xPendingReboot examines three specific registry locations where a server might indicate that a reboot is pending and allows DSC to predictably handle the condition.
  • xCredSSP enables or disables the server and client CredSSP roles on a system.
  • xAdcsCertificationAuthority installs and configures the certification authority role in Windows Server.
  • xAdcsWebEnrollment configures the Certificate Web Enrollment Service in Windows Server following installation of the component using the WindowsFeature resource.

Last month we released Wave 6. Here are some of the cool things in Wave 6:

  • xRemoteDesktopAdmin configures Remote Desktop settings and configures the Windows firewall to support Remote Desktop.
  • xAzureSqlDatabaseServerFirewallRule was added to the xAzure module, and it creates Azure SQL Database firewall rules.
  • xFireFox and xChrome enable deploying the FireFox and Chrome browsers to a Windows system.
  • xGroup has been added to xPsDesiredStateConfiguration, which provides support for cross-domain account lookup and UPN-formatted names.

Windows 10 Preview

Windows 10 Preview absolutely rocks. It is fast, sleek, and powerful. Plus, the interface is very intuitive. I put it on one of my Windows Surface RT computers, and it is very nice. Of course, I also have it on a virtual machine. I am really debating about upgrading my laptop, but when I am writing my Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog posts, I need to be using Windows PowerShell 4.0 as it released, not Windows PowerShell 5.0. So for day-to-day use, I am sort of stuck with Windows 8.1—which I loved until I used Windows 10 Preview. You can also get Windows 10 Preview by joining the Windows Insider Program. When you join the Windows Insider Program, you can begin playing around with the new interface. You will absolutely love it. Here is a page that will get you started: How to use Windows Technical Preview. Why is this so cool? From a professional point of view: On release day, you will already be an expert with Windows 10. So when your company comes looking for someone to lead the training program or to manage the deployment, guess who is in perfect position? That’s right. You. Or maybe you want to be in a great position to take advantage of the MCSE exams for Windows 10 when they come out. Sometimes, Microsoft learning offers the beta exams for free. I got my Windows 2000 MCSE certification for free because I passed the beta exams. Who knows—maybe we will do that again. If not, you will at least be ready to take the exams when they ship. If you are not an IT pro, you can have pre-access to the operating system, and begin blogging about the great new Windows 10 Preview. Or maybe (like me), you just love to learn. If you do, this is for you…plus, it is a nice free way to get a look at the next great software from Microsoft. I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at scripter@microsoft.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy 


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