Powershell and me

3 minute read

It's an interesting scripting language. Well, scripting has been for a long time in *nix systems, and I feel it's quite late that Windows catch up now. But still it's better than nothing, and I appreciate Microsoft for it. MS seems to be losing it's power to be blamed for it's evil or laziness in this post-pc era, anyway.

Learning Powershell

The best way to learn something is 1) to use it everyday (like a young boy practices kung fu while wiping his master's car window in "Best kid", I believe. In that sense, I'm lucky that I uses it everyday at Huddle (at the moment, as of 2012).

Another good ways, not as good as the first one, are to read good books about the topic and to answer others' questions on Q & A sites like StackOverflow. Probably, using it everyday and reading a book about it would be a fantastic combination.

I'm reading Windows Powershell for Developers by Douglas Finke. Very thin, but interesting, informative, and easy read with causual 1:1 chat style.

useful resources

Installing Powershell

It comes preinstalled with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012 (if you have)
If you want try PowerShell v3, you can download it at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29939

PowerShell has execution policy. By default, it can't load the profile and others.
By running get-executionpolicy, you can check the policy on your machine.
The recommended setting to begin with is "remotesigned".

[sourcecode language="powershell"]
PS D:\dev> get-executionpolicy
PS D:\dev>set-executionpolicy remotesigned

Determining the version of PowerShell installed

$PSVersionTable will be the usual answer, as you do like this.

[sourcecode language="powershell"]
PS D:\dev> $PSVersionTable

Name Value
---- -----
PSVersion 2.0
PSCompatibleVersions {1.0, 2.0}
BuildVersion 6.1.7601.17514
PSRemotingProtocolVersion 2.1
WSManStackVersion 2.0
CLRVersion 4.0.30319.269

But $PSVertionTable was introduced with PowerShell version 2. so, if it doesn't work, you need to do $Host.Version

[sourcecode language="powershell"]
PS D:\dev> $Host.Version

Major Minor Build Revision
----- ----- ----- --------
2 0 -1 -1

simple scripts with files, process ...

the examples below are from Jeff Alexander's screencast.

[sourcecode language="powershell"]
# showing the list of files
Get-Childitem c:\

# format the output with pipe |
dir c:\windows\explorer.exe | Format-List *

# Choose the columns that you want
dir c:\ | Format-Table Name, Extension, CreationTime

# Lists only first 10 lines
Get-Childitem c:\windows\system32\*.dll | select-object -first 10

# Grouping by file extension
Get-Childitem c:\windows\system32 | Group-Object extension

# Lists files updated in 10 days, leveraging DateTime
Get-Childitem c:\windows\system32 | Where-Object {$_.LastWriteTime -gt $($(Get-Date).adddays(-10))}

# Sort process by process id
Get-Process | Sort-Object ID

# WMI to access system information
Get-WmiObject win32_operatingsystem

# Access registries
Get-Childitem hkcu:\Software\Microsoft

# Stop a process
Get-Process notepad | stop-process



from PowerShell Essentials for the Busy Admin (Part 2)

It allows ability to easily work at command line

  • to retrieve items and work on them
  • to filter out data
  • to persist information
  • and to format output

[sourcecode language="powershell"]
# Start Process
"notepad", "calc" | foreach { start-process $_ }

# Filter processes using too much CPU or Memory
Get-Process | where { $_.pm -gt 20MB }
Get-Process | where { $_.cpu -gt 10 }

# Sort processes
Get-Process | sort cpu -Descending

# Sort event log entries
Get-EventLog -LogName application -EntryType error | sort source | group source

# Pipe to present
get-process | format-table name, id -AutoSize
Get-Service | where {$_.status -eq "running" } | Format-List *

# Pipe to persist information
get-process | format-table name, id -AutoSize | out-file c:\temp\processtable.txt
gps | select name, id | Export-Csv -Path c:\temp\processCsv.csv


Handy commands

[sourcecode language="powershell"]
# Measure-command measures the performance of your command.
Measure-command {Get-EventLog -LogName application -EntryType error | sort source | group source}

# h lists all of your commands in the console
PS D:\dev\> h

Id CommandLine
-- -----------
11 Get-Childitem c:\
12 get-childitem c:\
13 get-childitem c:\ | Format-List *
14 dir c:\windows\explorer.exe | Format-List *
15 dir \ | Format-Table Name, Extension, CreationTime
16 dir c:\ | Format-Table Name, Extension, CreationTime
17 Get-Childitem c:\windows\system32\*.dll | select-object -first 10
18 Get-Childitem c:\windows\system32 | Group-Object extension