Prof. Powershell

PowerShell: The Next Generation

Windows 7 is just around the corner; that means PowerShell 2.0 is too. Here's a quick look at what to expect.

If you've been following for any length of time you are likely aware that the next version of PowerShell is right around the corner. For all practical purposes, PowerShell 2.0 will be released with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 later this year. Within a short time frame you will also see releases for Vista, XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.

PowerShell 2.0 is technically still at the Community Technology Preview stage, which means you can test it but shouldn't really deploy it in production. The PowerShell bits shipping with Windows 7 RC1 are newer than the latest CTP, so that's what I'll use in my next few columns.

Here's why you should care about PowerShell 2.0 and how it will change the way you work.

First, managing remote computers with PowerShell 2.0 will be amazingly simple, once you get things set up. You will be able to establish secure remote shell connections to your servers from your desktop using PowerShell and WinRM. You'll no longer be limited to using Windows Management Instrumentation, and the firewall challenges that that involved. WinRM communicates over standard ports 80 and 443 and is configurable. Want to run the same command on 100 computers at once? Not a problem. You can push out the command to the servers and have the results come back to your machine. We'll have a lot of fun with this feature and it will be in many future Prof. PowerShell lessons.

Second, PowerShell 2 supports background jobs. Have a long running command? Execute it as a background job. Check back later to get the results.

Finally, PowerShell 2 will offer enhanced support for all sorts of events. Now you can easily monitor all types of events both locally and on remote computers. You might watch when a specific process is created or terminated; or when a service changes its state; or when an event is written to the event log.

Over the next few columns, I'll introduce you to these features in more detail. And don't fret ... I'll still offer lessons centered on PowerShell 1.0 until 2.0 lands.

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.

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