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A comprehensive command line interface and scripting language for Windows. Introduced in 2006, PowerShell is a major upgrade from the Windows command line, which uses DOS commands (see command line).

Although PowerShell supports common programming structures such as "if-then-else" and "while," it is generally less complicated than Microsoft's VBScript and JScript languages, and less code is often required (see Windows Script Host). The software used to develop PowerShell applications is the PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (PowerShell ISE).

A Lot of Unix; a Little DOS
Unix commands allow extensive manipulation of data via commands and scripts, and this capability has been available to Unix, Linux and Mac OS X users for years. When PowerShell came out, Windows programmers no longer had a reason to be envious, because PowerShell rivals the Unix command line and integrates it with Windows commands.

Low-Level Access and Commandlets (Cmdlets)
PowerShell uses the .NET environment and enables administrators to get to the heart of OS management, such as listing and stopping active processes. PowerShell scripts can access the class libraries in the .NET Framework, Component Object Model (COM) and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). The more than 125 PowerShell commands, such as list, copy, move and rename, are called "commandlets" or "cmdlets" for short. Script files use .PS# extensions, such as .PS1 for PowerShell Version 1. See .NET Framework, COM, WMI and command line.

A Mix of Unix and Windows
PowerShell integrates Unix and Windows commands. In this example, the Unix ls command and the Windows dir command produce the same results (see Unix commands).
References in periodicals archive ?
Tenders Are Invited For Training For Automating Administration With Windows Powershell
Windows PowerShell Fundamentals This course provides fundamental knowledge and skills needed to use Windows PowerShell to automate common administrative functions in Windows-based clients and servers.
This small, portable reference manual from Holmes summarizes the use of Windows PowerShell 3.
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In June it released Content Pack 9, which added the ability to discover Microsoft Exchange 2010 and IBM AS400 servers, and enhancements for IBM mainframes and Windows PowerShell.
Windows PowerShell is the Microsoft answer for more effective and efficient network management.
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The first Quest product to support and extend Windows PowerShell will be ActiveRoles Server, Quest's solution for Active Directory-based management of the user lifecycle, including provisioning, re-provisioning and de-provisioning.
FinFolio s Portfolio Management Software has announced addition of Windows PowerShell integration, allowing IT professionals and power users to automate and streamline the import processes.
Microsoft, Windows PowerShell and Office 365 are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation Inc.
and is the author of “Automating SharePoint 2010 with Windows PowerShell 2.