First of all, Happy Halloween! I hope those of you out gathering tricks and/or treats have a safe, fun time! I was going to do a whole post on something Halloween related, but decided to settle for a “spooky” image, a “Happy Halloween”, and a topic I’m very excited about instead.
OK, really I just couldn’t think of anything that hadn’t already been done to death (no Halloween pun intended).
That said, earlier this month I took a week-long course on Troubleshooting and Maintaining Windows 8.1 (MS-20688, if you’re interested). The class was a lot of fun and while I didn’t discover much that was unique to Windows 8.1 I did learn a few tricks I had yet to learn in almost 15 years of professional IT work. One of those tricks was a little tool called PowerShell ISE.
Anyone who does any kind of heavy lifting in Windows has probably at least heard of Windows PowerShell. For those of you who haven’t, think of it as a pumped up Windows Command Prompt. You can do some pretty amazing stuff in PowerShell. In fact, I could probably write several posts on all the neat things you can do with it and still not cover everything. That said, this post is about PowerShell ISE which adds a GUI layer over PowerShell.
The best way I can think to describe PowerShell ISE is that it is kind of like a simple IDE for PowerShell. At the top of the window is a text editor where you can enter or load a script or list of commands. The editor is smart enough to attempt to auto-complete the command you are trying to add. Once it displays the command you want you can either double-click on it or hit ENTER to add it to your list. At the bottom of the window is a typical PowerShell prompt. You can either enter commands into it directly or run command from your list with either the “Run” button or the “Run Selected” button. The “Run” button will run everything in your script pane while the “Run Selected” button will just run the commands you have highlighted.
At this point I’ve barely scratched the surface on PowerShell (let alone PowerShell ISE), but already I can see the power of these tools even with my limited knowledge of what they can do. If you do any kind of windows administration and haven’t taken advantage of this tool I highly recommend you look into it. My only regret is that I didn’t look into it sooner.
So what about you? Are you a PowerShell guru or are you just learning about it? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!