How to use Windows Powershell? What is the PowerShell ISE?

How to use Windows Powershell? What is the PowerShell ISE? Windows PowerShell is a powerful tool for automating tasks and simplifying configuration and can be used to automate almost any task in the Windows ecosystem, including active directory and exchange. It’s no wonder that it’s become a popular tool among sysadmins and experienced Windows users.

In our PowerShell Tutorial, we showed you how to use some of the most useful PowerShell tools. Now it’s time to take the next step: using these tools from within scripts that can be executed with just one click. This PowerShell scripting tutorial will show you how to write and execute basic scripts in PowerShell, and ultimately save you a lot of time.

How to use Windows Powershell?

PowerShell language is a high-level proprietary programming syntax developed by Microsoft for the key purpose of enabling system administrators to automate actions and configurations. The language is based on object-oriented standards but can only be used in Windows environments. It is part of the .NET framework and typically has C# code underlying its functions, although knowledge of C# is not a prerequisite for learning PowerShell. The closest comparison to the PowerShell language is Perl, which is used in similar scenarios on Linux environments.

With the PowerShell language, each unique function is referred to as a cmdlet. A cmdlet has one or more sets of defined actions and is capable of returning a .NET object. Some of the most basic cmdlets that come pre-configured with PowerShell are ones for navigating through a folder structure and moving or copying files.

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Windows Powershell

What is the PowerShell ISE?

New PowerShell cmdlet functions can be written in any text editor or word processing tool. However, the latest versions of the Windows operating system include a tool called the PowerShell ISE (Integrated Scripting Environment) to make scripting even easier and more robust.

When you open the PowerShell ISE for the first time, it may look like a familiar command prompt window. However, the tool contains much more functionality and support for writing code. The PowerShell ISE contains a full list of all the common modules and cmdlets that system administrators may need to use. When you are ready to start writing your own cmdlet functions, the debugging tool within the PowerShell ISE will allow you to test your code, identify bugs or issues, and then work to fix them. Like other coding environments, the PowerShell ISE is highly customizable. Users can choose the color scheme, font, and theme they want to use while writing scripts. New scripts created in the ISE will be given the .psi file extension which can only be run in PowerShell environments.

Windows PowerShell Uses and Features

Though Windows PowerShell can be used for a wide range of different applications, for a beginner, the primary utility of PowerShell scripts will be in regard to systems automation related to:

  • Working with batches of files, whether this be to automate backups or to control access to large numbers of files at once.
  • PowerShell scripts are also very useful when adding and removing new users. With a carefully designed script, you can automate the process of adding network drives, updating security software, and granting a new user access to shared files.
  • In order to perform these tasks, you’ll make use of several key features of PowerShell, such as cmdlets and aliases (which I will cover below).
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Basic Features of PowerShell

If you are new to PowerShell, take a look at our PowerShell Tutorial before reading this guide to PowerShell scripting. In that guide, you’ll find descriptions of all the basic tools you’ll need to work with PowerShell. This includes cmdlets, aliases, help commands, and pipes.

Once you’ve mastered the basic commands, you can begin to write scripts. As your skills develop, you might also like to take a look at our guides on Input Options for PowerShell, and also read through the resources at the bottom of this article.

Before Running PowerShell Scripts

PowerShell scripts, like those we are going to create in this tutorial, are saved as .ps1 files. By default, Windows will not allow you to run these scripts by just double-clicking the file. This is because malicious (or poorly written) scripts can cause a lot of accidental damage to your system.

Instead, to run a PowerShell script, right-click the .ps1 file, and then click ‘Run with PowerShell’.

If this is your first time working with PowerShell scripts, this might not work. That’s because there is a system-wide policy that prevents execution. Run this command in PowerShell:

Get-ExecutionPolicy

You will see one of the following outputs:

  • Restricted— No scripts will be executed. This is the default setting in Windows, so you’ll need to change it.
  • AllSigned— You can only run scripts signed by a trusted developer. You will be prompted before running any script.
  • RemoteSigned— You can run your own scripts or scripts signed by a trusted developer.
  • Unrestricted— You can run any script you want. This option should not be used, for obvious reasons.
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Windows Powershell

How to Find PowerShell Commands

People love PowerShell because it’s so, well, powerful. But that power comes from an absolutely insane amount of complexity. It’s just not feasible or practical for someone to memorize all of the different commands, cmdlets, flags, filters and other ways of telling PowerShell what to do.

Thankfully, built right into the editor are multiple tools to help you deal with this fact.

  • Tab Completion
  • Get-Command
  • Syntax
  • One Big String vs Object Properties

How to create and run a PowerShell script file on Windows 10 or 11

On Windows 10 (or 11), PowerShell is a command-line interface (CLI) that allows you to run commands and scripts to automate tasks and change settings on your computer, similar to Command Prompt. However, PowerShell is a more powerful CLI that offers a more extensive set of tools and more flexibility. In addition, unlike Command Prompt, PowerShell is available across platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Regardless of the platform, a script is a collection of instructions written to a text file (using the particular “.ps1” extension) that PowerShell understands and executes in sequence to run different actions.

The only problem is that the default security protocol prevents scripts from running on your device. This means that when double-clicking a “.ps1” file, Windows 10 won’t do anything, and if you try to run the script within PowerShell, you will see the “cannot be loaded because running scripts is disabled on this system” error message. However, running scripts on your computer is not impossible. You only need to enable the correct execution policy.

This how-to guide will walk you through the steps to write and run your first script file on PowerShell using Visual Studio Code, Notepad, and the PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) console, whether you use Windows 10 or the newer Windows 11.

Windows Powershell

Above is information about How to use Windows Powershell? What is the PowerShell ISE? that we have compiled. Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of Windows Powershell. Thank you for reading our post.

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