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Microsoft Rolls Out 'PowerShell for Office 365' Web Portal

Microsoft on Tuesday announced "PowerShell for Office 365," a new Web resource for IT pros.

The site houses a collection of PowerShell resources, including script samples and access to community support pages. It's specifically designed to address basic tasks associated with managing Office 365 workloads, according to a Microsoft blog post.

PowerShell is Microsoft's scripting language for IT pros that's notable for dispensing with the traditional user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI). Instead, PowerShell offers the seemingly retrograde command-line interface, a black screen for typing text commands.

It turns out that PowerShell's command-line interface is optimal for managing and automating big tasks where the GUI would just get in the way, at least according to Microsoft's thinking. Tasks to use PowerShell when managing Office 365 workloads, according to Microsoft, include:

  • Adding or editing a large number of users.
  • Using multiple filters to sort through data.
  • Exporting data such as user lists and groups.
  • Configuring less commonly used settings.

PowerShell now has its hooks into all of Microsoft's enterprise server products, and it's needed by organizations managing Office 365 services, too. The tools to connect PowerShell with Office 365 haven't been very "intuitive" to use, according to Microsoft MVP Brien Posey, who presented his own "how-to" guide in this Redmondmag.com article. The new portal offered by Microsoft may be a sort of tacit admission that IT pros need more help.

Microsoft was quick to assure, though, that the GUI isn't going away. PowerShell is just a supplement to the main Office 365 Admin Center management tool.

"PowerShell does not replace the Office 365 Admin Center," Microsoft's announcement stated. "In fact, they are complementary tools and should both be used."

PowerShell does need to be run by the account administrator -- that's the one prerequisite.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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