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Microsoft Delivers PowerShell 5.0 in Windows Management Framework Preview Release

Microsoft released a "production preview" of its Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.0 solution yesterday.

The Framework includes a bunch of software technologies that will add support for the latest PowerShell release on supported Windows Server editions or Windows clients. In the case of WMF 5.0, it adds support for PowerShell 5.0, delivering Microsoft's latest scripting solutions for IT pros.

WMF 5.0 works with Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. It also works with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 (Pro and Enterprise editions) clients.

As for Windows 10, PowerShell 5.0 is already included with that client release.

Preview or Production Release?
Typically, whenever Microsoft affixes the word, "preview," to a software release, that's a sign for IT pros to just use it for testing purposes, and not in production environments. This time around, though, Microsoft is billing its WMF 5.0 release as a "production preview." This production preview is different from other previews for the following reasons, Microsoft claimed, in its announcement:

  • It is fully supported until 90 days after WMF 5.0 RTM. By fully supported, we mean we will investigate production-blocking issues, and provide workarounds or updates as necessary.
  • All features in the Production Preview are production-ready. No experimental features are in this package.

Those claims come from Microsoft's blog post, although the download page describes WMF 5.0 as "a prerelease version."

Clearly Microsoft wants organizations to start using this WMF 5.0 release. However, its messaging is somewhat ambiguous regarding the production-ready aspects.

As for when WMF 5.0 will hit the "RTM," or "release to manufacturing" production stage, that's expected to occur in Q4 2015, according to an earlier Microsoft blog post.

Features
WMF 5.0 brings updated PowerShell cmdlets, based on user feedback. There are improvements to the PowerShell integrated scripting environment. It has a number of Desired State Configuration improvements, such as greater control over configurations and the ability to report a configuration status back to a centralized location. Desired State Configuration is Microsoft push-pull PowerShell technology to keep system configurations in check.

PowerShell 5.0 is somewhat backward compatible. Microsoft claims that that scripts and functions that were designed for earlier PowerShell versions, such as PowerShell 4.0, 3.0 and 2.0, will "generally work in Windows PowerShell 5.0 without changes."

WMF 5.0 requires having the .NET Framework 4.5 in place. Microsoft advises against running WMF 5.0 if an organization is running System Center Configuration Manager without Service Pack 1. It's also not recommended if using Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard.

Organizations have to uninstall previous Windows Management Framework releases before installing this production preview.

About the Author

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

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