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Windows Management Framework 5.1 Now Available

Microsoft announced the commercial release of Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.1 this week, which delivers the latest PowerShell 5.0 improvements.

WMF 5.1 contains the PowerShell 5.0 components that Microsoft built into Windows Server 2016, although the release at Microsoft's Download Center page is designed for use with earlier supported Windows operating systems. For instance, it will only install on "Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 SP1," per the download page.

Organizations wanting PowerShell 5.0 on Windows 10 will find that it's already included with that operating system.

Microsoft had initially previewed WMF 5.1 back in July, with the aim of releasing it at the same time as Windows Server 2016, which had its "general availability" release in October. However, WMF 5.1 was delayed to address "some issues with upgrades," Microsoft had indicated back in December. The delay also allowed Microsoft to add an installation improvement. Microsoft has removed a previous requirement to have WMF 4.0 installed.

Microsoft's Release Notes for WMF 5.1 indicate that the framework can be installed directly on top of WMF 4.0 or WMF 5.0. However, the WMF 5.1 preview must be uninstalled first before installing this new WMF 5.1 release. The team also clarified that .NET Framework 4.5 is a requirement to use WMF 5.1.

WMF 5.1 includes some security improvements. One of them concerns the "enforcement of catalog-signed modules coming from the Pull Server," per the Release Notes.

"If a module is signed, it will warn you if the signer changes," explained Lee Holmes, lead security architect for Microsoft's Enterprise Cloud Group and Azure Stack, in a Twitter post today.

Microsoft added some improvements to its Just Enough Administration (JEA) PowerShell feature, which is a role-based security scheme for protecting servers by restricting personnel access. WMF 5.1 adds "constrained file copying to/from JEA endpoints." It also adds "JEA support for Group Managed Service Accounts and Conditional Access Policies," according to Microsoft's download description.

The release also has new commandlet additions, such as the "PowerShellGet cmdlet support for proxy servers" and "new and updated cmdlets based on community feedback." There's a new "Get-ComputerInfo" cmdlet for getting information on local users and groups.

About the Author

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

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