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Doug's Mailbag: PowerShell Frustrations

Here are two readers' opinions on Microsoft's PowerShell:

Personally I'm of two minds over the whole PowerShell craze... I realize I'll likely get blasted for saying all this but here goes anyhow...

The GUI can allow most people to make the necessary changes that are needed. I can easily reset any users AD password, I can create a new user (or even three or four) in just a few minutes, I can pre-stage new computer accounts in AD and have GPOs ready to go without much effort -- and for the size of network I manage, the GUI works very well. If I was trying to handle over a hundred changes at a time, I'd go nuts. But I've never had to do  more than five changes at a time. The GUI works fine at that level. And lets face it, the majority of networks are based on small- to medium-sized networks -- not major enterprises.

On the other hand, command line entries do have a lot to offer, and you can do a lot from that area (if you know how).  But if I have to create a miniscript  and save it as a file so I can tell it to run against a single computer to find out what programs are running, get real.  Why would I create a script to pull up information about a single computers hard drive information when I can remotely look at it with the GUI or a simple pstool (psexec) command? Why am I going to create a hundred little scripts, so I can forget I made them? And by the next time I need one, we're on a newer version of PowerShell.

If the command line will give me what I need in simple commands, then I'm all for it.   

Maybe I'll quit being a lazy Windows admin one of these days, but when I consider the fact that I've actually called MS tech support to prove it wrong on its online solutions, I don't feel too stupid.
-Rob

'PowerShell, showersmell,' as they used to say on Orchard Street.

There've always been things Windows just couldn't do that you'd have to fire up a DOS prompt to accomplish. Want to see whether that copy you just made on your thumb drive of that crucial Powerpoint on your hard drive is byte-for-byte the same? There's no way in the world that Windows explorer will let you compare the two, but, at a DOS prompt, a simple FC /b c:MyCrucial.ppt f:*.ppt will show you whether your copy worked or not.

What's PowerShell? Just marketing's new name for an (enhanced form, maybe, of the) old DOS prompt.

About time MS admitted its usefulness.
-Fred

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected] Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 03/14/2012 at 1:19 PM


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