Are you interested in learning Windows PowerShell?
There is a multitude of reasons why you should start learning PowerShell now. I am assuming you have already made your choice, and you are ready to start learning. Whether your goal is to become an expert, or only to become familiar, your foundational knowledge of PowerShell is critical.
These two resources will give you the foundation you need to be successful with PowerShell.
Number one: Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches
This book, coauthored by PowerShell MVP's Don Jones and Jeffery Hicks, is the single best investment you can make to learn Windows PowerShell. Not only is the book written in a great format that is easy to follow, it also teaches you to learn PowerShell in a way that other books simply do not.
One day, I was fortunate enough to meet PowerShell MVP Jason Helmick for lunch. He and I were discussing PowerShell, and he asked me where I was learning from. I told him that I purchased a book online, and was reading it daily. I won't name the book, but he told me to immediately stop. He then told me to read PowerShell in a Month of Lunches first, and then finish the original book. I did go back and finish the original book, and it did contain good knowledge, but Jason was right. Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches teaches you to use PowerShell as a tool, not a scripting language. At the time, I had only been in IT for about 2 years, and I had never wrote more than a logon script to map a network drive. Before finishing PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, I was already using PowerShell at my workplace, planning for automation, and thinking of completing tasks in a whole new way. The payoff was immediate. Learning PowerShell the way this book teaches you is invaluable. It will not only show you the capabilities of PowerShell, but explain how and why it is working the way it does.
(Note, this book has been rewritten. Make sure to get the 2nd edition.)
Number two: Getting Started with PowerShell 3.0 Jump Start
This is actually an online video course offered completely free by Microsoft Virtual Academy. It is divided into nine modules. Each module contains a 45 minute to 1 hour video, PowerPoint slides, and even a 5 question quiz. Here is the really cool part, (as if being free wasn’t already awesome) it is led by Microsoft's lead architect of Windows Server, System Center, and inventor of PowerShell, Jeffery Snover. Alongside Jeffery is one of the industry's top technical trainers, PowerShell MVP Jason Helmick. The combination of Jason and Jeffery could not work out better. Their ability to explain and show a concept with relevant examples will help you not to memorize, but understand how PowerShell works. Plus, their energy and humor is absolutely awesome, and will have you laughing while watching more than a few times. This isn’t one of those videos that will put you to sleep in 20 minutes. Microsoft Virtual Academy also allows you to set the video playback speed to 1.5x or 2x. I watched the videos on 1.5x, and I highly recommend it.
If you finish PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, PowerShell 3.0 Jump Start, or both, and are looking for more material, you are in luck.
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches is followed up with Learn Windows PowerShell Toolmaking in a Month of Lunches, also written by Don Jones and Jeffery Hicks.
Getting Started with PowerShell 3.0 Jump Start is followed up with another video course titled Advanced Tools & Scripting with PowerShell 3.0 Jump Start. It is also free on Microsoft Virtual Academy, and features Jeffery Snover and Jason Helmick once again.
If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them. Just drop a comment below, or email me directly at email@example.com
Thank you for reading. Have a great day!
Transparent PowerShell Window
Having a transparent PowerShell Window not only makes you look cool, but it is actually very helpful. You have the ability to reference information in another shell, or a webpage, without having to switch back and forth between windows.
I am going to show you how to set opacity in PowerShell v5 because it is a built-in feature. There is a way to create a transparent PowerShell window in older versions, but it requires editing the registry and taking advantage of the Windows Aero theme.
To check your PowerShell version number, run $PSVersionTable in PowerShell and it will be listed under PSVersion.
How to make your PowerShell Window transparent
As stated above, you will need PowerShell Version 5 to follow these steps.
1) Open a PowerShell console window.
2) Right click the title bar, and select "Properties."
3) Select the "Colors" tab
4) You will then see the opacity slider at the bottom of the window.
I recommend setting it to 85%.
If you're familiar with the Windows + X shortcut, then you already know there is an option to open a command prompt window. (Win + X, then C)
You can also open a command prompt with elevated privileges. (Win + X, then A)
But did you know, you can actually replace the CMD shortcut with PowerShell instead?
You may be thinking, well I like being able to quickly open a CMD window and perform commands like ipconfig, ping, ect. The cool thing is, PowerShell can take any of your CMD commands as well!
There is no need to hang onto the old CMD window, PowerShell is the future.
To replace CMD with PowerShell
1) Navigate to Taskbar and Start Menu Properties. You can get there by going to the Control Panel, then Taskbar and Navigation. Or, you can simply right click the taskbar, and select Properties.
2) Click on the Navigation Tab. (2nd tab)
3) You will then see a checkbox reading "Replace the Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right click the lower-left corner or press Windows key + X"
I have tested this on both Windows 8.1 and 10.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment below!
Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope it was helpful to you.
Windows Key + X Shortcut Menu
If you administer Window's based PC's or Servers, and do not already use the Windows key + X shortcut, you are missing out on an awesome tool.
Window's Key + X will bring up a list of tools commonly used when managing a Window's based system. You can also access this list by right-clicking in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
You will notice that each item in the menu has one letter underlined. Pressing this letter will select that option. I find that when you use Windows key + X, and then select the letter of the program you would like to open, it is the fastest way you can navigate to almost all of the tools you need. In fact, I do it so often, I have almost every underlined letter memorized. I know that if I want to go to my Programs & Features, I simply Hold the Windows + X, then release and press F.
Here are some of my most used shortcuts -
The last shortcut mentioned (Windows key + U) requires an additional selection. The options are -
I - Sign out
S - Sleep
U - Shutdown
R - Restart
I strongly recommend checking it out for yourself. You will have the shortcuts memorized in no time, and will be able to get to any of your PC's admin tools in three easy key strokes.
Have a different way you navigate to your favorite tools? Or an even better way? Let me know in a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts on the Win + X shortcut.
Now go rescue those users, and save the day!
Thank you for taking the time to read.
About the Author: