This is my working notebook as I journey into PowerShell. I'll update it as I follow along with the Pluralsight course called Your First Day with Powershell from Jeff Hicks.

PowerShell background

PowerShell is a management engine built on .Net framework. The engine itself is hosted by an application to allow you to run PowerShell.


There are two primary - the one that looks like cmd.exe, and the ISE (graphical console). The graphical console is only run on desktops.

It's probably easiest to create a PowerShell shortcut on your desktop, and in general, it's best to run it with admin/elevated privileges.

Check PowerShell version

$psversiontable will give you version of PS running on your system.

Customize console

Right click the Window and click Properties. In Font tab you can change font size and style.

If you go under Layout and play with window sizes, make Screen Buffer Size and Window Size width value the same.

PowerShell ISE

Basically you can punch in commands in the top pane and have them run in the window below. You have options to split the screen horizontally, vertically or put everything in full screen mode.

In Tools > Options you can modify size/fonts, apply themes, etc.

From the regular "cmd" console, you can type ise to launch PowerShell ISE.

PowerShell help

Type help + name of command, like help get-service. You might get an error/warning like:

Get-Help cannot find the Help files...

So run update-help to get the latest help files!

If running this command barfs up a bunch of red text, it's likely because you didn't run PowerShell in an admin/elevated session. So right-click the PowerShell shortcut and click Run as administrator.

Then, you might want to run get-help force to force the get-help operations to run again.

And when that's all done, you can type clear to clear the console out!

Getting started with PowerShell

get-service lists a crazy amount of detail on running services, which ones are started/stopped, their description, etc.

get-service bits will give you info on just that service

help *service will give you help syntax for service-related commands

get-service bits will show whether or not bits is running

help *eventlog* will list all matching commands, like

get-eventlogby itself will basically say "What log are you talking about?"

get-eventlog system will list out the system log entries

help get-eventlog -Parameter logname will help you understand how to properly format the command

get-eventlog system -newest 5 will give you last 5 entries

Discovering commands

Use help get-command for getting all the commands that are installed on the computer.

Running get-command will list ALL commands that PS recognizes right from a command prompt.

get-command *process* will list out all the commands with process in the name.

You can run commands that aren't PS commands! Example:

  • dir

  • netstat -n

  • net user

  • etc...

When you run commands in ISE, one gotcha is if you run netsh it'll bark at you that interactive console applications are not supported.

  • Update 8/21 - I've paused my Pluralsight subscription in lieu of a Codecademy subscription

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