A review — Windows PowerShell Scripting Guide

February 23, 2009

As a User Group leader, I have the chance to review books for MSPress (and then give a copy away to the user group too!). So at the end of last month I got sent a copy of Windows PowerShell Scripting Guide, by Ed Wilson (I hope that link works — if it doesn’t, find it in the Windows section).

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this book. I had just done a presentation at the user group about PowerShell with SQL Server, and I was curious to see what kinds of things this book covered. People ask me now and then about a book for learning PowerShell, and I wanted to see if this could be the one to recommend.

As a book for learning PowerShell, I’m not sure that it’s really the best one to grab. I intend to get a look at Microsoft Windows PowerShell Step By Step (also by Ed Wilson) to see how it compares. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t recommend this book to people.

What this book does give is a nice overview of PowerShell, followed by a bunch of areas within Windows for which people often do scripting. So for me, this is really handy. I don’t consider myself much of a Windows Administrator, and this book does a nice job of filling in some of the gaps. It’s quite heavy on the WMI side, but that’s probably fair enough (considering that you really can’t do much in Windows Scripting before wanting to take advantage of WMI). It goes through subjects such as services, shares, logs, networking, user admin, IIS, and more. As someone involved primarily on the SQL side, I’m not sure how much I’m really going to use much of this, but there will definitely be times when I do. Scripts for creating local users and groups will certainly come in handy, as will many others in the book.

This book also comes with a CD, containing all the scripts that are in the book. It seems like a great resource, which I’m sure I’ll go back to repeatedly. The book is over 650 pages, which will certainly take up space in anyone’s bookshelf, but if you’re a Windows Administrator, or someone who’s just looking to expand their PowerShell ability, then I can thoroughly recommend it.

If you’re a member of my user group, then you can currently buy this book for 40% less than the price listed at the MSPress store, but as well as that I’ll have a copy of it to give away at the March meeting.

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