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I've dabbled with powershell over the years and not really found a place where I couldn't do the job just a easily with a bit of python/cygwin/wmic/dos (read that last one as windows batch).

It's probably just familiarity with these other tools but I've not seen anywhere its been a real NEED to use powershell.

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closed as not a real question by John Gardeniers, Magellan, Scott Pack, EightBitTony, Ward Oct 19 '12 at 9:40

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What kind of IT field are you in? Are you considering PowerShell on maintaining Windows servers? SQL Servers? There are plenty of "NEED" cases depending on situations – Sung Jul 20 '09 at 20:19
I'm a developer that dabbles in IT now and then. I noticed more and more people using Powershell but couldn't see the why just yet. – Preet Sangha Jul 28 '09 at 3:48
up vote 7 down vote accepted

See this post on SO, which is slowly becoming the canonical answer to this question.

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I agree with you - I use what ever I need. However I think that the Ironpython (and DLR) seem to be a another solution to the one that Powershell solves and as such I've not found something the powershell really is a must for. – Preet Sangha Jul 11 '09 at 23:45

If you're an admin and you're going to manage Microsoft server applications in the near future - you'll need to learn powershell. That's just how it is ^^

Most new systems they're releasing are managed using powershell and the slow-ass UIs built upon that are often pretty useless and they all work by issuing powershell cmdlets in the background. As RainyRat already pointed out about Exchange 2007 - apply this concept to any upcoming or newly released Microsoft system and the picture will become more clear.

But sure, for regular maintenance scripting of old or existing systems today, it hasn't taken off yet. At least not in my book - mostly because you often want support for whatever you do in a lot of older systems like Windows 2003/XP without having to deploy a new "engine" as well. When platforms are upgraded to 2008+ and Win7+ it might become more useful in this regard as well.

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Powershell does look like it's the "new thing", but don't underestimate Microsoft's ability to suddenly decide to change directions. They seem to do that fairly freqently. – Evan Anderson Jul 12 '09 at 5:11
Very true, though we'd still be stuck with a few years of application releases that need basic powershell skills to manage... – Oskar Duveborn Jul 12 '09 at 11:53

For regular admin stuff? No, not yet - .BATs or (at a stretch) VBScript still do the job for me. For managing Exchange 2007, however, it's rapidly becoming indispensable for me. There's a whole raft of things in Ex07 that you can't actually do any other way, because they haven't written the GUI bits for them yet.

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I've usually used VBScript for management tasks. However you end up relying on COM servers to do anything hard, many of which aren't standard on Windows so you have to buy (and remember to install) third party COM servers. In particular x64 causes problems because all my COM servers are 32 bit, so I end up having to run the x86 version of cscript from \windows\syswow64.

I have played with using C#, but it's compiled not interpreted so it's more hassle, and there's a fair bit of (programmer) overhead for simple tasks.

I'm far from up to speed with Powershell, but what it offers me is a one stop shop for doing everything. The standard commandlets are pretty comprehensive, and it intergrates with .Net pretty well for when you want something more unusual.

Preet, in you post you refer to using "a bit of python/cygwin/wmic/dos". Well me too, but that's four solutions, and you can replace them all by learning Powershell. There will still be the complicated scripts that I'll probably do in VBScript, but Powershell can do that majority of what I need.


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thanks John. Why does your name sound familiar? CIX? – Preet Sangha Jul 28 '09 at 3:51
Assuming you're the Preet who used to hang out in the development forums on Cix then yes, I used to be the moderator. I'm less of a developer and more of a server dude these days :-) – John Rennie Jul 28 '09 at 9:41

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