Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Microsoft Windows Desktop

Working with PowerShell v2

J. Peter Bruzzese explains what PowerShell v2 is and what exactly it is doing on your Windows 7 computer.
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

PowerShell is both a command-line tool and an automated scripting platform. Much of the press has reported misconceptions about the purpose of PowerShell. It isn't a replacement for CMD.exe (which is evident in the fact that Windows 7 includes both). It is an automation-scripting platform with multiple APIs that is accessible to the PowerShell CLI (command-line interface).

PowerShell v1 was downloadable for Vista and XP. PowerShell v2 is also downloadable for Windows 7, but it's also included with the operating system. What does that mean to you?

Well, depending on the type of user you are, it may mean absolutely nothing. If you never even use the command prompt, then an additional command prompt isn't important to you. So this article simply explains what PowerShell v2 is doing on your Windows 7 computer.

If you are an avid command-prompt user for various DOS command-type uses, you might find this an interesting discussion but it's not a reason to switch over. For example, let's say you use the command prompt to locate your IP address by typing ipconfig at the command prompt. Can you do this with PowerShell? Absolutely! But do you need to use PowerShell to do what you have always done in the command prompt? Not at all. In fact, some would say it will take you longer for those simple commands because it takes PowerShell a little longer to come up (whereas Cmd.exe pops up almost instantaneously).

What Is PowerShell?

Basically, it is an extensible command-line shell. You can locate it under Start, All Programs, Accessories, Windows PowerShell. At first glance, you see little more than a command prompt with a blue background (Figure 1).

PowerShell integrates with and requires the .NET Framework and the types of commands you execute are called cmdlets (command-lets), which are actually part of the .NET classes.

Cmdlets are somewhat reasonable in the look of them because they hold a verb-noun structure. For example, a very simple cmdlet for obtaining assistance is Get-Help. Some of the more popular verbs are Get, Set, Remove, Test, Enable, Disable, Install, Uninstall, New and Move. So you can see how the syntax for running a single cmdlet is not all that complicated.

So here is an easy example of what you might use the Get-Help cmdlet for. Let's say you have a cmdlet called Get-Process but you don't know how it works. You can type the following in PowerShell:

    Get-Help Get-Process

This shows you all the information you need about a cmdlet. Figure 2 shows that the results include a Synopsis, the Syntax, a Description, Related Links, and Remarks.

Although the cmdlets themselves are self-descriptive, it still takes some time getting used to them and how they work. Especially when you start to delve a bit deeper into what they can do when combined with other cmdlets through a feature called pipelining.

You see, cmdlets produce some form of result that can be displayed onscreen or (because the results are objects) can be used in harmony with other cmdlets in a pipeline using the | character.

So here is a really cool PowerShell command that uses a pipeline structure to first get all the services running on your computer, then sort those items based upon if they are running or stopped, and then show them to you in a formatted table. We are looking at using three cmdlets: Get-Service, Sort-Object, and Format-Table. It would take on the following form in the pipeline, with the result shown in Figure 3:

    Get-Service | Sort-Object Status | Format-Table

Now PowerShell can accomplish in one line what used to take tons of code prior to PowerShell. And PowerShell can go even further for those who wish to truly delve deeply into the depths of PowerShell and really explore the scripting aspects of PowerShell, although typically developers and administrators are the ones who will pursue that level of information.

A great book for PowerShell to help take you to the next level is Windows PowerShell Unleashed, published by Sams. It is especially worthy because it covers all of the new v2 features, including PowerShell 2.0 remoting!

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020