Being able to call for help is important to how you learn PowerShell. So who do you call? When you press the universal help key (F1) in a PowerShell session nothing happens (unless you are in the Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) more on this in a later when we talk about the GUI enhancements in PowerShell 2.0). So how do you as for help in PowerShell, simple you use a cmdlet. :-), specifically you use this cmdlet:
If you only learn and remember one cmdlet from all of these posts Get-Help would be the one I would recommend. As an old proverb states:
“Give a Man a fish he eats for a day teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime”
Think of the Get-Help cmdlet as your fishing pole and with this cmdlet you can find out more information and examples for about any built-in cmdlet. Even most 3rd party cmdlets will support Get-Help to one extent or another. You can virtually take any PowerShell cmdlet you can find with Get-Command and simply put Get-Help in front of it and find information about that particular cmdlet. Get-help has 3 main switches you can use (-detailed, -full, and -examples), I really recommend to get started you really only need to focus on the –examples switch. The great thing about the –examples switch it that it allows you to put your reverse engineer skills on display. More importantly with examples it will allow you to ramp up quickly on using PowerShell and apply it to your specific needs. How cool is that?!!!!!! For example if you wanted to see some examples on how to use Get-Process you would run the following command:
Get-Help Get-Process –examples
Okay so you may be thinking those examples do not provide a good example for what your looking for. They may not be able to help you solve some specific tasks, like List Inactive Computer Accounts in Active Directory . After all why reinvent the wheel! Where can you turn? Well this is where you can learn to take advantage of one of the great aspects of PowerShell and that is the PowerShell Community! This community is strong, large, worldwide and extremely knowledgeable! So if you get stuck in a pickle and I do reference these in the book as well. Here are a couple of great places to get plugged into the community to not only get answers to your questions, but also learn more about this terrific language:
- Scripting Repository is a great place to start: PowerShell Script Repository
- PowerScripting Podcast, these guys put on a great a fun show usually weekly. Sarah and myself will be on the show May 26th: http://powerscripting.wordpress.com/
- Great Blog by Ed Wilson: Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog
- Another great blog run by MVP Marc van Orsouw(lots of good PowerShell and Dev stuff): The PowerShell Guy
I know there are several more but these are the main sites I like to visit, if you have a really good site let me know and I will take a look!
Thanks for reading! Also please notice the change (and the last one) back to PowerShell Not your Father’s Command Line, you gave feedback and we listened. Remember if there is a topic on PowerShell you are curious about and would like Sarah or myself to cover in these postings, all you need to do is ask. Email either of us with your comments or suggestions, we look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day!