Top Tips: #1 – Windows PowerShell

To celebrate the new year, we’ve put together 5 handy Live@Edu deployment tips to make even the most over-worked network administrator smile.. and I can think of no better place to start than Windows PowerShell.

If you’re using Exchange Labs in your Live@Edu deployment (or even just testing it out), then PowerShell will fast become your best friend.  Not only is it easy to set up and use, but it gives you complete control of a huge number of features, and lets you run scripts to help automate those more regular tasks.

There are a few things that you need in order to run Windows PowerShell – and the first deciding factor is your operating system. In order to use the version of PowerShell that works with Exchange Labs, you need to be running Windows Vista SP1 or Windows Server 2008. There are no specific hardware requirements, although you’ll need to make sure that any firewall software you have active is set up to allow PowerShell through.

Before you install Windows PowerShell, you need to make sure that you have the latest version of WinRM installed. This is a fairly painless process for 99% of the world – but if you do experience some problems (usually if other updates to WinRM have been previously installed) a full guide can be found here on the Live@Edu TechNet site

Once that’s done, you’re ready to get PowerShell installed and working. Click this link to get the installer for Windows PowerShell CTP2. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the very latest version of PowerShell – the Community Technology Preview version 3 has been released recently, but for use with Exchange Labs we recommend using CTP2. The install shouldn’t take long, and will give you a two new applications on the start menu – PowerShell and Graphical PowerShell. The graphical version allows you to type scripts on-the-fly and run them in the same window, whereas the plain PowerShell application is a purely command-line environment. Both have the same functionality, so use whichever feels most comfortable to you.

All the information you need on how to connect to your Exchange Labs service can be found within this article on the Live@Edu TechNet site. Once you’re up and running, you can dramatically increase the speed at which PowerShell connects to remote services and performs remote commands by following these instructions.

So that’s it for Top Tip #1 – Once you start using PowerShell, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it!

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