Windows has always shunned the command line while Unix-based OSes have embraced it. This has meant that the command line (CMD) that comes with Windows has always been next to useless for administrative use. And that's a shame because while GUI admin tools are very user friendly, administators and power users often need the power and speed that a good command line offers, especially when doing repetative tasks.
A couple of years ago, Microsoft announced that they were working on a new and powerful object-oriented command line shell code-named Monad. Monad has been through several beta releases as Microsoft Shell. A few days ago, it's official name was announced (Windows PowerShell) and the first release candidate was make available to the public. PowerShell still has a few minor bugs, but is now feature-complete and already in use in on many power-user systems. The final final is due for a free web release later this year, but there is no need to wait if you are a Windows user who would like a powerful command line. The betas have already proven useful in the field and the release candidate is quite usable (if still a bit slow to start up).
A word of warning, however, this command line shell is very different from CMD or even unix shells in that it is built on top of the .net 2.0 framework and is entirely object-oriented. For example, pipes pass structured object between commands, not text. You will need to read the documatation available for download and some of the excellent blogs by the development team to get up to speed in PowerShell -- but if would like a powerful Windows command line, Windows PowerShell is well with the trouble to run. It runs just fine for me in console -- if you would like a pretty window instead of the ugly Windows 3.1 looking command windows native to Windows.
From the Windows PowerShell web site:
Windows PowerShell is a new command-line shell and task-based scripting technology that provides comprehensive control and automation of system administration tasks. Windows PowerShell allows Windows administrators to be more productive by providing numerous system administration utilities, consistent syntax, and improved navigation of common management data such as the registry or Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). Windows PowerShell also includes a scripting language which enables comprehensive automation of Windows system administration tasks. The Windows PowerShell language is intuitive and supports existing scripting investments. Exchange Server 2007 and System Center Operations Manager 2007 will be built on Windows PowerShell.
Rating: 4.0 Stars (Slow startup, still a few bugs)
Operating System: Windows XP or 2003
License: Commercial Freeware
Version Reviewed: RC1
Web Site: Click Here