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Administering with Windows PowerShell and Active Directory Administrative Center (part 1)

6/17/2013 9:35:35 PM
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Introducing Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language designed especially for system administration, and it is the recommended tool for performing and automating administrative tasks in Windows Server 2008 R2. Built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, Windows PowerShell helps IT professionals control and automate the administration of several Microsoft technologies, including the Windows operating system, AD DS, SharePoint 2010, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and later.

With Windows PowerShell commands, called cmdlets, you can perform management tasks from the command line. With Windows PowerShell providers, you can access data stores, such as the registry and Active Directory, as easily as you access the file system. In addition, Windows PowerShell has a rich expression parser and a fully developed scripting language.

Tip

EXAM TIP

This section introduces you to Windows PowerShell so that you can become familiar with this important administrative tool. You are not expected to create Windows PowerShell scripts on the 70-640 exam; however, you should be able to recognize cmdlets used for basic Active Directory tasks such as those described in this training kit. If you want to learn to administer using Windows PowerShell, refer to Windows PowerShell 2.0 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek (Microsoft Press, 2009).

Windows PowerShell includes the following features:

  • Cmdlets for performing common system administration tasks.

  • A task-based scripting language.

  • Support for existing scripts and command-line tools. For example, you can perform most Command Prompt (Cmd.exe) commands with Windows PowerShell.

  • Consistent design. Because cmdlets and system data stores use common syntax and naming conventions, data can be shared easily and the output from one cmdlet can be used as the input to another cmdlet without reformatting or manipulation.

  • Providers that expose system resources such as the registry, certificate store, and directory service for simplified navigation by using the same techniques that users employ to navigate the file system.

  • Powerful object manipulation capabilities. You can manipulate objects directly or send them to other tools or databases.

  • Extensible interface. Independent software vendors and enterprise developers can build custom tools and utilities to administer their software.

Preparing to Administer Active Directory Using Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell 2.0 is installed by default in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. You can open a Windows PowerShell console from the Accessories, Windows PowerShell program group in the Start menu, or by running Powershell.exe.

Windows PowerShell provides native support for hundreds of commands called cmdlets (pronounced, “command-lets”), and you can add functionality to a session by importing modules or snapins. A module or snap-in is a package of cmdlets and other items. Windows Server 2008 R2 introduces the Active Directory module for Windows PowerShell. The module must be added to the system on which you will use Windows PowerShell to administer Active Directory—to your administrative workstation, for example. When you use Server Manager to add the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) role to a server running Windows Server 2008 R2, the Active Directory module for Windows PowerShell features is added by default.

You can install the Active Directory module on a server running Windows Server 2008 R2 by using Server Manager to add the feature. To install the module on your Windows 7 workstation, perform the following steps:

  1. Download the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=7D2F6AD7-656B-4313-A005-4E344E43997D&displaylang=en.

  2. Install RSAT.

  3. Open Control Panel, click the Programs category, and then, under Programs And Features, click Turn Windows Features On Or Off.

  4. Expand Remote Server Administration Tools, and then expand AD DS And AD LDS Tools.

  5. Select the Active Directory Module For Windows PowerShell checkbox.

  6. Click OK.

The Active Directory module for Windows PowerShell is the client side of the administrative module. The module communicates with Active Directory by using a set of web services provided by the Active Directory Web Services (ADWS). ADWS—the server side of the administrative module—must be installed on at least one domain controller in the domain that can be accessed from your administrative workstation. ADWS is installed automatically when you promote a domain controller running Windows Server 2008 R2. If you want to add ADWS to a domain controller running an earlier version of Windows Server, you must download Active Directory Management Gateway Service (Active Directory Web Service for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008) from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=008940c6-0296-4597-be3e-1d24c1cf0dda. The service can be added to a domain controller running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008, as long as the .NET Framework version 3.5 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) is installed, along with the hotfixes listed on the download page.

Note

WEB SERVICES FOR ACTIVE DIRECTORY

ADWS provides XML Web Services–based protocols to interact with Active Directory. The Active Directory module for Windows PowerShell communicates with these services to perform administrative tasks. This model is a departure from other interfaces including Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Active Directory Services Interface (ADSI), which continue to be supported and used by legacy tools including Active Directory Users And Computers.

When ADWS is running on at least one domain controller (and remember, it is installed automatically on a Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controller), and the Active Directory Module For Windows PowerShell is available (which is also added automatically to a Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controller), you are ready to administer Active Directory with Windows PowerShell. You can open the Active Directory Module For Windows PowerShell from the Administrative Tools program group, or you can import the module into a PowerShell session by typing the following command:

Import-Module ActiveDirectory

The Windows PowerShell console looks very similar to the command prompt of Cmd.exe except that the prompt includes PS. Figure 1 shows two instances of the Windows PowerShell console. One instance was launched by opening the Active Directory Module For Windows PowerShell from the Administrative Tools program group. The second was launched by running Powershell.exe and then importing the Active Directory module. You could use either instance to administer the domain.

Windows PowerShell consoles with the Active Directory module

Figure 1. Windows PowerShell consoles with the Active Directory module

Note

ONE WINDOWS, ONE SHELL

Windows PowerShell enables you to launch programs and execute commands that are identical to those in Command Prompt. For example, you can type dir, cls, ipconfig /all, and robocopy in Windows PowerShell, just as you can in Command Prompt. Therefore, Windows PowerShell is backward compatible for administrators. If you use Windows PowerShell, you can perform administrative tasks either with familiar Cmd.exe commands or with Windows PowerShell cmdlets.

cmdlets

In traditional shells such as Command Prompt (Cmd.exe), you issue commands such as dir or copy that access utilities built into the shell, or you call executable programs, such as Attrib.exe or Xcopy.exe, many of which accept parameters from the command line and return feedback in the form of output, errors, and error codes.

In Windows PowerShell, you issue directives by using cmdlets. A cmdlet is a single-feature command that manipulates an object. The Active Directory module ships with 76 cmdlets for Windows PowerShell, so it is not recommended that you try to memorize them all. Instead, you should know how to discover and get help about a cmdlet when you need it. Over time, you will memorize the cmdlets that you use regularly.

Luckily, Windows PowerShell is a modern command-line and automation interface, and it benefits from lessons learned from past command-line environments, such as Command Prompt. One of the most immediately useful sets of features are those that help you discover cmdlets and learn syntax easily.

The Get-Command cmdlet lists cmdlets. Simply type the following command to list all cmdlets available within the Windows PowerShell session:

Get-Command

Cmdlets are not case-sensitive. Therefore, the following cmdlets are equivalent:

  • Get-Command

  • get-command

  • GET-COMMAND

Cmdlets always follow the Verb-Noun format, also called the Action-Object format. The Noun is always singular. For example, the cmdlet to list all services running on a computer is Get-Service. To list all processes running on a computer, type the following command:

Get-Service

Windows PowerShell standardizes cmdlets and supports a managed number of verbs. You can display a list of supported verbs with the Get-Verb cmdlet. Nouns follow naming standards managed by the Windows PowerShell team. For example, all Active Directory nouns begin with AD.

You can use these standards to list all Active Directory cmdlets. Type the following command:

Get-Command -Noun AD* | More

Note

| MORE

Windows PowerShell supports much of the same syntax as Command Prompt, which eases the transition to Windows PowerShell. As in Command Prompt, adding | more to a command pages the output of the command.

The command shown in the preceding paragraph is a shortcut based on the fact that all Active Directory nouns begin with AD. A more technically accurate approach is to list all of the commands in the Active Directory for Windows PowerShell. To list the commands in the module, type the following command:

Get-Command -Module ActiveDirectory

You will instantly recognize the purpose of some cmdlets based on their names. For example, the Get-ADGroupMember cmdlet lists—or enumerates—members of a group.

 
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