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The Net Use example illustrates a really important lesson: with PowerShell, Microsoft (perhaps for the first time ever) isn t saying, you have to start over and learn everything from scratch. Instead, Microsoft is saying, if you already know how to do something, keep doing it that way. We ll try to provide you with better and more complete tools going forward, but what you already know will still work. One reason there s no Map-Drive command within PowerShell is that Net Use already does a good job, so why not keep using it There are certainly instances where Microsoft has provided better tools than some of the existing, older ones. For example, the native Test-Connection cmdlet provides more options and more flexible output than the old, external Ping command but if you know how to use Ping, and it s meeting whatever need you have, then go right on using it. It will work fine from within PowerShell. All that said, I do have to deliver a harsh truth: not every single external command will work flawlessly from within PowerShell, at least not without a little tweaking on your part. That s because PowerShell s parser the bit of the shell that reads what
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you ve typed and tries to figure out what you want the shell to do doesn t always guess correctly. Sometimes, you ll type an external command and PowerShell will mess up, start spitting out errors, and just generally not work. For example, things can get tricky when an external command has a lot of parameters that s where I see PowerShell break the most. We re not going to dive into the details of why it works, but here s a way to run a command that will ensure its parameters work properly:
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$exe = "C:\Vmware\vcbMounter.exe" $host = "server" $user = "joe" $password = "password" $machine = "somepc" $location = "somelocation" $backupType = "incremental" & $exe -h $host -u $user -p $password -s "name:$machine" -r $location -t $backupType
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This supposes that you have an external command named vcbMounter.exe (which is a real-life command-line utility supplied with some of VMWare s virtualization products). It accepts several parameters:
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-h for the host name -u for the user name -p for the password -s for the server name -r for a location -t for a backup type
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What I ve done is put all the various elements the executable path and name, as well as all of the parameter values into placeholders, which start with the $ character. That forces PowerShell to treat those values as single units, rather than trying to parse them to see if any of them contain commands or special characters or anything. Then I used the invocation operator, passing it the executable name, all of the parameters, and the parameters values. That pattern will work for almost any command-line utility that s being grumpy about running within PowerShell.
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Let s put external commands on the back burner for a moment and get back to the native commands. After all, those are the really interesting ones because they re the ones that make PowerShell more than just a copy of Cmd.exe. At the beginning of this chapter, you saw how commands like Dir, Cd, Type, and so forth all worked within PowerShell. You also saw how they didn t necessarily work exactly the same running Dir /s, for example, causes an error. Why is that
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Running commands
The truth is that PowerShell doesn t actually contain a Dir command, or a Type command, or any of those other commands. Instead, PowerShell defines those as aliases to some of PowerShell s native cmdlets. Aliases are just nicknames for cmdlet names. These are some of the real cmdlet names you ve been using:
Get-ChildItem (for Dir, Ls) Set-Location (for Cd) Move-Item (for Move) Rename-Item (for Ren) Remove-Item (for Del, Rm, RmDir) Copy-Item (for Copy, Cp) Get-Content (for Type, Cat) New-Item (for MkDir)
Those cmdlet names are obviously longer, making them harder to type, so Microsoft added those aliases as a way of saving your fingers some wear and tear. Also, by selecting aliases that match the old Cmd.exe-style names (as well as Linux and Unix names), the company gave you a way of jumping right into PowerShell and performing basic tasks without having to spend too much up-front time learning new command names. That explains why Dir /s doesn t work: you re not running the Dir command from your past, and Get-ChildItem doesn t support a /s parameter. Get-ChildItem can do the same thing as Dir /s, but you ll have to learn a new parameter name, which is -recurse. In fact, this is probably a good time to point out some common characteristics about PowerShell cmdlets:
All PowerShell cmdlet names have a strict naming convention. Cmdlet names start with a verb, like Get or Copy, followed by a hyphen, and then a singular noun, such as Item or Content. The list of allowed verbs is quite small a few dozen or so and the number of verbs you use on a daily basis will probably number less than a dozen. The idea is that you ll gradually become used to those verbs and be able to guess new cmdlet names. More on that in a second. Cmdlet names tend to be a little generic. Why Move-Item and not Move-File Keep in mind that the cmdlet has to operate in the registry, environment variables, and other storage systems, as well as the filesystem. Rather than having separate Move-File and Move-RegistryKey cmdlets, PowerShell has a single generic Move-Item. Parameter names (-recurse was one example) always start with a dash, and for parameters that accept a value (like the -name DEMO example I showed you earlier), there s always a space separating the parameter name and the value. Dash, name, space, value. When I teach classes, I make my students repeat that aloud:
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