Today at the Microsoft Management Summit, Bob Muglia announced the new name for our new task-based command line shell and scripting language: Windows PowerShell (What do you think - like it?)  Formerly known under the code-name "Monad", Windows PowerShell is now at the Release Candidate (RC1) milestone and will be fully baked in Q4 of 2006.  However, you can download and evaluate the RC now: 

Windows PowerShell is fairly significant.  Windows Server has always prided itself on ease-of-use through the GUI.....no doubt one strong feature that sets us apart from competition.  But alas, it has been difficult to automate repetitive tasks due to the lackluster utilities and scripting language (.bat) of cmd.exe....not to mention the lack of a common syntax and naming convention. Even VBScript with all of it strengths still lacks an interactive shell.  

Enter Windows PowerShell....PowerShell makes an administrators time at the command line more productive by providing task-based standard utilities, shell syntax, conventions and a task-based scripting which makes it easy for administrators to automate complex system tasks.

So what are the big features you ask?

• Over 130 standard utilities (called “cmdlets” [commandlets]) for completing common system administration tasks such as working with the registry, services, processes, Windows Management Instrumentation, event logs, etc.
• Designed for consistency so all tools and system data stores follow a common syntax, common naming conventions and information can be easily shared/piped between tools
• Intuitive, task-based scripting language and support for existing scripts and command line tools.
• Designed for extensibility so that independent software vendors and enterprise developers can easily build custom tools and utilities to administer their software.
• Basis of next-generation Windows administrator experience that provides command line and graphical user interface (GUI) integration – all commands in Exchange Server 2007 can be completed from either the GUI or the command line


Pretty cool stuff.....you can get more information on Windows PowerShell at the PowerShell blog at  http://blogs.msdn.com/powershell and review sample scripts at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/scripts/msh/default.mspx 
  

Ward