Why you should consider upgrading from PowerShell 5.1 to 7

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As businesses use more cloud services and Linux servers, a standard management tool for Windows has evolved to extend its capabilities to handle these workloads.

Windows Server and its desktop counterpart, while still important to many businesses, are no longer as dominant as they once were. Cloud and hybrid ecosystems are growing in many organizations. These shift and task management changes have pushed administrators into new ways of managing infrastructure tasks. The team behind PowerShell has extended its functionality to meet these new challenges. The latest versions of PowerShell offer enhanced features that may persuade an IT operations team to migrate from PowerShell 5.1 to PowerShell 7.

Why upgrade to PowerShell 7?

PowerShell 7 does not abandon on-premises deployments but adds improved support for modern alternatives. A key update, pipeline parallelization, is part of the stable release. The ForEach-Object -Parallel The cmdlet can run multiple scripts at the same time for each channeled input object. The feature also supports work object returns, as opposed to console writes.

In previous versions, these processes happened sequentially, which slowed down performance. It’s a similar concept to how a web page loads: CSS and JavaScript run line by line until the entire page is generated, which can take up valuable time. Pipeline parallelization allows multiple threads to run simultaneously to resolve this type of performance issue.

A sequential cmdlet with five tasks, each taking one second, will take five seconds to complete. Meanwhile, running them simultaneously could get equal results in a second. Although the order of execution is not guaranteed, the script may limit the number of scripts that are executed together at any one time.

What else is included in PowerShell 7?

  • new operators for pipeline chains, null conditionalities and ternaries;
  • easier error finding via dynamic views;
  • support for importing modules thanks to a new compatibility layer; and
  • direct call of DSC resources.

PowerShell 7 brings other performance improvements. Integrated SSH remote communication creates a PowerShell host process on a computer specified as a subsystem, which is presented as a stepping stone to a general hosting model of Windows PowerShell 5.1 with Windows Remote Management 2.0 functionality. Environments with a mix of Windows, Linux, and MacOS operating systems will benefit from this added control.

Finally, PowerShell 7 supports Docker containers. Administrators can upload images and run commands in associated containers without local administrator privileges or the sudo order.

Notes on operating system compatibility

On the Windows platform, PowerShell 7 supports Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and the following versions of Windows Server: 2012 (including R2), 2016, and 2019. On Apple systems, macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later is supported charged. PowerShell 7 also supports the following systems and platforms:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux;
  • CentOS 7;
  • Fedora 30 or later;
  • Debian 9 (including ARM32 / 64);
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or later (including ARM32 / 64); and
  • Alpine Linux 3.8 or later (including ARM64).

Microsoft is committed to supporting x64 architectures. PowerShell community members built Arch and Kali Linux packages to extend support to these systems – even if the support is unofficial. These distributions support x86-64 architectures.

How to migrate to PowerShell 7

The PowerShell team created the new open source version of PowerShell to run in tandem with Windows PowerShell 5.1 by setting up separate installation directories. However, the latest version of PowerShell 7 will install as an in-place upgrade to replace the earlier open source PowerShell instances found in the system.

The PowerShell 7 installation locations are:

  • % programfiles% PowerShell 7
  • The% programfiles% PowerShell 7 folder is added to $ env: PATH

The location of the path separates PowerShell 7 from other versions on your system; users without administrative rights or those who want to keep older versions should install with the ZIP package.

The new executable name is pwsh.exe while Windows PowerShell 5.1 runs powershell.exe.

PowerShell Modules Locations

Modules extend the capabilities of PowerShell by adding new commands. These modules are stored in various locations within the system. The $ Env: PSModulePath The variable contains the storage locations of the module folder. PowerShell checks these locations automatically when the user tries to import a module. The latest version of PowerShell gives priority to automatic loading of modules. There are new locations for PowerShell modules, Reach of all users and Current user scope. PowerShell 7 loads base and desktop modules with no problem.

PowerShell 5.1 modules are compatible with PowerShell 7. This includes Azure PowerShell and Active Directory. Microsoft has taken steps to make it easier to migrate from PowerShell 5.1 for those who depend on incompatible modules. A Use WindowsPowerShell switch into the Import-Module The cmdlet allows users to assess compatibility between modules. PowerShell 7.1 added protections to prevent sabotage in the following core modules:

  • PowerShell.ConsoleHost
  • PowerShell.Diagnostics
  • PowerShell.Host
  • PowerShell.Management
  • PowerShell.Security
  • PowerShell.Utility
  • WSMan.Management

Profile management has changed with PowerShell 7

Profiles are scripts that run at the start of a PowerShell session to add personalization to its ecosystem through aliases, commands, drives, functions, modules, and variables.

Older versions of PowerShell required users to recreate these adjustments for each session, which is long and tedious. By automating the application of these scripts, administrators can get to work faster. The profiles also ensure that important configurations are not missed.

These file names – and locations – have changed since Windows PowerShell 5.1. Profiles can now be found on $ HOME Documents PowerShell. References to WindowsPowerShell have been deleted; most locations now live in the PowerShell branch of the filesystem in Program files and Users. These profiles are named accordingly:

  • All users All hosts;
  • AllUsersCurrentHost;
  • CurrentUserAllHosts; and
  • CurrentUserCurrentHost.

Remoting, Group Policy, and Logs

PowerShell 5.1 used the Web Services-Management (WS-MAN) protocol for connection and data transport. PowerShell 7 uses this same endpoint when Windows Remote Management is enabled. However, PowerShell 7 can use its own endpoint by using the Enable-PSRemoting cmdlet to add a new configuration.

On the SSH side, users who are running operating systems that are not compatible with Windows components have certain options, such as new settings for the New-PSSession, Enter-PSSession and Summon Command cmdlets to make remote access possible. Users can specify strings, computers, and user names. The PathKey File The parameter manages key authentication.

For a business that is running multiple servers in a corporate environment, Group Policy settings work the same as profiles. They define values ​​that are systematically respected throughout the deployment. Administrators can customize:

  • console session configurations;
  • module logging activations;
  • script block logging activations;
  • script execution policies;
  • PowerShell transcription actions; and
  • Default source path delegation for Update-Help.

PowerShell 7 includes Group Policy templates, which remove much of the work required in previous versions. These files use the .admx and .adml extensions. To install the basic administrative templates, teams can run the InstallPSCorePolicyDefinitions.ps1 script.

A separation of powers is the theme of PowerShell 7. This is true for event logging. Windows PowerShell 5.1 and PowerShell 7 save events in separate logs to avoid confusion and for easier reference. The Get-WinEvent -ListLog * PowerShell * The command retrieves a list of logs.

Script with Visual Studio Code

Teams running Windows PowerShell 5.1 on non-Windows systems had the option of using Visual Studio Code as their source code editor. PowerShell 7 extends support for Visual Studio Code to macOS and Linux. PowerShell in Visual Studio Code requires an extension to be installed, which is explained on this link.

The traditional scripting tool for administrators is the built-in PowerShell scripting environment, which is available in Visual Studio Code but only for Windows PowerShell. This option in the Command Palette changes the layout of the editor and expands the capabilities of the editor while unlocking PowerShell functionality.


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