Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches by Don Jones


Sean and I are just starting to work through Don Jones’ “Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches”, and it’s already a MidnightDBA Recommends.  I’ll place my initial notes here now, and we’ll get a full review out as time permits.

Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches

Initial Notes


  • “I wanted to keep each chapter short, focused, and easy to cover in a short period of time – because I know administrators don’t have a lot of free time, and often have to learn on the fly.”
  • This book is POSH specific, not SQL- or anything-else-specific. 
  • Companion website: www.MoreLunches.com  Among other things, the site has companion videos per chapter!!


  • Intended to be read start to finish.
  • Recommend that you type examples as you go along.
  • Private forum with author accessibility. Cool!

About the Author

  • He’s a Powershell MVP.

1 – Before you begin

  • How POSH is taught: “PowerShell isn’t really a scripting language. It’s really a command-line shell where you run command-line utilities.”
  • Why you can’t afford to ignore PowerShell: “Going forward, the Windows world will start to split into two groups: administrators who can use PowerShell, and those who can’t.”
  • Emphasis on practice. Answers to labs are online, not in the book.
  • Key phrase: “Immediately effective.”

2 – Running commands

  • Start by just running commands (not scripting). This book does what I like: give context.
  • Covers the Powershell ISE (including customizing panes), and command line.
  • “Get into the habit of trying what you’re reading about, so that you can start getting your hands-on time with the shell as soon as possible.” Great approach… #AppliedPOSH
  • “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.”
  • Anyone who’s in doubt of PowerShell’s value could do no better a job at changing their minds than to read chapters 1 and 2. Best case ever, threaded through hands-on demos. LOVE the context.
  • End-of-Chapter sections: Common mistakes/confusion, lab.
  • Labs often teach you to teach yourself…nice. Quick 10 tasks to accomplish. Love the lab.

3 – Using the Help system

  • “…CLIs like POSH are often difficult because they lack those [GUI] discoverability features. In fact, POSH has fantastic discoverability  features—they’re just not that obvious. One of the main discoverability features is the help system.”
  • RTFM soapbox. “If you aren’t willing to read POSH’s helpf iles, you won’t be effective with POSH…and you might as well stick with the GUI.”
  • “Read the help for each and every command I show you…”
  • He’s very specific; he explains things that I know by default, because I understand (say) documentation conventions and positional parameters. I kind of like that; don’t assume your audience knows everything. 

-Jen McCown, http://www.ITBookworm.com


5 Responses to Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches by Don Jones

  1. Ameena on September 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I got to this site through MidnightDBA’s tweet referral. But I am ignorant. What does POSH stands for?


    • Jen on September 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Apologies, it’s a common shortening for POwerSHell…

  2. Don Jones on September 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Wow… thanks for all the kind words! Glad you’re enjoying so far. FYI, one reason for the book’s structure that I hope folks will take advantage of: If each chapter takes about an hour, then it makes a great topic for a “lunch and learn” session. Get some of your coworkers together and walk ‘em through what you’ve learned. The videos on the Web site help do that, and there’s even a free downloadable lab guide (which mainly re-purposes the labs from the book itself) so that you can have a more formal “classroom” kinda environment. So as someone’s reading and mastering the material, they can pass it on to their coworkers who might not be so motivated!

  3. Jen on September 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Even though I’ve been running “lunch-n-learn”s at work recently – even blogged about it recently! – it had’nt occurred to me to use the book in this way. Minor #facepalm for that. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Tom Strike on November 5, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I love Don’s quote in Chapter 1 from his TechEd speech, “learn PowerShell, or would you like fries with that?”

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