Kesu - Fotolia

Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content.

Windows Management Framework 5 update gives PowerShell users a fix

Microsoft answered admin requests for new features and fixed several bugs with its WMF 5.1 release, giving users a slew of advanced PowerShell cmdlets.

Microsoft added several new features and bug fixes to Windows Management Framework 5.1, which is currently in preview. The Windows Management Framework 5 update gives PowerShell users improved performance as well as a handful of new cmdlets. Here's a look at what you can expect from WMF 5.1 when it is released as a fully supported product.

Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.1 offers some performance improvements, including a faster startup time. The time required to send objects over the pipeline to cmdlets, such as ForEach-Object and Where-Object, is also significantly reduced. And because PowerShell is now cross-platform, Microsoft enables users to download and install a Desktop edition and a Core edition. Each version contains a different feature set for the designated platform.

Desired State Configuration (DSC) saw some of the more notable improvements in the Windows Management Framework 5 update. As a result of these changes, admins can use the familiar PsDscRunAsCredential cmdlet in composite resources to run DSC configurations as a different user. And admins building DSC class-based resources can create composite resources with classes. In addition to functional changes, WMF 5.1 also improves the debugging capabilities of DSC class-based resources and the DSC pull server registration process.

New WMF 5.1 cmdlets

The Windows Management Framework 5 update includes the Microsoft.PowerShell.LocalAccounts module, which enables users to perform tasks, such as Get-LocalUser and Set-LocalGroup. Another interesting cmdlet is Get-ComputerInfo. Previously, admins would query Windows Management Instrumentation directly to gather standard hardware and OS information. However, the Get-ComputerInfo cmdlet gives admins a bevy of common attributes wrapped up into a single command.

Microsoft also improved the PowerShellGet and PackageManagement cmdlets. In addition to multiple bug fixes in this category, the PowerShell team now allows users to use the PackageManagement cmdlet without internet access. This is useful for demilitarized zones and highly secure environments in which internet access is disabled.

Prior to WMF 5.1, admins who used cmdlets like Find-Module and Install-Module received consistent prompts to update NuGet. Now, PackageManagement loads the latest version of the NuGet provider, preventing the multiple prompts.

File catalogs were also added to the Windows Management Framework 5 update, which come with the New-FileCatalog and Test-FileCatalog cmdlets. These cmdlets give a user the ability to create Windows catalog files -- packages containing many different files or folders. By wrapping files and folders into catalog files, admins can easily share and distribute them. Because a hash is generated for each file inside the catalog, this also acts as a very secure file distribution method. To test that the catalog you received matches what was originally created, run the Test-FileCatalog script.

Check out the release notes for a complete breakdown of all WMF 5.1 bug fixes and features.

Installing Windows Management Framework 5 update

The .NET Framework 4.5 is required to install WMF 5.1. (Previously, Microsoft had said .NET 4.6 was required.)

However, once downloaded, admins can install WMF 5.1 directly on top of WMF 5.0. There are no operating system requirements; companies can install WMF 5.1 on all legacy OSes -- down to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Next Steps

Helpful PowerShell 5 tricks

An admin's guide to PowerShell scripts

Are you ready for PowerShell 5

Dig Deeper on Windows administration tools