By now, I hope you have heard of a wonderful tool called Powershell which can make your life easier in some respects. Whether you are needing to interact with SQL Server, Exchange, or Active Directory there are resources available to guide you along the way. I’m not going to try and reinvent the wheel when it comes to great blog posts, so there may be a good deal of linking and summarizing.
Powershell is a command-line shell that will allow you to perform administrative tasks that would have been much more tedious if attempted in a different manner. It’s built upon the .NET so it can interact with .Net Framework objects. Microsoft came out with Version 2.0 and released it with Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 (although you have to enable it).
If you already have PowerShell 1.0 installed then you may want to remove it first, unless you want to look into running both versions. You can also see how to check for a PowerShell installation. To correctly uninstall PowerShell 1.0 you can follow the instructions on MSDN.
If you haven’t already got Powershell 2.0, you’ll want to get that by downloading the Windows Management Framework Core. That core package comes with Windows PowerShell 2.0 and Windows Remote Management 2.0 (also known WinRM).
In regards to Powershell, you will now have two ways to test-drive your shiny new toy. It’s probably a good idea to try and hold off using the PowerShell ISE (Integrated Scripting Environment) in favor of using the basic PowerShell interface while you are starting out.
Windows PowerShell on MSDN
Why This SQL Server DBA is Learning Powershell
I’m a SQL Server DBA, and I’m in Love with PowerShell
Mastering PowerShell eBook with Dr. Tobias Weltner
Effective Windows PowerShell: The Free eBook
PowerShell in Practice (not free, but well worth it.)
Administrator’s Guide to Windows PowerShell Remoting
Third Party PowerShell Editors
Once you begin to get a basic understanding of how things work I’d start looking at your other choices for editors. I use PowerGUI, but there’s also PowerShell Plus and Sapien’s PrimalScript. You can get more info about the comparison between the three from Don Jones and Michael Otey.