Saturday, June 18, 2005

Getting MSH Beta 1

MSH, the Microsoft shell, is now in beta. The beta is open, and details were posted at TechEd, sans NDA restrictions. To get this beta:

1. Go to and login with your Microsoft passport.

2. At the top of the beta place home page, click the appropirate spot to enter your Guest ID.

3.At the Welcome to Microsoft Beta page, enter mshPDC as the guest id, then click OK.

4. At the Welcome to Guest Access page, click Microsoft Command Shell Preview.

5. On the " the Command Shell (msh) preview program!" page, select the survey and fill this out.

Once the survey if all filled out and submitted, your access should be granted within 48 hours (but should come quicker). You can then return to Betaplace and download the msh bits.

I'd argue every sysadmin in the world should download this beta and give it a spin. There is still some time to affect the shape of this fantastic product. So get it, use it, file bugs on it - and come on over to the beta newsgroups and comment.

And if you are unsure what to look at, here's some suggestions of things to think about, play with and comment on:

1. Do the -confirm and -whatif keywords make sense, are they useful?

2. Can you take existing scripts and convert them. Scripts include cmd, perl, python, shell, or vbscript.

3. How easy is it to debug a script? Can more help be provided and if so how?

4. Try writing a cmdlete - and document your successes andd pain.

5. Update format/types - how easy was this. How intuitive?

6. Try piping as many cmdlets to/between each other. MS can not test every combination so you need to try to find any misfits.

7. Try parsing XML documents. Is this obvious, hard? What could me made easier?

8. Write scripts that use WMI - for example a script to gather information about machines in your domain or subnet.

In my view, this is a fantastic opportunity for admins. It's rare that we get the chance to comment on the development of a major new management tool. While most things in V1 are fairly well locked down, but the team really wants feedback (and in my experience responds to it!). So go do it.

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