Category Archives: Books Free eBook Transition

Over the past few weeks, Matt Penny has been busy moving our free eBooks into their new home on Penflip. Code, when available, is located in our GitHub repo, and modules will soon be available in the PowerShell Gallery for downloading via Install-Module.

Penflip is a Markdown-based editing system backed by GitHub. This means anyone can contribute corrections, additional material, and so on – which will make it easier to maintain these great books over time. You can download ebooks directly from Penflip in a variety of e-book formats. We’re now focused on electronic formats, rather than traditional page-based layout, although PDF is still an available download option if you want to make a hardcopy.

The conversion from Word to Markdown was challenging and largely manual, so if you run across formatting problems (especially with code), we absolutely appreciate your help in fixing those. Simply “branch” the book, creating your own copy of the project. Make corrections, and then submit those back to the master branch. Approvals are manual, so give us a few days to review what you’ve done and merge it into the master.

Massive thanks to Matt for all the long hours making this conversion happen, and to the folks who’ve submitted cover art for the new books.

Our eBook Transition – and Your Chance to Contribute!

We’re in the process of migrating our free ebook collection over to Penflip, an online, Git-based collaborative authoring and publishing tool. Matt Penny has taken the lead in converting our Word documents to the Markdown syntax used by Penflip, and as you can see on our ebooks page, most of the titles now have an initial version in Penflip.

One neat thing about Penflip is that anyone can register for a free account, fork one of our projects, and make their own modifications. You can then submit your changes back to the master branch, so we can incorporate your changes into the ebook. This will make it easy for everyone in the community to suggest new content, offer corrections, and so on. I encourage you to help out – right now, you may simply notice some flaws from the semi-automated and fully hellish Markdown conversion, and we’d love your assistance in correcting those.

Penflip also supports on-demand downloads of each ebook in a variety of common formats, including EPUB, PDF, and more. That means you’ll always be able to grab the latest version of your favorite ebook. We’ve not yet migrated the source code that goes with some of the ebooks; the plan is to move those into our GitHub repo over the next week.

Penflip will be enabling the next generation of our ebooks, including a massive new DSC title I plan to begin working on in 2015.

Thanks for any help you can provide, and I hope you continue to find the ebooks helpful!

eBook Cover Contest

Fancy yourself a graphics person? Just like to doodle?

We’re holding a contest to create new covers for our various ebooks. Winners will receive absolutely nothing, other than a cover credit within the text (hey, we’ll also give you a full set of the ebooks for free, what the heck).

  • Covers must include the book title, and should include the logo. The logo is below.
  • Don’t include author names in the artwork. Authors are credit on the book’s “About” page.
  • Images must be 8.5″ wide by 11″ high, preferably at 300dpi, in PNG or JPG format (see these specifications if you need that sizing in pixels).
  • Don’t include art, photos, or any other elements that you yanked off the Internet, including Microsoft imagery, unless you can provide us with written permission from the copyright holder to use it.

You can submit a series for all the books, or just covers for the book or books you like best.

Be serious. Have fun. Whatever! Send submissions via e-mail to Admin, right here at We’ll let you submit until the end of January 2015, and we’ll pick the best selections we have at the time.


Massive Update to All Seven Free eBooks at

We’ve just finished a massive re-do of all 7 free ebooks.

First, they’re now hosted in a public OneDrive folder. This means you can quickly and easily view them online, download a DOCX, or download a PDF. Anytime, anywhere.

Second, we’ve had folks go through and make the formatting more consistent, using a more modern font and somewhat “airier” spacing. Hopefully that translates to “nicer to read.” All the original code is also accessible, and available for one-click downloading. Note that .PS1 files may open for viewing; you need to checkmark the file to download it.

Uploads are now proceeding, so depending on when you read this, some files might still be in progress. The GitHub versions (which were problematic for some folks to download) will be removed shortly. Please update your links; has already been updated.


Free eBook from Microsoft’s Scripting Guy: Windows PowerShell Networking Guide

Ed Wilson, Microsoft’s Scripting Guy, has created a free ebook, Windows PowerShell Networking Guide. It’s designed to provide a super-quick PowerShell crash course, and then show you how to  manage various networking scenarios by using the shell.

And it’s free! Just click the link to get your copy – and please, tell a friend!


Error Handling draft available

There was quite a bit of interest in the upcoming free Error Handling ebook during the PowerScripting Podcast on Thursday. It’s still in a very early draft form, but I’ve posted it to the GitHub repository for anyone who wants to brave the unedited waters and get a preview of the content.

Feedback is welcome, particularly on the technical content. Don’t worry about the presentation / organization so much, as those are likely to change once we go through a review and edit process anyway. You can post comments on GitHub, or contact me directly at [email protected].

Community Book of PowerShell Practices

Released in our new Git repo: The Community Book of PowerShell Practices, an ongoing book started from this past Summer’s “Great Debates” blog post series. Grab it from and enjoy!

Seeking Curators for PowerShell eBooks

[UPDATE: I think I’ve finally gotten all the books under curation – but if you’ve an idea for a PowerShell-related ebook, and would like to co-author or even be a principal author (I’ll help out with logistics), still hit me up.]

As you may know, hosts a number of free ebooks that have, to date, been written mainly by me. But I’ve recently been delighted to welcome some co-contributors – Forums regular Dave Wyatt has contributed new content to “Secrets of PowerShell Remoting,” for example, and Matt Penny has volunteered to organize the forthcoming “Community Book of PowerShell Practices.”

I’d like to try and sign up “curators” for some of our other free ebooks, including the forthcoming “Big Book of PowerShell Error Handling” and the “Creating Trend and Analysis Reports in PowerShell” titles, as well as – and this is one I’m really interested in getting someone for – the “Big Book of PowerShell Gotchas.”

What’s a curator do?

Mainly, incorporate community feedback (typos, etc) into future editions, as well as integrating new content. That content might be written by the curator, or contributed by someone else. We use a very simple Word template, and you’d use Calibre to produce PDF and EPUB from that. I provide cover art images and whatnot – this is mainly an “assemble, organize, and deal with the errata” process at a minimum. If you are passionate about the topic, you can of course become a co-author with me and add your own content (and I’m happy to help you do so). That’s especially true for the “Gotchas” title, which is mainly a series of short articles that cover some of the shell’s biggest speed bumps.

A copy of Word, Calibre (free) and a GitHub client (free) are needed, plus a few free hours every few months and the willingness to take on the job. You’ll truly be helping: I often can produce extra content now and again, but actually spell-checking it, putting it into the book, making the EPUB version, and so on – believe it or not, that stuff takes me more time and is one reason the ebooks don’t get updated more often. Sigh.

Hit me up if you’re interested in helping out!

Great Debate: The Conclusion

All this Summer, we’ve been encouraging your feedback in a series of Great Debate posts. Most of the topics came from the 2013 Scripting Games, where we definitely saw people coming down on both sides of these topics. My goal was to pull everyone’s thoughts together into a kind of community consensus, and to offer a living book of community-accepted practices for PowerShell. This’ll be a neverending story, likely adapting and growing to include more topics as the years wind on.

But here’s the start: DRAFT-2013Sep_Practices is the first draft, officially a Request For Comments, based on the comments you’ve all contributed to the Great Debate posts over these past few weeks. I tried to capture consensus where I saw it, and to outline both sides of the great back-and-forth we’ve seen.

NOTE: The cover image in this draft is just a placeholder; this book is NOT dedicated to error handling. Its working title is correctly shown on the page following the cover image.

I’m going to leave this post in place until October 1st. Please drop any comments you’d like to offer to the final first edition of this ebook, and let me know if there are any topics you’d like to see debated in the future. After October 1st, I’ll publish the final edition of this Practices guide as one of’s free ebooks. The final first edition will also become part of the next iteration of The Scripting Games, as its official “best practices” guide. In fact, you’ll notice in this draft that there are a couple of Games-specific comments, since the Games sometimes have different drivers than a production environment.

Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Two PowerShell Books 50% off TODAY ONLY

PowerShell in Depth and Learn Windows PowerShell 3 in a Month of Lunches are on half-price August 25th, 2013.

Use code dotd0825au at


Use code dotd0825au at

Tell a friend who needs to start learning PowerShell – two great books at 50% off. All print books come with a voucher for free ebook versions (MOBI, EPUB, PDF), and the ebook-only version is also 50% off.

Need something to read while on vacation?

Here is something to do while sitting by the beach this summer – try out a new PowerShell book. Go ahead and take it for a spin. I haven’t read mine yet, so reviews are welcome and encouraged!  Here are the details:

Packt Publishing are offering free copies of  Windows Server 2012 Automation with PowerShell Cookbook : in exchange for a review either on your blog or on the title’s Amazon page.

  • Streamline routine administration processes
  • Automate the implementation of entire AD infrastructures
  • Generate automatic reports that highlight unexpected changes in your environment
  • Monitor performance and report on system utilization in detailed graphs and analysis
  • Create and manage a reliable and redundant Hyper-V environment
  • Utilize the Best Practices Analyzer from Microsoft to ensure your environment is configured optimally
  • Manage the patch level of your enterprise
  • Utilize multiple protocols to share information in a heterogeneous environment

If you’re a Powershell user or interested in getting to grips with it, this is a good way to bag yourself a free guide (current retail price £28).

If you’re interested, email Harleen Kaur Bagga at: [email protected]



eBook: Secrets of PowerShell Remoting

This is a free e-book that covers PowerShell Remoting. There’s a brief overview and tutorial of actually using Remoting, but that part isn’t in-depth. What this e-book provides, that you won’t find elsewhere, is step-by-step, screenshot-based instructions for configuring Remoting for any imaginable scenario. You’ll also find troubleshooting tutorials and examples, and even information on how to explain Remoting to your corporate IT security team. It’s all the stuff that isn’t documented in PowerShell’s own help – and it’s completely free. You don’t even need to register to download the file!

Continue reading

PowerShell Book Recommendations

I’m often asked, “which PowerShell book should I buy?” I’m obviously a little biased in some areas, because I’ve authored and co-authored books for specific purposes. But, setting that aside as much as possible, let me give it a try. These are all applicable to PowerShell v3.

If You’re Looking for a Freebook

SecretsOfPowerShellRemoting_150 MakingHistoricalAndTrendReportsInPowerShell CreatingHTMLReportsInPowerShell_150 hosts a free pack of ebooks, which you can download from our newsletter sign-up page (there’s no actual sign-up required to download the books). There’s also a longer list of books, including free ones available elsewhere (which may require registration – we’ve tried to note when that’s true).

If You’re Just Getting Started

Learn-Windows-PowerShell-3-in-a-Month-of-LunchesLearn Windows PowerShell 3 in a Month of Lunches was specifically designed for beginners. It assumes no prior experience, and requires only about an hour a day of your time – lunchtime would be perfect. Hands-on labs reinforce what you’re learning. This book doesn’t attempt to be comprehensive; instead, it’s intended to show you how to use PowerShell properly, and to give you an idea of the shell’s capabilities. You won’t learn Exchange or SQL or anything else – this is pure PowerShell, through and through. You’ll gain a foundation of the right way to use the shell, and that will ensure your subsequent learning can proceed faster and more effectively.

If You’ve Conquered the Basics

jones4_cover150-1If you’ve mastered the shell’s basics, then you’re probably ready to start scripting. Learn PowerShell Toolmaking in a Month of Lunches is designed to help you with that, although I hesitate to call it a “scripting” book. Yeah, there’s scripting – but it’s just a means to an end: Toolmaking. Creating reusable tools that the rest of your team can consume. You’re actually taken through an entire progression, starting with a simple command and gradually evolving it, one step at a time, into a complex and powerful tool. Then you’re given a tour of other toolmaking features in the shell, along with plenty of hands-on practice and examples to ensure it all sinks in.

Need an In-Depth Reference?

PowerShell-in-DepthWindowsPowerShellInAction_150I’ve got two suggestions: PowerShell in Depth is intended as a comprehensive, administrator-focused reference with tons of examples. By “administrator,” I mean that this book doesn’t dive into the more developer-ish topics that go with PowerShell. Want to do .NET programming in PowerShell? You can, but this book doesn’t cover it. There’s also PowerShell in Action, and although it’s presently v2-focused, it’s a notable book because it was written by the lead developer for PowerShell’s language. There’s a lot of fun facts and tricks in here that simply couldn’t come from anywhere else. It won’t help you learn PowerShell, but it’ll help you get more from PowerShell.

But What About…

That takes us into what I call the “domain-specific” realm – meaning, you’ve gotten the shell’s core functionality in your head, and you’re ready to start doing stuff with it, but you need a little help. Exchange Server. Windows Server. SQL Server. SharePoint. Whatever. We’ve got a pretty complete list of available titles, and you’ll notice that many of them have “Cookbook” in the title. That’s a good description of what they do: give you recipes for accomplishing specific tasks, along with (in many cases) explanations about why those recipes work the way they do.