Question for anyone who can answer this:
Half of the chapter is focused on commands that can only run with the ActiveDirectory module installed. How are people supposed to learn the concepts that are, as Don Jones put it, "crucial to understanding the shell" when you can't run half of the chapter's command examples? Personally, I have the most effective learning experience when I can carry out the examples and tinker with commands in the shell.
Are there other resources available to learn what Don Jones was attempting to teach people in chapter 9 of 'Learn Windows Powershell in a Month of Lunches'? If so, please provide them, as I'm desperate to wrap my mind around this chapter at this point.
It'd be worth your while to stand up a virtual machine so you can run them as-is, honestly. I find AD to be a crucial and complex part of a Microsoft network; it offers complexities not found in the “base” operating system alone. Jeff and I wrote the book for someone working in a Microsoft-centric environment, where access to a standalone virtual domain controller would be expected.
I'll offer something further, though. While running examples is definitely satisfying, it isn't how you're going to learn PowerShell. Every time I see someone failing at the shell, it's because they're accustomed to just running stuff and seeing the output. It's a valuable exercise to mentally understand what's happening without running it. Look up the help for the commands online, for example. Explain to yourself what's happening in those examples. If you can look at a command, and understand what it's doing without running it, you've truly mastered it. You'll find debugging easier, and you'll find it easier to compose commands in your mind. The guys and gals I meet who truly KNOW the shell got there by mentally analyzing commands, not so much by running them. Something, perhaps, to consider. After all, the book isn't about administering AD – there's a real reason Jeff and I used those examples anyway, even knowing that you can't run them on a standalone client computer.
All that said, if you've got a specific example in mind, I'd be happy to try and explain it or offer an alternative. I'm not up to rewriting the whole chapter in a non-AD form, but happy to review an example or two that you're stuck on, if it will help a bit.
Microsoft offers Azure (Cloud) free for a month, perfectly coinciding with the time Don allocates for his book. 🙂 Azure is a truly free deal (unless you choose to spend more), is very simple to use, has great started tutorials, etc. You can build out servers with BASH, PowerShell or GUI quite rapidly. Just pick what looks nice from a menu.
I found it quite simple to use and wonderful for throwing together labs for Active Directory, backups, clustering, etc. Sorta off topic, but kinda on: You can even publish a C# function directly to Azure via Visual Studio, without even making a server.
No I don't work for Microsoft and this isn't an advertisement. Just a recommendation on how to make a highly-effective free lab that can be accessed over the Internet.
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