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Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Overview

Published: June 24, 2013

Updated: October 17, 2013

Applies To: Windows PowerShell 4.0

This topic describes the Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) feature in Windows PowerShell. You can use this topic to get an overview of DSC and to find the documentation resources you need to understand and use DSC.

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Feature description

DSC is a new management platform in Windows PowerShell that enables deploying and managing configuration data for software services and managing the environment in which these services run.

DSC provides a set of Windows PowerShell language extensions, new Windows PowerShell cmdlets, and resources that you can use to declaratively specify how you want your software environment to be configured. It also provides a means to maintain and manage existing configurations.

Practical applications

Following are some example scenarios where you can use built-in DSC resources to configure and manage a set of computers (also known as target nodes) in an automated way:

  • Enabling or disabling server roles and features

  • Managing registry settings

  • Managing files and directories

  • Starting, stopping, and managing processes and services

  • Managing groups and user accounts

  • Deploying new software

  • Managing environment variables

  • Running Windows PowerShell scripts

  • Fixing a configuration that has drifted away from the desired state

  • Discovering the actual configuration state on a given node

In addition, you can create custom resources to configure the state of any application or system setting.

Important functionality

The following table will help you navigate the documentation for DSC.

 

Topic Summary

Get Started with Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration

Explains how to use Windows PowerShell extensions that are part of DSC to automate an example configuration.

Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Resources

Explains how to create custom resources for if your environment requires a type of configuration that is not provided by the built-in resources that come in DSC for performing basic configuration work.

Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Data

Demonstrates a structured way to separate the data used in configuration from the configuration logic. This provides modularity, which enables you reuse the data and the logic independently. It also makes it easier to update the data and logic when necessary.

Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Local Configuration Manager

Explains the DSC engine, which is available on all nodes (computers) and coordinates the reception and application of configuration data for each node.

Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Service

Explains the DSC Service, which includes the options to push configuration information to target nodes, or to have an environment where the nodes retrieve the information from a server that is set up for that purpose. The nodes can continue to update and maintain their state, based on the configuration information on that server. It is also possible to use such a server to distribute custom resources to the target nodes.

Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Troubleshooting Guidance

Provides several techniques you can use to troubleshoot your DSC configuration or to track the progress of its operations.



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