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Six Reasons Why You Might Want to Use Windows PowerShell to Manage Office 365

 

Topic Last Modified: 2014-08-01

Summary: Six reasons Windows PowerShell can help you manage Office 365.

One of the great things about Office 365 (and trust us, there are many great things about Office 365) is the Admin center. The Office 365 Admin center provides one-stop shopping for all your Office 365 management needs. Using this single tool, you can not only manage your Office 365 user accounts and user licenses, but you can also manage your Office 365 server products: Exchange, Lync Online, and SharePoint Online. Once you see the Admin center in action you’ll probably say, “I’ll never need another Office 365 management tool as long as I live!”

But don’t be too hasty. After all, you haven’t seen how you can use Windows PowerShell to manage Office 365.

Wait a second: Windows PowerShell? Isn’t Windows PowerShell replacement for MS-DOS, isn’t Windows PowerShell that old-fashioned command shell language where you type cryptic commands like this:

Get-SPSite -Limit All | Get-SPWeb -Limit All | % {$_.Lists} | ? {$_ -is [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPDocumentLibrary]} | % {$total+= $_.ItemCount}; $total

Well, yes … sort of. Windows PowerShell is a command shell language, and Windows PowerShell did supersede MS-DOS. (The old command shell is still around, so we can’t really say that Windows PowerShell replaced it.) And while you obviously have the ability write cryptic commands in Windows PowerShell, you don’t have to write cryptic commands in Windows PowerShell. For example, you say you’d like to get information about your user mailboxes? No problem:

Get-Mailbox

That doesn’t appear to be too terribly cryptic, at least not to us.

But we don’t care about that anyway, at least not at the moment. At the moment, all we care about is introducing you to some of the ways that Windows PowerShell can complement and augment the Office 365 Admin center.

And yes, we did say “complement and augment;” we didn’t say “dispose of.” People sometimes think that Windows PowerShell is an all-or-nothing proposition: either you use Windows PowerShell exclusively, or you don’t use Windows PowerShell at all. But that’s not true. Instead, you should use Windows PowerShell when it’s the fastest/easiest/most effective way to do something. (Or in some cases, when it’s the only way to do something.) And if Windows PowerShell isn’t the fastest/easiest/most effective way to do something? Here’s one suggestion: then don’t use it in those cases. It’s entirely up to you.

Before you continue reading, have a look at the video below: Six Reasons to use Windows PowerShell to manage Office 365.

Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9.

In this article we’ll show you six different scenarios in which it might make sense to use Windows PowerShell to manage Office 365. Before we do that, keep in mind that this is not an introduction to Windows PowerShell itself. If you’re brand-new to Windows PowerShell, take a look at Manage user accounts and licenses. And while we will show you plenty of code samples, note that this isn’t a tutorial on the Office 365 implementations of Windows PowerShell, either. For that information, check out the articles posted at Real-life applications for using Windows PowerShell to manage Office 365. This article has a much simpler purpose: we just want to answer the question, “Why would I ever want to use Windows PowerShell to manage Office 365?”

Here are six reasons why:

  1. Windows PowerShell Can Reveal "Hidden" Information Not Available in the Admin Center

  2. Office 365 has Features That You Can Only Configure by Using Windows PowerShell

  3. Windows PowerShell Excels at Carrying Out Bulk Operations

  4. Windows PowerShell is Great at Filtering Data

  5. Windows PowerShell Makes It Easy to Print or Save Data

  6. Windows PowerShell Lets You Do "Cross-Product" Management

 
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