Applies to: Exchange Server 2007 SP3, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Server 2007
Topic Last Modified: 2007-07-18

The Exchange Management Shell, built on Microsoft Windows PowerShell technology, provides administrators a powerful command-line interface that they can use to administer Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. With the Exchange Management Shell, administrators can manage every aspect of Exchange 2007. They can enable new e-mail accounts and configure Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) connectors, store database properties, transport agents, and more. The Exchange Management Shell can perform every task that can be performed by Exchange Management Console in addition to tasks that can't be performed in the Exchange Management Console. In fact, when a task is performed in the Exchange Management Console, the same command is made available to the Exchange Management Shell and is called to process the request. For more information about the new Exchange Management Console, see New Administration Functionality in the Exchange Management Console.

Figure 1 illustrates the design and layout of the Exchange Management Shell.

Exchange Management Shell showing mailbox move


The Exchange Management Shell is a snap-in that relies on Windows PowerShell. Therefore, Windows PowerShell must be installed on the computer that will be running the Exchange Management Shell. To install Windows PowerShell, you must install the Microsoft .NET 2.0 Framework on the computer that will run Windows PowerShell. For information about how to download the .NET Framework, see the Microsoft .NET Framework Developer Center.

New Features in the Exchange Management Shell

The Exchange Management Shell provides a robust and flexible scripting platform that can reduce the complexity of current Microsoft Visual Basic scripts. What previously took hundreds of lines in Visual Basic scripts can now be done by using as little as one line of code in the Exchange Management Shell.

The Exchange Management Shell provides this flexibility because it doesn't use text as the basis for interaction with the system. It uses an object model that is based on the Microsoft .NET platform. This object model enables the shell commands to apply the output from one command to subsequent commands when they are run.

The following are key features of the Exchange Management Shell:

  • Command-line interface   The command-line interface lets you quickly and easily access and modify Exchange 2007 features and their values. It also gives you the flexibility to easily perform tasks in bulk that would have taken many lines of code or hours of work to apply changes through Exchange System Manager.

  • Piping of data between commands   Pipelining makes you even more productive when you administer Exchange 2007 through the Exchange Management Shell. Pipelining helps you use output from one command as input in other commands. This lets you easily perform bulk operations based on criteria applied to filtering commands that then supply the objects to be modified to commands down the "pipe". This feature is a primary reason why the Exchange Management Shell makes it possible to reduce dozens of lines of code to a single chain of commands.

  • Structured data support   Because all output from all the commands in the Exchange Management Shell is an object, all output from the commands can be acted on and processed by other commands by using little or no manipulation. Commands in a particular feature set accept output from other commands in that same feature set, without manipulation.

  • Extensive support for scripting   When you want to perform complex processes, automate functions for Help Desk account management, monitor performance, or enable other automated administrative tasks, the Exchange Management Shell provides a powerful object model environment based on the .NET platform.

  • Safe scripting   To enable a smooth transition from a test environment to production or just to verify that your commands work correctly before you apply them to actual data, the Exchange Management Shell lets you test your commands to make sure they do what you want. You can verify the changes to be made, confirm that you want to continue, and verify that the process will succeed from end to end.

  • Access cmd.exe commands   The Exchange Management Shell provides transparent access to the commands that are available through the command prompt (Cmd.exe). You can even take the output of Cmd.exe commands and perform actions based on that output, or integrate that output into the data that you provide to another command.

  • Trusted scripts   To improve security, the Exchange Management Shell requires that all scripts are digitally signed before they are allowed to run. This requirement prevents malicious parties from inserting a harmful script in the Exchange Management Shell. Only scripts that you specifically trust are allowed to run. This precaution helps protect you and your organization.

  • Profile customization   While the default installation of the Exchange Management Shell gives you a fully featured and easy-to-use interface, you may want to add shortcuts to the commands that you frequently use. You might also want to adjust the interface to suit your tasks. You can edit your personal Exchange Management Shell profile. This lets you control how your interface is configured and what commands automatically run when the Exchange Management Shell starts. Profile customization lets you assign scripts to aliases that you frequently use in the daily administration of your Exchange 2007 organization.

  • Extensible shell support   If you don't like the way that data is displayed or if, for example, you can't remember which collections use the Count property and which collections use the Length property, you can easily make adjustments. The Exchange Management Shell uses XML to let you modify many aspects of its behavior. Developers can create new commands to integrate with the built-in Exchange Management Shell commands. This extensibility gives you more control over your Exchange 2007 organization and helps you streamline business processes.

For More Information

For more information about how to use the Exchange Management Shell, see Using the Exchange Management Shell.

For a list of frequently used Exchange Management Shell command examples that are organized by administrative functions, such as recipient management and transport configuration, see Exchange Management Shell Quick Reference.

Figure 1   The Exchange Management Shell