Test-Driving PowerShell v3: How To Install And Run PSv3 BETA

A new PowerShell version is coming soon! The language itself will stay pretty much the same, but there are tons of cool new features that enhance performance and ease of use. A complete list of all of the new features is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=28998 (see the lower part of this page for feature details).

Which raises the question: how do I install and get PSv3 up and running? And are there any compatibility issues?

Update: PowerShell V3 Beta is out. I updated all links accordingly.

Requirements for PowerShell V3 Beta

Let's first take a look at the prerequisites. Before you can install PowerShell V3 Beta, you must ensure that these prerequisites are met:

  • you run Windows Server 2008SP2, Windows7SP1/Server 2008R2SP1 (so with all of the latest service packs installed). Windows XP/Server 2003/Vista is not supported and will not be supported anymore apparently.
  • you must have installed .NET Framework 4.0. If you are unsure, download the .NET Framework 4.0 runtimes (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=17718) and try and install them. If the installer offers to "repair" the installation, then you know .NET 4.0 is present, and you can cancel the installation.
  • you must use an en-US MUI, so CTP2 does not run on Windows if any other language is installed (see below for some workarounds)

Installing English MUI

Unfortunately, PowerShell V3 Beta only installs on US-English systems. If you are running Windows 7 Business, Enterprise or Ultimate, you can temporarily change your display language to En-US, install the Beta, then change back to whatever language you prefer. PowerShell V3 Beta runs on any locale, it just installs only on En-US.

But what if you do not have access to the En-US language pack? And what if you run Windows 7 Professional or a Vista version that does not support MUIs?

You can download the MUI packs separately for free. Just make sure you download the right MUI. It must match your operating system and your platform (32bit/64bit) and your service pack level. You can find all of the downloads on various sites including this one: http://www.mydigitallife.info/windows-7-sp1-mui-language-packs-official-direct-download-links/

On a windows system that supports MUIs, after installing the downloaded MUI, it will show up in your control panel regions applet when you select  Change Display Language. If you are running a windows version that does not support MUIs, go to http://www.froggie.sk/ and download the free tool vistalizator. It allows you to open and install downloaded MUIs and then change your display language.

Installing PowerShell V3 Beta

Once the prerequisites are met and your display language is switched to En-US, you can download and install the Beta package that you downloaded from here:


If the installation package complains that it is not applicable to your system, then you did not meet all of the prerequisites mentioned, or you downloaded the wrong version (wrong OS or platform).

The installation requires a reboot, and after rebooting, PowerShell V3 Beta is up and running. You can now enjoy the many new features, including tabcompletion in the console that no longer erases everything to the right, and a drastically improved ISE editor. Just note that the first launch of powershell.exe and ISE may take some time.

Getting Updated Help

PowerShell V3 no longer ships with help files, so one of the first things you may want to do is launch a powershell with full admin privileges, and then download the help materials like so:

PS>  update-help -UICulture en-us -force

Preserving Compatibility

PowerShell V3 Beta is mostly backwards compatible, so you can continue to run your old scripts. When you create new scripts, though, you may be lured into using new PSv3 features, and if you do, your scripts no longer run on PSv2. To check, you can always run a test environment in PowerShell V2 mode like this:

PS> powershell.exe -version 2.0

This will launch a new PowerShell session in 2.0 mode, so you can test-drive your scripts and ensure they do not use V3 features and fail in V2.

We'll begin covering new PowerShell V3 features soon so you'll be prepared when PowerShell V3 hits the floor later this year. With the installation guideline found here, you now have all the details you need to setup your own cozy PSv3 test lab. Just remember: the current V3 is a Beta, it is not a production environment. While I personally did not stumble across any buggy behavior, you may not want to toss this version onto your production servers yet.

Stay tuned and have fun with PSv3 now!


Microsoft MVP PowerShell Germany

If you live in Germany or other parts of Europe and your company would like to set up a truly great PowerShell training, just contact me! I regularly train mid- to large-size companies. Trainings are always a blast with tons of real-world-examples and solutions. Here's how to get in touch with me: tobias.weltner@scriptinternals.de  

Posted May 15 2012, 05:32 AM by Tobias
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