When new builds of Windows leak, most people focus on easily accessible features such as the user interface or file system. While those are certainly important areas, I feel changes to the underpinnings of Windows, such as its APIs and related developer tools, often go unseen (and are, frankly, more interesting). So today, I'm switching gears and sharing my notes on Windows PowerShell cmdlets and changes coming in Windows 8.1 "Blue" (as of leaked build 9374).
Windows 8.1 features shiny new VPN configuration cmdlets to replace your aging rasdial and route-based batch files.
Finer control of Windows Defender across the enterprise is now possible with these new cmdlets. (Strangely, the Windows Defender team opted to shorten the WindowsDefender prefix, breaking the usual cmdlet naming guidance/pattern. I suspect we'll see them right the ship here, so be careful if you're writing scripts around these cmdlets.)
These cmdlets make customization of the Start Screen way easier than previous methods.
The Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool in Windows has always been an odd PowerShell cmdlet wanna-be, with its similar but frustratingly different command syntax. Wrapping that functionality, however, are new cmdlets, and they couldn't come quickly enough.
Funny enough, Paul Thurrott and I just wrote about Kiosk Mode in Windows 8.1. These cmdlets make managing Kiosk Mode even easier.
These cmdlets appear to pertain to Network Address Translation (NAT) components in the Routing and Remote Access feature present in Windows Server, not the NAT on your home network.
A few handy Trusted Platform Module cmdlets that would otherwise require digging through the TPM Management console or TPM Base Services API.
It's always nice to see improvements to the way we access the blackbox that is Windows Management Instrumentation.
I'm not familiar with the concept of network "compartments", so can't offer much here. I suspect this is a Server "Blue"-specific addition that will make sense in the future.
New Physical Computer System View (PCSV) cmdlets ready Windows for next generation systems management in the enterprise.
I suspect the storage tier cmdlets are used to manage storage-related roles in Server "Blue" that I'm not familiar with. The Storage Pool cmdlet however can be used to interact with Storage Pools present in both client and server SKUs.
Little doodad cmdlets that will probably only be used by a niche group of admins out there.
We're seeing the beginnings of what's clearly an effort to wrap Systems Management Bus (SMB) API here.
I don't think we're getting a sneak peak of some next-generation Near Field Communications (NFC) printer technology here. I suspect these cmdlets are to aid in enterprise printer asset tracking. We'll undoubtedly learn more when Windows Server "Blue" hits.
As of writing, a screenshot of an even newer build of Windows 8.1 (9379) is making rounds. Assuming the screenshot is accurate, PowerShell will be seeing a bump to 4.0, suggesting language changes may be coming. When more details become available, I'll let you know.