Microsoft's PowerShell 7 is generally available

Microsoft's latest version of its automation tool for Windows, macOS and Linux is now generally available. Here's what's in PowerShell 7 and what's next.

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Microsoft's latest major update to is PowerShell automation tool and scripting language, is generally available as of today, March 4. PowerShell 7, the successor to PowerShell Core 6.X, is available for Windows 7, 8.1 and 10; Windows Server (2008R2, 2012, 2016 and 2019); macOS and a variety of flavors of Linux.

Microsoft has added a number of new features to PowerShell, including new operators, cmdlets and pipeline parallelization, with version 7. Officials said PowerShell 7 also offers increased backwards compatibility so that users on older versions of PowerShell can use new features introduced in PowerShell Core for the first time. 

Last year, Microsoft announced that it would call its next version of PowerShell Core "PowerShell 7" (instead of PowerShell Core 6.3). Microsoft also announced plans to update Windows PowerShell 5.1, which was the last version of the Windows-only version of PowerShell released in 2016.

Like it's doing with .NET -- converging its different versions with a move to .NET 5 -- Microsoft is moving toward an uber PowerShell release with PowerShell 7. Windows PowerShell was built on .NET Framework, and PowerShell Core, on .NET Core. PowerShell 7 is based on .NET Core 3.1, which brings back a number of .NET Framework interfaces, especially on Windows.

Microsoft's long-term plan is to provide greater compatibility between PowerShell 7 and Windows PowerShell. PowerShell 7/PowerShell Core is available under an open-source license (MIT). Officials said any PowerShell module currently supported by PowerShell 6.x is automatically supported in PowerShell 7.

PowerShell 7 is a Long Term Servicing (LTS) release, which will be supported for approximately three years from December 3, 2019, which was the release date of .NET Core 3.1. The company is moving to an annual release cadence to align with .NET, officials noted.

Microsoft is working on PowerShell 7.1 and a first preview should be available soon, officials said.