PowerShell vs. PowerShell Core, what you need to know - gHacks Tech News

PowerShell vs. PowerShell Core, what you need to know

Microsoft announced the general availability of PowerShell Core 6.0 on January 10, 2018.

PowerShell Core is a new version of PowerShell, a command-line shell and scripting language that ships with Microsoft Windows.

The release of PowerShell Core increases the number of PowerShell editions to two. There is the decade-old PowerShell that is integrated into all recent versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system and the new PowerShell Core.

Microsoft sees PowerShell Core as an evolution of PowerShell. The former is available as a cross-platform application, the latter only for Windows.

powershell core 6.0

The cross-platform nature of PowerShell Core means that scripts that you write will run on any supported operating system. You can write PowerShell Core scripts on Windows, and use them on supported Mac OS X or Linux devices. There are even experimental (unsupported) versions for ARM devices.

Microsoft works actively on PowerShell Core. PowerShell, on the other hand, is in a state that can best be compared to extended support for Windows versions. Microsoft has no plans to add features to PowerShell, but it will release critical bug fixes and security updates.

However, there are currently no plans to introduce new functionality to Windows PowerShell. This means that the risk of regression will be very low for Windows PowerShell, so you can count on it as a stable platform for your existing workloads.

PowerShell Core installs side by side on Windows. In short: PowerShell Core does not affect Windows PowerShell in any way on Windows devices.

powershell 6.0.0

PowerShell Core 6.0 is not as powerful as PowerShell 5.1. One core reason for that is that PowerShell has access to the .NET Framework and .NET Standard while PowerShell Core to the less-feature-rich .NET Core and .NET Standard.

Some technologies available to Windows PowerShell are not supported by .NET Core. Microsoft notes that some of the technologies may return in future releases but that this won't be the case for all of them.

The company mentions PowerShell Workflows, PowerShell Snap-ins, WMlv1 cmdlets and executing Desired State Configuration resources specifically. The Breaking changes for PowerShell 6.0 document offers further details.

The differences between PowerShell and PowerShell Core

PowerShellPowerShell Core
Versions1.0 to 5.16.0
PlatformsWindows only (client and server)Windows, Mac OS, Linux
Dependency.Net Framework.Net Core
UsageRelies on .Net Framework runtimeRelies on .Net Core runtime
Launched aspowershell.exepwsh.exe (Windows), pwsh (Mac and Linux)
$PSVersionTable.PSEditionSet to DesktopSet to Core
Update policycritical bug fixes onlyall updates (features, bugs)

PowerShell Core downloads

PowerShell vs. PowerShell Core, what you need to know
Article Name
PowerShell vs. PowerShell Core, what you need to know
PowerShell Core is a new version of PowerShell, a command-line shell and scripting language that ships with Microsoft Windows.
Ghacks Technology News

We need your help

Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.

If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:


  1. Mark Hazard said on January 12, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks for the article Martin. You forgot to mention that there is no PowerShell Core ISE any longer. To use it as such, you must use Visual Studio Code with the PowerShell Plugin, since VS Code works in all three OS’s.
    Is that figure in the PowerShell 6.0 installation splash screen a woman or a man with long hair? :)

  2. Don said on January 12, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    I hadn’t heard this was coming. I started using Powershell to automate stuff; Powershell can use most of .NET, without the cost, overhead, and learning curve of Visual Studio. I gained some expertise over the past five years. Now I feel like a dinosaur.

    Time to research and reevaluate.

    1. Sam Atwell said on January 15, 2018 at 2:53 am

      Hey Don,

      Just so you know, nothing you’ve learned so far is wasted. There are a few things in Powershell that won’t work in Powershell Core but other than that, it’s still the same language/platform. Your knowledge and expertise will transfer over as-is. Except, now you can use Powershell even if you are not using Windows.

  3. pd said on January 13, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Genuinely one of the weirdest, scary-looking graphics I’ve ever seen in an installer wizard.

    1. Norio said on January 13, 2018 at 11:33 pm

      Exactly how I felt about it too.

  4. John Smith said on January 13, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    The question is, should we be helping Microsoft to extend their domain beyond their own (often frustrating) Operating Systems. I personally will not download and/or use this. If I need to write scripts for Linux, I’ll use my Linux machine. I’d rather see less Microsoft involvement in Linux than more personally. I am largely unimpressed with this company’s attitude towards its own users, and its ongoing purposeful ignorance of the amount of actual time/money this OS has lost for many users, with negligible benefits to balance that. F*ck Microsoft and all who sail in her.

  5. LH said on January 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Sigh. Its not like we don’t have enough programming and scripting languages as it is. Why will this be better than what we already have? What is the value add and who said we needed it?

    1. chesscanoe said on January 13, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      On 2016-08-18 Microsoft said its customers say they need it. See
      https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/powershell-is-open-sourced-and-is-available-on-linux/. Fortunately my life is not so complicated to need it, and apparently neither is your life.

  6. TA said on January 14, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Yet another technology deprecated. They go gung-ho on Silverlight, Powershell, etc. Now Powershell will not have any advanced features so when Server whatever or Sharepoint whatever or SQL Server whatever get released with no features – no support there. So should we shift all development to .net core and Powershell core? Or will those two items quickly get replaced with something else?

    1. Sam Atwell said on January 15, 2018 at 3:07 am


      Just so you know, nothing is being deprecated. There is a version of Powershell (and by extension, some features) being deprecated but Powershell itself isn’t being deprecated. In fact, I would expect they are going to invest more into Powershell going forward as they are all in on their class-platform push with Azure, .NET Core, VS Code, etc.

Leave a Reply