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Microsoft Releases PowerShell 7.3

PowerShell 7.3 is now at the "general availability" (GA) commercial-release stage. 

PowerShell 7.3 is built on the long-awaited .NET 7 platform, which Microsoft also released last week. Microsoft mostly focused on making PowerShell 7.3 a "great shell environment" when working with other executables or "native commands," according to the announcement by Steve Lee, a principal software engineer manager at Microsoft.

To that end, PowerShell 7.3 includes a new $PSNativeCommandArgumentPassing feature that aims to make the passing of native commands to executables more like the "default behavior for Windows and Linux/macOS." In addition, Microsoft improved how error handling works with native commands.

Native commands typically use non-zero values at exit to indicate errors. PowerShell 7.3 users can use the new $PSNativeCommandUseErrorActionPreference to "treat a non-zero exit code as an error," if wanted, Lee explained. It's then possible to specify a Stop to halt the execution in such cases. This new addition to PowerShell 7.3 is an alternative to creating an error code check by using "$LASTEXITCODE after execution of a native command," Lee explained.

PowerShell 7.3 isn't a Long-Term Support (LTS) version of PowerShell, so it's just supported for 18 months. The current LTS version of PowerShell is version 7.2, which gets three years of support.

PowerShell 7.3 will just be an automatic upgrade for some PowerShell 7.2 users that installed it using the Windows Store. Here's Lee explanation to that end:

If you had installed the previous PowerShell 7 stable release (7.2) via the Windows Store, you will be automatically updated to 7.3 GA. However, if you installed the MSI and chose to be updated via Microsoft Update, since 7.2 is a LTS release, you will not be automatically upgraded to 7.3 and needs to be manually installed.

PowerShell users may want to wait until next month to upgrade because of a known issue that installs "PowerShell 7.3-rc1" instead of the GA release. Microsoft expects to correct that problem when it releases PowerShell 7.3.1 in December. There's apparently no functional difference, though, between the release candidate version and the GA version.

Microsoft is already working on PowerShell 7.4, which it plans to release sometime next year. It'll be "built on .NET 8," Lee indicated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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