Batch files are some of the most useful tools in a systems administrator's arsenal. I've been writing batch files since the early days of MS-DOS, and I'm comfortable doing so. However, Windows has its own scripting tool--Windows Script Host (WSH). The WSH tool lets administrators run scripts written in a variety of scripting languages to accomplish many administrative tasks, such as administrative scripting, logon and logoff, and basic automation tasks. Microsoft supports its JScript and VBScript as the preferred scripting languages; both languages let users accomplish far more than they can with batch files.
Microsoft first released WSH in Windows 98 and has upgraded the tool numerous times since then. You can download the current version (WSH 5.6) from Microsoft's Web site.
Earlier WSH versions are available for Windows NT 4.0 and Win95 users. The Windows 2000 version of WSH 5.6 uses a different executable file than other 32-bit Windows environments use, and the latest version continues to add features and user benefits. Installing WSH 5.6 gives you not only the hosting component but also the most recent versions of VBScript and JScript.
You can find a great deal of information about scripting technologies and how to use them at the Microsoft Windows Script Web site. The site includes the most recent versions of all necessary files and complete documentation, wizards for creating script components, and sample code for creating scripts that accomplish specific actions.
Although this information is located on the MSDN Web site, none of the downloads or Web pages I accessed required an MSDN membership. Given the usefulness of this set of administrative tools, the Web site is worth a look. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish with simple scripts.
Windows 2000 Magazine recently made back issues (issues more than a year old) of its Windows Scripting Solutions print newsletter available online. This information ages well, and the back issues offer a ton of useful code samples and scripting information. Check them out at the following URL: http://www.winscriptingsolutions.com/