PowerShell Desired State Configuration overview

Desired State Configuration (DSC) is a feature of PowerShell where modules are structured in a specific way to simplify configuration management in Linux and Windows machines.

DSC is a declarative language, where the state of a machine is described using a format that should be clear to understand even if the reader is not a subject matter expert. DSC is unique compared to imperative PowerShell script format, because the definition of an application environment is separate from the script logic that implements how it is delivered.

There are two primary components:

  • Configurations are declarative PowerShell scripts that define instances of resources. Typically configurations define what to automate. Example scenarios include requirements for an application environment or operational/security standards.
  • Resources contain the script functions that define how to automate. Resources always contain three methods, "Get", "Test", and "Set". Example scenarios include how to update the contents of a file, how to run a utility that changes the state of a machine, or how to configure settings of an application.

As of version 7.2, the module PSDesiredStateConfiguration containing the DSC feature and must be installed as an independent component after you install PowerShell. Separating DSC into an independent module reduces the size of the PowerShell release package, and allows DSC to be upgraded on machines without also planning an upgrade of the PowerShell 7 installation.


To install PSDesiredStateConfiguration version 3.0.0 from the PowerShell Gallery:

Install-Module -Name PSDesiredStateConfiguration -AllowPrerelease

See Also