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A cornucopia of useful PowerShell tools

PowerShell has a number of useful commands and parameters that you may not know exist. Commands like Out-GridView and Format-Table are useful for controlling output interactively and parameters like -Confirm and -WhatIf make working with scripts easier. Other commands help you find other commands!

Get-Command lists all commands that are installed on the computer (including cmdlets, aliases, functions, filters, scripts, and applications). The Get-Command is particularly useful with search parameters. The -Module parameter lists all commands for a particular module and the -Noun/-Verb parameters allow you to search for commands with that particular noun or verb. Other useful parameters include -CommandType and -ShowCommandInfo.

Get-Command -Noun Service

Get-Command -Name Get-Service -ShowCommandInfo

Get-Member pipes the output of another command (an object) to get a list of the properties and methods of that object.

Get-Process | Get-Member

Other useful cmdlets include Get-Module which displays modules that have been imported into your current PowerShell session and Get-ExecutionPolicy which shows what your effective execution policy is set to (Restricted, Unrestricted, AllSigned, RemoteSigned, etc.). See About Execution Policies for more details.

Out-GridView sends the output of a command to a grid that allows you to filter and display different columns interactively.

Get-Process | Select-Object * | Out-GridView

Screenshot of Out-GridView

For baselining or exporting data, useful output cmdlets include Export-CSV (or ConvertTo-CSV), ConvertTo-XML, and ConvertTo-JSON. You can control what your screen output looks like using Format-List, Format-Table, and Format-Wide.

Get-Process | Format-List -Property Name, Path, BasePriority, SessionID

If you are testing a script (or command) and want to see what would have happened if you ran the script, but not actually run the script, use the -WhatIf parameter. You can also use the -Confirm parameter to make sure that you really want to run the script (or command).

Finally, don’t forget about Get-Help (especially using the -Online or -ShowWindow parameters).


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