MSDN Library


Updated: May 20, 2009

Applies To: Windows PowerShell 2.0


    Describes how to write and run scripts in Windows PowerShell.

    A script is a plain text file that contains one or more Windows PowerShell
    commands. Windows PowerShell scripts have a .ps1 file name extension. 

    Writing a script saves a command for later use and makes it easy to share
    with others. Most importantly, it lets you run the commands simply by typing
    the script path and the file name. Scripts can be as simple as a single 
    command in a file or as extensive as a complex program.

    Scripts have additional features, such as the #Requires special comment,
    the use of parameters, support for data sections, and digital signing for
    security. You can also write Help topics for scripts and for any functions
    in the script. 


    A script can contain any valid Windows PowerShell commands, including single
    commands, commands that use the pipeline, functions, and control structures
    such as If statements and For loops.

    To write a script, start a text editor (such as Notepad) or a script editor
    (such as the Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment [ISE]). Type 
    the commands and save them in a file with a valid file name and the .ps1 file
    name extension. 

    The following example is a simple script that gets the services that are
    running on the current system and saves them to a log file. The log file name
    is created from the current date.

        $date = (get-date).dayofyear
        get-service | out-file "$date.log"

    To create this script, open a text editor or a script editor, type these
    commands, and then save them in a file named ServiceLog.ps1. 


    Before you can run a script, you need to change the default Windows
    PowerShell execution policy. The default execution policy, "Restricted",
    prevents all scripts from running, including scripts that you write on the
    local computer. For more information, see about_Execution_Policies.

    To run a script, type the full name and the full path to the script file. 

    For example, to run the ServicesLog script in the C:\Scripts directory, type:


    To run a script in the current directory, type the path to the current
    directory, or use a dot to represent the current directory, followed by
    a path backslash (.\).

    For example, to run the ServicesLog.ps1 script in the local directory, type:


    As a security feature, Windows PowerShell does not run scripts when you
    double-click the script icon in Windows Explorer or when you type the 
    script name without a full path, even when the script is in the current 
    directory. For more information about running commands and scripts in
    Windows PowerShell, see about_Command_Precedence.


    To run a script on a remote computer, use the FilePath parameter of the
    Invoke-Command cmdlet.

    Enter the path and file name of the script as the value of the FilePath 
    parameter. The script must reside on the local computer or in a directory
    that the local computer can access. 

    The following command runs the ServicesLog.ps1 script on the Server01 remote

        invoke-command -computername Server01 -filepath C:\scripts\servicesLog.ps1 


    To define parameters in a script, use a Param statement. The Param statement
    must be the first statement in a script, except for comments and any 
    #Requires statements.

    Script parameters work like function parameters. The parameter values are
    available to all of the commands in the script. All of the features of
    function parameters, including the Parameter attribute and its named
    arguments, are also valid in scripts.

    When running the script, script users type the parameters after the script

    The following example shows a Test-Remote.ps1 script that has a ComputerName
    parameter. Both of the script functions can access the ComputerName
    parameter value.

        param ($ComputerName = $(throw "ComputerName parameter is required."))

        function CanPing {
           $tmp = test-connection $computername -erroraction SilentlyContinue

           if (!$?) 
               {write-host "Ping failed: $ComputerName."; return $false}
               {write-host "Ping succeeded: $ComputerName"; return $true}

        function CanRemote {
            $s = new-pssession $computername -erroraction SilentlyContinue

            if ($s -is [System.Management.Automation.Runspaces.PSSession])
                {write-host "Remote test succeeded: $ComputerName."}
                {write-host "Remote test failed: $ComputerName."}

        if (CanPing $computername) {CanRemote $computername}

    To run this script, type the parameter name after the script name.  
    For example:

	C:\PS> .\test-remote.ps1 -computername Server01

	Ping succeeded: Server01
	Remote test failed: Server01

    For more information about the Param statement and the function parameters,
    see about_Functions and about_Functions_Advanced_Parameters.


    The Get-Help cmdlet gets Help for scripts as well as for cmdlets,
    providers, and functions. To get Help for a script, type Get-Help and the
    path and file name of the script. If the script path is in your Path
    environment variable, you can omit the path.

    For example, to get Help for the ServicesLog.ps1 script, type:

        get-help C:\admin\scripts\ServicesLog.ps1

    You can write Help for a script by using either of the two following methods:

    --  Comment-Based Help for Scripts

        Create a Help topic by using special keywords in the comments. To create
        comment-based Help for a script, the comments must be placed at the
        beginning or end of the script file. For more information about
        comment-based Help, see about_Comment_Based_Help.

    --  XML-Based Help  for Scripts

        Create an XML-based Help topic, such as the type that is typically
        created for cmdlets. XML-based Help is required if you are translating
        Help topics into multiple languages.  

        To associate the script with the XML-based Help topic, use the
        .ExternalHelp Help comment keyword. For more information about the
        ExternalHelp keyword, see about_Comment_Based_Help. For more information
        about XML-based help, see "How to Write Cmdlet Help" in the MSDN
        (Microsoft Developer Network) library at


    Each script runs in its own scope. The functions, variables, aliases, and
    drives that are created in the script exist only in the script scope. You
    cannot access these items or their values in the scope in which the
    script runs.

    To run a script in a different scope, you can specify a scope, such as
    Global or Local, or you can dot source the script.

    The dot sourcing feature lets you run a script in the current scope instead
    of in the script scope. When you run a script that is dot sourced, the 
    commands in the script run as though you had typed them at the command 
    prompt. The functions, variables, aliases, and drives that the script 
    creates are created in the scope in which you are working. After the script
    runs, you can use the created items and access their values in your session.

    To dot source a script, type a dot (.) and a space before the script path.

    For example:

        . C:\scripts\UtilityFunctions.ps1


        . .\UtilityFunctions.ps1

    After the UtilityFunctions script runs, the functions and variables that the
    script creates are added to the current scope. 
    For example, the UtilityFunctions.ps1 script creates the New-Profile
    function and the $ProfileName variable.

        #In UtilityFunctions.ps1

        function New-Profile
            Write-Host "Running New-Profile function"
            $profileName = split-path $profile -leaf

            if (test-path $profile)
               {write-error "There is already a $profileName profile on this computer."}
	       {new-item -type file -path $profile -force }

    If you run the UtilityFunctions.ps1 script in its own script scope, the
    New-Profile function and the $ProfileName variable exist only while the
    script is running. When the script exits, the function and variable are
    removed, as shown in the following example.

        C:\PS> .\UtilityFunctions.ps1

        C:\PS> New-Profile
        The term 'new-profile' is not recognized as a cmdlet, function, operable
        program, or script file. Verify the term and try again.
        At line:1 char:12
        + new-profile <<<< 
           + CategoryInfo          : ObjectNotFound: (new-profile:String) [], 
           + FullyQualifiedErrorId : CommandNotFoundException

        C:\PS> $profileName

    When you dot source the script and run it, the script creates the
    New-Profile function and the $ProfileName variable in your session in your
    scope. After the script runs, you can use the New-Profile function in your
    session, as shown in the following example.

        C:\PS> . .\UtilityFunctions.ps1

        C:\PS> New-Profile

            Directory: C:\Users\juneb\Documents\WindowsPowerShell

            Mode    LastWriteTime     Length Name                                                                   
            ----    -------------     ------ ----                                                                   
            -a---   1/14/2009 3:08 PM      0 Microsoft.PowerShellISE_profile.ps1                                    

        C:\PS> $profileName

    For more information about scope, see about_Scopes.


    A module is a set of related Windows PowerShell resources that can be
    distributed as a unit. You can use modules to organize your scripts,
    functions, and other resources. You can also use modules to distribute your
    code to others, and to get code from trusted sources.

    You can include scripts in your modules, or you can create a script module,
    which is a module that consists entirely or primarily of a script and 
    supporting resources. A script module is just a script with a .psm1 file
    name extension.

    For more information about modules, see about_Modules.


    Windows PowerShell has many useful features that you can use in scripts.

        You can use a #Requires statement to prevent a script from running
        without specified modules or snap-ins and a specified version of
        Windows PowerShell. For more information, see about_Requires.

        The $MyInvocation automatic variable contains information about the
        current command, including the current script. You can use this variable
        and its properties to get information about the script while it is
        running. For example, the $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Path variable contains
        the path and file name of the script.

    Data sections
        You can use the Data keyword to separate data from logic in scripts.
        Data sections can also make localization easier. For more information,
        see about_Data_Sections and about_Script_Localization.

    Script Signing
        You can add a digital signature to a script. Depending on the execution
        policy, you can use digital signatures to restrict the running of scripts
        that could include unsafe commands. For more information, see
        about_Execution_Policies and about_Signing.


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