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About Profiles

JuanPablo Jofre|Last Updated: 11/17/2016
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1 Contributor

about_Profiles

about_Profiles

SHORT DESCRIPTION

Describes how to create and use a Windows PowerShell profile.

LONG DESCRIPTION

You can create a Windows PowerShell profile to customize your environment and to add session-specific elements to every Windows PowerShell session that you start.

A Windows PowerShell profile is a script that runs when Windows PowerShell starts. You can use the profile as a logon script to customize the environment. You can add commands, aliases, functions, variables, snap-ins, modules, and Windows PowerShell drives. You can also add other session-specific elements to your profile so they are available in every session without having to import or re-create them.

Windows PowerShell supports several profiles for users and host programs. However, it does not create the profiles for you. This topic describes the profiles, and it describes how to create and maintain profiles on your computer.

It explains how to use the NoProfile parameter of the Windows PowerShell console (PowerShell.exe) to start Windows PowerShell without any profiles. And, it explains the effect of the Windows PowerShell execution policy on profiles.

THE PROFILE FILES

Windows PowerShell supports several profile files. Also, Windows PowerShell host programs can support their own host-specific profiles.

For example, the Windows PowerShell console supports the following basic profile files. The profiles are listed in precedence order. The first profile has the highest precedence.

Description Path


Current User, Current Host $Home[My ]Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Profile.ps1 Current User, All Hosts $Home[My ]Documents\Profile.ps1 All Users, Current Host $PsHome\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1 All Users, All Hosts $PsHome\Profile.ps1

The profile paths include the following variables:

  • The $PsHome variable, which stores the installation directory for Windows PowerShell.

  • The $Home variable, which stores the current user's home directory.

In addition, other programs that host Windows PowerShell can support their own profiles. For example, Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) supports the following host-specific profiles.

Description Path


Current user, Current Host $Home[My ]Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShellISE_profile.ps1 All users, Current Host $PsHome\Microsoft.PowerShellISE_profile.ps1

In Windows PowerShell Help, the "CurrentUser, Current Host" profile is the profile most often referred to as "your Windows PowerShell profile".

THE $PROFILE VARIABLE

The $Profile automatic variable stores the paths to the Windows PowerShell profiles that are available in the current session.

To view a profile path, display the value of the $Profile variable. You can also use the $Profile variable in a command to represent a path.

The $Profile variable stores the path to the "Current User, Current Host" profile. The other profiles are saved in note properties of the $profile variable.

For example, the $Profile variable has the following values in the Windows PowerShell console.

Name Description


$Profile Current User,Current Host $Profile.CurrentUserCurrentHost Current User,Current Host $Profile.CurrentUserAllHosts Current User,All Hosts $Profile.AllUsersCurrentHost All Users, Current Host $Profile.AllUsersAllHosts All Users, All Hosts

Because the values of the $Profile variable change for each user and in each host application, ensure that you display the values of the profile variables in each Windows PowerShell host application that you use.

To see the current values of the $Profile variable, type:

$profile | get-member -type noteproperty

You can use the $Profile variable in many commands. For example, the following command opens the "Current User, Current Host" profile in Notepad:

notepad $profile

The following command determines whether an "All Users, All Hosts" profile has been created on the local computer:

test-path $profile.AllUsersAllHosts

HOW TO CREATE A PROFILE

To create a Windows PowerShell profile, use the following command format:

if (!(test-path )) {new-item -type file -path -force}

For example, to create a profile for the current user in the current Windows PowerShell host application, use the following command:

if (!(test-path $profile)) {new-item -type file -path $profile -force}

In this command, the If statement prevents you from overwriting an existing profile. Replace the value of the placeholder with the path to the profile file that you want to create.

Note: To create "All Users" profiles in Windows Vista and later versions of Windows, start Windows PowerShell with the "Run as administrator" option.

HOW TO EDIT A PROFILE

You can open any Windows PowerShell profile in a text editor, such as Notepad.

To open the profile of the current user in the current Windows PowerShell host application in Notepad, type:

notepad $profile

To open other profiles, specify the profile name. For example, to open the profile for all the users of all the host applications, type:

notepad $profile.AllUsersAllHosts

To apply the changes, save the profile file, and then restart Windows PowerShell.

HOW TO CHOOSE A PROFILE

If you use multiple host applications, put the items that you use in all the host applications into your $Profile.CurrentUserAllHosts profile. Put items that are specific to a host application, such as a command that sets the background color for a host application, in a profile that is specific to that host application.

If you are an administrator who is customizing Windows PowerShell for many users, follow these guidelines:

-- Store the common items in the $profile.AllUsersAllHosts profile.

-- Store items that are specific to a host application in $profile.AllUsersCurrentHost profiles that are specific to the host application.

-- Store items for particular users in the user-specific profiles.

Be sure to check the host application documentation for any special implementation of Windows PowerShell profiles.

HOW TO USE A PROFILE

Many of the items that you create in Windows PowerShell and most commands that you run affect only the current session. When you end the session, the items are deleted.

The session-specific commands and items include variables, preference variables, aliases, functions, commands (except for Set-ExecutionPolicy), and Windows PowerShell snap-ins that you add to the session.

To save these items and make them available in all future sessions, add them to a Windows PowerShell profile.

Another common use for profiles is to save frequently-used functions, aliases, and variables. When you save the items in a profile, you can use them in any applicable session without re-creating them.

HOW TO START A PROFILE

When you open the profile file, it is blank. However, you can fill it with the variables, aliases, and commands that you use frequently.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

-- Add commands that make it easy to open your profile. This is especially useful if you use a profile other than the "Current User, Current Host" profile. For example, add the following command:

function pro {notepad $profile.CurrentUserAllHosts}

-- Add a function that opens Windows PowerShell Help in a compiled HTML Help file (.chm).

function Get-CHM { (invoke-item $env:windir\help\mui\0409\WindowsPowerShellHelp.chm) }

This function opens the English version of the .chm file. However, you can replace the language code (0409) to open other versions of the .chm file.

-- Add a function that lists the aliases for any cmdlet.

function Get-CmdletAlias ($cmdletname) { get-alias | Where {$_.definition -like "$cmdletname"} | ft Definition, Name -auto }

-- Add an Add-PsSnapin command to add any Windows PowerShell snap-ins that you use.

-- Customize your console.

function Color-Console { $host.ui.rawui.backgroundcolor = "white" $host.ui.rawui.foregroundcolor = "black" $hosttime = (dir $pshome\PowerShell.exe).creationtime $Host.UI.RawUI.WindowTitle = "Windows PowerShell $hostversion ($hosttime)" clear-host } Color-console

-- Add a customized Windows PowerShell prompt that includes the computer name and the current path.

function prompt { $env:computername + "\" + (get-location) + "> " }

For more information about the Windows PowerShell prompt, see about_Prompts.

THE NOPROFILE PARAMETER

To start Windows PowerShell without profiles, use the NoProfile parameter of PowerShell.exe, the program that starts Windows PowerShell.

To begin, open a program that can start Windows PowerShell, such as Cmd.exe or Windows PowerShell itself. You can also use the Run dialog box in Windows.

Type:

PowerShell -noprofile

For a complete list of the parameters of PowerShell.exe, type:

PowerShell -?

PROFILES AND EXECUTION POLICY

The Windows PowerShell execution policy determines, in part, whether you can run scripts and load configuration files, including the profiles. The Restricted execution policy is the default. It prevents all scripts from running, including the profiles. If you use the Restricted policy, the profile does not run, and its contents are not applied.

A Set-ExecutionPolicy command sets and changes your execution policy. It is one of the few commands that applies in all Windows PowerShell sessions because the value is saved in the registry. You do not have to set it when you open the console, and you do not have to store a Set-ExecutionPolicy command in your profile.

PROFILES AND REMOTE SESSIONS

Windows PowerShell profiles are not run automatically in remote sessions, so the commands that the profileS add are not present in the remote session. In addition, the $profile automatic variable is not populated in remote sessions.

To run a profile in a session, use the Invoke-Command cmdlet.

For example, the following command runs the CurrentUserCurrentHost profile from the local computer in the session in $s.

invoke-command -session $s -filepath $profile

The following command runs the CurrentUserCurrentHost profile from the remote computer in the session in $s. Because the $profile variable is not populated, the command uses the explicit path to the profile.

invoke-command -session $s {invoke-command "$home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1"}

After running this command, the commands that the profile adds to the session are available in $s.

SEE ALSO

about_Automatic_Variables about_Functions about_Prompts about_Execution_Policies about_Signing about_Remote Set-ExecutionPolicy

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