Tag Archives: Get-ChildItem

Extract Media Folder from PowerPoint Files

On Wednesday, I wrote a response to something on Stack Overflow. So I don’t have to chase it down one day, I though I’d briefly discuss it here and include the updated code I would be more likely to use, providing I ever need to use it.

If you open a PowerPoint .pptx file in something like 7-Zip, you’ll quickly realize that the .pptx is a compressed, or archived, file format. While this brings down the file size (1.65MB file vs. 3.27MB when expanded), this is more more to say that there are a few folders, and several files, that make up a single PowerPoint file.

A person on Stack Overflow wanted to automate the expansion of a series of .pptx files and extract the media folder. This folder holds all the images in a PowerPoint file. I’m not going to bother to explain the code, but let me set the stage. I created a folder on my desktop called pptx. Inside the folder were four PowerPoint files using the .pptx file extension. My code created a new folder for each file in the pptx folder, expanded each PowerPoint file in their own new folders, located the nested media folder, moved it to the top level of their new folder, and then deleted all the other folders and files inside the new folder. If there wasn’t a media folder, it would still create the new folder; however, it would create a single text file in there called “No media folder.txt.” This was to help ensure the user didn’t think the code didn’t work, when they didn’t find the media folder inside the new folder.

I’ll included the original code from the forum post further below, but for now here’s an updated and cleaner version.

$Path = 'C:\users\tommymaynard\Desktop\pptx'
$Files = Get-ChildItem -Path $Path

Foreach ($File in $Files) {
    New-Item -Path $File.DirectoryName -ItemType Directory -Name $File.BaseName | Out-Null
    $NewFolder = $File.FullName.Split('.')[0]

    Add-Type -AssemblyName System.IO.Compression.FileSystem
    [System.IO.Compression.ZipFile]::ExtractToDirectory($File.FullName,$NewFolder)
    
    If (Test-Path -Path "$($NewFolder)\ppt\media") {
        Move-Item -Path "$($NewFolder)\ppt\media" -Destination $NewFolder
        Get-ChildItem -Path $NewFolder | Where-Object {$_.Name -ne 'media'} | Remove-Item -Recurse

    } Else {
        Get-ChildItem -Path $NewFolder | Remove-Item -Recurse
        New-Item -Path $NewFolder -ItemType File -Name 'No media folder.txt' | Out-Null
    }
}

And, here’s the original code and a link to the post itself. This below version didn’t use the $NewFolder variable, so there’s overwhelming inclusion of this piece of code: $File.FullName.Split(‘.’)[0]. It also defaulted to use the Expand-Archive cmdlet, if that was available. As I mentioned in the Stack Overflow post itself, it’s so slow. I’ve removed that so that it’s much faster now, which reminded me, I’ve actually written about this time difference before. It was just last October.

$Path = 'C:\users\tommymaynard\Desktop\pptx'
$Files = Get-ChildItem -Path $Path

Foreach ($File in $Files) {
    New-Item -Path $File.DirectoryName -ItemType Directory -Name $File.BaseName | Out-Null

    If (Get-Command -Name Expand-Archive) {
        Expand-Archive -Path $File.FullName -OutputPath $File.FullName.Split('.')[0]

    } Else {
        Add-Type -AssemblyName System.IO.Compression.FileSystem
        [System.IO.Compression.ZipFile]::ExtractToDirectory($File.FullName,$File.FullName.Split('.')[0])
    } # End If-Else.

    If (Test-Path -Path "$($File.FullName.Split('.')[0])\ppt\media") {
        Move-Item -Path "$($File.FullName.Split('.')[0])\ppt\media" -Destination $File.FullName.Split('.')[0]
        Get-ChildItem -Path $File.FullName.Split('.')[0] | Where-Object {$_.Name -ne 'media'} | Remove-Item -Recurse

    } Else {
        Get-ChildItem -Path $File.FullName.Split('.')[0] | Remove-Item -Recurse
        New-Item -Path $File.FullName.Split('.')[0] -ItemType File -Name 'No media folder.txt' | Out-Null
    } # End If-Else.
} # End Foreach.

ConsoleHost to ConsoleHost Variable

I often do things, or learn things, in PowerShell that lead me in the direction of writing a new post. Sometimes it’s just experimenting, and sometimes it’s a part of a bigger project. Well, the latter is why we are here today. A current profile script project of mine — that I’ll post as soon as possible — requires that a new ConsoleHost (that’s the standard blue console screen; not the ISE), open and then the current one close. That part is easy.

The problem is that my new ConsoleHost needs to know if a variable has been set, or not, in the previous ConsoleHost. Here, follow along. Start by opening a new ConsoleHost. Inside that host program, create a variable and assign it some sort of value, as I’ve done in the below example.

PS > $Variable = 'This is my standard variable.'
PS > $Variable
This is my standard variable.

In my above example, I tested that my variable had been properly assigned by returning its value. So far, so good. Now, we’ll run a command to (1) open a ConsoleHost from this ConsoleHost, and (2) exit the original ConsoleHost. The semi-colon is a command separator. It allows me to put two commands on the same line and have them run in succession with a single press of the Enter key. One ConsoleHost closes and a new one opens.

PS > Start-Process -FilePath powershell.exe; exit

Now that we have a new ConsoleHost and our old one has exited, let’s see if our variable is waiting for us.

PS > $Variable
PS > 

Nope. That variable was created in a different PowerShell session, and so there’s no getting it back. It simply doesn’t exist any longer. Without fully thinking it through, I briefly thought to use a globally scoped variable instead. It wasn’t long at all, before I realized what a foolish idea that had been. My ConsoleHost was the global scope. With another ConsoleHost, all I’d have is another, separate global scope. Not helpful. I considered writing the variable to disk, but luckily, I didn’t have to consider that option for long either. I had a better idea; I was going to use an environmental variable. Follow along.

PS > $env:Variable = 'This is my standard, environmental variable.'
PS > $env:Variable
This is my standard, environmental variable.
PS > Start-Process -FilePath powershell.exe; exit
Windows PowerShell
Copyright (C) 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

PS > # This is a new PowerShell ConsoleHost.
PS > $env:Variable
This is my standard, environmental variable.
PS > ise
PS > # This is in the PowerShell ISE Host.
PS > $env:Variable
This is my standard, environmental variable.

So, as we’ve seen, the environmental variable will follow us along from ConsoleHost to ConsoleHost to the ISE too, providing we open each of them from an existing host that includes the environment variable. Oh, and if you were wondering, the variable is still with us if we launch a ConsoleHost from the ISE (there’s a button for that). The environmental variable option works beautifully for my upcoming profile script project. I’ll link that from here when it’s up, and you’ll already understand that piece of it!

So it’s been included, the environmental variables are presented as a drive by PowerShell. The following command will show all of these variables. If you see some in there that you can use, then do so. It’s always better to use $env:COMPUTERNAME, than it is to hard code a computer name inside your functions.

Get-ChildItem -Path env:

Name                           Value
----                           -----
ALLUSERSPROFILE                C:\ProgramData
APPDATA                        C:\Users\tommymaynard\AppData\Roaming
CommonProgramFiles             C:\Program Files\Common Files
CommonProgramFiles(x86)        C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files
CommonProgramW6432             C:\Program Files\Common Files
...
USERNAME                       tommymaynard
USERPROFILE                    C:\Users\tommymaynard
Variable                       This is my standard, environmental variable.
windir                         C:\Windows

Okay, now we’re really done with today’s post, and oh, hey look, there’s our $env:Variable variable again.

Search PowerShell Gallery Module for #Requires Statement

The first part of this post began on PowerShell.org. Start there, unless you already have: http://powershell.org/wp/2015/11/30/search-powershell-gallery-module-for-requires-statement.

Please use the connect.microsoft.com link here, or at the bottom of this post, to up vote my feedback.

Desired State Configuration (DSC) and Just Enough Administration (JEA) are two topics that have recently piqued my interest. This, after becoming involved in Windows PowerShell constrained endpoints, and writing proxy functions, to better control how cmdlets are used. While working with DSC and xJEA (x, as in experimental), I ran up against an error message in the Event Viewer on my Server 2012 R2 target node running Windows Management Framework (WMF) 4.0 (the installation package that contains PowerShell 4.0). Before I get too deeply involved in JEA in WMF 5.0 on Server 2016 — what appears to be constrained endpoints of the past, with the benefits of JEA, but without the need for DSC, and some additional new features — I wanted to ensure I was able to deploy JEA endpoints with DSC, while running WMF 4.0.

Knowing this, the first error message below, makes perfect sense. I downloaded a version of xJEA that had a PowerShell 5.0 requirement, without even knowing it. Instead of moving up to WMF 5.0 to “fix” this, I opted to first get an older version of xJEA and determine if I was able to make it run with a version that can be used on WMF 4.0. This seemed like a logical progression in my learning and understanding of both DSC and JEA. Here’s the error:

“Error Message = The script ‘MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1’ cannot be run because it contained a “#requires” statement for Windows PowerShell 5.0. The version of Windows PowerShell that is required by the script does not match the currently running version of Windows PowerShell 4.0.”

As to be expected, the error message that was reported in the console host, was much less helpful. In fact, I was at a total loss until I went hunting in the Event Viewer, where I turned up the previous error message. Here’s the error I saw in the console:

“Invoke-CimMethod : Failed to extract the module from zip file C:\Windows\TEMP\\635842583367244849\xJea_0.2.16.6.zip
downloaded by Download Manager WebDownloadManager.”

In order to determine which version of xJEA didn’t require PowerShell 5.0, I needed to download all the xJEA versions and inspect them. You see, there isn’t a way to find out if there’s a PowerShell version requirement… more on that shortly. To begin, I ensured that the PowerShell Gallery was a trusted repository, and therefore, wouldn’t prompt me when I ran the Save-Module command in an upcoming example. To do this, I ran the commands below to (1) verify if the PowerShell Gallery was trusted (which it wasn’t, and isn’t by default), (2) trust it as an installation source, and (3) verify it was trusted.

PS> Get-PSRepository

Name                      PackageManagementPro InstallationPolicy   SourceLocation
                          vider
----                      -------------------- ------------------   --------------
PSGallery                 NuGet                Untrusted            https://www.powershellgallery.com/api/v2/


PS> Set-PSRepository -Name PSGallery -InstallationPolicy Trusted
PS> Get-PSRepository

Name                      PackageManagementPro InstallationPolicy   SourceLocation
                          vider
----                      -------------------- ------------------   --------------
PSGallery                 NuGet                Trusted              https://www.powershellgallery.com/api/v2/

When that was completed, what I needed was to download all the xJEA modules from the PowerShell Gallery, at once, and place them into a folder for each version. Luckily, the Save-Module cmdlet will handle the file structure. This means, each module (a DSC resource, in this case) will be saved inside a version folder, nested in the same xJea folder. I gave the cmdlet a base path (C:\), and it did the rest. Take a look below at the example and image.

PS> Find-Module -Name xJea -AllVersions |
>> ForEach-Object {Save-Module -Path C:\ -Name xJea -RequiredVersion "$($_.Version.ToString())"}

Search PowerShell Gallery Module for requires01

Once I had all the files downloaded, I needed to run through all the contained .psm1 files for the requires statement for PowerShell version 5.0. The command below returned 51 files where it located the string “requires -version 5.”

PS> (Get-ChildItem -Path C:\xJea -Recurse -Filter '*.psm1' |
>> Get-Content) -match 'requires -version 5' |
>> Select-Object PSPath | Convert-Path
C:\xJea\0.2.10\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.10\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.10\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.11\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.11\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.11\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.12\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.12\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.12\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.13\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.13\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.13\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.14\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.14\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.14\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.15\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.15\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.15\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.1\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.1\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.1\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.2\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.2\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.2\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.3\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.3\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.3\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.4\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.4\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.4\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.5\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.5\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.5\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.6\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.6\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.16.6\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.5\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.5\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.6\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.6\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.7\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.7\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.8\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.8\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.8\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.9\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.9\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
C:\xJea\0.2.9\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1

In the next two examples, I haven’t included all the results to save some space. The example below, takes the previous one, and removes the portion of the path to the left of the version number. Compare the last line in the example above with the last line in the example below, and you’ll see how the .Split() method cleaned up the beginning of each result.

PS> (Get-ChildItem -Path C:\xJea -Recurse -Filter '*.psm1' |
>> Get-Content) -match 'requires -version 5' |
>> Select-Object PSPath | Convert-Path |
>> ForEach-Object {$_.Split('\',3)[-1]}
0.2.10\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
0.2.10\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
0.2.10\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
0.2.11\DSCResources\Library\JeaAccount.psm1
0.2.11\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint\MSFT_xJeaEndpoint.psm1
0.2.11\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1
...
0.2.9\DSCResources\MSFT_xJeaToolkit\MSFT_xJeaToolkit.psm1

In this example, we added a second .Split() method to clean up the path information to the right of the version number. Now, we only have the versions, although we do have duplicates.

PS> (Get-ChildItem -Path C:\xJea -Recurse -Filter '*.psm1' |
>> Get-Content) -match 'requires -version 5' |
>> Select-Object PSPath | Convert-Path |
>> Foreach-Object {$_.Split('\',3)[-1].Split('\')[0]}
0.2.10
0.2.10
0.2.10
0.2.11
0.2.11
0.2.11
..
0.2.9

This example below, shows the full results again; however, each version is only listed one time. This is because we’ve piped the previous results to Select-Object -Unique. This means, for example, we only see 0.2.11 once, even though it appeared three times in the last example.

PS> (Get-ChildItem -Path C:\xJea -Recurse -Filter '*.psm1' |
>> Get-Content) -match 'requires -version 5' |
>> Select-Object PSPath | Convert-Path |
>> ForEach-Object {$_.Split('\',3)[-1].Split('\')[0]} |
>> Select-Object -Unique
0.2.10
0.2.11
0.2.12
0.2.13
0.2.14
0.2.15
0.2.16
0.2.16.1
0.2.16.2
0.2.16.3
0.2.16.4
0.2.16.5
0.2.16.6
0.2.5
0.2.6
0.2.7
0.2.8
0.2.9

We now have a complete list of all the versions that require PowerShell 5.0. That means we can determine which versions will run with PowerShell 4.0.

In this final example, we set a variable, $VersionsRequireWMF5, to the results produced by our last command. These are the versions that require PowerShell 5.0. In the middle of the example below, we set a second variable, $AllVersions, to all the versions of xJEA that we downloaded. We did this by running a Get-ChildItem (think, dir or ls) against the C:\xJea directory and returned just the directory names. That gives us two variables that we can supply to the Compare-Object cmdlet. That cmdlet will tell us the differences between the values of the variables, indicating which versions I can use with WMF 4.0.

PS> $VersionsRequireWMF5 = (Get-ChildItem -Path C:\xJea -Recurse -Filter '*.psm1' | 
>> Get-Content) -match 'requires -version 5' | 
>> Select-Object PSPath | Convert-Path | 
>> ForEach-Object {$_.Split('\',3)[-1].Split('\')[0]} | 
>> Select-Object -Unique
PS>  
PS> $AllVersions = (Get-ChildItem -Path C:\xJea | Select-Object).Name
PS>  
PS> Compare-Object -ReferenceObject $AllVersions -DifferenceObject $VersionsRequireWMF5

InputObject SideIndicator
----------- -------------
0.2         <=
0.2.1       <=
0.2.2       <=
0.2.4       <=

Based on these results, version 0.2, 0.2.1, 0.2.2, and 0.2.4, do not require WMF 5.0 and can be tested with WMF 4.0, before moving to the newer version of WMF. You can expect that I’ll work with 0.2.4 tomorrow morning.

A final note: Microsoft may not yet think they need it, but they should indicate the version of PowerShell that is required by modules on the PowerShell Gallery. That needs to be a part of their approval process, and the results need to added to the web interface, and made a part of the results returned by the Find-Module cmdlet (see the full Find-Module results below). These results should include a Requires property. This isn’t going to be the last time someone comes up against this problem, especially as we move into versions post WMF 5.0.

PS> Find-Module -Name xJea | Select-Object *

Name : xJea
Version : 0.2.16.6
Description : Module with DSC Resources for Just Enough Admin (JEA). Jea makes it simple to create
custom RBAC solutions using PowerShell.
Author : Microsoft Corporation
CompanyName :
Copyright : (c) 2014 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
PublishedDate : 5/14/2015 7:51:23 PM
LicenseUri :
ProjectUri :
IconUri :
Tags : {PSModule, PSIncludes_DscResource}
Includes : {Function, DscResource, Cmdlet, Command}
PowerShellGetFormatVersion :
ReleaseNotes :
Dependencies : {}
RepositorySourceLocation : https://www.powershellgallery.com/api/v2/
Repository : PSGallery
PackageManagementProvider : NuGet

If you think this should be included, then up vote the feedback I’ve left on connect.microsoft.com.

Return File Sizes in Bytes, KBs, MBs, and GBs, at the Same Time

I scanned a recent forum post on PowerShell.org where the user seemed (again, I scanned it) to want to run some files through Get-ChildItem and Select-Object, and report the size in something other than the bytes default. It didn’t appear he, or she, wanted all the files in one of the measurement groups: B, KB, MB, or GB, but instead in their proper measurement group, dependent on the file’s size.

That may be hard to understand at first read, so let me try and explain it another way. If a file has less than 1,024 bytes, then it should be reported in bytes, if it has 1,024 – 1,048,575 bytes, then it should be reported in Kilobytes, if it has 1,048,576 – 1,073,741,824 bytes then it should be reported Megabytes, and if it has 1,073,741,825 or more bytes, then it should be reported in Gigabytes.

I wrote a long, “one-liner” to do this and have included it, and some sample output, below. I don’t profess to guarantee this doesn’t have any errors, so if you find some, then let me know. In addition, it shows a nice example of a switch statement inside the Expression portion of a calculated property. Fancy.

Get-ChildItem -Path 'C:\test' |
    Select-Object Name,
        @{L='Size';E={
                switch ($_.Length) {
                    # Bytes
                    {$_ -eq 0} {"$('{0:N2}' -f $_) bytes"; break}
                    {$_ -eq 1} {"$('{0:N2}' -f $_) byte"; break}
                    {($_ -gt 1) -and ($_ -le 1023)} {"$('{0:N2}' -f $_) bytes"; break}

                    # Kilobytes
                    {$_ -eq 1024} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1KB)) Kilobyte"; break}
                    {($_ -gt 1024) -and ($_ -le 1048575)} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1KB)) Kilobytes"; break}

                    # Megabytes
                    {$_ -eq 1048576} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1MB)) Megabyte"; break}
                    {($_ -gt 1048576) -and ($_ -le 1073741824)} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1MB)) Megabytes"; break}

                    # Gigabytes
                    {$_ -eq 1073741825} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1GB)) Gigabyte"; break}
                    {$_ -gt 1073741825} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1GB)) Gigabytes"; break}

                    default {Write-Warning -Message 'Unknown Error.'}
                }
            }
        } | Format-Table -AutoSize

Name           Size
----           ----
My-A-File.txt  1.00 byte
My-A-File2.txt 445.00 bytes
My-B-File.txt  1.00 Kilobyte
My-B-File2.txt 1.30 Kilobytes
My-C-File.txt  2.09 Megabytes
My-D-File.txt  3.59 Gigabytes

I can easily see how someone might want to remove the singular vs. plural: Kilobyte vs. Kilobytes, and just use B, KB, MB, and GB, and so…

Update: I gave this some more thought today, and I really didn’t feel like it was okay to not include a modified version that uses abbreviations (B, KB, MB, GB) instead of the full words, as in the previous example. It has removed some complexity, as well, as you can see below.

Get-ChildItem -Path 'C:\test' |
    Select-Object Name,
        @{L='Size';E={
                switch ($_.Length) {
                    # Bytes
                    {($_ -ge 0) -and ($_ -le 1023)} {"$('{0:N2}' -f $_) B"; break}

                    # Kilobytes
                    {($_ -ge 1024) -and ($_ -le 1048575)} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1KB)) KB"; break}

                    # Megabytes
                    {($_ -ge 1048576) -and ($_ -le 1073741824)} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1MB)) MB"; break}

                    # Gigabytes
                    {$_ -ge 1073741825} {"$('{0:N2}' -f ($_/1GB)) GB"; break}

                    default {Write-Warning -Message 'Unknown Error.'}
                }
            }
        } | Format-Table -AutoSize

Name           Size
----           ----
My-A-File.txt  1.00 B
My-A-File2.txt 445.00 B
My-B-File.txt  1.00 KB
My-B-File2.txt 1.30 KB
My-C-File.txt  2.09 MB
My-D-File.txt  3.59 GB

Give your Variable a Description

When we think of variables in Windows PowerShell, we often only consider two parts: the name of the variable, and the value of the variable. Well, it turns out that those aren’t the only properties; let’s discuss the description property.

I can’t say I’ve ever added a description to a variable until now, but I can think of times, when looking at someone’s code, where I wish I knew the reason why a variable existed. Best practice would indicate we use meaningful names for our variables, so it’s probably safe to assume that the same people that might use a poorly-named variable, probably don’t know or care that variables can have descriptions… but, I digress.

In this first example, we’ll create a new variable using what I’d call the standard method — the equal sign assignment operator.

PS C:\> $a = 12345
PS C:\> $a
12345
PS C:\> Get-Variable a | Select-Object *

Name        : a
Description :
Value       : 12345
Visibility  : Public
Module      :
ModuleName  :
Options     : None
Attributes  : {}

In line 1, we created a new variable, $a, and set its value to the numeric 12345. In the next line, we simply echoed the variable’s value. In line 4, we used the Get-Variable cmdlet and piped it to the Select-Object cmdlet and * so we were able to view all of its properties. If you take a look at the results, you’ll see the description property, and notice that it’s currently blank.

In the next example, we’ll use the Set-Variable cmdlet to modify the variable’s description.

PS C:\> Set-Variable a -Description 'This variable contains a 5-digit number.'
PS C:\> Get-Variable a | Select-Object *

Name        : a
Description : This variable contains a 5-digit number.
Value       : 12345
Visibility  : Public
Module      :
ModuleName  :
Options     : None
Attributes  : {}

PS C:\>

Once we use the Get-Variable cmdlet, and return all the properties again, we can see that our variable now contains a description value. Now, while many user-defined variables, such as we created here, don’t often contain descriptions, many of the automatic and preference variables do — take a look at a segment of the results returned by the next command.

PS C:\> Get-ChildItem variable: | Select-Object Name,Description | Format-Table -AutoSize

Name                       Description
----                       -----------
...
MaximumAliasCount          Maximum number of aliases allowed in a session
MaximumDriveCount          Maximum number of drives allowed in a session
MaximumErrorCount          Maximum number of errors to retain in a session
MaximumFunctionCount       Maximum number of functions allowed in a session
MaximumHistoryCount        Maximum number of history objects to retain in a session
MaximumVariableCount       Maximum number of variables allowed in a session
MyInvocation
NestedPromptLevel          Dictates what type of prompt should be displayed for the current nesting level
...

Well, there you go: something you might not have known about, and something you may never use.

about_Aliases

This post is the help rewrite for about_Aliases. While the help files for Windows PowerShell are invaluable, the idea behind a rewrite is so true beginners might even better understand the help file concepts. At times, some things discussed in the Windows PowerShell help file will not be included in a help rewrite. Therefore, it is always best to read the actual help file after reading this post. (PS3.0)

An Alias in Windows PowerShell is a simplified, or quicker, way to type a cmdlet using an alternate name. Get-Alias (or the alias for Get-Alias, gal) will display a list of all of the aliases that the Windows PowerShell session knows about. This includes both built-in aliases and any additional aliases created or imported. The first two examples below, indicate two ways to accomplish the same thing – listing all the aliases. These examples only show the first four results.

PS C:\> Get-Alias

CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName
-----------     ----                                               ----------
Alias           % -> ForEach-Object
Alias           ? -> Where-Object
Alias           ac -> Add-Content
Alias           asnp -> Add-PSSnapin

This example uses the alias for the Get-Alias cmdlet, gal.

PS C:\> gal

CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName
-----------     ----                                               ----------
Alias           % -> ForEach-Object
Alias           ? -> Where-Object
Alias           ac -> Add-Content
Alias           asnp -> Add-PSSnapin

In order to find the cmdlet associated with a single alias, the alias needs to be provided, as the value for the -Name parameter, to the Get-Alias cmdlet.

PS C:\> gal -Name gc

CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName
-----------     ----                                               ----------
Alias           gc -> Get-Content

The name parameter (-Name) is not required to use it. This means that if there is something after the Get-Alias cmdlet, such as gc in this example, then it will default to using the -Name parameter.

PS C:\> gal gc

CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName
-----------     ----                                               ----------
Alias           gc -> Get-Content

Windows PowerShell will error if the -Name parameter is supplied with a cmdlet name, or another value that is not an alias.

PS C:\> gal Get-Content

gal : This command cannot find a matching alias because an alias with the name ‘Get-Content’ does not exist.
At line:1 char:1
+ gal Get-Content
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : ObjectNotFound: (Get-Content:String) [Get-Alias], ItemNotFoundException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : ItemNotFoundException,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.GetAliasCommand

In order to get an alias (or aliases, if there is more than one) for a cmdlet, the -Definition parameter must be used.

PS C:\> gal -Definition Get-Content

CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName
-----------     ----                                               ----------
Alias           cat -> Get-Content
Alias           gc -> Get-Content
Alias           type -> Get-Content

The Get-Service cmdlet returns the computer’s services, the Get-Process cmdlet return the processes running on the computer, and the Get-ChildItem cmdlet returns the directories and/or files from the root of a drive or from a folder. Here is how a user can get the aliases for multiple cmdlets at the same time.

PS C:\> gal -Definition Get-Service,Get-Process,Get-ChildItem

CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName
-----------     ----                                               ----------
Alias           gsv -> Get-Service
Alias           gps -> Get-Process
Alias           ps -> Get-Process
Alias           dir -> Get-ChildItem
Alias           gci -> Get-ChildItem
Alias           ls -> Get-ChildItem

There are a few other cmdlets that allow a user to work with aliases. By using the Get-Command cmdlet (or its alias – if it has one), additional cmdlets can be returned that all end with -Alias.

PS C:\> Get-Command *-Alias

CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName
-----------     ----                                               ----------
Cmdlet          Export-Alias                                       Microsoft.PowerShell.Utility
Cmdlet          Get-Alias                                          Microsoft.PowerShell.Utility
Cmdlet          Import-Alias                                       Microsoft.PowerShell.Utility
Cmdlet          New-Alias                                          Microsoft.PowerShell.Utility
Cmdlet          Set-Alias                                          Microsoft.PowerShell.Utility

Export-Alias: Exports information about currently defined aliases to a file.

PS C:\> Export-Alias -Path 'C:\aliases.txt'

Import-Alias: Imports an alias, or aliases, from a file.

PS C:\> Import-Alias -Path 'C:\ImportedAliases.txt'

Trying to import aliases that already exists will cause an error for every alias Windows PowerShell tries to import (that already exists).

PS C:\> Export-Alias -Path 'C:\aliases.txt'
PS C:\> Import-Alias -Path 'C:\aliases.txt'
Import-Alias : The alias is not allowed, because an alias with the name ‘ac’ already exists.
At line:1 char:1
+ Import-Alias -Path ‘C:\aliases.txt’
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : ResourceExists: (ac:String) [Import-Alias], SessionStateException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : AliasAlreadyExists,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.ImportAliasCommand

New-Alias: Creates a new alias.
Set-Alias: Changes an existing alias, or creates an alias if it does not already exist.

PS C:\> New-Alias -Name MyAlias -Value Get-Process
PS C:\> MyAlias | select -First 4

Handles  NPM(K)    PM(K)      WS(K) VM(M)   CPU(s)     Id ProcessName
-------  ------    -----      ----- -----   ------     -- -----------
    224      19     3440        772   110    16.50   4612 ALMon
    164      14     2476       2108    44     5.36   2744 ALsvc
     77       9     1336       5288    75   137.55   4076 ApMsgFwd
     90       8     1372       5788    76   162.11   4324 ApntEx

PS C:\> Set-Alias -Name MyAlias -Value Get-Service
PS C:\> MyAlias | select -First 4

Status   Name               DisplayName
------   ----               -----------
Running  AdobeARMservice    Adobe Acrobat Update Service
Stopped  AdobeFlashPlaye... Adobe Flash Player Update Service
Stopped  AeLookupSvc        Application Experience
Stopped  ALG                Application Layer Gateway Service

Bonus Information

Use the Measure-Object cmdlet, or the count property, to find out how many aliases Windows PowerShell knows about.

PS C:\> Get-Alias | Measure-Object

Count    : 182
Average  :
Sum      :
Maximum  :
Minimum  :
Property :

PS C:\> gal | measure

Count    : 182
Average  :
Sum      :
Maximum  :
Minimum  :
Property :

PS C:\> (gal | measure).count
182
PS C:\> (gal).count
182

Real World

While aliases are helpful in the console, the belief is that they should not be used in a script file (.ps1 file). Using full cmdlet names in a script is preferred for script readability. There are plenty of people writing Windows PowerShell who adhere to this best practice even while using aliases for the object cmdlets (select for Select-Object, where for Where-Object, etc.).

Learn More

This information, and more, is stored in the help file about_Aliases that comes with Windows PowerShell. This information can be read by typing any of the commands below. The first example will display the help file in the Windows PowerShell console, the second example will open the full help in it’s own window, the third example will send the contents of the help file to the clipboard (so it can be pasted into Word, Notepad, etc.), and the fourth example will open the help file in Notepad.

PS C:\> Get-Help about_aliases
PS C:\> Get-Help about_aliases -ShowWindow
PS C:\> Get-Help about_aliases | clip
PS C:\> Notepad C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\en-US\about_Aliases.help.txt

There is a built-in, automatic variable, $PSHOME, that stores the installation path of Windows PowerShell. This means that the third example above could have been partially written using that variable.

PS C:\> Notepad $PSHOME\en-us\about_Aliases.help.txt