Tag Archives: Get-History

Copy the Last Command to the Clipboard

As a PowerShell blogger, I’ll often write a command in the PowerShell ConsoleHost and then, after it’s been executed, want to copy it out and paste it into a post. What this typically means is that I’ll press the up arrow to recall the last command — the one I want — and then selectively highlight the code I want and right-click to copy. Inevitably, I’ll end up copying my prompt and other unwanted lines, or parts of lines, and have to clean that up once it’s been pasted elsewhere.

Well, with a quick minute, those days are over. Type the function name Copy-LastCommand (once the function is in your PowerShell session), press Enter, and boom, the last command you entered is on the clipboard and ready to go elsewhere. Simple. Now all I do, is paste it where I want it and save myself some seconds. They add up.

Function Copy-LastCommand {
    (Get-History (Get-History | Select-Object -Last 1).Id).CommandLine | clip
}

Update: I made some changes to this little function and need to share those. Something I didn’t consider right away, was what happens if there isn’t a last command to copy? This is to say, what if the Copy-LastCommand is the first command entered into someone’s PowerShell session? Well, it won’t have anything to copy. I’ve added a fix for those times — a simple Write-Warning command. I also edited this to work using the newer, Set-Clipboard, cmdlet that was introduced in PowerShell 5.1 (I believe).

Function Copy-LastCommand {
    If (Get-History) {
        If ($PSVersionTable.PSVersion.ToString() -match '5.1') {
            Set-Clipboard -Value (Get-History (Get-History | Select-Object -Last 1).Id -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue).CommandLine
        } Else {
            (Get-History (Get-History | Select-Object -Last 1).Id).CommandLine | clip
        }
    } Else {
        Write-Warning -Message 'No command history to copy.'
    }
}

Invoke a Command from a Get-History Menu

Sometimes you line up the right cmdlets, appreciate what you’ve done for a moment, only to become mildly irritated that you never thought of that before. I just did that.

We all know, or should rather, that the Get-History cmdlet returns a list of commands that have been entered during the current Windows PowerShell session. If you open up a new console, enter a couple commands, and then run Get-History, or one of its aliases (ghy, h, history), it’ll show you what commands you’ve entered up until that point. Take this example, for instance:

PS> Get-Process | Select-Object -Last 2

Handles  NPM(K)    PM(K)      WS(K) VM(M)   CPU(s)     Id ProcessName
-------  ------    -----      ----- -----   ------     -- -----------
    263      11     1680       5132    46     0.02   3356 WUDFHost
    227      12     1824       6804    47     0.22   3840 WUDFHost


PS> Get-Service | Select-Object -First 2

Status   Name               DisplayName
------   ----               -----------
Running  AdobeARMservice    Adobe Acrobat Update Service
Stopped  AdobeFlashPlaye... Adobe Flash Player Update Service


PS> Get-History

  Id CommandLine
  -- -----------
   1 Get-Process | Select-Object -Last 2
   2 Get-Service | Select-Object -First 2


PS> Get-History

  Id CommandLine
  -- -----------
   1 Get-Process | Select-Object -Last 2
   2 Get-Service | Select-Object -First 2
   3 Get-History

I use the up arrow quite often to cycle through my previous commands, and press Enter when I’ve found the one I want to run again. That’s one way to rerun a previously run command. Another, is to use the Get-History cmdlet. First, you use it to determine the ID of the command you want to rerun, such as we’ve done above. Then, you can run Get-History again with the -Id parameter and pipe that result to Invoke-History (aliases: ihy, r), such as we’ve done below. You can also just use Invoke-History -Id 1 without the use of Get-History.

PS> Get-History -Id 1 | Invoke-History
Get-Process | Select-Object -Last 2

Handles  NPM(K)    PM(K)      WS(K) VM(M)   CPU(s)     Id ProcessName
-------  ------    -----      ----- -----   ------     -- -----------
    263      11     1680       5132    46     0.02   3356 WUDFHost
    227      12     1824       6804    47     0.22   3840 WUDFHost

What about making a “menu,” where we can select the command we want to run and press OK to run it? Easy. If you’ve been paying attention to PowerShell, then you’ve probably seen the Out-GridView cmdlet before. Let’s put it to good use, and I’ll show you the cmdlets I lined up.

PS> Get-History | Out-GridView -PassThru | Invoke-History

When I enter the command above, it will show the dialog box below; however, your dialog box will be the default size. I’ve resized mine so that the image better fits on this page. If it’s important to you, you can change what the title says by including Out-GridView’s -Title parameter: Get-History | Out-GridView -PassThru -Title ‘History Menu’ | Invoke-History.

Invoke-a-Command-from-Get-History-Menu01

After I select an option from the list, and press OK, the history item will be rerun.

PS> Get-History | Out-GridView -PassThru | Invoke-History
Get-Process | Select-Object -Last 2

Handles  NPM(K)    PM(K)      WS(K) VM(M)   CPU(s)     Id ProcessName
-------  ------    -----      ----- -----   ------     -- -----------
    263      11     1680       5132    46     0.02   3356 WUDFHost
    227      12     1824       6804    47     0.22   3840 WUDFHost

PS>

Well, there it is. Something so simple and so obvious that I can’t believe I never thought of it before.

Determine if the Alias, or Function Name was Used

As a Windows PowerShell enthusiast, I am often thinking about PowerShell. Seems logical. Can I do this? What will happen if I do that? Why doesn’t this work!? Well, I had one of those thoughts recently. Can I determine if a function was called using an alias, or if it was called using the function name?

This thought occurred to me because of a change I considered adding to one of my functions. The idea was, that I wanted to prompt the user for confirmation to run a function (within the function), if an alias was used, and not prompt the user when the full function name was used. This lined up with the assumption that an alias could be accidentally entered more easily than the function name, and that we may want to take precautions when the alias was used.

My first consideration was to get the last command entered by the user, by using: (Get-History -Count 1).CommandLine. The problem with that “option,” is that the history isn’t updated until after the function has ended. This means that I wouldn’t know what was entered by the user while the function was running. Take a look at the example below. When I run the function Get-TMHistory the first time, nothing is displayed (in a fresh console), but something is displayed after the second run.

Function Get-TMHistory {
	Get-History -Count 1
}

PS C:\> Get-TMHistory
PS C:\> Get-TMHistory

  Id CommandLine
  -- -----------
   1 Get-TMHistory

I came up with a another idea. Let’s start by creating a new function called Get-TMHowCalled. In addition, we’ll need to create an alias for the function – let’s use ghc. I’ve included the New-Alias cmdlet’s -Force parameter in case there’s already an alias with that name. If there is, then New-Alias acts like Set-Alias, and updates the alias (instead of throwing an error). Note: This option could be problematic if it replaced ghc, and ghc was used for a different purpose.

New-Alias -Name ghc -Value Get-TMHowCalled -Force

Function Get-TMHowCalled {

}

The next thing to do is to construct the logic that will check and determine if the alias was used, or if the full function name was used. This is simple function: check, and echo what was entered by the user.

Function Get-TMHowCalled {
    If () {
        Write-Output -Verbose 'Alias was used.'
    } ElseIf () {
        Write-Output -Verbose 'Function name was used.'
    }
}

The secret here is the $MyInvocation automatic variable and its Line property. This stores what was entered, and so it can be used to determine how the function was called – by alias or by name. The best part, is that the variable is populated when the function is called and can, therefore, be queried inside the function. This variable can only be used in “scripts, functions, and script blocks.” You can read more about it using this command: Get-Help about_Automatic_Variables.

Function Get-TMHowCalled {
    If ($MyInvocation.Line -eq 'ghc') {
        Write-Output -Verbose 'Alias was used.'
    } ElseIf ($MyInvocation.Line -eq 'Get-TMHowCalled') {
        Write-Output -Verbose 'Function name was used.'
    }
}

Hope this proves to be helpful for someone. It might be for me.