Top 25 Windows PowerShell commands for administrators

Even though Windows PowerShell has been around for a while, administrators who are brushing up on their command line skills may be interested in understanding the fundamentals of its capabilities.

    Requires Free Membership to View

Windows Scripting School

Need to bone up on your scripting know-how? It's time to go to school. Check out the archives from Christa Anderson's scripting column.

Let's take a look at 25 very common tasks you can accomplish with Windows PowerShell. Not only are the tasks themselves common, but the structures of the commands show off the syntax and structure of other PowerShell commands, as well. These basic commands should get you started on the path to becoming a PowerShell master.

Common entries (just to get started)

1. Navigate the Windows Registry like the file system -- cd hkcu:

2. Search recursively for a certain string within files -- dir –r | select string "searchforthis"

3. Find the five processes using the most memory -- ps | sort –p ws | select –last 5

4. Cycle a service (stop, and then restart it) like DHCP -- Restart-Service DHCP

5. List all items within a folder -- Get-ChildItem – Force

6. Recurse over a series of directories or folders -- Get-ChildItem –Force c:\directory –Recurse

7. Remove all files within a directory without being prompted for each -- Remove-Item C:\tobedeleted –Recurse

8. Restart the current computer -- (Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_OperatingSystem -ComputerName .).Win32Shutdown(2)

Collecting information

9. Get information about the make and model of a computer -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_ComputerSystem

10. Get information about the BIOS of the current computer -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_BIOS -ComputerName .

11. >List installed hotfixes (QFEs, or Windows Update files) -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_QuickFixEngineering -ComputerName .

12. Get the username of the person currently logged on to a computer -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_ComputerSystem -Property UserName -ComputerName .

13. Find just the names of installed applications on the current computer -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -ComputerName . | Format-Wide -Column 1

14. Get IP addresses assigned to the current computer -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration -Filter IPEnabled=TRUE -ComputerName . | Format-Table -Property IPAddress

15. Get a more detailed IP configuration report for the current machine -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration -Filter IPEnabled=TRUE -ComputerName . | Select-Object -Property [a-z]* -ExcludeProperty IPX*,WINS*

16. To find network cards with DHCP enabled on the current computer -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration -Filter "DHCPEnabled=true" -ComputerName .

17. Enable DHCP on all network adapters on the current computer -- Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration -Filter IPEnabled=true -ComputerName . | ForEach-Object -Process {$_.EnableDHCP()}

Software management

18. Install an MSI package on a remote computer -- (Get-WMIObject -ComputerName TARGETMACHINE -List | Where-Object -FilterScript {$_.Name -eq "Win32_Product"}).Install(\\MACHINEWHEREMSIRESIDES\path\package.msi)

19. Upgrade an installed application with an MSI-based application upgrade package -- (Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -ComputerName . -Filter "Name='name_of_app_to_be_upgraded'").Upgrade(\\MACHINEWHEREMSIRESIDES\path\upgrade_package.msi)

20. Remove an MSI package from the current computer -- (Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -Filter "Name='product_to_remove'" -ComputerName . ).Uninstall()

Machine management

21. Remotely shut down another machine after one minute -- Start-Sleep 60; Restart-Computer –Force –ComputerName TARGETMACHINE

22. Add a printer -- (New-Object -ComObject WScript.Network).AddWindowsPrinterConnection("\\printerserver\hplaser3")

23. Remove a printer -- (New-Object -ComObject WScript.Network).RemovePrinterConnection("\\printerserver\hplaser3 ")

24. Enter into a remote PowerShell session (you must have remote management enabled) -- enter-pssession TARGETMACHINE

25. Run a script on a remote computer -- invoke-command -computername machine1, machine2 -filepath c:\Script\script.ps1

Jonathan Hassell is an author, consultant and speaker residing in Charlotte, N.C. Jonathan's books include RADIUS, Learning Windows Server 2003, Hardening Windows and most recently Windows Vista: Beyond the Manual.

This was first published in September 2009

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.