Microsoft PowerShell Syntax

Introduction to Microsoft PowerShell's Syntax

This section is dedicated to explaining PowerShell's individual syntactic elements.  I also regard these topics as reference material for that time when you forget how to choose the correct type of bracket, or when a single quote does not get the job done.

Microsoft PowerShell Syntax Topics

Pure Syntax

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The Significance of PowerShell's Brackets

Parenthesis Brackets ()
Curved () parenthesis stype brackets are used for compulsory arguments.  Take for example a ForEach loop the first section is like Foreach ($Item in $Items).  Microsoft call this 'control structure'.

Braces Brackets {}
These curly brackets are typically employed in block statements; for example:
| Where {$ -Like "Network"}

Square Brackets []
This is probably the least important, and least used brackets, that's because they define optional items, for example:
Get-Process [W]*

See more on PowerShell's brackets »

PowerShell Conditional Operators

PowerShell has three main conditional operators, -Match, -Like and -Contains. 

# PowerShell Syntax example to demonstrate -Match
# Author: Guy Thomas
# May 2010 tested on PowerShell v 1.0 and 2.0

$WMI = Get-WmiObject -List | Where-Object {$ -Match "network"}
$WMI | Format-Table name, Properties -auto
Write-Host $WMI.count "WMI objects contain the word network"

Note 1: I make -Match my default when looking for an item, or wishing to filter a long list.

See more on PowerShell's Conditional Operators »

Example of PowerShell's Comparison Operators

At first glance, one of the strangest comparison operator in PowerShell is -eq.  While the equals sign '=' is still needed for declaring variables, in most other cases you need -eq, or for PowerShell not equal -ne.  Once you warm to this theme, then -gt -lt seem a logical continuation.  Consequently, abandon > and <, instead employ -gt (greater than) or -lt (less than).

# PowerShell script to list .exe under the Windows folder
$Dir = Get-Childitem C:\Windows\ -recurse
$List = $Dir | Where-Object {$_.extension -eq ".exe"}
$List | Format-Table Name, CreationTime -auto

See more examples of comparison operators »

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More PowerShell Syntax

Contents of My PowerShell Cmdlet Pages

Each topic has its own 'how to' instructions and also 'Learning points'.  As a result you will be able to modify my examples to suit your situation.  The only pre-requisite is that you must download the correct version of PowerShell and .Net Framework for your operating system.  Microsoft's site has separate versions of PowerShell for XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista.  In the case of Windows 7 and later, PowerShell is built-in but you need to 'Add Feature'.

Other Microsoft PowerShell Topics

Summary of PowerShell Syntax

The pages in this section will help you with PowerShell's individual syntactic elements.  I regard these topics as reference material for that time when you forget how to choose the correct type of bracket, or when a single quote does not get the job done.

Another use of this page is to investigate new parameters or switches for well-known commands, for example -recurse as in: Get-Childitem -recurse.

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See more Windows PowerShell sections

PowerShell Home   • Introduction  • Dreams   • 3 Key Commands   • Free Permissions Analyzer

PowerShell Real-life Examples   • PowerShell Techniques   • PowerShell Syntax   • Contact

PowerShell ISE  • PowerShell 2.0   • PowerShell v 3.0   • PowerShell v 4.0   • PowerShell v 4.0

Please email me if you have a better example script. Also please report any factual mistakes, grammatical errors or broken links, I will be happy to correct the fault.



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