PowerShell Get-PSProvider

An Introduction Get-PSProvider

I find the best way to explain PowerShell’s Providers is to start with the filesystem.  I understand how Get-ChildItem views the  C:\ drive; and I see how to extend the filesystem to include network drives.

Now it’s only a short step to appreciate how the registry could be a provider, especially when I see the results of:
Get-ChildItem HKLM:\System.

Topics for Windows PowerShell Providers


List PowerShell’s PSProviders

This is how to research Providers, observe how PowerShell refer to them as drives.

# Enumerate PowerShell’s Providers

Name        Drives 
---- ------
Alias {Alias}Environment {Env}
FileSystem {C, D, E, F...}
Function {Function}
Registry {HKLM, HKCU}
Variable {Variable}
Certificate {Cert}WSMan {WSMan}

Techniques to Access the Provider’s Drive

Using Get-ChildItem you can access the values under ‘Drives’; but with this method using the ‘Name’ does not work.  For example, Get-ChildItem Filesystem: produces an error, but Get-ChildItem C: works. My point is that you need Get-ChildItem Env: and Get-ChildItem HKLM:\

Let us use Variable: as our example

# Working with PowerShell providers
Get-ChildItem Variable:

Note 1: Remember the colon: furthermore, there is no need for a $sign to access any of the Providers.  Get-ChildItem $Variable won’t work, just as Set-Location $C:\ would also produce an error.

Note 2: Of all the PSProviders, I found the 'Variable': drive the most interesting.

Alternative Method Using the Provider’s Name

Here is a filesystem example starting with Get-PSProvider, piping into Select-Object, and then using the -ExpandProperties parameter.

Get-PSProvider Filesystem | Select-Object -ExpandProperty drives

Note 3: You can get a list of all drives for all providers by omitting ‘Filesystem’ in the above example.

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The Environmental Variable Provider – Env:

It’s easy to forget the full range of built-in environmental variables, therefore, let us employ PowerShell to list what you can see in the Control Panel – Advanced system settings:

Get-ChildItem Env:

Name                   	Value 
---- ----------------
APPDATA C:\Users\Guy\AppData\Roaming
CommonProgramFiles C:\Program Files\Common Files
CommonProgramFiles(x86) C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files
CommonProgramW6432 C:\Program Files\Common Files
ComSpec C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe
LOCALAPPDATA C:\Users\Guy\AppData\Local
OS Windows_NT
Path C:\Program Files\Common Files\.....PATHEXT .COM;.EXE;.BAT;.CMD;.VBS;.JS;......PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE AMD64
PROCESSOR_IDENTIFIER Intel64 Family 6 Model 37 Stepping 5, Genuine
ProgramData C:\ProgramData
ProgramFiles C:\Program Files
ProgramFiles(x86) C:\Program Files (x86)
ProgramW6432 C:\Program Files
PSModulePath C:\Users\Guy\Documents\WindowsPowerShell
PUBLIC C:\Users\Public
SystemDrive C:SystemRoot C:\Windows
TEMP C:\Users\Guy\AppData\Local\Temp
TMP C:\Users\Guy\AppData\Local\Temp
windir C:\Windows

Note 4: To see how many Windows environment variables you have try:
(Get-ChildItem Env:).count

Note 5: Environmental variables in ‘Proper’ case are the newer .Net and PowerShell variables, whereas those in UPPERCASE are older Microsoft (or possibly UNIX) style variables.

See more on PowerShell PSDrives »

Summary of PowerShell Get-PSProvider

Here is a cmdlet which not only reveals the filesystem drives, but also the registry hives, and Environmental variables.

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See more Windows PowerShell  examples of variables

Syntax   • PowerShell Variables   • Get-PSProvider   • PowerShell Dollar Variable

PowerShell Functions   • Get-PSDrive   • PowerShell New-PSDrive   • Remove-PSDrive

PowerShell Home   • Foreach loops   • PowerShell Foreach   • Foreach-Object cmdlet

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.