PowerShell Start-Process

Introduction PowerShell Start-ProcessStart-Process

Here are neat examples of how Start-Process can be used to launch executables and other files.

Topics for PowerShell Start-Process Cmdlet


Example 1: Launch a Program Such as Notepad

Let us begin by executing a built-in Windows program such as Notepad.  Start-Process requires V 2.0 or later, I used the PowerShell_ISE (GUI) in Windows 8, but the commands work just as well in plain PowerShell (command-line) in Windows 7.

# PowerShell Launch Notepad
Start-Process Notepad

Note 1: The program in this example is in the system’s path, namely

Example 2: Launch Internet Explorer

The problem in the second example is that the executable, iexplore, is not in the path.  Fortunately, the solution is straightforward, namely define the path to the program files.

# PowerShell Launch Internet Explorer
$Browser = "C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE"

$Browser64 = "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"
Start-Process $Browser

Note 2: In 64-bit operating systems there are two versions of Internet Explorer.

Note 3: Check your path with this PowerShell variable

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Help with Start-Process

PowerShell’s own Get-Help command reveals interesting parameters that can refine the process, for example start Maximized.

# Help for PowerShell’s Start-Process
Get-Help Get-Process

Note 4: The parameter -WindowStyle allows you to maximize or minimize the application.  Whereas, -WorkingDirectory is an alternative to specifiying the full path.  I discovered that -FilePath is only useful for examples where you call for document type and need the underlying program.

# PowerShell Start-Process Research
$Path = "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer"
Start-Process -WorkingDirectory $Path iexplore.exe -WindowStyle Maximized

Invoke-Item An Alternative to Start-Process

Both Invoke-Item and Start-Process emulate the ond trick of WinKey +r –> ‘name of executable’.

# Here is an alternative to PowerShell’s Start-Process.
Invoke-Item "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"

Note 5: Once again, I find that we need to specify the full path to the Internet Explorer.

Start-Process -ArgumentList
This is most useful for parameter for modifying the behavior of the underling program you wish to execute.

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List More Members of the Process Family

With a noun such as -Process you may suspect that there other members of this family such as Get-Process and Stop-Process, this is how you can find the full list:

# Research PowerShell nouns
Get-Command -noun process


Start-Process Aliases

I am not a great fan of PowerShell aliases, however it’s worth knowing that Start is an alias for Start-Process.  Incidentally, there is a lesser known alias SAPS.

Next – Stop-Process »

Summary of PowerShell’s Start-Process

Start-Process provides a sound way to launch executables from a script, or from the PowerShell interface.

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See more PowerShell examples of process and service

PowerShell Home   • Get-Process   • Stop-Process   • PowerShell Start-Process   • Set-Service

Get-Service   • Start-Service   • Stop-Service   • Restart-Service   • Free WMI Monitor

PowerShell Start-Sleep   • Get-WmiObject win32_service   • Windows PowerShell

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.