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Managing Windows PowerShell Drives

Updated: October 17, 2013

Applies To: Windows PowerShell 2.0, Windows PowerShell 3.0, Windows PowerShell 4.0

A Windows PowerShell drive is a data store location that you can access like a file system drive in Windows PowerShell. The Windows PowerShell providers create some drives for you, such as the file system drives (including C: and D:), the registry drives (HKCU: and HKLM:), and the certificate drive (Cert:), and you can create your own Windows PowerShell drives. These drives are very useful, but they are available only within Windows PowerShell. You cannot access them by using other Windows tools, such as File Explorer or Cmd.exe.

Windows PowerShell uses the noun, PSDrive, for commands that work with Windows PowerShell drives. For a list of the Windows PowerShell drives in your Windows PowerShell session, use the Get-PSDrive cmdlet.

PS> Get-PSDrive

Name       Provider      Root                                   CurrentLocation
----       --------      ----                                   ---------------
A          FileSystem    A:\
Alias      Alias
C          FileSystem    C:\                                 ...And Settings\me
cert       Certificate   \
D          FileSystem    D:\
Env        Environment
Function   Function
HKCU       Registry      HKEY_CURRENT_USER
HKLM       Registry      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Variable   Variable

Although the drives in the display vary with the drives on your system, the listing will look similar to the output of the Get-PSDrive command shown above.

File system drives are a subset of the Windows PowerShell drives. You can identify the file system drives by the FileSystem entry in the Provider column. (The file system drives in Windows PowerShell are supported by the Windows PowerShell FileSystem provider.)

To see the syntax of the Get-PSDrive cmdlet, type a Get-Command command with the Syntax parameter:

PS> Get-Command -Name Get-PSDrive -Syntax
Get-PSDrive [[-Name] <String[]>] [-Scope <String>] [-PSProvider <String[]>] [-V
erbose] [-Debug] [-ErrorAction <ActionPreference>] [-ErrorVariable <String>] [-
OutVariable <String>] [-OutBuffer <Int32>] 

The PSProvider parameter lets you display only the Windows PowerShell drives that are supported by a particular provider. For example, to display only the Windows PowerShell drives that are supported by the Windows PowerShell FileSystem provider, type a Get-PSDrive command with the PSProvider parameter and the FileSystem value:

PS> Get-PSDrive -PSProvider FileSystem

Name       Provider      Root                                   CurrentLocation
----       --------      ----                                   ---------------
A          FileSystem    A:\
C          FileSystem    C:\                           ...nd Settings\PowerUser
D          FileSystem    D:\

To view the Windows PowerShell drives that represent registry hives, use the PSProvider parameter to display only the Windows PowerShell drives that are supported by the Windows PowerShell Registry provider:

PS> Get-PSDrive -PSProvider Registry

Name Provider Root CurrentLocation

---- -------- ---- ---------------

HKCU Registry HKEY_CURRENT_USER

HKLM Registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

You can also use the standard Location cmdlets with the Windows PowerShell drives:

PS> Set-Location HKLM:\SOFTWARE

PS> Push-Location .\Microsoft

PS> Get-Location

Path

----

HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft

Adding New Windows PowerShell Drives (New-PSDrive)

You can add your own Windows PowerShell drives by using the New-PSDrive command. To get the syntax for the New-PSDrive command, enter the Get-Command command with the Syntax parameter:

PS> Get-Command -Name New-PSDrive -Syntax
New-PSDrive [-Name] <String> [-PSProvider] <String> [-Root] <String> [-Descript
ion <String>] [-Scope <String>] [-Credential <PSCredential>] [-Verbose] [-Debug
] [-ErrorAction <ActionPreference>] [-ErrorVariable <String>] [-OutVariable <St
ring>] [-OutBuffer <Int32>] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm]

To create a new Windows PowerShell drive, you must supply three parameters:

  • A name for the drive (you can use any valid Windows PowerShell name)

  • The PSProvider (use "FileSystem" for file system locations and "Registry" for registry locations)

  • The root, that is, the path to the root of the new drive

For example, you can create a drive named "Office" that is mapped to the folder that contains the Microsoft Office applications on your computer, such as C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11. To create the drive, type the following command:

PS> New-PSDrive -Name Office -PSProvider FileSystem -Root "C:\Program Files\Micr
osoft Office\OFFICE11"

Name       Provider      Root                                   CurrentLocation
----       --------      ----                                   ---------------
Office     FileSystem    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Offic...
noteNote:
In general, paths are not case-sensitive.

You refer to the new Windows PowerShell drive as you do all Windows PowerShell drives -- by its name followed by a colon (:).

A Windows PowerShell drive can make many tasks much simpler. For example, some of the most important keys in the Windows registry have extremely long paths, making them cumbersome to access and difficult to remember. Critical configuration information resides under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion. To view and change items in the CurrentVersion registry key, you can create a Windows PowerShell drive that is rooted in that key by typing:

PS> New-PSDrive -Name cvkey -PSProvider Registry -Root HKLM\Software\Microsoft\W

indows\CurrentVersion

Name Provider Root CurrentLocation

---- -------- ---- ---------------

cvkey Registry HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\...

You can then change location to the cvkey: drive as you would any other drive:

PS> cd cvkey:

or:

PS> Set-Location cvkey: -PassThru

Path

----

cvkey:\

The New-PsDrive cmdlet adds the new drive only to the current Windows PowerShell session. If you close the Windows PowerShell window, the new drive is lost. To save a Windows PowerShell drive, use the Export-Console cmdlet to export the current Windows PowerShell session, and then use the PowerShell.exe PSConsoleFile parameter to import it. Or, add the new drive to your Windows PowerShell profile.

Deleting Windows PowerShell Drives (Remove-PSDrive)

You can delete drives from Windows PowerShell by using the Remove-PSDrive cmdlet. The Remove-PSDrive cmdlet is easy to use; to delete a specific Windows PowerShell drive, you just supply the Windows PowerShell drive name.

For example, if you added the Office: Windows PowerShell drive, as shown in the New-PSDrive topic, you can delete it by typing:

PS> Remove-PSDrive -Name Office

To delete the cvkey: Windows PowerShell drive, also shown in the New-PSDrive topic, use the following command:

PS> Remove-PSDrive -Name cvkey

It's easy to delete a Windows PowerShell drive, but you can't delete it while you are in the drive. For example:

PS> cd office:
PS Office:\> remove-psdrive -name office
Remove-PSDrive : Cannot remove drive 'Office' because it is in use.
At line:1 char:15
+ remove-psdrive  <<<< -name office

Adding and Removing Drives Outside Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell detects file system drives that are added or removed in Windows, including network drives that are mapped, USB drives that are attached, and drives that are deleted by using either the net use command or the WScript.NetworkMapNetworkDrive and RemoveNetworkDrive methods from a Windows Script Host (WSH) script.



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