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about_Profiles

Updated: January 26, 2011

Applies To: Windows PowerShell 2.0

TOPIC
    about_Profiles

SHORT DESCRIPTION
    Describes how to create and use a Windows PowerShell profile.

LONG DESCRIPTION
    You can create a Windows PowerShell profile to customize your environment
    and to add session-specific elements to every Windows PowerShell session
    that you start. 

    A Windows PowerShell profile is a script that runs when Windows PowerShell 
    starts. You can use the profile as a logon script to customize the 
    environment. You can add commands, aliases, functions, variables, snap-ins, 
    modules, and Windows PowerShell drives. You can also add other 
    session-specific elements to your profile so they are available in every
    session without having to import or re-create them.

    Windows PowerShell supports several profiles for users and host programs.
    However, it does not create the profiles for you. This topic describes the
    profiles, and it describes how to create and maintain profiles on your 
    computer.

    It explains how to use the NoProfile parameter of the Windows PowerShell 
    console (PowerShell.exe) to start Windows PowerShell without any profiles.
    And, it explains the effect of the Windows PowerShell execution policy on
    profiles.


 THE PROFILE FILES

    Windows PowerShell supports several profile files. Also, Windows PowerShell
    host programs can support their own host-specific profiles. 

    For example, the Windows PowerShell console supports the following basic 
    profile files. The profiles are listed in precedence order. The first 
    profile has the highest precedence. 


        Description                Path
        -----------                ----
        Current User, Current Host $Home\[My ]Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Profile.ps1
        Current User, All Hosts    $Home\[My ]Documents\Profile.ps1
        All Users, Current Host    $PsHome\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1
        All Users, All Hosts       $PsHome\Profile.ps1


    The profile paths include the following variables:

        - The $PsHome variable, which stores the installation directory for
          Windows PowerShell.

        - The $Home variable, which stores the current user's home directory.


    In addition, other programs that host Windows PowerShell can support their
    own profiles. For example, Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting 
    Environment (ISE) supports the following host-specific profiles.


        Description                Path
        -----------                -----
        Current user, Current Host $Home\[My ]Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShellISE_profile.ps1
        All users, Current Host    $PsHome\Microsoft.PowerShellISE_profile.ps1


    In Windows PowerShell Help, the "CurrentUser, Current Host" profile is the profile most
    often referred to as "your Windows PowerShell profile". 
    

 THE $PROFILE VARIABLE

    The $Profile automatic variable stores the paths to the Windows PowerShell
    profiles that are available in the current session. 

    To view a profile path, display the value of the $Profile variable. You can
    also use the $Profile variable in a command to represent a path.

    The $Profile variable stores the path to the "Current User, 
    Current Host" profile. The other profiles are saved in note properties of
    the $profile variable.
    
    For example, the $Profile variable has the following values in the Windows
    PowerShell console.


        Name                               Description                
        -----------                        -----------
        $Profile                           Current User,Current Host  
        $Profile.CurrentUserCurrentHost    Current User,Current Host  
        $Profile.CurrentUserAllHosts       Current User,All Hosts     
        $Profile.AllUsersCurrentHost       All Users, Current Host    
        $Profile.AllUsersAllHosts          All Users, All Hosts       
 

    Because the values of the $Profile variable change for each user and in
    each host application, ensure that you display the values of the
    profile variables in each Windows PowerShell host application that you use.

    To see the current values of the $Profile variable, type:

        $profile | get-member -type noteproperty

    
    You can use the $Profile variable in many commands. For example, the
    following command opens the "Current User, Current Host" profile in 
    Notepad:

	notepad $profile 


    The following command determines whether an "All Users, All Hosts" profile
    has been created on the local computer:

	test-path $profile.AllUsersAllHosts


 HOW TO CREATE A PROFILE

    To create a Windows PowerShell profile, use the following command format:

        if (!(test-path <profile-name>)) 
           {new-item -type file -path <profile-name> -force}


    For example, to create a profile for the current user in the current 
    Windows PowerShell host application, use the following command: 

        if (!(test-path $profile)) 
           {new-item -type file -path $profile -force}


    In this command, the If statement prevents you from overwriting an existing
    profile. Replace the value of the <profile-path> placeholder with the path
    to the profile file that you want to create.

    Note: To create "All Users" profiles in Windows Vista and later versions 
          of Windows, start Windows PowerShell with the "Run as administrator" 
          option.


 HOW TO EDIT A PROFILE

    You can open any Windows PowerShell profile in a text editor, such as 
    Notepad. 

    To open the profile of the current user in the current Windows PowerShell
    host application in Notepad, type:

        notepad $profile


    To open other profiles, specify the profile name. For example, to open the
    profile for all the users of all the host applications, type:

        notepad $profile.AllUsersAllHosts


    To apply the changes, save the profile file, and then restart Windows 
    PowerShell.   
 

 HOW TO CHOOSE A PROFILE

    If you use multiple host applications, put the items that you use in all
    the host applications into your $Profile.CurrentUserAllHosts profile.
    Put items that are specific to a host application, such as a command that 
    sets the background color for a host application, in a profile that is 
    specific to that host application.

    If you are an administrator who is customizing Windows
    PowerShell for many users, follow these guidelines:

        -- Store the common items in the $profile.AllUsersAllHosts profile.

        -- Store items that are specific to a host application in
           $profile.AllUsersCurrentHost profiles that are specific to the host
           application.

        -- Store items for particular users in the user-specific profiles.

    Be sure to check the host application documentation for any special
    implementation of Windows PowerShell profiles.


 HOW TO USE A PROFILE

    Many of the items that you create in Windows PowerShell and most commands 
    that you run affect only the current session. When you end the session, 
    the items are deleted.

    The session-specific commands and items include variables, preference 
    variables, aliases, functions, commands (except for Set-ExecutionPolicy),
    and Windows PowerShell snap-ins that you add to the session.

    To save these items and make them available in all future sessions, add
    them to a Windows PowerShell profile. 

    Another common use for profiles is to save frequently-used functions, 
    aliases, and variables. When you save the items in a profile, you can
    use them in any applicable session without re-creating them. 


 HOW TO START A PROFILE

    When you open the profile file, it is blank. However, you can fill it with
    the variables, aliases, and commands that you use frequently.

    Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

    -- Add commands that make it easy to open your profile. This is especially
       useful if you use a profile other than the "Current User, Current Host" 
       profile. For example, add the following command:
               
           function pro {notepad $profile.CurrentUserAllHosts}


    -- Add a function that opens Windows PowerShell Help in a compiled HTML 
       Help file (.chm). 

           function Get-CHM
            {
               (invoke-item $env:windir\help\mui\0409\WindowsPowerShellHelp.chm)
            }

       
       This function opens the English version of the .chm file. However, you 
       can replace the language code (0409) to open other versions of the .chm
       file.

    
    -- Add a function that lists the aliases for any cmdlet.

           function Get-CmdletAlias ($cmdletname)
           {
              get-alias | Where {$_.definition -like "*$cmdletname*"} | ft Definition, Name -auto
           }


    -- Add an Add-PsSnapin command to add any Windows PowerShell snap-ins that 
       you use.

    -- Customize your console.

           function Color-Console 
           {
	        $host.ui.rawui.backgroundcolor = "white"
	        $host.ui.rawui.foregroundcolor = "black"
                $hosttime = (dir $pshome\powershell.exe).creationtime
                $Host.UI.RawUI.WindowTitle = "Windows PowerShell $hostversion ($hosttime)"
                clear-host
           }
           Color-console


    -- Add a customized Windows PowerShell prompt that includes the computer
       name and the current path. 

           function prompt 
           {
              $env:computername + "\" + (get-location) + "> "
           }


       For more information about the Windows PowerShell prompt, see
       about_Prompts.


 THE NOPROFILE PARAMETER

    To start Windows Powershell without profiles, use the NoProfile parameter
    of PowerShell.exe, the program that starts Windows PowerShell.

    To begin, open a program that can start Windows PowerShell, such as Cmd.exe
    or Windows PowerShell itself. You can also use the Run dialog box in 
    Windows. 

    Type:

	powershell -noprofile

    For a complete list of the parameters of PowerShell.exe,
    type:

	powershell -?


 PROFILES AND EXECUTION POLICY

    The Windows PowerShell execution policy determines, in part, whether you
    can run scripts and load configuration files, including the profiles. The
    Restricted execution policy is the default. It prevents all scripts from
    running, including the profiles. If you use the Restricted policy, the
    profile does not run, and its contents are not applied.

    A Set-ExecutionPolicy command sets and changes your execution policy. It is
    one of the few commands that applies in all Windows PowerShell sessions
    because the value is saved in the registry. You do not have to set it when
    you open the console, and you do not have to store a Set-ExecutionPolicy
    command in your profile.


 PROFILES AND REMOTE SESSIONS      

    Windows PowerShell profiles are not run automatically in remote sessions,
    so the commands that the profileS add are not present in the remote session.
    In addition, the $profile automatic variable is not populated in remote sessions.    

    To run a profile in a session, use the Invoke-Command cmdlet.

    For example, the following command runs the CurrentUserCurrentHost profile from
    the local computer in the session in $s. 

        invoke-command -session $s -filepath $profile

    The following command runs the CurrentUserCurrentHost profile from the remote
    computer in the session in $s. Because the $profile variable is not populated,
    the command uses the explicit path to the profile.

        invoke-command -session $s {invoke-command "$home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1"}

    After running this command, the commands that the profile adds to the session
    are available in $s.


SEE ALSO
    about_Automatic_Variables
    about_Functions
    about_Prompts
    about_Execution_Policies
    about_Signing
    about_Remote
    Set-ExecutionPolicy


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