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about_Modules

Updated: January 26, 2011

Applies To: Windows PowerShell 2.0

TOPIC
    about_Modules

SHORT DESCRIPTION
    Explains how to install, import, and use Windows PowerShell modules.

LONG DESCRIPTION
    A module is a package that contains Windows PowerShell commands, such as
    cmdlets, providers, functions, variables, and aliases. 

    People who write commands can use modules to organize their commands and
    share them with others. People who receive modules can add the commands
    in the modules to their Windows PowerShell sessions and use them just like
    the built-in commands.

    This topic explains how to use Windows PowerShell modules. For information
    about how to write Windows PowerShell modules, see "Writing a Windows
    PowerShell Module" in the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) library
    at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=144916.
    

 HOW TO USE A MODULE
    To use a module, perform the following tasks:

        1. Install the module. (This is often done for you.)
        2. Import the module into your Windows PowerShell session.
        3. Find the commands that the module added.
        4. Use the commands that the module added.
     
    This topic explains how to perform these tasks. It also includes 
    other useful information about managing modules.


 HOW TO INSTALL A MODULE
    If you receive a module as a folder with files in it, you need
    to install it on your computer before you can import it into Windows
    PowerShell.

    Most modules are installed for you. Windows PowerShell comes with
    several pre-installed modules. In Windows Server 2008 R2, the
    Add Features Wizard in Server Manager automatically installs the
    feature modules that you select. Many other modules come in an
    installer or Setup program that installs the module.

    To install a module folder:

        1. Create a Modules directory for the current user if one does
           not exist. 

           To create a Modules directory, type:

               new-item -type directory -path $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules                             

        2. Copy the entire module folder into the Modules directory.

           You can use any method to copy the folder, including Windows
           Explorer and Cmd.exe, as well as Windows PowerShell.

           In Windows PowerShell use the Copy-Item cmdlet. For example, to copy the
           MyModule folder from C:\ps-test\MyModule to the Modules directory, type:

               copy-item -path c:\ps-test\MyModule -dest $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules

    You can install a module in any location, but installing your modules in a
    default module location makes them easier to manage. For more information about
    the default module locations, see the "Module Locations and PSModulePath" section.



 HOW TO FIND INSTALLED MODULES
     When a module is installed, you can import it into your Windows
     PowerShell session. 

     To find modules that are installed in a default module location,
     at the Windows PowerShell prompt, type:

         get-module -listAvailable


     To find the modules that have already been imported into your session, 
     at the Windows PowerShell prompt, type:

         get-module

     For more information about the Get-Module cmdlet, see Get-Module.


 HOW TO IMPORT A MODULE
    To use the commands in a module, import the module into a
    Windows PowerShell session.

    To import modules from a default module location into the
    current session, use the following command format.

        import-module <module-name>
    
    For example, the following command imports the BitsTransfer module
    into the current session.

        import-module BitsTransfer
       
 
    To import a module that is not in a default module location, use
    the fully qualified path to the module folder in the command. 

    For example, to add the TestCmdlets module in the C:\ps-test directory 
    to your session, type:

        import-module c:\ps-test\TestCmdlets

    For more information about adding modules to your session, see
    Import-Module.


 HOW TO IMPORT ALL MODULES INTO YOUR WINDOWS POWERSHELL SESSION
    In Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the "Import all modules"
    task opens a Windows PowerShell session that includes all the
    available Windows PowerShell modules and snap-ins.

    To start a Windows PowerShell session with all the available Windows
    PowerShell modules and snap-ins, use the following procedure.

    -- Right-click the Windows PowerShell icon in the taskbar, and then click
       "Import all modules".

    Note: In Windows Server 2008 R2, the Windows PowerShell icon is pinned to
          the taskbar by default. However, you must start Windows PowerShell
          one time to make the "Import all modules" task appear.

    In other versions of Windows, to import all the available modules into your
    session, at the Windows PowerShell prompt, type:

        get-module -listAvailable | import-module


 HOW TO FIND THE COMMANDS IN A MODULE
    After you import a module into your Windows PowerShell session, you can
    use the commands in the module.

    To find the commands that a module added, at the Windows PowerShell prompt,
    type:

        get-command -module <module-name>

    For example, to find the commands that the BitsTransfer module adds, type:

        get-command -module BitsTransfer

    For more information about the Get-Command cmdlet, see Get-Command.


 HOW TO FIND HELP FOR THE COMMANDS IN A MODULE
    If the module contains Help topics for the commands that it exports,
    the Get-Help cmdlet will display the Help topics. Use the same command
    format that you would use for any Help topic in Windows PowerShell. 

    To find the Help topic for the commands in a module, at the Windows
    PowerShell prompt, type:

        get-help <command-name> 

    For more detailed Help, type:

        get-help <command-name> -detailed

    For example, to find detailed Help for the Start-BitsTransfer cmdlet,
    type:
       
        get-help Start-BitsTransfer -detailed

    For more information about the Get-Help module, see Get-Help.


 HOW TO REMOVE A MODULE
    When you remove a module, the commands that the module added are deleted 
    from the session. 

    To remove a module from your session, use the following command
    format.

        remove-module <module-name>

    For example, the following command removes the BitsTransfer module
    from the current session.

        remove-module BitsTransfer

    Removing a module reverses the operation of importing a module. Removing
    a module does not uninstall the module. For more information about the 
    Remove-Module cmdlet, see Remove-Module.


 HOW TO IMPORT A MODULE INTO EVERY SESSION
    The Import-Module command imports modules into your current Windows
    PowerShell session. This command affects only the current session.

    To import a module into every Windows PowerShell session that you
    start, add the Import-Module command to your Windows PowerShell 
    profile.

    For more information about profiles, see about_Profiles.    

  
 MODULE LOCATIONS AND PSMODULEPATH
    There are two default locations for Windows PowerShell modules, one for
    the system and one for the current user.

        System:        $pshome\Modules 
                           (%windir%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules)

        Current user:  $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules
                           (%UserProfile%\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules)

                       - or -

                       $home\My Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules
                           (%UserProfile%\My Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules)



        Note: In Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and later versions of 
              Windows, to add or change files in the %Windir%\System32 directory,
              start Windows PowerShell with the "Run as administrator" option.


    You can change the default module locations on your system by changing the
    value of the PSModulePath environment variable ($env:psmodulepath). The
    PSModulePath environment variable is modeled on the Path environment variable
    and has the same format. 
 

    To view the default module locations, type:

        $env:psmodulepath


    To add a default module location, use the following command format.

        $env:psmodulepath = $env:psmodulepath + ";<path>"


    The semi-colon (;) in the command separates the new path from the
    path that precedes it in the list.


    For example, to add the "C:\ps-test\Modules" directory, type:

        $env:psmodulepath + ";c:\ps-test\Modules"


    When you add a path to PSModulePath, Get-Module and Import-Module 
    commands include modules in that path.
       
    The value that you set affects only the current session. To make the 
    change persistent, add the command to your Windows PowerShell profile
    or use the System item in Control Panel to change the value of the 
    PSModulePath environment variable in the registry.

    For more information about the PSModulePath variable, see 
    about_Environment_Variables.


 MODULES AND NAME CONFLICTS
    Name conflicts occur when more than one command in the session
    has the same name. Importing a module causes a name conflict when
    commands in the module have the same names as commands or items
    in the session. 

    Name conflicts can result in commands being hidden or replaced.

        -- Hidden. A command is hidden when it is not the command
           that runs when you type the command name, but you can run it
           by using another method, such as by qualifying the command
           name with the name of the module or snap-in in which it
           originated.

        -- Replaced. A command is replaced when you cannot run it because
           it has been overwritten by a command with the same name. Even
           when you remove the module that caused the conflict, you cannot
           run a replaced command unless you restart the session.

    Import-Module might add commands that hide and replace commands in the
    current session. Also, commands in your session can hide commands that
    the module added. 

    To prevent name conflicts, use the Prefix parameter of Import-Command
    to create unique names for the imported commands.

    You can also use the Alias, Cmdlet, Function, and Variable parameters
    of Import-Module to select only the commands that you want to import,
    and you can exclude commands that cause name conflicts in your session.

    Even if a command is hidden, you can run it by qualifying the command
    name with the name of the module or snap-in in which it originated. 
           
    The Windows PowerShell command precedence rules determine which command
    runs when the session includes commands with the same name.

    For example, when a session includes a function and a cmdlet with the same
    name, Windows PowerShell runs the function by default. When the session
    includes commands of the same type with the same name, such as two cmdlets
    with the same name, by default, it runs the most recently added command. 

    For more information, including an explanation of the precedence rules and
    instructions for running hidden commands, see about_Command_Precedence.
     
     
       
 MODULES AND SNAP-INS
    You can add commands to your session from modules and snap-ins. Modules
    can add all types of commands, including cmdlets, providers, and functions,
    and items, such as variables, aliases, and Windows PowerShell drives. 
    Snap-ins can add only cmdlets and providers.

    In fact, although you can add functions, aliases, variables, and drives
    to your session by typing them or running a script that adds them, all
    the cmdlets and providers in your session come from a module or a snap-in.

    Before removing a module or snap-in from your session, use the following
    commands to determine which commands will be removed. 

    To find the source of a cmdlet in your session, use the following command
    format:

        get-command <cmdlet-name> | format-list -property verb, noun, pssnapin, module

    For example, to find the source of the Get-Date cmdlet, type:

        get-command get-date | format-list -property verb, noun, pssnapin, module
    
    For more information about Windows PowerShell snap-ins, see about_PSSnapins.


 MODULE-RELATED WARNINGS AND ERRORS
    The commands that a module exports should follow the Windows PowerShell
    command naming rules. If the module that you import exports cmdlets or
    functions that have unapproved verbs in their names, the Import-Module
    cmdlet displays the following warning message. 

        WARNING: Some imported command names include unapproved verbs
        which might make them less discoverable.  Use the Verbose parameter
        for more detail or type Get-Verb to see the list of approved verbs.

    This message is only a warning. The complete module is still imported,
    including the non-conforming commands. Although the message is displayed
    to module users, the naming problem should be fixed by the module author.

    To suppress the warning message, use the DisableNameChecking parameter 
    of the Import-Module cmdlet.



SEE ALSO
    about_Command_Precedence
    about_PSSnapins
    Get-Command
    Get-Help
    Get-Module
    Import-Module
    Remove-Module


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