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about_Prompts

Updated: May 8, 2014

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

TOPIC
    about_Prompts

SHORT DESCRIPTION
    Describes the Prompt function and demonstrates how to create a custom 
    Prompt function.

  
LONG DESCRIPTION
    The Windows PowerShell command prompt indicates that Windows PowerShell 
    is ready to run a command: 

        PS C:\>

    The Windows PowerShell prompt is determined by the built-in Prompt 
    function. You can customize the prompt by creating your own Prompt 
    function and saving it in your Windows PowerShell profile.

   
 ABOUT THE PROMPT FUNCTION
    The Prompt function determines the appearance of the Windows PowerShell 
    prompt. Windows PowerShell comes with a built-in Prompt function, but
    you can override it by defining your own Prompt function.

    The Prompt function has the following syntax:

        function Prompt { <function-body> }


    The Prompt function must return an object. As a best practice, return
    a string or an object that is formatted as a string. The maximum 
    recommended length is 80 characters. 

    For example, the following prompt function returns a "Hello, World" 
    string followed by a caret (>).

        PS C:\> function prompt {"Hello, World > "}
        Hello, World > 


 
 GETTING THE PROMPT FUNCTION
    To get the Prompt function, use the Get-Command cmdlet or use the         
    Get-Item cmdlet in the Function drive.      

    Functions are commands. So, you can use the Get-Command cmdlet to 
    get functions, including the Prompt function.

    For example:

        PS C:\>Get-Command Prompt

        CommandType     Name                                               ModuleName
        -----------     ----                                               ----------
        Function        prompt
        

    To get the script that sets the value of the prompt, use the dot 
    method to get the ScriptBlock property of the Prompt function.

    For example:

        PS C:\>(Get-Command Prompt).ScriptBlock

        "PS $($executionContext.SessionState.Path.CurrentLocation)$('>' * ($nestedPromptLevel + 1)) "
        # .Link
        # http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=225750
        # .ExternalHelp System.Management.Automation.dll-help.xml

  
    Like all functions, the Prompt function is stored in the Function: 
    drive. To display the script that creates the current Prompt function, 
    type:

        (Get-Item function:prompt).ScriptBlock

     
 THE DEFAULT PROMPT
    The default prompt appears only when the Prompt function generates 
    an error or does not return an object. 

    The default Windows PowerShell prompt is:

        PS>

    For example, the following command sets the Prompt function to 
    $null, which is invalid. As a result, the default prompt appears.

        PS C:\> function prompt {$null}
        PS>

    Because Windows PowerShell comes with a built-in prompt, you 
    usually do not see the default prompt.


 BUILT-IN PROMPT
    Windows PowerShell includes a built-in prompt function. 

    In Windows PowerShell 3.0, the built-in prompt function is:

        function prompt
        {
            "PS $($executionContext.SessionState.Path.CurrentLocation)$('>' * ($nestedPromptLevel + 1)) "
        }

    This simplified prompt starts with "PS" followed by the current
    location, and one ">" for each nested prompt level.

    In Windows PowerShell 2.0, the built-in prompt function is:

        function prompt
        {
            $(if (test-path variable:/PSDebugContext) { '[DBG]: ' } 
            else { '' }) + 'PS ' + $(Get-Location) `
            + $(if ($nestedpromptlevel -ge 1) { '>>' }) + '> '
        } 

    The function uses the Test-Path cmdlet to determine whether the 
    $PSDebugContext automatic variable is populated. If $PSDebugContext is 
    populated, you are in debugging mode, and "[DBG]" is added to the prompt,
    as follows:

        [DBG] PS C:\ps-test>

    If $PSDebugContext is not populated, the function adds "PS" to the 
    prompt. And, the function uses the Get-Location cmdlet to get the current
    file system directory location. Then, it adds a right angle bracket (>). 

    For example:        
        PS C:\ps-test>

    If you are in a nested prompt, the function adds two angle brackets (>>) 
    to the prompt. (You are in a nested prompt if the value of the 
    $NestedPromptLevel automatic variable is greater than 1.)

    For example, when you are debugging in a nested prompt, the prompt 
    resembles the following prompt:

        [DBG] PS C:\ps-test>>>



 CHANGES TO THE PROMPT
    The Enter-PSSession cmdlet prepends the name of the remote computer to
    the current Prompt function.  When you use the Enter-PSSession cmdlet to
    start a session with a remote computer, the command prompt changes to
    include the name of the remote computer. For example:

          PS Hello, World> Enter-PSSession Server01
          [Server01]: PS Hello, World>

    Other Windows PowerShell host applications and alternate shells might 
    have their own custom command prompts.

    For more information about the $PSDebugContext and $NestedPromptLevel 
    automatic variables, see about_Automatic_Variables.
 

 HOW TO CUSTOMIZE THE PROMPT
    To customize the prompt, write a new Prompt function. The function is not 
    protected, so you can overwrite it. 

    To write a prompt function, type the following:

        function prompt { }

    Then, between the braces, enter the commands or the string that 
    creates your prompt.

    For example, the following prompt includes your computer name:

        function prompt {"PS [$env:COMPUTERNAME]> "}

    On the Server01 computer, the prompt resembles the following prompt:

        PS [Server01] >

    The following prompt function includes the current date and time:

        function prompt {"$(get-date)> "}

    The prompt resembles the following prompt:

        03/15/2012 17:49:47>

    You can also change the default Prompt function:

    For example, the following modified Prompt function adds "[ADMIN]:" to
    the built-in Windows PowerShell prompt when Windows PowerShell is opened
    by using the "Run as administrator" option:
    
        function prompt 
        {
            $identity = [Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent()
            $principal = [Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal] $identity

            $(if (test-path variable:/PSDebugContext) { '[DBG]: ' } 

            elseif($principal.IsInRole([Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltInRole] "Administrator"))
            { "[ADMIN]: " }

            else { '' }) + 'PS ' + $(Get-Location) + $(if ($nestedpromptlevel -ge 1) { '>>' }) + '> '
        }



      When you start Windows PowerShell by using the "Run as administrator"
      option, a prompt that resembles the following prompt appears:
                
        [ADMIN]: PS C:\ps-test>


      The following Prompt function displays the history ID of the next
      command. To view the command history, use the Get-History
      cmdlet.   

          function prompt
          {
             # The at sign creates an array in case only one history item exists.
             $history = @(get-history)
             if($history.Count -gt 0)
             {
                $lastItem = $history[$history.Count - 1]
                $lastId = $lastItem.Id
             }

             $nextCommand = $lastId + 1
             $currentDirectory = get-location
             "PS: $nextCommand $currentDirectory >"
          }



    The following prompt uses the Write-Host and Get-Random cmdlets to create
    a prompt that changes color randomly. Because Write-Host writes to the 
    current host application but does not return an object, this function 
    includes a Return statement. Without it, Windows PowerShell uses the 
    default prompt, "PS>".

        function prompt
        {
            $color = Get-Random -Min 1 -Max 16
            Write-Host ("PS " + $(Get-Location) +">") -NoNewLine -ForegroundColor $Color
            return " "
        }

 SAVING THE PROMPT FUNCTION
    Like any function, the Prompt function exists only in the current 
    session. To save the Prompt function for future sessions, add it to your
    Windows PowerShell profiles. For more information about profiles, 
    see about_Profiles.


SEE ALSO
    Get-Location
    Enter-PSSession
    Get-History
    Get-Random
    Write-Host
    about_Profiles
    about_Functions
    about_Scopes
    about_Debuggers
    about_Automatic_Variables



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