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Get-Help

Published: February 29, 2012

Updated: October 30, 2012

Applies To: Windows PowerShell 2.0, Windows PowerShell 3.0

Get-Help

Displays information about Windows PowerShell commands and concepts.

Syntax

Parameter Set: AllUsersView
Get-Help [[-Name] <String> ] [-Category <String[]> ] [-Component <String[]> ] [-Full] [-Functionality <String[]> ] [-Path <String> ] [-Role <String[]> ] [ <CommonParameters>]

Parameter Set: DetailedView
Get-Help [[-Name] <String> ] -Detailed [-Category <String[]> ] [-Component <String[]> ] [-Functionality <String[]> ] [-Path <String> ] [-Role <String[]> ] [ <CommonParameters>]

Parameter Set: Examples
Get-Help [[-Name] <String> ] -Examples [-Category <String[]> ] [-Component <String[]> ] [-Functionality <String[]> ] [-Path <String> ] [-Role <String[]> ] [ <CommonParameters>]

Parameter Set: Online
Get-Help [[-Name] <String> ] -Online [-Category <String[]> ] [-Component <String[]> ] [-Functionality <String[]> ] [-Path <String> ] [-Role <String[]> ] [ <CommonParameters>]

Parameter Set: Parameters
Get-Help [[-Name] <String> ] -Parameter <String> [-Category <String[]> ] [-Component <String[]> ] [-Functionality <String[]> ] [-Path <String> ] [-Role <String[]> ] [ <CommonParameters>]

Parameter Set: ShowWindow
Get-Help [[-Name] <String> ] -ShowWindow [-Category <String[]> ] [-Component <String[]> ] [-Functionality <String[]> ] [-Path <String> ] [-Role <String[]> ] [ <CommonParameters>]




Detailed Description

The Get-Help cmdlet displays information about Windows PowerShell concepts and commands, including cmdlets, functions, CIM commands, workflows, providers, aliases and scripts.

To get help for a Windows PowerShell command, type "Get-Help" followed by the command name, such as: Get-Help Get-Process. To get a list of all help topics on your system, type: Get-Help *. You can display the entire help topic or use the parameters of the Get-Help cmdlet to get selected parts of the topic, such as the syntax, parameters, or examples.

Conceptual help topics in Windows PowerShell begin with "about_", such as "about_Comparison_Operators". To see all "about_" topics, type: Get-Help about_*. To see a particular topic, type: Get-Help about_<topic-name>, such as Get-Help about_Comparison_Operators.

To get help for a Windows PowerShell provider, type "Get-Help" followed by the provider name. For example, to get help for the Certificate provider, type: Get-Help Certificate.

In addition to "Get-Help", you can also type "help" or "man", which displays one screen of text at a time, or "<cmdlet-name> -?", which is identical to Get-Help but works only for commands.

Get-Help gets the help content that it displays from help files on your computer. Without the help files, Get-Help displays only basic information about commands. Some Windows PowerShell modules come with help files. However, beginning in Windows PowerShell 3.0, the modules that come with Windows do not include help files. To download or update the help files for a module in Windows PowerShell 3.0, use the Update-Help cmdlet.

You can also view the help topics for Windows PowerShell online in the TechNet Library. To get the online version of a help topic, use the Online parameter, such as: Get-Help Get-Process -Online. You can read all of the help topics beginning at: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=107116.

If you type "Get-Help" followed by the exact name of a help topic, or by a word unique to a help topic, Get-Help displays the topic contents. If you enter a word or word pattern that appears in several help topic titles, Get-Help displays a list of the matching titles. If you enter a word that does not appear in any help topic titles, Get-Help displays a list of topics that include that word in their contents.

Get-Help can get help topics for all supported languages and locales. Get-Help first looks for help files in the locale set for Windows, then in the parent locale (such as "pt" for "pt-BR"), and then in a fallback locale. Beginning in Windows PowerShell 3.0, if Get-Help does not find help in the fallback locale, it looks for help topics in English ("en-US") before returning an error message or displaying auto-generated help.

For information about the symbols that Get-Help displays in the command syntax diagram, see about_Command_Syntax. For information about parameter attributes, such as Required and Position, see about_Parameters.

TROUBLESHOOTING NOTE: In Windows PowerShell 3.0, Get-Help cannot find About topics in modules unless the module is imported into the current session. This is a known issue. To get About topics in a module, import the module, either by using the Import-Module cmdlet or by using a cmdlet in the module.

Parameters

-Category<String[]>

Displays help only for items in the specified category and their aliases. Valid values are Alias, Cmdlet, Function, Provider, Workflow, and HelpFile. Conceptual topics are in the HelpFile category.


Aliases

none

Required?

false

Position?

named

Default Value

All categories

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

false

-Component<String[]>

Displays commands with the specified component value, such as "Exchange." Enter a component name. Wildcards are permitted.

This parameter has no effect on displays of conceptual ("About_") help.


Aliases

none

Required?

false

Position?

named

Default Value

All components

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

true

-Detailed

Adds parameter descriptions and examples to the basic help display.

This parameter is effective only when help files are for the command are installed on the computer. It has no effect on displays of conceptual ("About_") help.


Aliases

none

Required?

true

Position?

named

Default Value

False

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

false

-Examples

Displays only the name, synopsis, and examples. To display only the examples, type "(Get-Help <cmdlet-name>).Examples".

This parameter is effective only when help files are for the command are installed on the computer. It has no effect on displays of conceptual ("About_") help.


Aliases

none

Required?

true

Position?

named

Default Value

none

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

false

-Full

Displays the entire help topic for a cmdlet, including parameter descriptions and attributes, examples, input and output object types, and additional notes.

This parameter is effective only when help files are for the command are installed on the computer. It has no effect on displays of conceptual ("About_") help.


Aliases

none

Required?

false

Position?

named

Default Value

False

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

false

-Functionality<String[]>

Displays help for items with the specified functionality. Enter the functionality. Wildcards are permitted.

This parameter has no effect on displays of conceptual ("About_") help.


Aliases

none

Required?

false

Position?

named

Default Value

All functionality values

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

true

-Name<String>

Gets help about the specified command or concept. Enter the name of a cmdlet, function, provider, script, or workflow, such as "Get-Member", a conceptual topic name, such as "about_Objects", or an alias, such as "ls". Wildcards are permitted in cmdlet and provider names, but you cannot use wildcards to find the names of function help and script help topics.

To get help for a script that is not located in a path that is listed in the Path environment variable, type the path and file name of the script .

If you enter the exact name of a help topic, Get-Help displays the topic contents. If you enter a word or word pattern that appears in several help topic titles, Get-Help displays a list of the matching titles. If you enter a word that does not match any help topic titles, Get-Help displays a list of topics that include that word in their contents.

The names of conceptual topics, such as "about_Objects", must be entered in English, even in non-English versions of Windows PowerShell.


Aliases

none

Required?

false

Position?

1

Default Value

None

Accept Pipeline Input?

true (ByPropertyName)

Accept Wildcard Characters?

true

-Online

Displays the online version of a help topic in the default Internet browser. This parameter is valid only for cmdlet, function, workflow and script help topics. You cannot use the Online parameter in Get-Help commands in a remote session.

For information about supporting this feature in help topics that you write, see about_Comment_Based_Help (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=144309), and "Supporting Online Help" (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=242132), and "How to Write Cmdlet Help" (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=123415) in the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) library.


Aliases

none

Required?

true

Position?

named

Default Value

False

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

false

-Parameter<String>

Displays only the detailed descriptions of the specified parameters. Wildcards are permitted.

This parameter has no effect on displays of conceptual ("About_") help.


Aliases

none

Required?

true

Position?

named

Default Value

All parameters

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

true

-Path<String>

Gets help that explains how the cmdlet works in the specified provider path. Enter a Windows PowerShell provider path.

This parameter gets a customized version of a cmdlet help topic that explains how the cmdlet works in the specified Windows PowerShell provider path. This parameter is effective only for help about a provider cmdlet and only when the provider includes a custom version of the provider cmdlet help topic in its help file. To use this parameter, install the help file for the module that includes the provider.

To see the custom cmdlet help for a provider path, go to the provider path location and enter a Get-Help command or, from any path location, use the Path parameter of Get-Help to specify the provider path. You can also find custom cmdlet help online in the provider help section of the help topics. For example, you can find help for the New-Item cmdlet in the Wsman:\*\ClientCertificate path (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=158676).

For more information about Windows PowerShell providers, see about_Providers (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=113250).


Aliases

none

Required?

false

Position?

named

Default Value

All paths

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

false

-Role<String[]>

Displays help customized for the specified user role. Enter a role. Wildcards are permitted.

Enter the role that the user plays in an organization. Some cmdlets display different text in their help files based on the value of this parameter. This parameter has no effect on help for the core cmdlets.


Aliases

none

Required?

false

Position?

named

Default Value

All roles

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

true

-ShowWindow

Displays the help topic in a window for easier reading. The window includes a "Find" search feature and a "Settings" box that lets you set options for the display, including options to display only selected sections of a help topic.

The ShowWindow parameter supports help topics for commands (cmdlets, functions, CIM commands, workflows, scripts) and conceptual "About" topics. It does not support provider help.

This parameter is introduced in Windows PowerShell 3.0.


Aliases

none

Required?

true

Position?

named

Default Value

False

Accept Pipeline Input?

false

Accept Wildcard Characters?

false

<CommonParameters>

This cmdlet supports the common parameters: -Verbose, -Debug, -ErrorAction, -ErrorVariable, -OutBuffer, and -OutVariable. For more information, see  about_CommonParameters (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=113216).

Inputs

The input type is the type of the objects that you can pipe to the cmdlet.

  • None

    You cannot pipe objects to this cmdlet.


Outputs

The output type is the type of the objects that the cmdlet emits.

  • ExtendedCmdletHelpInfo

    If you run Get-Help on a command that does not have a help file, Get-Help returns an ExtendedCmdletHelpInfo object that represents autogenerated help.


  • System.String

    If you get a conceptual help topic, Get-Help returns it as a string.


  • MamlCommandHelpInfo

    If you get a command that has a help file, Get-Help returns a MamlCommandHelpInfo object.


Notes

  • Without parameters, "Get-Help" displays information about the Windows PowerShell help system.

  • Windows PowerShell 3.0 does not come with help files. To download and install the help files that Get-Help reads, use the Update-Help cmdlet. You can use the Update-Help cmdlet to download and install help files for the core commands that come with Windows PowerShell and for any modules that you install. You can also use it to update the help files so that the help on your computer is never outdated.

    You can also read the help topics about the commands that come with Windows PowerShell online beginning at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=107116.

  • Get-Help displays help in the locale set for Windows or in the fallback language for that locale. If you do not have help files for the primary or fallback locale, Get-Help behaves as though there are no help files on the computer. To get help for a different locale, use Region and Language in Control Panel to change the settings for Windows.

  • The full view of help (-Full) includes a table of information about the parameters. The table includes the following fields:

    -- Required: Indicates whether the parameter is required (true) or optional (false).

    -- Position: Indicates whether the parameter is named or positional (numbered). Positional parameters must appear in a specified place in the command.

    -- "Named" indicates that the parameter name is required, but that the parameter can appear anywhere in the command.

    -- <Number> indicates that the parameter name is optional, but when the name is omitted, the parameter must be in the place specified by the number. For example, "2" indicates that when the parameter name is omitted, the parameter must be the second (2) or only unnamed parameter in the command. When the parameter name is used, the parameter can appear anywhere in the command.

    -- Default value: The parameter value that Windows PowerShell uses if you do not include the parameter in the command.

    -- Accepts pipeline input: Indicates whether you can (true) or cannot (false) send objects to the parameter through a pipeline. "By Property Name" means that the pipelined object must have a property with the same name as the parameter name.

    -- Accepts wildcard characters: Indicates whether the value of a parameter can include wildcard characters, such as * and ?.

Examples

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 1 --------------------------

This command displays help about the Windows PowerShell help system.


PS C:\> Get-Help

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 2 --------------------------

This command displays a list of the available help topics.


PS C:\> Get-Help *

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 3 --------------------------

These commands display basic information about the Get-Alias cmdlet. The "Get-Help" and "-?" commands display the information on a single page. The "Help" command displays the information one page at a time.


PS C:\> Get-Help Get-Alias
PS C:\>Help Get-Alias
PS C:\>Get-Alias -?

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 4 --------------------------

This command displays a list of the conceptual topics included in Windows PowerShell help. All of these topics begin with the characters "about_". To display a particular help file, type "get-help <topic-name>, for example, "Get-Help about_Signing".

This command displays the conceptual topics only when the help files for those topics are installed on the computer. For information about downloading and installing help files in Windows PowerShell 3.0, see Update-Help.


PS C:\> Get-Help about_*

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 5 --------------------------

This example shows how to download and install new or updated help files for a module. It uses features that were introduced in Windows PowerShell 3.0.

The example compares the help that Get-Help displays for commands when you do not have help files installed on your computer and when you do have help files. You can use the same command sequence to update the help files on your computer so that your local help content is never obsolete.

To download and install the help files for the commands that come with Windows PowerShell, and for any modules in the $pshome\Modules directory, open Windows PowerShell with the "Run as administrator" option. If you are not a member of the Administrators group on the computer, you cannot download help for these modules. However, you can use the Online parameter to open the online version of help for a command, and you can read the help for Windows PowerShell in the TechNet Library beginning at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=107116.


 

The first command uses the Get-Help cmdlet to get help for the Get-Command cmdlet. Without help files, Get-Help display the cmdlet name, syntax and alias of Get-Command, and prompts you to use the Update-Help cmdlet to get the newest help files.


PS C:\> Get-Help Get-Command
NAME
Get-Command

SYNTAX
Get-Command [[-Name] <string[]>] [-CommandType {Alias | Function | Filter | Cmdlet | ExternalScript | Application |
Script | All}] [[-ArgumentList] <Object[]>] [-Module <string[]>] [-Syntax] [-TotalCount <int>] [<CommonParameters>]

Get-Command [-Noun <string[]>] [-Verb <string[]>] [[-ArgumentList] <Object[]>] [-Module <string[]>] [-Syntax]
[-TotalCount <int>] [<CommonParameters>]

ALIASES
gcm

REMARKS
Get-Help cannot find the help files for this cmdlet on this computer.
It is displaying only partial help. To download and install help files
for this cmdlet, use Update-Help.

 

The second command runs the Update-Help cmdlet without parameters. This command downloads help files from the Internet for all of the modules in the current session and installs them on the local computer.

This command works only when the local computer is connected to the Internet. If your computer is not connected to the Internet, you might be able to install help files from a network share. For more information, see Save-Help.


PS C:\> Update-Help

 

Now that the help files are downloaded, we can repeat the first command in the sequence. This command gets help for the Get-Command cmdlet. The cmdlet now gets more extensive help for Get-Command and you can use the Detailed, Full, Example, and Parameter parameters of Get-Help to customize the displays.

You can use the Get-Help cmdlet as soon as the Update-Help command completes. You do not need to restart Windows PowerShell.


PS C:\> Get-Help Get-Command

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 6 --------------------------

This command displays detailed help for the Get-ChildItem cmdlet by specifying one of its aliases, "ls." The Detailed parameter of Get-Help gets the detailed view of the help topic, which includes parameter descriptions and examples. To see the complete help topic for a cmdlet, use the Full parameter.

The Full and Detailed parameters are effective only when help files for the command are installed on the computer.


PS C:\> Get-Help ls -Detailed

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 7 --------------------------

This command uses the Full parameter of Get-Help to display the full view help for the Format-Table cmdlet. The full view of help includes parameter descriptions, examples, and a table of technical details about the parameters.

The Full parameter is effective only when help files for the command are installed on the computer.


PS C:\> Get-Help Format-Table -Full

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 8 --------------------------

This command displays examples of using the Start-Service cmdlet. It uses the Examples parameter of Get-Help to display only the Examples section of the cmdlet help topics.

The Examples parameter is effective only when help files for the command are installed on the computer.


PS C:\> Get-Help Start-Service -Examples

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 9 --------------------------

This command uses the Parameter parameter of Get-Help to display a detailed description of the GroupBy parameter of the Format-List cmdlet. For detailed descriptions of all parameters of the Format-List cmdlet, type "Get-Help Format-List –Parameter *".


PS C:\> Get-Help Format-List -Parameter GroupBy

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 10 --------------------------

This example shows how to search for a word in particular cmdlet help topic. This command searches for the word "Clixml" in the full version of the help topic for the Add-Member cmdlet.

Because the Get-Help cmdlet generates a MamlCommandHelpInfo object, not a string, you need to use a cmdlet that transforms the help topic content into a string, such as Out-String or Out-File.


PS C:\> Get-Help Add-Member -Full | Out-String -Stream | Select-String -Pattern Clixml

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 11 --------------------------

This command displays the online version of the help topic for the Get-Member cmdlet.


PS C:\> Get-Help Get-Member -Online

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 14 --------------------------

This command displays a list of topics that include the word "remoting."

When you enter a word that does not appear in any topic title, Get-Help displays a list of topics that include that word.


PS C:\> Get-Help remoting

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 15 --------------------------

This example shows how to get help that explains how to use the Get-Item cmdlet in the DataCollection node of the Windows PowerShell SQL Server provider. The example shows two ways of getting the provider-specific help for Get-Item.

You can also get provider-specific help for cmdlets online in the section that describes the provider. For example, for provider-specific online help for the New-Item cmdlet in each WSMan provider path, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=158676.


 

The first command uses the Path parameter of Get-Help to specify the provider path. This command can be entered at any path location.


PS C:\> Get-Help Get-Item -Path SQLSERVER:\DataCollection
                
NAME
Get-Item

SYNOPSIS
Gets a collection of Server objects for the local computer and any computers
to which you have made a SQL Server PowerShell connection.
...

 

The second command uses the Set-Location cmdlet (alias = "cd") to navigate to the provider path. From that location, even without the Path parameter, the Get-Help command gets the provider-specific help for the Get-Item cmdlet.


PS C:\> cd SQLSERVER:\DataCollectionSQLSERVER:\DataCollection> Get-Help Get-Item
                
NAME
Get-Item

SYNOPSIS
Gets a collection of Server objects for the local computer and any computers
to which you have made a SQL Server PowerShell connection.
...

 

The third command shows that a Get-Help command in a file system path, and without the Path parameter, gets the standard help for the Get-Item cmdlet.


PS C:\> Get-Item
                
NAME
Get-Item

SYNOPSIS
Gets the item at the specified location.
...

-------------------------- EXAMPLE 16 --------------------------

This command gets help for the MyScript.ps1 script. For information about writing help for your functions and scripts, see about_Comment_Based_Help.


PS C:\> Get-Help C:\PS-Test\MyScript.ps1

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