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about_Updatable_Help

Updated: October 17, 2013

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

TOPIC
    About_Updatable_Help

SHORT DESCRIPTION
    Describes the updatable help system in Windows PowerShell.

LONG DESCRIPTION
    Windows PowerShell provides several different ways to access
    the most up-to-date help topics for Windows PowerShell cmdlets
    and concepts.
    
    The Updatable Help system, introduced in Windows PowerShell 3.0, 
    is designed to assure that you always have the newest help topics
    on your local computer so that you can read them at the command
    line. It makes it easy to download and install help files and
    to update them whenever newer help files become available.

    To provide updated help for multiple computers in an enterprise
    and for computers that do not have access to the Internet, Updatable
    Help lets you download help files to a file system directory or file
    share, and then install the help files from the file share.

    In Windows PowerShell 4.0, the HelpInfoUri property is preserved over
    Windows PowerShell remoting, which allows Save-Help to work for 
    modules that are installed on a remote computer, but are not
    necessarily installed on the local computer. You can save a PSModuleInfo
    object to disk or removable media (such as a USB drive) by running
    Export-CliXml on a computer that does not have Internet access,
    importing the PSModuleInfo object on a computer that does have Internet
    access, and then running Save-Help on the PSModuleInfo object. The
    saved help can be copied to the remote, disconnected computer by using
    removable media, and then installed by running Update-Help. These
    improvements in Save-Help functionality let you install help on
    computers that are without any kind of network access. For an example
    of how to use the new Save-Help functionality, see "HOW TO UPDATE HELP
    FROM A FILE SHARE:  SAVE-HELP" in this topic.

    Updatable Help also supports online access to the newest help topics
    and basic help for cmdlets, even when there are no help files on the
    computer. 

    Windows PowerShell 3.0 does not come with Help files. You can use
    the Updatable Help feature to install the help files for all of the
    commands that are included by default in Windows PowerShell and for
    all Windows modules.  



  UPDATABLE HELP CMDLETS


    Update-Help: Downloads the newest help files from the Internet or
                 a file share, and installs them on the local computer.

    Save-Help:   Downloads the newest help files from the Internet and
                 saves them in a file system directory or file share. To
                 install the help files on computers, use Update-Help.

    Get-Help:    -- Displays help topics at the command line. 
                 -- Gets help from the help files on the computer.
                 -- Displays auto-generated help for cmdlets and functions
                    that do not have help files.
                 -- Opens online help topics for cmdlets, functions,
                    scripts, and workflows in your default Internet
                    browser.


   UPDATE HELP IN WINDOWS POWERSHELL ISE
     You can also update help by using the "Update Windows PowerShell
     Help" item in the Help menu in Windows PowerShell Integrated
     Scripting Environment (ISE). 

     The "Update Windows PowerShell Help" item runs an Update-Help 
     command without parameters.


   AUTO-GENERATED HELP: HELP WITHOUT HELP FILES
    
     If you do not have the help file for a cmdlet, function,
     or workflow on the computer, the Get-Help cmdlet displays
     auto-generated help and prompts you to download the help
     files or read them online.

     Auto-generated help includes syntax and aliases, and remarks
     that explain how to use the Updatable Help cmdlets and to
     access the online help topics.

     For example, the following command gets basic help for the
     Get-Culture cmdlet. The output shows the Get-Help display
     when there are no help files on the computer.
     
         PS C:\> Get-Help Get-Culture

         NAME
            Get-Culture

        SYNTAX
            Get-Culture [<CommonParameters>]

        ALIASES
            None

        REMARKS
            To get the latest Help content including descriptions
            and examples type: Update-Help.



  HELP FILES FOR MODULES
 
    The smallest unit of Updatable Help is help for a module. Module
    help includes help for all of the cmdlets, functions, workflows,
    providers, scripts, and concepts in a module. You can update help
    for all modules that are installed on the computer, even if they
    are not imported into the current session.

    You can update help for the entire module, but you cannot update
    help for individual cmdlets.

    To find the module that contains a particular cmdlet, use the
    following command format:

(Get-Command <cmdlet-name>).ModuleName

    For example, to find the module that contains the Set-ExecutionPolicy
    cmdlet, type:

(Get-Command Set-ExecutionPolicy).ModuleName

    To update help for a particular module, type:

        Update-Help -Module <ModuleName>

    For example, to update help for the module that contains the
    Set-ExecutionPolicy cmdlet, type:

        Update-Help -Module Microsoft.PowerShell.Security
    

     

  PERMISSIONS FOR UPDATABLE HELP

    To update help for the modules in the $pshome\Modules directory,
    you must be member of the Administrators group on the computer.

    If you are not a member of the Administrators group, you cannot
    update help for these modules; but if you have Internet access,
    you can view help online in the TechNet Library.

    Updating help for modules in the 
    $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules
    directory or modules in other subdirectories of the $home
    directory do not require special permissions.

    The Update-Help and Save-Help cmdlets have a UseDefaultCredentials
    parameter that provides the explicit credentials of the current
    user. This parameter is designed for accessing secure Internet
    locations.

    The Update-Help and Save-Help cmdlets also have a Credential
    parameter that allows you to run the command on a remote
    computer and access a file share on a third computer. The
    Credential parameter is valid only when you use the SourcePath
    or LiteralPath parameters of Update-Help and the DestinationPath
    or LiteralPath parameters of Save-Help.


  HOW TO INSTALL AND UPDATE HELP FILES

    To download and install help files for the first time, or to update
    the help files on your computer, use the Update-Help cmdlet.

    The Update-Help cmdlet does all of the hard work for you, including
    the following tasks.

    -- Determines which modules support Updatable Help.
    -- Finds the Internet location where each module stores its
       Updatable Help files.
    -- Compares the help files for each module on your computer to
       the newest help files that are available for each module. 
    -- Downloads the new files from the Internet.
    -- Unwraps the help file package.
    -- Verifies that the files are valid help files.
    -- Installs the help files in the language-specific subdirectory
       of the module directory. 

    To access the new help topics, use the Get-Help cmdlet. You do not
    need to restart Windows PowerShell.

    To install or update help for all modules on the computer that
    supports Updatable Help, type:

        Update-Help

    To update help for particular modules, add the Module parameter
    of Update-Help. Wildcard characters are permitted in the module name.

    For example, to update help for the ServerManager module, type:

        Update-Help -Module ServerManager


    NOTES
    Without parameters, Update-Help updates help for all modules
    in the session and for all installed modules that support 
    Updatable Help. To be included, modules must be installed in
    directories that are listed in the value of the PSModulePath 
    environment variable. These are also modules that
    are returned by a "Get-Help -ListAvailable" command.

    If the value of the Module parameter is * (all), Update-Help
    attempts to update help for all installed modules, including
    modules that do not support Updatable Help. This command
    typically generates many errors as the cmdlet encounters modules
    that do not support Updatable Help. 


  HOW TO UPDATE HELP FROM A FILE SHARE:  SAVE-HELP

    To support computers that are not connected to the Internet,
    or to control or streamline help updating in an enterprise, 
    use the Save-Help cmdlet. The Save-Help cmdlet downloads help
    files from the Internet and saves them in a file system directory
    that you specify.

    Save-Help compares the help files in the specified directory to
    the newest help files that are available for each module. If the
    directory has no help files or newer help files are available for
    the module, the Save-Help cmdlet downloads the new files from the
    Internet. However, it does not unwrap or install the help files.

    To install or update the help files on a computer from help
    files that were saved to a file system directory, use the
    SourcePath parameter of the Update-Help cmdlet. The Update-Help
    cmdlet identifies the newest help files, unwraps and validates them,
    and installs them in the language-specific subdirectories of the
    module directories.

    For example, to save help for all installed modules to the
    \\Server\Share directory, type:

        Save-Help -DestinationPath \\Server\Share

    Then, to update help from the \\Server\Share directory, type:

        Update-Help -SourcePath \\Server\Share  

    The following examples show the use of Save-Help to save help
    for modules that are not installed on the local computer. In
    this example, the administrator runs Save-Help to save the help
    for the DhcpServer module from an Internet-connected client computer,
    without installing the DhcpServer module or DHCP Server role on the
    local computer.

        # Option 1: Run Invoke-Command to get the PSModuleInfo object for
          the remote module, save it in a variable, $m, and then run Save-Help
          on the PSModuleInfo object by specifying the variable $m as the
          module name.

        $m = Invoke-Command -ComputerName RemoteServer -ScriptBlock
        { Get-Module -Name DhcpServer -ListAvailable }
        Save-Help -Module $m -DestinationPath C:\SavedHelp


        # Option 2: Open a PSSession, targeted at the computer that is
          running the DHCP Server module, to get the PSModuleInfo object for
          the module, save it in a variable $m, and then run Save-Help on the
          object that is saved in the $m variable.

        $s = New-PSSession -ComputerName RemoteServer
        $m = Get-Module -PSSession $s -Name DhcpServer -ListAvailable
        Save-Help -Module $m -DestinationPath C:\SavedHelp


        # Option 3: Open a CIM session, targeted at the computer that is
          running the DHCP Server module, to get the PSModuleInfo object for
          the module, save it in a variable $m, and then run Save-Help on the
          object that is saved in the $m variable.

        $c = New-CimSession -ComputerName RemoteServer
        $m = Get-Module -CimSession $c -Name DhcpServer -ListAvailable
        Save-Help -Module $m -DestinationPath C:\SavedHelp 

    In the following example, the administrator installs help for the
    DHCP Server module on a computer that does not have network access.

        # First, run Export-CliXml to export the PSModuleInfo object to
          a shared folder or to removable media.

        $m = Get-Module -Name DhcpServer –ListAvailable
        Export-CliXml –Path E:\UsbFlashDrive\DhcpModule.xml –InputObject $m

        # Next, transport the removable media to a computer that has
          Internet access, and then import the PSModuleInfo object with
          Import-CliXml. Run Save-Help to save the Help for the imported
          DhcpServer module PSModuleInfo object.

        $deserialized_m = Import-CliXml E:\UsbFlashDrive\DhcpModule.xml
        Save-Help -Module $deserialized_m –DestinationPath 
           E:\UsbFlashDrive\SavedHelp

        # Finally, transport the removable media back to the computer that
          does not have network access, and then install the help by running
          Update-Help.

        Update-Help –Module DhcpServer –SourcePath 
           E:\UsbFlashDrive\SavedHelp


    NOTES:
    Without parameters, Save-Help downloads help for all modules
    in the session and for all installed modules that support 
    Updatable Help. To be included, modules must be installed in
    directories that are listed in the value of the PSModulePath 
    environment variable, on either the local computer or on a remote
    computer for which you want to save help. These are also modules
    that are returned by running a "Get-Help -ListAvailable" command.


  HOW TO UPDATE HELP FILES IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

    By default, the Update-Help and Save-Help cmdlets download
    help in the UI culture and language that is set for Windows
    on the local computer. If help files for the specified modules
    are not available in the local UI culture, Update-Help and
    Save-Help use the Windows language fallback rules to find the
    best supported language. 

    However, you can use the UICulture parameters of the Update-Help
    and Save-Help cmdlets to download and install help files in any
    UI cultures in which they are available.

    For example, to save the newest help files for all modules on
    the session in Japanese (Ja-jp) and French (fr-FR), type:

      Save-Help -Path \\Server\Share -UICulture ja-jp, fr-fr

   If help files for the modules are not available in the languages
   that you specified, the Update-Help and Save-Help cmdlets return
   an error message that lists the languages in which help for each
   module is available so you can choose the alternative that best
   meets your needs. 


  HOW TO UPDATE HELP AUTOMATICALLY

    To assure that you always have the newest help files, you can
    add an Update-Help command to your Windows PowerShell profile.

    An internal quota prevents the Update-Help command from running
    more than once each day. To override the once-per-day maximum,
    use the Force parameter.

    Use a command like the following one in your profile. This command
    updates help for all installed modules in a background job so it
    doesn't disturb your work. It uses an Out-Null command to suppress
    the job that is returned and any error messages that would otherwise
    appear when you use the command more than once per day. 

        Start-Job {Update-Help} | Out-Null
 
    You can also create a scheduled job that runs the Update-Help or
    Save-Help cmdlet at any interval.

    For example, the following command creates a scheduled job that runs an
    Update-Help help command every Friday at 5:00 AM. To run this command,
    start Windows PowerShell with the "Run as administrator" option.

        Register-ScheduledJob -Name UpdateHelpJob -ScriptBlock {Update-Help} `
           -Trigger (New-JobTrigger -Weekly -DaysOfWeek Friday -At "5:00 AM")

    For more information about scheduled jobs, see about_Scheduled_Jobs.


  HOW TO USE ONLINE HELP
 
    If you cannot or choose not to update the help files on your
    local computer, you can still get the newest help files online.

    To open the online help topic for any cmdlet or function, use
    the Online parameter of the Get-Help cmdlet. 

    For example, the following command opens the online help topic
    for the Get-Job cmdlet in your default Internet browser:

        Get-Help Get-Job -Online
    -or-
        Get-Help -on Get-Job

    To get online help for a script, use the Online parameter and
    the full path to the script.    

    The Online parameter does not work with About topics. To see
    the about topics for Windows PowerShell Core, including help
    topics about the Windows PowerShell language, see "Windows
    PowerShell Core Module About Topics" at 
    http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=113206.


  HOW TO MINIMIZE OR PREVENT INTERNET DOWNLOADS
    To minimize Internet downloads and provide Updatable Help to 
    users who are not connected to the Internet, use the Save-Help
    cmdlet. Download help from the Internet and save it to a network
    share. Then, create a Group Policy setting or scheduled job that
    runs an Update-Help command on all computers. Set the value of
    the SourcePath parameter of the Update-Help cmdlet to the network
    share.

    To prevent users who have Internet access from downloading Updatable
    Help from the Internet, use the "Set the default source path for 
    Update-Help" Group Policy setting. 
 
    This Group Policy setting implicitly adds the SourcePath parameter,
    with the file system location that you specify, to every Update-Help
    command on every affected computer. Users can use the SourcePath
    parameter explicitly to specify a different file system location, but
    they cannot exclude the SourcePath parameter and download help from
    the Internet.
 
    NOTE: The "Set the default source path for Update-Help" group
          policy setting appears under Computer Configuration and 
          User Configuration. However, only the policy setting 
          under Computer Configuration is effective. The policy 
          setting under User Configuration is ignored.

   For more information, see about_Group_Policy_Settings.


  HOW TO UPDATE HELP FOR NON-STANDARD MODULES
    To update or save help for a module that is not returned
    by the ListAvailable parameter of the Get-Module cmdlet,
    import the module into the current session before running 
    an Update-Help or Save-Help command. On a remote computer,
    before running the Save-Help command, import the module into
    the current CIM or PSSession--or Invoke-Command script block--
    that is connected to the remote computer.

    When the module is in the current session, run the Update-Help
    or Save-Help cmdlets without parameters, or use the Module 
    parameter to specify the module name.

    The Module parameters of the Update-Help and Save-Help
    cmdlets accept only a module name. They do not accept the
    path to a module file.

    Use this technique to update or save help for any module 
    that is not returned by the ListAvailable parameter of the
    Get-Module cmdlet, such as a module that is installed in a 
    location that is not listed in the PSModulePath environment 
    variable, or a module that is not well-formed (the module 
    directory does not contain at least one file whose base name
    is the same as the directory name).


  HOW TO SUPPORT UPDATABLE HELP
              
    If you author a module, you can support online help and
    Updatable Help for your modules. For more information, see
    "Supporting Updatable Help" and "Supporting Online Help" 
    in the MSDN Library.

    Updatable help not available for Windows PowerShell snap-ins
    or comment-based help.

KEYWORDS
    About_Updateable_Help

REMARKS
    The Update-Help and Save-Help cmdlets are not supported on
    Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE).

SEE ALSO
    Get-Help
    Save-Help
    Update-Help
    Updatable Help Status Table
       (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=270007)



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