Product Documentation

about_providers

Nov 11, 2015

TOPIC

about_Providers

SHORT DESCRIPTION

Describes how Windows PowerShell providers provide access to data and components that would not otherwise be easily accessible at the command line. The data is presented in a consistent format that resembles a file system drive.

LONG DESCRIPTION

Windows PowerShell providers are Microsoft .NET Framework-based programs that make the data in a specialized data store available in Windows PowerShell so that you can view and manage it.

The data that a provider exposes appears in a drive, and you access the data in a path like you would on a hard disk drive. You can use any of the built-in cmdlets that the provider supports to manage the data in the provider drive. And, you can use custom cmdlets that are designed especially for the data.

The providers can also add dynamic parameters to the built-in cmdlets. These are parameters that are available only when you use the cmdlet with the provider data.

BUILT-IN PROVIDERS

Windows PowerShell includes a set of built-in providers that you can use to access the different types of data stores.

Provider Drive Data store -------- ----- ---------- Alias Alias: Windows PowerShell aliases

Certificate Cert: x509 certificates for digital signatures

Environment Env: Windows environment variables

FileSystem * File system drives, directories, and files

Function Function: Windows PowerShell functions

Registry HKLM:, HKCU Windows registry

Variable Variable: Windows PowerShell variables

WS-Management WSMan WS-Management configuration information

* The FileSystem drives vary on each system.

You can also create your own Windows PowerShell providers, and you can install providers that others develop. To list the providers that are available in your session, type:

 
       get-psprovider 
 
 
  

INSTALLING AND REMOVING PROVIDERS

Windows PowerShell providers are delivered to you in Windows PowerShell snap-ins, which are .NET Framework-based programs that are compiled into .dll files. The snap-ins can include providers and cmdlets.

Before you use the provider features, you have to install the snap-in and then add it to your Windows PowerShell session. For more information, see about_PsSnapins.

You cannot uninstall a provider, although you can remove the Windows PowerShell snap-in for the provider from the current session. If you do, you will remove all the contents of the snap-in, including its cmdlets.

To remove a provider from the current session, use the Remove-PsSnapin cmdlet. This cmdlet does not uninstall the provider, but it makes the provider unavailable in the session.

You can also use the Remove-PsDrive cmdlet to remove any drive from the current session. This data on the drive is not affected, but the drive is no longer available in that session.

VIEWING PROVIDERS

To view the Windows PowerShell providers on your computer, type:

get-psprovider

The output lists the built-in providers and the providers that you added to the session.

THE PROVIDER CMDLETS

The following cmdlets are designed to work with the data exposed by any provider. You can use the same cmdlets in the same way to manage the different types of data that providers expose. After you learn to manage the data of one provider, you can use the same procedures with the data from any provider.

For example, the New-Item cmdlet creates a new item. In the C: drive that is supported by the FileSystem provider, you can use New-Item to create a new file or folder. In the drives that are supported by the Registry provider, you can use New-Item to create a new registry key. In the Alias: drive, you can use New-Item to create a new alias.

For detailed information about any of the following cmdlets, type:

 
        get-help <cmdlet-name> -detailed 
 
 
     

CHILDITEM CMDLETS

 
        Get-ChildItem 
 
     

CONTENT CMDLETS

 
        Add-Content 
        Clear-Content 
        Get-Content 
        Set-Content 
 
     

ITEM CMDLETS

 
        Clear-Item 
        Copy-Item 
        Get-Item 
        Invoke-Item 
        Move-Item 
        New-Item 
        Remove-Item 
        Rename-Item 
        Set-Item 
 
     

ITEMPROPERTY CMDLETS

 
        Clear-ItemProperty 
        Copy-ItemProperty 
        Get-ItemProperty 
        Move-ItemProperty 
        New-ItemProperty 
        Remove-ItemProperty 
        Rename-ItemProperty 
        Set-ItemProperty 
 
     

LOCATION CMDLETS

 
        Get-Location 
        Pop-Location 
        Push-Location 
        Set-Location 
 
     

PATH CMDLETS

 
        Join-Path 
        Convert-Path 
        Split-Path 
        Resolve-Path 
        Test-Path 
 
     

PSDRIVE CMDLETS

 
        Get-PSDrive 
        New-PSDrive 
        Remove-PSDrive 
 
     

PSPROVIDER CMDLETS

 
        Get-PSProvider 
 
 
  

VIEWING PROVIDER DATA

The primary benefit of a provider is that it exposes its data in a familiar and consistent way. The model for data presentation is a file system drive.

To use data that the provider exposes, you view it, move through it, and change it as though it were data on a hard drive. Therefore, the most important information about a provider is the name of the drive that it supports.

The drive is listed in the default display of the Get-PsProvider cmdlet, but you can get information about the provider drive by using the Get-PsDrive cmdlet. For example, to get all the properties of the Function: drive, type:

get-psdrive Function | format-list *

You can view and move through the data in a provider drive just as you would on a file system drive.

To view the contents of a provider drive, use the Get-Item or Get-ChildItem cmdlets. Type the drive name followed by a colon (:). For example, to view the contents of the Alias: drive, type:

 
        get-item alias: 
 
 
     

You can view and manage the data in any drive from another drive by including the drive name in the path. For example, to view the HKLM\Software registry key in the HKLM: drive from another drive, type:

 
        get-childitem hklm:\software 
 
 
     

To open the drive, use the Set-Location cmdlet. Remember the colon when you specify the drive path. For example, to change your location to the root directory of the Cert: drive, type:

 
        set-location cert: 
 
 
     

Then, to view the contents of the Cert: drive, type:

get-childitem

MOVING THROUGH HIERARCHICAL DATA

You can move through a provider drive just as you would a hard disk drive. If the data is arranged in a hierarchy of items within items, use a backslash (\) to indicate a child item. Use the following format:

drive:\location\child-location\...

For example, to change your location to the HKLM\Software registry key, type a Set-Location command, such as:

 
        set-location hklm:\software 
 
 
     

You can also use relative references to locations. A dot (.) represents the current location. For example, if you are in the HKLM:\Software\Microsoft registry key, and you want to list the registry subkeys in the HKLM:\Software\Micrsoft\PowerShell key, type the following command:

 
        get-childitem .\powershell 
 
 
  

FINDING DYNAMIC PARAMETERS

Dynamic parameters are cmdlet parameters that are added to a cmdlet by a provider. These parameters are available only when the cmdlet is used with the provider that added them.

For example, the Cert: drive adds the CodeSigningCert parameter to the Get-Item and Get-ChildItem cmdlets. You can use this parameter only when you use Get-Item or Get-ChildItem in the Cert: drive.

For a list of the dynamic parameters that a provider supports, see the Help file for the provider. Type:

get-help <provider-name>

For example:

get-help certificate

LEARNING ABOUT PROVIDERS

Although all provider data appears in drives, and you use the same methods to move through them, the similarity stops there. The data stores that the provider exposes can be as varied as Active Directory locations and Microsoft Exchange Server mailboxes.

For information about individual Windows PowerShell providers, type:

get-help <ProviderName>

For example:

get-help registry

For a list of Help topics about the providers, type:

get-help * -category provider

SEE ALSO

about_Locations

about_Path_Syntax