Learn PowerShell – Piping

Piping in PowerShell is awesomesauce and best explained by some examples, but firstly a quick explanation of piping, lets say we want to get a list of files from the c:\windows folder on your machine, order them by the last modified date and select the first 50 files and output the list to a text file in the current folder, simple requirements and here it is:-

Set-Location c:\windows
Get-ChildItem | Sort-Object LastWriteTime -Descending | Select-Object -First 50| Out-File files.txt

  • Set-Location is the cmdlet which is roughly the equivalent to the cd command found in a command prompt.
  • Get-ChiLdItem is the cmdlet which is roughly the equivalent to the dir command found in a command prompt, but you can use it with objects, lists and so on.
  • Sort-Object is the cmdlet to sort obviously and can be used against your objects, lists and much more.
  • Select-Object tis the cmdlet to select a number of objects (files, records, results), you can use this with -first, -last, -skip and much more
  • Out-File will is the cmdlet to simply write output to a file.

Obviously a very simple example but you take A pass the results to B, B then does work on it, passes it to C and you got the idea. This is a how piping works and can yield the data your looking for quickly and in very little code indeed.

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