Legacy Powershell Useful Commands

Published on Saturday, 18 July 2020

This article applies to legacy powershell (powershell 5.0 or earlier) Check edition via Powershell variable: $PSEdition (should show "Desktop for legacy/classic powershell), classic powershell is also bundled into the Windows OS.

Please be aware of notation below in command outlines. $ represents a command and rests of the lines following that line are output. The tradition is to utilize the "> " prompt for Windows Command Shell, however, I come from a Unix background and I defy that.

Control Panel Cmdlet

Handy cmds follow, ref to access sys properties,

Show-ControlPanelItem -Name System

For example, open Power Options Window,

Show-ControlPanelItem -Name 'Power Options'

Following can be invoked using Show-ControlPanelItem specifying name argument,

  • System
  • Programs and Features, old: appwiz.cpl
  • Network and Sharing Center (previous: control ncpa.cpl)
  • Device Manager
  • Default Programs
  • Power Options, old: powercfg.cpl
  • User Accounts
  • Taskbar and Navigation

For, Sound mouse etc we do,

  • Sound
  • Mouse

To access advanced system properties (old: sysdm.cpl), use,

$ SystemPropertiesAdvanced


Service Management

Get list of services currently running,

Get-Service | Where-Object {$_.Status -eq "Running"}

Start a service,

Start-Service -Name VPNAgent

Stop one,

Stop-Service -Name VPNAgent

Get Software List,

Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -Filter "Name = 'Java 8 (64 bit)'"

Changing Window Size

To change Window ize we change buffer size first, because Window Size depends on it.

$cUI = (Get-Host).UI.RawUI
$b = $cUI.BufferSize
$b.Width = $width
$b.Height = $history_size
$cUI.BufferSize = $b

# change window height and width
$b = $cUI.WindowSize
$b.Width = $width
$b.Height = $height
$cUI.WindowSize = $b

There's oneliner to do it as well,

(Get-Host).UI.RawUI.BufferSize = New-Object System.Management.Automation.Host.Size -Property @{Width=$width; Height=$history_size}
(Get-Host).UI.RawUI.WindowSize = New-Object System.Management.Automation.Host.Size -Property @{Width=$width; Height=$height}

To change the title of the console we do,

$cUI.WindowTitle = $title

ref, MSFT Docs Automation provides more details on the UI properties for automation on powershell.

Programs and Feature Management

Software Management: Get Software List

Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -Filter "Name = 'Java 8 (64 bit)'"

How to uninstall application,

$app = Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product -Filter "Name = 'Java 8 (64-bit)'"


Arguments to the Shell

These basic stuffs might come handy,

Passing all arguments, untouched to another script,

$saArgs = $args[0 .. ($args.Count)]
& "$Env:HOME\ss.ps1" $saArgs