About Language Modes

SHORT DESCRIPTION

Explains language modes and their effect on PowerShell sessions.

LONG DESCRIPTION

The language mode of a PowerShell session determines, in part, which elements of the PowerShell language can be used in the session.

PowerShell supports the following language modes:

  • FullLanguage
  • ConstrainedLanguage (introduced in PowerShell 3.0)
  • RestrictedLanguage
  • NoLanguage

WHAT IS A LANGUAGE MODE?

The language mode determines the language elements that are permitted in the session.

The language mode is actually a property of the session configuration (or "endpoint") that is used to create the session. All sessions that use a particular session configuration have the language mode of the session configuration.

All PowerShell sessions have a language mode, including PSSessions that you create by using the New-PSSession cmdlet, temporary sessions that use the ComputerName parameter, and the default sessions that appear when you start PowerShell.

Remote sessions are created by using the session configurations on the remote computer. The language mode set in the session configuration determines the language mode of the session. To specify the session configuration of a PSSession, use the ConfigurationName parameter of cmdlets that create a session.

LANGUAGE MODES

This section describes the language modes in PowerShell sessions.

FULL LANGUAGE (FullLanguage)

The FullLanguage language mode permits all language elements in the session. FullLanguage is the default language mode for default sessions on all versions of Windows except for Windows RT.

RESTRICTED LANGUAGE (RestrictedLanguage)

In RestrictedLanguage language mode, users may run commands (cmdlets, functions, CIM commands, and workflows) but are not permitted to use script blocks.

Only the following variables are permitted:

  • $PSCulture
  • $PSUICulture
  • $True
  • $False
  • $Null.

Only the following comparison operators are permitted:

  • -eq (equal)
  • -gt (greater-than)
  • -lt (less-than)

Assignment statements, property references, and method calls are not permitted.

NO LANGUAGE (NoLanguage)

In NoLanguage language mode, users may run commands, but they cannot use any language elements.

CONSTRAINED LANGUAGE (Constrained Language)

The ConstrainedLanguage language mode permits all Windows cmdlets and all PowerShell language elements, but it limits permitted types.

ConstrainedLanguage language mode is designed to support User Mode Code Integrity (UMCI) on Windows RT. It is the only supported language mode on Windows RT, but it is available on all supported systems.

UMCI protects ARM devices by allowing only Microsoft-signed and Microsoft-certified apps to be installed on Windows RT-based devices. ConstrainedLanguage mode prevents users from using PowerShell to circumvent or violate UMCI.

The features of ConstrainedLanguage mode are as follows:

  • All cmdlets in Windows modules, and other UMCI-approved cmdlets, are fully functional and have complete access to system resources, except as noted.

  • All elements of the PowerShell scripting language are permitted.

  • All modules included in Windows can be imported and all commands that the modules export run in the session.

  • In PowerShell Workflow, you can write and run script workflows (workflows written in the PowerShell language). XAML-based workflows are not supported and you cannot run XAML in a script workflow, such as by using "Invoke-Expression -Language XAML". Also, workflows cannot call other workflows, although nested workflows are permitted.

  • The Add-Type cmdlet can load signed assemblies, but it cannot load arbitrary C# code or Win32 APIs.

  • The New-Object cmdlet can be used only on allowed types (listed below).

  • Only allowed types (listed below) can be used in PowerShell. Other types are not permitted.

  • Type conversion is permitted, but only when the result is an allowed type.

  • Cmdlet parameters that convert string input to types work only when the resulting type is an allowed type.

  • The ToString() method and the .NET methods of allowed types (listed below) can be invoked. Other methods cannot be invoked.

  • Users can get all properties of allowed types. Users can set the values of properties only on Core types.

    • Only the following COM objects are permitted.
    • Scripting.Dictionary
    • Scripting.FileSystemObject
    • VBScript.RegExp

The following types are permitted in ConstrainedLanguage language mode. Users can get properties, invoke methods, and convert objects to these types.

Allowed Types:

  • AliasAttribute
  • AllowEmptyCollectionAttribute
  • AllowEmptyStringAttribute
  • AllowNullAttribute
  • Array
  • Bool
  • byte
  • char
  • CmdletBindingAttribute
  • DateTime
  • decimal
  • DirectoryEntry
  • DirectorySearcher
  • double
  • float
  • Guid
  • Hashtable
  • int
  • Int16
  • long
  • ManagementClass
  • ManagementObject
  • ManagementObjectSearcher
  • NullString
  • OutputTypeAttribute
  • ParameterAttribute
  • PSCredential
  • PSDefaultValueAttribute
  • PSListModifier
  • PSObject
  • PSPrimitiveDictionary
  • PSReference
  • PSTypeNameAttribute
  • Regex
  • SByte
  • string
  • SupportsWildcardsAttribute
  • SwitchParameter
  • System.Globalization.CultureInfo
  • System.Net.IPAddress
  • System.Net.Mail.MailAddress
  • System.Numerics.BigInteger
  • System.Security.SecureString
  • TimeSpan
  • UInt16
  • UInt32
  • UInt64

FINDING THE LANGUAGE MODE OF A SESSION CONFIGURATION

When a session configuration is created by using a session configuration file, the session configuration has a LanguageMode property. You can find the language mode by getting the value of the LanguageMode property.

PS C:\> (Get-PSSessionConfiguration -Name Test).LanguageMode
FullLanguage

On other session configurations, you can find the language mode indirectly by finding the language mode of a session that is created by using the session configuration.

FINDING THE LANGUAGE MODE OF A SESSION

You can find the language mode of a FullLanguage or ConstrainedLanguage session by getting the value of the LanguageMode property of the session state.

For example:

PS C:> $ExecutionContext.SessionState.LanguageMode
ConstrainedLanguage

However, in sessions with RestrictedLanguage and NoLanguage language modes, you cannot use the dot method to get property values. Instead, the error message reveals the language mode.

When you run the $ExecutionContext.SessionState.LanguageMode command in a RestrictedLanguage session, PowerShell returns the PropertyReferenceNotSupportedInDataSection and VariableReferenceNotSupportedInDataSection error messages.

  • PropertyReferenceNotSupportedInDataSection: Property references are not allowed in restricted language mode or a Data section.
  • VariableReferenceNotSupportedInDataSection A variable that cannot be referenced in restricted language mode or a Data section is being referenced.

When you run the $ExecutionContext.SessionState.LanguageMode command in a NoLanguage session, PowerShell returns the ScriptsNotAllowed error message.

  • ScriptsNotAllowed: The syntax is not supported by this runspace. This might be because it is in no-language mode.

KEYWORDS

  • about_ConstrainedLanguage
  • about_FullLanguage
  • about_NoLanguage
  • about_RestrictedLanguage

SEE ALSO