PowerShell task

Azure Pipelines | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015

Use this task in a build or release pipeline to run a PowerShell script.


In Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2018 and previous versions, build and release pipelines are called definitions, service connections are called service endpoints, stages are called environments, and jobs are called phases.


  • DotNetFramework

YAML snippet

# PowerShell
# Run a PowerShell script on Windows, macOS, or Linux.
- task: PowerShell@2
    #targetType: 'filePath' # Optional. Options: filePath, inline
    #filePath: # Required when targetType == FilePath
    #arguments: # Optional
    #script: '# Write your powershell commands here.' # Required when targetType == Inline
    #errorActionPreference: 'stop' # Optional. Options: stop, continue, silentlyContinue
    #failOnStderr: false # Optional
    #ignoreLASTEXITCODE: false # Optional
    #pwsh: false # Optional
    #workingDirectory: # Optional

The Powershell task also has a shortcut syntax in YAML:

- powershell:  # inline script
  workingDirectory:  #
  displayName:  #
  failOnStderr:  #
  errorActionPreference:  #
  ignoreLASTEXITCODE:  #
  env:  # mapping of environment variables to add


TypeSets whether this is an inline script or a path to a .ps1 file. Defaults to filepath
File pathPath of the script to execute. Must be a fully qualified path or relative to $(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory). Required if Type is filePath.
ArgumentsArguments passed to the Powershell script. Ignored when Type is inline.
ScriptContents of the script. Required if Type is inline.
Working directorySpecify the working directory in which you want to run the command. If you leave it empty, the working directory is $(Build.SourcesDirectory).
Fail on standard error If this is true, this task will fail if any errors are written to stderr.
errorActionPreference Set PowerShell's error action preference. One of: stop, continue, silentlyContinue. Defaults to stop.
ignoreLASTEXITCODE By default, the last exit code returned from your script will be checked and, if non-zero, treated as a step failure. If you don't want this behavior, set this to true.
Environment variables A list of additional items to map into the process's environment. For example, secret variables are not automatically mapped. If you have a secret variable called Foo, you can map it in like this:

- powershell: echo $env:MYSECRET
    MySecret: $(Foo)

Control options


Hello World

Create test.ps1 at the root of your repo:

Write-Host "Hello World from $Env:AGENT_NAME."
Write-Host "My ID is $Env:AGENT_ID."
Write-Host "AGENT_WORKFOLDER contents:"
Write-Host "AGENT_BUILDDIRECTORY contents:"
Write-Host "Over and out."

On the Build tab of a build pipeline, add this task:

Task Arguments

Utility: PowerShell
Run test.ps1.

Script filename: test.ps1

Write a warning

icon Set warning message

  • Arguments

    "You've been warned by"
  • Script

    Write-Host "$("##vso[task.setvariable variable=WarningMessage]") $($args[0])"

icon Write warning using task.LogIssue

  • Script

    # Writes a warning to build summary and to log in yellow text
    Write-Host  "$("##vso[task.LogIssue type=warning;]") $($env:WarningMessage) $("the task.LogIssue Azure Pipelines logging command.")"

icon Write warning using PowerShell command

  • Script

    # Writes a warning to log preceded by "WARNING: "
    Write-Warning "$($env:WarningMessage) $("the Write-Warning PowerShell command.")"

Write an error

icon Set error message

  • Arguments

    "something went wrong."
  • Script

    Write-Host "$("##vso[task.setvariable variable=ErrorMessage]") $($args[0])"

icon Write error using task.LogIssue

  • Script

    # Writes an error to the build summary and to the log in red text
    Write-Host  "$("##vso[task.LogIssue type=error;]") $("the task.LogIssue Azure Pipelines logging command reported that") $($env:ErrorMessage)"


If you want this error to fail the build, then add this line:

exit 1

icon Write error using PowerShell command

  • Script

    # Writes an error to the build summary and the log with details about the error
    Write-Error "$("the Write-Error PowerShell command reported that") $($env:ErrorMessage)"


If you don't want this error to fail the build, then clear the Advanced: Fail on Standard Error check box.


Use a script to customize your build pipeline

Open source

This task is open source on GitHub. Feedback and contributions are welcome.

Q & A

Where can I learn about PowerShell scripts?

Scripting with Windows PowerShell

Microsoft Script Center (the Scripting Guys)

Windows PowerShell Tutorial


How do I set a variable so that it can be read by subsequent scripts and tasks?

Define and modify your build variables in a script

Define and modify your release variables in a script

Q: I'm having problems. How can I troubleshoot them?

A: Try this:

  1. On the variables tab, add system.debug and set it to true. Select to allow at queue time.

  2. In the explorer tab, view your completed build and click the build step to view its output.

The control options arguments described above can also be useful when you're trying to isolate a problem.

Q: How do variables work? What variables are available for me to use in the arguments?

A: $(Build.SourcesDirectory) and $(Agent.BuildDirectory) are just a few of the variables you can use. See Variables.

Do I need an agent?

You need at least one agent to run your build or release. Get an agent for Linux, macOS, or Windows.

I can't select a default agent pool and I can't queue my build or release. How do I fix this?

See Agent pools.

I use TFS on-premises and I don't see some of these features. Why not?

Some of these features are available only on Azure Pipelines and not yet available on-premises. Some features are available on-premises if you have upgraded to the latest version of TFS.