PowerShell task

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

Use this task to run a PowerShell script.


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


  • DotNetFramework

YAML snippet

# PowerShell
# Run a PowerShell script on Linux, macOS, or Windows
- task: PowerShell@2
    #targetType: 'filePath' # Optional. Options: filePath, inline
    #filePath: # Required when targetType == FilePath
    #arguments: # Optional
    #script: '# Write your PowerShell commands here.Write-Host Hello World' # 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 two shortcuts in YAML:

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

Both of these resolve to the PowerShell@2 task. powershell runs Windows PowerShell and will only work on a Windows agent. pwsh runs PowerShell Core, which must be installed on the agent or container.


(Optional) Sets whether this is an inline script or a path to a .ps1 file. Defaults to filepath
Default value: filePath
Script Path
(Required) Path of the script to execute. Must be a fully qualified path or relative to $(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory). Required if Type is filePath
(Optional) Arguments passed to the Powershell script.
For example, -Name someName -Path -Value "Some long string value"

Note: unused when Type is inline.
(Required) Contents of the script. Required if targetType is inline.
Default value: # Write your PowerShell commands here.
Write-Host "Hello World"
(Optional) Prepends the line $ErrorActionPreference = 'VALUE' at the top of your script
Default value: stop
Fail on Standard Error
(Optional) If this is true, this task will fail if any errors are written to the error pipeline, or if any data is written to the Standard Error stream. Otherwise the task will rely on the exit code to determine failure
Default value: false
(Optional) If this is false, the line if ((Test-Path -LiteralPath variable:\\LASTEXITCODE)) { exit $LASTEXITCODE } is appended to the end of your script. This will cause the last exit code from an external command to be propagated as the exit code of powershell. Otherwise the line is not appended to the end of your script
Default value: false
Use PowerShell Core
(Optional) If this is true, then on Windows the task will use pwsh.exe from your PATH instead of powershell.exe
Default value: false
Working directory
(Optional) Specify the working directory in which you want to run the command. If you leave it empty, the working directory is $(Build.SourcesDirectory)
Environment variablesA 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)


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

Add the PowerShell task, set the Type to inline, and paste in this script:

# Writes a warning to build summary and to log in yellow text
Write-Host  "##vso[task.LogIssue type=warning;]This is the warning"

Write an error

Add the PowerShell task, set the Type to inline, and paste in this script:

# Writes an error to build summary and to log in red text
Write-Host  "##vso[task.LogIssue type=error;]This is the error"


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

exit 1


Use a script to customize your build pipeline

Call PowerShell script with multiple arguments

Create PowerShell script test2.ps1:

param ($input1, $input2)
Write-Host "$input1 $input2"

In your YAML pipeline, call:

- task: PowerShell@2
    targetType: 'filePath'
    filePath: $(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory)\test2.ps1
    arguments: > # Use this to avoid newline characters in multiline string
      -input1 "Hello"
      -input2 "World"
  displayName: 'Print Hello World'

Open source

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


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. Variables are available in expressions as well as scripts; see variables to learn more about how to use them. There are some predefined build and release variables you can also rely on.

Do I need an agent?

You need at least one agent to run your build or release.

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

See Troubleshoot Build and Release.

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.