Short description

Describes how to create and use a PowerShell profile.

Long description

You can create a PowerShell profile to customize your environment and to add session-specific elements to every PowerShell session that you start.

A PowerShell profile is a script that runs when PowerShell starts. You can use the profile as a logon script to customize the environment. You can add commands, aliases, functions, variables, snap-ins, modules, and PowerShell drives. You can also add other session-specific elements to your profile so they are available in every session without having to import or re-create them.

PowerShell supports several profiles for users and host programs. However, it does not create the profiles for you. This topic describes the profiles, and it describes how to create and maintain profiles on your computer.

It explains how to use the NoProfile parameter of the PowerShell console (PowerShell.exe) to start PowerShell without any profiles. And, it explains the effect of the PowerShell execution policy on profiles.

The Profile Files

PowerShell supports several profile files. Also, PowerShell host programs can support their own host-specific profiles.

For example, the PowerShell console supports the following basic profile files. The profiles are listed in precedence order. The first profile has the highest precedence.

Description Path
All Users, All Hosts Windows - $PSHOME\Profile.ps1
Linux - /usr/local/microsoft/powershell/7/profile.ps1
macOS - /usr/local/microsoft/powershell/7/profile.ps1
All Users, Current Host Windows - $PSHOME\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1
Linux - /usr/local/microsoft/powershell/7/Microsoft.Powershell_profile.ps1
macOS - /usr/local/microsoft/powershell/7/Microsoft.Powershell_profile.ps1
Current User, All Hosts Windows - $Home\[My ]Documents\PowerShell\Profile.ps1
Linux - ~/.config/powershell/profile.ps1
macOS - ~/.config/powershell/profile.ps1
Current user, Current Host Windows - $Home\[My ]Documents\PowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1
Linux - ~/.config/powershell/Microsoft.Powershell_profile.ps1
macOS - ~/.config/powershell/Microsoft.Powershell_profile.ps1

The profile paths include the following variables:

  • The $PSHOME variable, which stores the installation directory for PowerShell
  • The $Home variable, which stores the current user's home directory

In addition, other programs that host PowerShell can support their own profiles. For example, Visual Studio Code supports the following host-specific profiles.

Description Path
All users, Current Host $PSHOME\Microsoft.VSCode_profile.ps1
Current user, Current Host $Home\[My ]Documents\PowerShell\

In PowerShell Help, the "CurrentUser, Current Host" profile is the profile most often referred to as "your PowerShell profile".


In Windows, the location of the Documents folder can be changed by folder redirection or OneDrive. We don’t recommend redirecting the Documents folder to a network share or including it in OneDrive. Redirecting the folder can cause your profile scripts to fail and modules fail to load.

The $PROFILE variable

The $PROFILE automatic variable stores the paths to the PowerShell profiles that are available in the current session.

To view a profile path, display the value of the $PROFILE variable. You can also use the $PROFILE variable in a command to represent a path.

The $PROFILE variable stores the path to the "Current User, Current Host" profile. The other profiles are saved in note properties of the $PROFILE variable.

For example, the $PROFILE variable has the following values in the Windows PowerShell console.

Description Name
Current User, Current Host $PROFILE
Current User, Current Host $PROFILE.CurrentUserCurrentHost
Current User, All Hosts $PROFILE.CurrentUserAllHosts
All Users, Current Host $PROFILE.AllUsersCurrentHost
All Users, All Hosts $PROFILE.AllUsersAllHosts

Because the values of the $PROFILE variable change for each user and in each host application, ensure that you display the values of the profile variables in each PowerShell host application that you use.

To see the current values of the $PROFILE variable, type:

$PROFILE | Get-Member -Type NoteProperty

You can use the $PROFILE variable in many commands. For example, the following command opens the "Current User, Current Host" profile in Notepad:

notepad $PROFILE

The following command determines whether an "All Users, All Hosts" profile has been created on the local computer:

Test-Path -Path $PROFILE.AllUsersAllHosts

How to create a profile

To create a PowerShell profile, use the following command format:

if (!(Test-Path -Path <profile-name>)) {
  New-Item -ItemType File -Path <profile-name> -Force

For example, to create a profile for the current user in the current PowerShell host application, use the following command:

if (!(Test-Path -Path $PROFILE)) {
  New-Item -ItemType File -Path $PROFILE -Force

In this command, the If statement prevents you from overwriting an existing profile. Replace the value of the <profile-path> placeholder with the path to the profile file that you want to create.


To create "All Users" profiles in Windows Vista and later versions of Windows, start PowerShell with the Run as administrator option.

How to edit a profile

You can open any PowerShell profile in a text editor, such as Notepad.

To open the profile of the current user in the current PowerShell host application in Notepad, type:

notepad $PROFILE

To open other profiles, specify the profile name. For example, to open the profile for all the users of all the host applications, type:

notepad $PROFILE.AllUsersAllHosts

To apply the changes, save the profile file, and then restart PowerShell.

How to choose a profile

If you use multiple host applications, put the items that you use in all the host applications into your $PROFILE.CurrentUserAllHosts profile. Put items that are specific to a host application, such as a command that sets the background color for a host application, in a profile that is specific to that host application.

If you are an administrator who is customizing PowerShell for many users, follow these guidelines:

  • Store the common items in the $PROFILE.AllUsersAllHosts profile
  • Store items that are specific to a host application in $PROFILE.AllUsersCurrentHost profiles that are specific to the host application
  • Store items for particular users in the user-specific profiles

Be sure to check the host application documentation for any special implementation of PowerShell profiles.

How to use a profile

Many of the items that you create in PowerShell and most commands that you run affect only the current session. When you end the session, the items are deleted.

The session-specific commands and items include variables, preference variables, aliases, functions, commands (except for Set-ExecutionPolicy), and PowerShell modules that you add to the session.

To save these items and make them available in all future sessions, add them to a PowerShell profile.

Another common use for profiles is to save frequently-used functions, aliases, and variables. When you save the items in a profile, you can use them in any applicable session without recreating them.

How to start a profile

When you open the profile file, it is blank. However, you can fill it with the variables, aliases, and commands that you use frequently.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Add commands that make it easy to open your profile

This is especially useful if you use a profile other than the "Current User, Current Host" profile. For example, add the following command:

function Pro {notepad $PROFILE.CurrentUserAllHosts}

Add a function that lists the aliases for any cmdlet

function Get-CmdletAlias ($cmdletname) {
  Get-Alias |
    Where-Object -FilterScript {$_.Definition -like "$cmdletname"} |
      Format-Table -Property Definition, Name -AutoSize

Customize your console

function Color-Console {
  $Host.ui.rawui.backgroundcolor = "white"
  $Host.ui.rawui.foregroundcolor = "black"
  $hosttime = (Get-ChildItem -Path $PSHOME\PowerShell.exe).CreationTime
  $Host.UI.RawUI.WindowTitle = "PowerShell $hostversion ($hosttime)"

Add a customized PowerShell prompt

function Prompt
$env:COMPUTERNAME + "\" + (Get-Location) + "> "

For more information about the PowerShell prompt, see about_Prompts.

The NoProfile parameter

To start PowerShell without profiles, use the NoProfile parameter of PowerShell.exe, the program that starts PowerShell.

To begin, open a program that can start PowerShell, such as Cmd.exe or PowerShell itself. You can also use the Run dialog box in Windows.


PowerShell -NoProfile

For a complete list of the parameters of PowerShell.exe, type:

PowerShell -?

Profiles and Execution Policy

The PowerShell execution policy determines, in part, whether you can run scripts and load configuration files, including the profiles. The Restricted execution policy is the default. It prevents all scripts from running, including the profiles. If you use the "Restricted" policy, the profile does not run, and its contents are not applied.

A Set-ExecutionPolicy command sets and changes your execution policy. It is one of the few commands that applies in all PowerShell sessions because the value is saved in the registry. You do not have to set it when you open the console, and you do not have to store a Set-ExecutionPolicy command in your profile.

Profiles and remote sessions

PowerShell profiles are not run automatically in remote sessions, so the commands that the profiles add are not present in the remote session. In addition, the $PROFILE automatic variable is not populated in remote sessions.

To run a profile in a session, use the Invoke-Command cmdlet.

For example, the following command runs the "Current user, Current Host" profile from the local computer in the session in $s.

Invoke-Command -Session $s -FilePath $PROFILE

The following command runs the "Current user, Current Host" profile from the remote computer in the session in $s. Because the $PROFILE variable is not populated, the command uses the explicit path to the profile. We use dot sourcing operator so that the profile executes in the current scope on the remote computer and not in its own scope.

Invoke-Command -Session $s -ScriptBlock {
  . "$HOME\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1"

After running this command, the commands that the profile adds to the session are available in $s.

See also