Getting Help: Get-Help
Updated: August 9, 2012
Applies To: Windows PowerShell 2.0, Windows PowerShell 3.0
The Get-Help cmdlet is a useful tool for learning about Windows PowerShell. By reading the descriptions of the cmdlets, learning about the concepts, and exploring the language topics, you can learn how to use Windows PowerShell.
The first topic of interest might be the Help system itself. To display information about the Help system in Windows PowerShell, type:
Then, you might be interested in learning about a few of the basic cmdlets, such as Get-Help, Get-Command, Get-Process, Get-Service, and Get-Eventlog.
To display the simplest view of Help for a cmdlet, type "get-help" followed by the cmdlet name. For example, to get Help for the Get-Command cmdlet, type:
If the cmdlet Help is not formatted correctly, that is, if it begins with XMLNS tags, the Windows PowerShell execution policy on your system might have prevented the system from loading the configuration file that formats cmdlet Help. For more information about execution policies, type:
To display detailed Help for a cmdlet, including parameter descriptions and examples, use the Detailed parameter of Get-Help. For example, to get detailed Help for the Get-Command cmdlet, type:
get-help get-command -detailed
To display all of the available Help for a cmdlet, including technical information about the cmdlet and its parameters, use the Full parameter. For example, to get complete Help for the Get-Command cmdlet, type:
get-help get-command -full
You can also display selected parts of the Help file. To see only the examples, use the Examples parameter. For example, to display the examples for the Get-Command cmdlet, type:
get-help get-command -examples
To see only detailed parameter descriptions, use the Parameter parameter of Get-Help. You can specify the name of a parameter or use the wildcard character (*) to specify all parameters. For example, to see a description of the TotalCount parameter of Get-Command, type:
get-help get-command -parameter totalcount
To see all parameters of the Get-Command cmdlet, type:
get-help get-command -parameter *
Windows PowerShell Help is also available online in the Microsoft TechNet library under the Windows PowerShell topic. The online version of the Help is often more easy to read and it is more frequently updated than the Help that is displayed at the command prompt.
In Windows PowerShell v.2, you can use the Online parameter of the Get-Help cmdlet to display the online version of a cmdlet Help topic. By default, the Online parameter links to the TechNet Library Help topics.
For example, to open the online version of the Help topic for the Get-Process cmdlet, type:
get-help get-process -online
You can also use one of the Windows PowerShell functions that call Get-Help. The Help function displays one screen of Help at a time. The Man function displays Help that looks like Man pages in UNIX. To use the Help and Man functions to display Help for the Get-Command cmdlet, type:
When you request a particular Help topic, Get-Help displays the content of the topic, but when you use wildcard characters to request more than one topic, Get-Help displays a list of topics. For example, to see a list of Help topics for the "Get" cmdlets, type:
The Help topics that explain concepts in Windows PowerShell begin with "about_". To display Help about a Windows PowerShell concept, type "get-help" followed by the concept name. (The concept name must be entered in English, even in non-English versions of Windows PowerShell.)
For example, to get Help about wildcards, type:
To display a list of all of the conceptual Help topics in Windows PowerShell, type:
By reading the Help topics and trying the examples, you will learn how to use Windows PowerShell.