Quickstart for PowerShell in Azure Cloud Shell

This document details how to use the PowerShell in Cloud Shell in the Azure portal.


A Bash in Azure Cloud Shell Quickstart is also available.

Start Cloud Shell

  1. Click on Cloud Shell button from the top navigation bar of the Azure portal

    Screenshot showing how to start Azure Cloud Shell from the Azure portal.

  2. Select the PowerShell environment from the drop-down and you will be in Azure drive (Azure:)

    Screenshot showing how to select the PowerShell environment for the Azure Cloud Shell.

Run PowerShell commands

Run regular PowerShell commands in the Cloud Shell, such as:

PS Azure:\> Get-Date

# Expected Output
Friday, July 27, 2018 7:08:48 AM

PS Azure:\> Get-AzVM -Status

# Expected Output
ResourceGroupName       Name       Location                VmSize   OsType     ProvisioningState  PowerState
-----------------       ----       --------                ------   ------     -----------------  ----------
MyResourceGroup2        Demo        westus         Standard_DS1_v2  Windows    Succeeded           running
MyResourceGroup         MyVM1       eastus            Standard_DS1  Windows    Succeeded           running
MyResourceGroup         MyVM2       eastus   Standard_DS2_v2_Promo  Windows    Succeeded           deallocated
  1. List all your subscriptions from Azure drive

    PS Azure:\> dir
  2. cd to your preferred subscription

    PS Azure:\> cd MySubscriptionName
    PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName>
  3. View all your Azure resources under the current subscription

    Type dir to list multiple views of your Azure resources.

    PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName> dir
        Directory: azure:\MySubscriptionName
    Mode Name
    ---- ----
    +    AllResources
    +    ResourceGroups
    +    StorageAccounts
    +    VirtualMachines
    +    WebApps

AllResources view

Type dir under AllResources directory to view your Azure resources.

PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName> dir AllResources

Explore resource groups

You can go to the ResourceGroups directory and inside a specific resource group you can find virtual machines.

PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName> cd ResourceGroups\MyResourceGroup1\Microsoft.Compute\virtualMachines

PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\ResourceGroups\MyResourceGroup1\Microsoft.Compute\virtualMachines> dir

    Directory: Azure:\MySubscriptionName\ResourceGroups\MyResourceGroup1\Microsoft.Compute\virtualMachines

VMName    Location   ProvisioningState VMSize          OS            SKU             OSVersion AdminUserName  NetworkInterfaceName
------    --------   ----------------- ------          --            ---             --------- -------------  --------------------
TestVm1   westus     Succeeded         Standard_DS2_v2 WindowsServer 2016-Datacenter Latest    AdminUser      demo371
TestVm2   westus     Succeeded         Standard_DS1_v2 WindowsServer 2016-Datacenter Latest    AdminUser      demo271


You may notice that the second time when you type dir, the Cloud Shell is able to display the items much faster. This is because the child items are cached in memory for a better user experience. However, you can always use dir -Force to get fresh data.

By entering into the StorageAccounts directory, you can easily navigate all your storage resources

PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\StorageAccounts\MyStorageAccountName\Files> dir

    Directory: Azure:\MySubscriptionNameStorageAccounts\MyStorageAccountName\Files

Name          ConnectionString
----          ----------------
MyFileShare1  \\MyStorageAccountName.file.core.windows.net\MyFileShare1;AccountName=MyStorageAccountName AccountKey=<key>
MyFileShare2  \\MyStorageAccountName.file.core.windows.net\MyFileShare2;AccountName=MyStorageAccountName AccountKey=<key>
MyFileShare3  \\MyStorageAccountName.file.core.windows.net\MyFileShare3;AccountName=MyStorageAccountName AccountKey=<key>

With the connection string, you can use the following command to mount the Azure Files share.

net use <DesiredDriveLetter>: \\<MyStorageAccountName>.file.core.windows.net\<MyFileShareName> <AccountKey> /user:Azure\<MyStorageAccountName>

For details, see Mount an Azure Files share and access the share in Windows.

You can also navigate the directories under the Azure Files share as follows:

PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\StorageAccounts\MyStorageAccountName\Files> cd .\MyFileShare1\
PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\StorageAccounts\MyStorageAccountName\Files\MyFileShare1> dir

Mode  Name
----  ----
+     TestFolder
.     hello.ps1

Interact with virtual machines

You can find all your virtual machines under the current subscription via VirtualMachines directory.

PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\VirtualMachines> dir

    Directory: Azure:\MySubscriptionName\VirtualMachines

Name       ResourceGroupName  Location  VmSize          OsType              NIC ProvisioningState  PowerState
----       -----------------  --------  ------          ------              --- -----------------  ----------
TestVm1    MyResourceGroup1   westus    Standard_DS2_v2 Windows       my2008r213         Succeeded     stopped
TestVm2    MyResourceGroup1   westus    Standard_DS1_v2 Windows          jpstest         Succeeded deallocated
TestVm10   MyResourceGroup2   eastus    Standard_DS1_v2 Windows           mytest         Succeeded     running

Invoke PowerShell script across remote VMs

Assuming you have a VM, MyVM1, let's use Invoke-AzVMCommand to invoke a PowerShell script block on the remote machine.

Enable-AzVMPSRemoting -Name MyVM1 -ResourceGroupname MyResourceGroup
Invoke-AzVMCommand -Name MyVM1 -ResourceGroupName MyResourceGroup -Scriptblock {Get-ComputerInfo} -Credential (Get-Credential)

You can also navigate to the VirtualMachines directory first and run Invoke-AzVMCommand as follows.

PS Azure:\> cd MySubscriptionName\ResourceGroups\MyResourceGroup\Microsoft.Compute\virtualMachines
PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\ResourceGroups\MyResourceGroup\Microsoft.Compute\virtualMachines> Get-Item MyVM1 | Invoke-AzVMCommand -Scriptblock {Get-ComputerInfo} -Credential (Get-Credential)

# You will see output similar to the following:

PSComputerName                                          :
RunspaceId                                              : 2c2b60da-f9b9-4f42-a282-93316cb06fe1
WindowsBuildLabEx                                       : 14393.1066.amd64fre.rs1_release_sec.170327-1835
WindowsCurrentVersion                                   : 6.3
WindowsEditionId                                        : ServerDatacenter
WindowsInstallationType                                 : Server
WindowsInstallDateFromRegistry                          : 5/18/2017 11:26:08 PM
WindowsProductId                                        : 00376-40000-00000-AA947
WindowsProductName                                      : Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
WindowsRegisteredOrganization                           :

Interactively log on to a remote VM

You can use Enter-AzVM to interactively log into a VM running in Azure.

PS Azure:\> Enter-AzVM -Name MyVM1 -ResourceGroupName MyResourceGroup -Credential (Get-Credential)

You can also navigate to the VirtualMachines directory first and run Enter-AzVM as follows

PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\ResourceGroups\MyResourceGroup\Microsoft.Compute\virtualMachines> Get-Item MyVM1 | Enter-AzVM -Credential (Get-Credential)

Discover WebApps

By entering into the WebApps directory, you can easily navigate your web apps resources

PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName> dir .\WebApps\

    Directory: Azure:\MySubscriptionName\WebApps

Name            State    ResourceGroup      EnabledHostNames                  Location
----            -----    -------------      ----------------                  --------
mywebapp1       Stopped  MyResourceGroup1   {mywebapp1.azurewebsites.net...   West US
mywebapp2       Running  MyResourceGroup2   {mywebapp2.azurewebsites.net...   West Europe
mywebapp3       Running  MyResourceGroup3   {mywebapp3.azurewebsites.net...   South Central US

# You can use Azure cmdlets to Start/Stop your web apps
PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\WebApps> Start-AzWebApp -Name mywebapp1 -ResourceGroupName MyResourceGroup1

Name           State    ResourceGroup        EnabledHostNames                   Location
----           -----    -------------        ----------------                   --------
mywebapp1      Running  MyResourceGroup1     {mywebapp1.azurewebsites.net ...   West US

# Refresh the current state with -Force
PS Azure:\MySubscriptionName\WebApps> dir -Force

    Directory: Azure:\MySubscriptionName\WebApps

Name            State    ResourceGroup      EnabledHostNames                  Location
----            -----    -------------      ----------------                  --------
mywebapp1       Running  MyResourceGroup1   {mywebapp1.azurewebsites.net...   West US
mywebapp2       Running  MyResourceGroup2   {mywebapp2.azurewebsites.net...   West Europe
mywebapp3       Running  MyResourceGroup3   {mywebapp3.azurewebsites.net...   South Central US


To authenticate to servers or VMs using SSH, generate the public-private key pair in Cloud Shell and publish the public key to authorized_keys on the remote machine, such as /home/user/.ssh/authorized_keys.


You can create SSH private-public keys using ssh-keygen and publish them to $env:USERPROFILE\.ssh in Cloud Shell.

Using SSH

Follow instructions here to create a new VM configuration using Azure PowerShell cmdlets. Before calling into New-AzVM to kick off the deployment, add SSH public key to the VM configuration. The newly created VM will contain the public key in the ~\.ssh\authorized_keys location, thereby enabling credential-free SSH session to the VM.

# Create VM config object - $vmConfig using instructions on linked page above

# Generate SSH keys in Cloud Shell
ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048 -f $HOME\.ssh\id_rsa 

# Ensure VM config is updated with SSH keys
$sshPublicKey = Get-Content "$HOME\.ssh\id_rsa.pub"
Add-AzVMSshPublicKey -VM $vmConfig -KeyData $sshPublicKey -Path "/home/azureuser/.ssh/authorized_keys"

# Create a virtual machine
New-AzVM -ResourceGroupName <yourResourceGroup> -Location <vmLocation> -VM $vmConfig

# SSH to the VM
ssh azureuser@MyVM.Domain.Com

List available commands

Under Azure drive, type Get-AzCommand to get context-specific Azure commands.

Alternatively, you can always use Get-Command *az* -Module Az.* to find out the available Azure commands.

Install custom modules

You can run Install-Module to install modules from the PowerShell Gallery.


Type Get-Help to get information about PowerShell in Azure Cloud Shell.


For a specific command, you can still do Get-Help followed by a cmdlet.

Get-Help Get-AzVM

Use Azure Files to store your data

You can create a script, say helloworld.ps1, and save it to your clouddrive to use it across shell sessions.

cd $HOME\clouddrive
# Create a new file in clouddrive directory
New-Item helloworld.ps1
# Open the new file for editing
code .\helloworld.ps1
# Add the content, such as 'Hello World!'
Hello World!

Next time when you use PowerShell in Cloud Shell, the helloworld.ps1 file will exist under the $HOME\clouddrive directory that mounts your Azure Files share.

Use custom profile

You can customize your PowerShell environment, by creating PowerShell profile(s) - profile.ps1 (or Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1). Save it under $profile.CurrentUserAllHosts (or $profile.CurrentUserAllHosts), so that it can be loaded in every PowerShell in Cloud Shell session.

For how to create a profile, refer to About Profiles.

Use Git

To clone a Git repo in the Cloud Shell, you need to create a personal access token and use it as the username. Once you have your token, clone the repository as follows:

  git clone https://<your-access-token>@github.com/username/repo.git

Exit the shell

Type exit to terminate the session.