A cmdlet is a simple, single-function command-line tool built into the shell. You use cmdlets just as you would use traditional commands and utilities. Begin by typing the name of the cmdlet at the Windows PowerShell command prompt. Windows PowerShell commands are not case-sensitive, so you can type in any case.

For example, you can try the Get-Date cmdlet:

C:\PS> get-date
Thursday, November 10, 2005 4:43:50 PM

To list the cmdlets in your session, use the Get-Command cmdlet without any command parameters.

PS> get-command

CommandType     Name                            Definition
-----------     ----                            ----------
Cmdlet          Add-Content                     Add-Content [-Path] <String[...
Cmdlet          Add-History                     Add-History [[-InputObject] ...
Cmdlet          Add-Member                      Add-Member [-MemberType] <PS...

The default Get-Command display has three columns: CommandType, Name, and Definition. When listing cmdlets, the Definition column displays the syntax of the cmdlet. The ellipsis (…) in the syntax indicates that the data is truncated.

The Get-Command cmdlet also gets commands and command elements other than cmdlets, including aliases (command nicknames), functions, and executable files that are available in Windows PowerShell.

The following command lists the executable files available in Windows PowerShell by using the Name parameter of Get-Command.

PS> get-command -name *.exe

CommandType Name                   Definition
----------- ----                   ----------
Application 000StTHK.exe           C:\WINDOWS\system32\000StTHK.exe
Application 00THotkey.exe          C:\WINDOWS\system32\00THotkey.exe
Application accwiz.exe             C:\WINDOWS\system32\accwiz.exe

When listing executable files, the Definition column contains the full path to the executable file.

Then, try some of the other cmdlets, like Get-Process, Get-Service, Get-EventLog, and Get-Alias.

When you feel comfortable with the simple "Get-" cmdlets, try Get-WmiObject. This cmdlet enables you to view and change the components of remote computers. For example, the following command gets information about the BIOS on the Server01 remote computer:

get-wmiobject win32_bios -computername server01

If you need help with any cmdlet, type:

get-help <cmdlet-name> -detailed

for example:

get-help get-alias -detailed

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