PowerShell: Get-ChildItem, a Comprehensive Guide

PowerShell, a powerful command-line tool and scripting language, provides a versatile set of commands to manage and automate tasks in Windows environments. One of the most frequently used commands is Get-ChildItem (alias: gci). In this guide, we’ll delve into the functionalities of Get-ChildItem and explore practical examples.

Overview of PowerShell Get-ChildItem

Get-ChildItem is designed for navigating and interacting with the items within a specified location, such as files, folders, or registry keys. Whether you’re a system administrator, developer, or just an enthusiast exploring PowerShell, mastering Get-ChildItem is essential.

Get-ChildItem: Basic Usage

Let’s start with a basic usage example. Open a PowerShell session, navigate to your desired directory, and run the Get-ChildItem cmdlet:

# Navigate to desired directory
cd d:\mssql_backups

# List items in directory

# List items in directory using Get-ChildItem Alias
PowerShell Get-ChildItem Basic Example

This command displays a list of items in the current directory, including files and subdirectories.

Get-ChildItem: Filtering Items

To narrow down the results, you can use wildcards and filters. For instance, to list only text files, you can use:

# List .bak (MSSQL Backup) files with PowerShell
Get-ChildItem *.bak
PowerShell Get-ChildItem with Wildcard

Get-ChildItem: Recursion with -Recurse

To include items from subdirectories, use the -Recurse parameter.

# Get Child-Item including subfolders
Get-ChildItem -Recurse
PowerShell Get-ChildItem Include Subfolders

This recursively lists all items in the current directory and its subdirectories.

Get-ChildItem: Displaying Detailed Information

Retrieve detailed information about items using the -Force parameter. This includes hidden items and displays some other additional details:

# Show detailed information with GCI (includes hidden items)
Get-ChildItem -Force

Get-ChildItem: Sorting and Formatting Output

Sort items by a specific property, such as LastWriteTime and format the output using Format-Table or Sort-Object:

# Show files, format and sort by LastWriteTime
Get-ChildItem | Format-Table Name, Length, LastWriteTime

# Alternative formatting (Sort-Object)
Get-ChildItem | Sort-Object LastWriteTime
PowerShell Get-ChildItem with Formatting

Get-ChildItem: Advanced Filtering

Leverage advanced filtering with Where-Object, show items larger than 100MB in the directory:

# Get-ChildItem show files over 100MB
Get-ChildItem | Where-Object { $_.Length -gt 102400 }
PowerShell Get-ChildItem Filter by File Size

Conclusion & Follow-up PowerShell Guides

Mastering Get-ChildItem empowers you to efficiently navigate and manage your file system through PowerShell. Experiment with the provided examples and explore its various parameters for a seamless PowerShell experience.

For in-depth information, refer to the official Microsoft documentation for the Get-ChildItem cmdlet.

For more PowerShell Scripts and tips here on DBASco, check out this link: PowerShell Scripts

More specifically, here are some blog posts relevant to/utilize the Get-ChildItem cmdlet:
PowerShell Script: List Files with Sizes and Dates
PowerShell Script: Remove Quotes from CSV Files in a Folder
PowerShell Script: Deleting Files Older Than a Specific Date
PowerShell Script: Count Rows in CSV Files

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