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Windows PowerShell Cookbook, 3rd Edition by Lee Holmes

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Chapter 20. Files and Directories

Introduction

One of the most common tasks when administering a system is working with its files and directories. This is true when you administer the computer at the command line, and it is true when you write scripts to administer it automatically.

Fortunately, PowerShell makes scripting files and directories as easy as working at the command line—a point that many seasoned programmers and scripters often miss. A perfect example of this comes when you wrestle with limited disk space and need to find the files taking up the most space.

A typical programmer might approach this task by writing functions to scan a specific directory of a system. For each file, they check whether the file is big enough to care about. If so, they add it to a list. For each directory in the original directory, the programmer repeats this process (until there are no more directories to process).

As the saying goes, though, “You can write C in any programming language.” The habits and preconceptions you bring to a language often directly influence how open you are to advances in that language.

Being an administrative shell, PowerShell directly supports tasks such as visiting all the files in a subdirectory or moving a file from one directory to another. That complicated programmer-oriented script turns into a one-liner:

Get-ChildItem -Recurse | Sort-Object -Descending Length | Select -First 10

Before diving into your favorite programmer’s toolkit, check to see what PowerShell ...

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