Windows PowerShell and SiteCore PowerShell Console

June 5, 2012 at 8:28 PMVicent Galiana

The Windows PowerShell

The Windows PowerShell is as task-based command-line shell and scripting language (We'll, not everybody agree: Windows power shell is not a scripting language). There are two main differences with common "shells":

  1. Is built on the top of the .Net framework. The use of the framework is not limited to internal use only, in fact, as a developer, (or as a "scripter" you can manipulate real .net objects, and the results, parameters, etc. are objects too, when usually others shell use strings.
  2. It is based on providers to access different data stores. A data store can be the file system, windows registry, databases, WMI, etc... It means you can access and manipulate them using the same cmdlets (pronounced command-lets)

There are lots of blogs and documents about Windows PowerShell on the need, but here you have some useful links for newbies:

Wikipedia: Better than expected

The Microsoft documentation

So, what's this module?

This module gives us two main things:

  1. The SiteCore powershell provider. That let us access sitecore items, using standard powershell cmdlets (commands)
  2. A Sitecore application simulating a PowerShell system console, to run our scripts inside Sitecore Desktop.

Installing the module

The module can be downloaded from the sitecore trac as an installable package, so you only need to follow the usual SiteCore steps to install it. If you don't know how, you can find them here.

Once the package is installed you'll fin a link to the console in the Desktop menu.

Security Issues

As we could expect, this tool will do some low level operations that our application pool's user may don't have access to.

This tool use two files allocated in "AppDomainAppPath\Console\Assets" to set up the default view of some SiteCore types, but by default, the power shell environment is configured to don't allow the access to this file, so will see some security warning on your console. Reading "PowerShell's Security Guiding Principles" you'll learn it deeply, but, fur our porpoise, you must know that the default execution policy is "restricted", it means only typed commands can be executed or in other words, any script file can be executed. So we need to change it, to allow the load of these two files. The process is easy, as you can read here, you just need to change the Execution policy to "RemoteSigned" (Run all local script and Signed external scripts) with the command "–setexecutionpolicy remotesigned". But if you execute this command you'll see that your application pool user doesn't have enough rights to do this (You are not running your application as an admin, isn't?). My first option was to run this command as an administrator on the default Windows powershell console, but after executing successfully the command, and checking the "get-executionpolicy" command, I keep having the same warnings, so I had to change the identity of the application pool, run the script on the Sitecore PowerShell console" and undo the changes on the app pool. I don't like this solution, due to for a short time, you're running your website with full access to the computer, so any idea is welcome.

Executing scripts

We have to option to run scripts:

Executing scripts on the console

This is the easiest way, just open the console, and type or paste you cmdlets on the bottom of the screen and press CTRL+INTRO. The result will be displayed above.

Executing script as scheduled tasks

This's a great feature, that let you scheduled that great script you've generated and tested on the console. I could explain how to do it, but it won't be better than the module's author. But as a resume, you only have to create a script item under "core:/sitecore/content/Applications/PowerShell Console/Scripts", and create a schedule item, using the command "/sitecore/system/Tasks/Commands/PowerShellScriptCommand" created during the installation, and your Script item. Really easy!

Generating scripts

Now is time to begin playing with it. Maybe the first thing you should do is have a quick reading of some tutorial. I've found some good tutortials at like:

Another good idea could be try Power GUI, o good, free IDE for Power shell scripts, with syntax highlight, "intellisense", and a large etc.


On my first tests, I was not able to use the get-item command, finally decided to download the code and debug the module and I found a null object reference. So I modified the code to check the object, before using it.

On the file Trunk\Shell\Provider\PsSitecoreItemProvider.cs

Line 296:

Before: if (dic["Language"].IsSet 
After: if (dic!= null && dic["Language"].IsSet) 

Line 302:

Before: if (dic["Version"].IsSet) 
After: if (dic != null && dic["Version"].IsSet) 

I made another modification to get some messages:

On the file Trunk\Shell\Host\ScriptingHostUserInterface.cs, line 38:

Before: var lastline = Output[Output.Count - 1]; 
After: var lastline = Output[Output.Count > 0 ? Output.Count - 1 : 0]; 

Sample scripts

Most of the samples, have been taken from the module author's website:

Get item from master database

get-item master:\content\home

Get item from web database

get-item web:\content\home

Get children of an item

get-childitem web:\content\home

Get all the children of an item (recursive)

get-childitem–recurse web:\content\home

Choose with properties display of an item

Get-Item master:\content\Home | Select-Object DisplayName, TemplateName


Show output as a table

get-childitem-recurse master:\\content | format-table Name, "__Updated By", TemplateName


Order items

Get-ChildItem master:\content\home-recurse | Sort-ObjectId-Descending | select-object name, TemplateName


Find all the properties and methods of and item

Get-Item master:\content\home | Get-Member


Set the current item

cd master:\content\home

Remember the scope of this command is the execution of the current script

Get the current item

Get-item .

Get the list of Sitecore caches and status


Get a list of archives on every database


Get a list of databases

Get-database (database name)

Get a user specific user

get-user sitecore\admin

get a list of indexes

get-index (index name)

get a list on search indexes


Publish an item

get-item master:\content\home | publish-item 
Optional parameters of publis-item 
  • Path
  • Id
  • -recurse
  • Targets
  • Languages
  • Publishmode
  • Currentpathinfo

    Restart the current application


Set the PowerShell window properties


  • -persist
  • ForegroundColor
  • BackgroundColor
  • HostWidth
  • Posible colors: System.ConsoleColor( Black, DarkBlue, DarkGreen, DarkCyan, DarkRed, DarkMagenta, DarkYellow, Gray, DarkGray, Blue, Green, Cyan, Red, Magenta, Yellow, White


set-hostproperty -BackgroundColor "blue";

set-hostproperty -ForegroundColor "red";

get-item master:\content\home;

Using .net Objects


Show calculated properties

get-childitem-recurse master:\\content | format-table Name, "__Updated By" , @{Label="Modified"; Expression={ [Sitecore.DateUtil]::FormatIsoDate($_.__Updated) } }

Filter items

get-childitem-recurse master:\\content | where-object {[DateTime]::Now.Subtract([Sitecore.DateUtil]::IsoDateToDateTime($_."__Updated")).Days-lt 5} | format-table Name, "__Updated By" , @{Label="Modified"; Expression={ [Sitecore.DateUtil]::FormatIsoDate($_.__Updated) } }

Create a new item

new-item-path"master:\content\home\testscript2" -Type "master:\templates\Sample\Sample Item";

Modify a filtered list of items

foreach ($iinget-childitem-recurse master:\\content | where-object {[DateTime]::Now.Subtract([Sitecore.DateUtil]::IsoDateToDateTime($_."__Updated")).Days-lt 5})



    $i.Name =$i.Name +" "+"test";



Change the template of an item

I've try lots of combinations, but didn't find the way of make it work

One sample is this:

My problem is always the same, I'm not able to get the template item, it is always null.

Posted in: SiteCore

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