Describes how to access items from the working location in PowerShell.
The current working location is the default location to which commands point. In other words, this is the location that PowerShell uses if you do not supply an explicit path to the item or location that is affected by the command.
PowerShell supports multiple runspaces per process. Each runspace has its own
current directory. This is not the same as the current directory of the
In most cases, the current working location is a drive accessed through the PowerShell FileSystem provider and, in some cases, a directory on that drive. For example, you might set your current working location to the following location:
C:\Program Files\Windows PowerShell
As a result, all commands are processed from this location unless another path is explicitly provided.
PowerShell maintains the current working location for each drive even when the
drive is not the current drive. This allows you to access items from the
current working location by referring only to the drive of another location.
For example, suppose that your current working location is
suppose you use the following command to change your current working location
to the HKLM: drive:
Although your current location is now the registry drive, you can still access
items in the
C:\Windows directory simply by using the C: drive, as shown in
the following example:
PowerShell remembers that your current working location for that drive is the Windows directory, so it retrieves items from that directory. The results would be the same if you ran the following command:
In PowerShell, you can use the Get-Location command to determine the current working location, and you can use the Set-Location command to set the current working location. For example, the following command sets the current working location to the Windows directory of the C: drive:
After you set the current working location, you can still access items from other drives simply by including the drive name (followed by a colon) in the command, as shown in the following example:
The example command retrieves a list of items in the Software container of the HKEY Local Machine hive in the registry.
PowerShell also allows you to use special characters to represent the current working location and its parent location. To represent the current working location, use a single period. To represent the parent of the current working location, use two periods. For example, the following specifies the System subdirectory in the current working location:
If the current working location is
C:\Windows, this command returns a list of
all the items in
C:\Windows\System. However, if you use two periods, the
parent directory of the current working directory is used, as shown in the
Get-ChildItem ..\"program files"
In this case, PowerShell treats the two periods as the C: drive, so the
command retrieves all the items in the
C:\Program Files directory.
A path beginning with a slash identifies a path from the root of the current
drive. For example, if your current working location is
C:\Program Files\PowerShell, the root of your drive is C. Therefore, the
following command lists all items in the
If you do not specify a path beginning with a drive name, slash, or period
when supplying the name of a container or item, the container or item is
assumed to be located in the current working location. For example, if your
current working location is
C:\Windows, the following command returns all the
items in the
If you specify a file name rather than a directory name, PowerShell returns details about that file (assuming that file is located in the current working location).
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