Short description

Describes how to use object properties in PowerShell.

Long description

PowerShell uses structured collections of information called objects to represent the items in data stores or the state of the computer. Typically, you work with objects that are part of the Microsoft .NET Framework, but you can also create custom objects in PowerShell.

The association between an item and its object is very close. When you change an object, you usually change the item that it represents. For example, when you get a file in PowerShell, you don't get the actual file. Instead, you get a FileInfo object that represents the file. When you change the FileInfo object, the file changes too.

Most objects have properties. Properties are the data that are associated with an object. Different types of object have different properties. For example, a FileInfo object, which represents a file, has an IsReadOnly property that contains $True if the file has the read-only attribute and $False if it doesn't. A DirectoryInfo object, which represents a file system directory, has a Parent property that contains the path to the parent directory.

Object properties

To get the properties of an object, use the Get-Member cmdlet. For example, to get the properties of a FileInfo object, use the Get-ChildItem cmdlet to get the FileInfo object that represents a file. Then, use a pipeline operator (|) to send the FileInfo object to Get-Member. The following command gets the powershell.exe file and sends it to Get-Member. The $PSHOME automatic variable contains the path of the PowerShell installation directory.

Get-ChildItem $PSHOME\powershell.exe | Get-Member

The output of the command lists the members of the FileInfo object. Members include both properties and methods. When you work in PowerShell, you have access to all the members of the objects.

To get only the properties of an object and not the methods, use the MemberType parameter of the Get-Member cmdlet with a value of Property, as shown in the following example.

Get-ChildItem $PSHOME\powershell.exe | Get-Member -MemberType Property
TypeName: System.IO.FileInfo

Name              MemberType Definition
----              ---------- ----------
Attributes        Property   System.IO.FileAttributes Attributes {get;set;}
CreationTime      Property   System.DateTime CreationTime {get;set;}
CreationTimeUtc   Property   System.DateTime CreationTimeUtc {get;set;}
Directory         Property   System.IO.DirectoryInfo Directory {get;}
DirectoryName     Property   System.String DirectoryName {get;}
Exists            Property   System.Boolean Exists {get;}
Extension         Property   System.String Extension {get;}
FullName          Property   System.String FullName {get;}
IsReadOnly        Property   System.Boolean IsReadOnly {get;set;}
LastAccessTime    Property   System.DateTime LastAccessTime {get;set;}
LastAccessTimeUtc Property   System.DateTime LastAccessTimeUtc {get;set;}
LastWriteTime     Property   System.DateTime LastWriteTime {get;set;}
LastWriteTimeUtc  Property   System.DateTime LastWriteTimeUtc {get;set;}
Length            Property   System.Int64 Length {get;}
Name              Property   System.String Name {get;}

After you find the properties, you can use them in your PowerShell commands.

Property values

Although every object of a specific type has the same properties, the values of those properties describe the particular object. For example, every FileInfo object has a CreationTime property, but the value of that property differs for each file.

The most common way to get the values of the properties of an object is to use the member access operator (.). Type a reference to the object, such as a variable that contains the object, or a command that gets the object. Then, type the operator (.) followed by the property name.

For example, the following command displays the value of the CreationTime property of the powershell.exe file. The Get-ChildItem command returns a FileInfo object that represents the powershell.exe file. The command is enclosed in parentheses to make sure that it's executed before any properties are accessed.

(Get-ChildItem $PSHOME\powershell.exe).CreationTime
Saturday, June 5, 2021 7:07:00 AM

You can also save an object in a variable and then get its properties using the member access (.) method, as shown in the following example:

$a = Get-ChildItem $PSHOME\powershell.exe
Saturday, June 5, 2021 7:07:00 AM

You can also use the Select-Object and Format-List cmdlets to display the property values of an object. Select-Object and Format-List each have a Property parameter. You can use the Property parameter to specify one or more properties and their values. Or, you can use the wildcard character (*) to represent all the properties.

For example, the following command displays the values of all the properties of the powershell.exe file.

Get-ChildItem $PSHOME\powershell.exe | Format-List -Property *
PSPath            : Microsoft.PowerShell.Core\FileSystem::C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe
PSParentPath      : Microsoft.PowerShell.Core\FileSystem::C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0
PSChildName       : powershell.exe
PSDrive           : C
PSProvider        : Microsoft.PowerShell.Core\FileSystem
PSIsContainer     : False
Mode              : -a----
VersionInfo       : File:             C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe
                    InternalName:     POWERSHELL
                    OriginalFilename: PowerShell.EXE.MUI
                    FileVersion:      10.0.22000.1 (WinBuild.160101.0800)
                    FileDescription:  Windows PowerShell
                    Product:          Microsoft? Windows? Operating System
                    ProductVersion:   10.0.22000.1
                    Debug:            False
                    Patched:          False
                    PreRelease:       False
                    PrivateBuild:     False
                    SpecialBuild:     False
                    Language:         English (United States)

BaseName          : powershell
Target            : {C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-powershell-exe_31bf3856ad364e35_10.0.22000.1_none_bf599c
LinkType          : HardLink
Name              : powershell.exe
Length            : 450560
DirectoryName     : C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0
Directory         : C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0
IsReadOnly        : False
Exists            : True
FullName          : C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe
Extension         : .exe
CreationTime      : 6/5/2021 7:07:00 AM
CreationTimeUtc   : 6/5/2021 12:07:00 PM
LastAccessTime    : 7/18/2022 12:16:17 PM
LastAccessTimeUtc : 7/18/2022 5:16:17 PM
LastWriteTime     : 6/5/2021 7:07:00 AM
LastWriteTimeUtc  : 6/5/2021 12:07:00 PM
Attributes        : Archive

Static properties

You can use the static properties of .NET classes in PowerShell. Static properties are properties of class, unlike standard properties, which are properties of an object.

To get the static properties of an class, use the Static parameter of the Get-Member cmdlet. For example, the following command gets the static properties of the System.DateTime class.

Get-Date | Get-Member -MemberType Property -Static
TypeName: System.DateTime

Name     MemberType Definition
----     ---------- ----------
MaxValue Property   static datetime MaxValue {get;}
MinValue Property   static datetime MinValue {get;}
Now      Property   datetime Now {get;}
Today    Property   datetime Today {get;}
UtcNow   Property   datetime UtcNow {get;}

To get the value of a static property, use the following syntax.


For example, the following command gets the value of the UtcNow static property of the System.DateTime class.


Member-access enumeration

Starting in PowerShell 3.0, when you use the member-access operator (.) to access a property that doesn't exist on a list collection, PowerShell automatically enumerates the items in the collection and returns the value of the property on each item. For more information, see about_Member-Access_Enumeration.


This command returns the value of the DisplayName property of every service that Get-Service returns.

Application Experience
Application Layer Gateway Service
Windows All-User Install Agent
Application Identity
Application Information

All collections have a Count property that returns the number of objects in the collection.


Starting in PowerShell 3.0, you can get the Count or Length property of singleton objects that aren't collections.

(Get-Service Audiosrv).Count

However, some objects have a Length property. For example, the Length of a string is the number of characters in the string. The Count property is the number of instances of the object.

PS> $str = 'string'
PS> $str.Length
PS> $str.Count

If a property exists on the individual objects and on the collection, only the collection's property is returned.

$collection = @(
    [pscustomobject]@{length = "foo"}
    [pscustomobject]@{length = "bar"}
# PowerShell returns the collection's Length.

See also