Managing PowerShell drives

This sample only applies to Windows platforms.

A PowerShell drive is a data store location that you can access like a filesystem drive in PowerShell. The PowerShell providers create some drives for you, such as the file system drives (including C: and D:), the registry drives (HKCU: and HKLM:), and the certificate drive (Cert:), and you can create your own PowerShell drives. These drives are useful, but they're available only within PowerShell. You can't access them using other Windows tools, such as File Explorer or Cmd.exe.

PowerShell uses the noun, PSDrive, for commands that work with PowerShell drives. For a list of the PowerShell drives in your PowerShell session, use the Get-PSDrive cmdlet.

Name       Provider      Root                                   CurrentLocation
----       --------      ----                                   ---------------
A          FileSystem    A:\
Alias      Alias
C          FileSystem    C:\                                 ...And Settings\me
cert       Certificate   \
D          FileSystem    D:\
Env        Environment
Function   Function
HKCU       Registry      HKEY_CURRENT_USER
HKLM       Registry      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Variable   Variable

Although the drives in the display vary with the drives on your system, yours should look similar to the output of the Get-PSDrive command shown above.

filesystem drives are a subset of the PowerShell drives. You can identify the filesystem drives by the FileSystem entry in the Provider column. The filesystem drives in PowerShell are supported by the PowerShell FileSystem provider.

To see the syntax of the Get-PSDrive cmdlet, type a Get-Command command with the Syntax parameter:

Get-Command -Name Get-PSDrive -Syntax
Get-PSDrive [[-Name] <String[]>] [-Scope <String>] [-PSProvider <String[]>] [-V
erbose] [-Debug] [-ErrorAction <ActionPreference>] [-ErrorVariable <String>] [-
OutVariable <String>] [-OutBuffer <Int32>]

The PSProvider parameter lets you display only the PowerShell drives that are supported by a particular provider. For example, to display only the PowerShell drives that are supported by the PowerShell FileSystem provider, type a Get-PSDrive command with the PSProvider parameter and the FileSystem value:

Get-PSDrive -PSProvider FileSystem
Name       Provider      Root                                   CurrentLocation
----       --------      ----                                   ---------------
A          FileSystem    A:\
C          FileSystem    C:\                           ...nd Settings\PowerUser
D          FileSystem    D:\

To view the PowerShell drives that represent registry hives, use the PSProvider parameter to display only the PowerShell drives that are supported by the PowerShell Registry provider:

Get-PSDrive -PSProvider Registry
Name       Provider      Root                                   CurrentLocation
----       --------      ----                                   ---------------
HKCU       Registry      HKEY_CURRENT_USER
HKLM       Registry      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

You can also use the standard Location cmdlets with the PowerShell drives:

Push-Location .\Microsoft

Adding new PowerShell drives

You can add your own PowerShell drives by using the New-PSDrive command. To get the syntax for the New-PSDrive command, enter the Get-Command command with the Syntax parameter:

Get-Command -Name New-PSDrive -Syntax
New-[-Description <String>] [-Scope <String>] [-Credential <PSCredential>] [-Verbose] [-Debug ]
[-ErrorAction <ActionPreference>] [-ErrorVariable <String>] [-OutVariable <St ring>]
[-OutBuffer <Int32>] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm]

To create a new PowerShell drive, you must supply three parameters:

  • A name for the drive (you can use any valid PowerShell name)
  • The PSProvider - use FileSystem for filesystem locations and Registry for registry locations
  • The root, that is, the path to the root of the new drive

For example, you can create a drive named Office that's mapped to the folder that contains the Microsoft Office applications on your computer, such as C:\Program Files\MicrosoftOffice\OFFICE11. To create the drive, type the following command:

New-PSDrive -Name Office -PSProvider FileSystem -Root "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11"
Name       Provider      Root                                   CurrentLocation
----       --------      ----                                   ---------------
Office     FileSystem    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Offic...


In general, paths aren't case-sensitive.

A PowerShell drive is accessed using its name followed by a colon (:).

A PowerShell drive can make many tasks much simpler. For example, some of the most important keys in the Windows registry have extremely long paths, making them cumbersome to access and difficult to remember. Critical configuration information resides under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion. To view and change items in the CurrentVersion registry key, you can create a PowerShell drive that's rooted in that key by typing:

New-PSDrive -Name cvkey -PSProvider Registry -Root HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
Name       Provider      Root                                   CurrentLocation
----       --------      ----                                   ---------------
cvkey      Registry      HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\...

You can then change location to the cvkey: drive as you would any other drive:

cd cvkey:


Set-Location cvkey: -PassThru

The New-PSDrive cmdlet adds the new drive only to the current PowerShell session. If you close the PowerShell window, the new drive is lost. To save a PowerShell drive, use the Export-Console cmdlet to export the current PowerShell session, and then use the PowerShell.exe PSConsoleFile parameter to import it. Or, add the new drive to your Windows PowerShell profile.

Deleting PowerShell drives

You can delete drives from PowerShell using the Remove-PSDrive cmdlet. For example, if you added the Office: PowerShell drive, as shown in the New-PSDrive topic, you can delete it by typing:

Remove-PSDrive -Name Office

To delete the cvkey: PowerShell drive, use the following command:

Remove-PSDrive -Name cvkey

However, you can't delete it while you are in the drive. For example:

cd office:
Remove-PSDrive -Name office
Remove-PSDrive : Cannot remove drive 'Office' because it is in use.
At line:1 char:15
+ remove-psdrive  <<<< -name office

Adding and removing drives outside PowerShell

PowerShell detects filesystem drives that are added or removed in Windows, including:

  • network drives that are mapped
  • USB drives that are attached
  • Drives that are deleted using the net use command or from a Windows Script Host (WSH) script