Getting help with Get-Help

The Get-Help Cmdlet

This is the cmdlet that I tend to use the most often. Especially when I am new to a cmdlet or new module. To sum it up from the doc itself:

The Get-Help cmdlet displays information about PowerShell concepts and commands, including cmdlets, functions, CIM commands, workflows, providers, aliases and scripts.

When I am exploring a new module or command that I haven’t used before, this is a great starting point. Let’s say I am exploring the Get-Process cmdlet. To get a better understanding of the syntax of the Get-Process cmdlet I could type:

Get-Help Get-Process

The output may look similar to this:

Get-Process [[-Name] <string[]>] [-ComputerName <string[]>] [-Module] [-FileVersionInfo] [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process [[-Name] <string[]>] -IncludeUserName [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process -Id <int[]> -IncludeUserName [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process -Id <int[]> [-ComputerName <string[]>] [-Module] [-FileVersionInfo] [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process -InputObject <Process[]> -IncludeUserName [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process -InputObject <Process[]> [-ComputerName <string[]>] [-Module] [-FileVersionInfo] [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Help cannot find the Help files for this cmdlet on this computer. It is displaying only partial help.
-- To download and install Help files for the module that includes this cmdlet, use Update-Help.
-- To view the Help topic for this cmdlet online, type: "Get-Help Get-Process -Online" or
go to

Notice the remarks at the bottom? It is only displaying partial help! If you see this, run the cmdlet Update-Help. You may need to run PowerShell as an Administrator to update these help files.

After updating the Help files this is what the output of running Get-Help Get-Process.

Gets the processes that are running on the local computer or a remote computer.
Get-Process [[-Name] <String[]>] [-ComputerName <String[]>] [-FileVersionInfo] [-Module] [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process [-ComputerName <String[]>] [-FileVersionInfo] -Id <Int32[]> [-Module] [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process [-ComputerName <String[]>] [-FileVersionInfo] -InputObject <Process[]> [-Module] [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process -Id <Int32[]> -IncludeUserName [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process [[-Name] <String[]>] -IncludeUserName [<CommonParameters>]
Get-Process -IncludeUserName -InputObject <Process[]> [<CommonParameters>]
The Get-Process cmdlet gets the processes on a local or remote computer.
Without parameters, this cmdlet gets all of the processes on the local computer. You can also specify a particular process by process name or process ID (PID) or
pass a process object through the pipeline to this cmdlet.
By default, this cmdlet returns a process object that has detailed information about the process and supports methods that let you start and stop the process. You
can also use the parameters of the Get-Process cmdlet to get file version information for the program that runs in the process and to get the modules that the
process loaded.
Online Version:
To see the examples, type: "get-help Get-Process -examples".
For more information, type: "get-help Get-Process -detailed".
For technical information, type: "get-help Get-Process -full".
For online help, type: "get-help Get-Process -online"

Much better!

The Description section gives a great overview of the scope of the command and what to look out for. The Syntax field shows different variations of using the command. Related Links is great for similar cmdlets that are often used in conjunction with the one you’re reading about.

When checking out a new cmdlet, the -examples switch is a great resource with Get-Help. Often, these examples will show an example of each syntax type and also provide a description on the intended result. Below are a couple of examples from Get-Help Get-Process -examples.

Example 1: Get a list of all active processes on the local computer
PS C:\>Get-Process
This command gets a list of all active processes running on the local computer. For a definition of each column, see the "Additional Notes" section of the Help
topic for Get-Help.
Example 2: Get all available data about one or more processes
PS C:\>Get-Process winword, explorer | Format-List *
This command gets all available data about the Winword and Explorer processes on the computer. It uses the Name parameter to specify the processes, but it omits
the optional parameter name. The pipeline operator (|) passes the data to the Format-List cmdlet, which displays all available properties (*) of the Winword and
Explorer process objects.
You can also identify the processes by their process IDs. For instance, `Get-Process -Id 664, 2060`.

Through this cmdlet, I have seen examples that have helped create an easier solution! These are also great for a quick refresher on syntax. I tend to use it quite a bit, especially for the Active Directory module.

In future posts, I will probably expand on this. PowerShell offers a lot of great learning resources within the Get-Help cmdlet.

Those are the main methods for strings that I find useful with PowerShell. These types of methods are very common for strings in other languages. Once learned, it came become incredibly useful!