PowerShell v3 Online Help and Updateable Help

A good help system is important in any language, but especially when it comes to v3 of PowerShell. The number of cmdlets has jumped from around 260 to over 2,300. That’s a lot of new cmdlets to have to learn.

In version 2 syntax, Get-Help accessed the local install to get all of it’s help. And it’s syntax is of course still valid in v3.

  # Get help from the local help files (v2 way, still works in v3)
  Get-Help Get-CimClass

New with version 3 however, is the ability to use Get-Help with the new –Online switch to see the online version of help:

  # You can now pass in the -Online swtich to launch a web browser and
  # see the most recent help in TechNet
  Get-Help Get-CimClass -Online

This will open the default web browser and take you to the MSDN/TechNet entry for the command you are requesting help for. (Note: as I write this v3 is still in Beta, so running the command just takes you to a placeholder web page.)

The other new feature is the ability to update all your local help files dynamically. No longer do you have to wait to install a new release just to get your help updated. The command is very simple:

  # Make sure you are running as an admin!
  Update-Help

As the comment says, make sure you are running the PowerShell window in Admin mode. After executing the command wait a few minutes while PowerShell goes online and updates all the local help files. Very nice improvements for keeping your help system up to date.

Warning: This post was written using PowerShell v3 BETA. Changes between now and the final release may affect the validity of this post.

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