Describes how to use wildcard characters in Windows PowerShell. (about_wildcards)


Describes how to use wildcard characters in Windows PowerShell.

In many cases, you will want to run a cmdlet against a group of
items rather than an individual item. For example, you might
want to locate all the files in the C:\Techdocs directory that have a
.ppt file name extension. If you were to run the following command, it
would return all the items in the directory:

Get-ChildItem c:\techdocs

The problem with this command is that you would have to visually
inspect all the documents listed in the directory to determine which
files use the .ppt file name extension. However, you can limit the items
that are returned by using wildcard characters in a cmdlet's parameters.
A wildcard character is a type of placeholder that allows you to search
unknown values in order to return specific results. The process of using
wildcard characters is sometimes referred to as "globbing". For example,
you can recast the previous example so that only .ppt files are

Get-ChildItem c:\techdocs\*.ppt

In this case, the asterisk (*) is used as a wildcard character to specify
that any characters can exist before the .ppt file name extension. Because
the file name extension is included, all files returned by the command must
have that file name extension, but the files can have any name. As a
result, only the files that you are looking for are returned.

Windows PowerShell supports several wildcard characters in addition to the
asterisk wildcard character.

Wildcard Description Example Match No match
-------- ------------------ -------- ----------------- --------
* Matches zero or a* A, ag, Apple banana
more characters

? Matches exactly ?n an, in, on ran
one character in
the specified

[ ] Matches a range [a-l]ook book, cook, look took
of characters

[ ] Matches specified [bc]ook book, cook hook

Most cmdlets accept wildcard characters in some of their parameters. The
Help topic for each cmdlet describes which parameters, if any, permit
wildcard characters. For parameters in which wildcard characters are
accepted, their use is case insensitive. For example, ?n will return An,
an, In, in, On, and on.

You can also mix wildcard characters within a single parameter. For
example, suppose that you want to display all the .txt files in the
C:\Techdocs directory that begin with the letters a through l. You can use
the following command:

Get-ChildItem c:\techdocs\[a-l]*.txt

The command uses a range wildcard ([a-l]) to specify that the file name
should begin with the letters a through l. The command then uses the
asterisk wildcard character to provide a placeholder for any characters
between the first letter and the file name extension.


C:\Windows>powershell get-help about_Windows_PowerShell_2.0 -full

ColorConsole [Version 1.7.1000] PowerShell 2.0-Export
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]
Copyright (c) 2014 Microsoft Corporation.

OS: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista / Windows Server 2016, 2012, 2008
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