Tag Archives: filesystem


Does A String Start Or End In A Certain Character?

Can you tell in PowerShell if a string ends in a specific character, or if it starts in one? Of course you can. Regex to the rescue!

It’s a pretty simple task, actually. Consider the following examples

In the first two examples, I’m checking to see if the string ends in a backslash. In the last two examples, I’m seeing if the string starts with one. The regex pattern being matched for the first two is .+?\$ . What’s that mean? Well, the first part .+? means “any character, and as many of them as it takes to get to the next part of the regex. The second part \\ means “a backslash” (because \ is the escape character, we’re basically escaping the escape character. The last part $ is the signal for the end of the line. Effectively what we have is “anything at all, where the last thing on the line is a backslash” which is exactly what we’re looking for. In the second two examples, I’ve just moved the \\ to the start of the line and started with ^ instead of ending with $ because ^ is the signal for the start of the line.

Now you can do things like this.

Here, I’m checking to see if the string ‘bears’ ends in a backslash, and if it doesn’t, I’m appending one.

Cool, right?


How To Send An Email Whenever A File Gets Changed

A little while ago, I fielded a question in the PowerShell Slack channel which was “How do I send an email automatically whenever a change is made to a specific file?”

Turns out it’s not too hard. You just need to set up a file watcher.

First, we create the watcher, which is just a FileSystemWatcher object. Technically the watcher watches the whole directory for changes (the path), which is why we add a filter.

Then we register an ObjectEvent, so that whenever the watcher sees a change event, it performs an action. In this case, I just have it writing output but it could easily be sending an email or performing some other task.

To get rid of the ObjectEvent, just run the following.

It’s just that easy!


New Stuff: Get-Clipboard And Set-Clipboard – New In PowerShell 5.0

Predictably, there are lots of new cmdlets coming in PowerShell/Windows Management Framework 5.0. Two of them that just came out in build 10105 are the Get-Clipboard and Set-Clipboard cmdlets. The help docs aren’t all written at the time I’m writing this post but I wanted to introduce them and highlight a couple neat use cases I immediately thought of.

New Get-Clipboard and Set-Clipboard cmdlets

New Get-Clipboard and Set-Clipboard cmdlets (click for larger)

Back in the old days of PowerShell 4.0, you had to pipe output to clip.exe or use the PowerShell Community Extensions to interact with your clipboard. Not anymore!

Looking at the Get-Clipboard syntax, it’s quickly apparent that you can do more than just get the clipboard’s text content but let’s start with that anyway. So, what if I go and select some text, right click and copy it. What can I do with the Get-Clipboard cmdlet?

Not exactly mind blowing. Similarly, you can use the Set-Clipboard cmdlet to put text on the clipboard.

I’m probably not blowing your mind with this one either. Where this gets fun is when you consider the possibilities the using the -Format parameter. I can put more than just text on my clipboard, right? Let’s see what I get when I copy three files in my c:\temp directory to my clipboard. If I try to just use Get-Clipboard without any additional parameters or info like I did in the above examples, I won’t get anything returned, but what I can do is this.

Now we’re doing cool things. And what kind of objects are these?

FileInfo! We can do all the same things with this array of files that we would do to the results of a Get-ChildItem command. This means we can go the other way too and use the Set-Clipboard cmdlet to put a bunch of files onto the clipboard.

Note with all of the above examples, you can use the -Append parameter to simply add on to whatever is already on the clipboard.

I won’t cover the other formats (Image and Audio) or the text format types because you need something to discover for yourself. The last thing I’ll point out is that you can easily clear the clipboard, too.

I’m not going to cover every new cmdlet that comes out with PowerShell 5.0 but this one is very accessible and I think I’ll be able to use it all over the place.