Monday, July 17, 2006

PowerShell support for old command line behavior

While playing with PowerShell I noticed that it has pretty good support for the behavior found in "old" CMD and/or "DOS", all the function keys work just as expected

Now, in case you don't know how to use the function keys in "DOS" here are some pointers:

F1 - will repeat the last command one character at a time, so if your last command was "dir", you will get "d", "i", "r" as you press F1 multiple times

F2 - "Copy up to char" function (of the last entered command): Not used much, it allows you to copy up to the character you enter after pressing F2, e.g.

If you previously entered: dir "program files"

on the next line you could enter: dir [F2]m

and it would complete it as: dir "progra

F3 - repeats the last command

F4 - "delete up to", I can't really remember how to use this one, but is rarely used I guess

F5 - iterate backwards through the list of previously entered commands (same as using the up arrow key)

F6 - ^Z or text file terminator: I can't see how to use this in PS, but if you were entering a text using "copy con [filename]" you can get out of it and save the file by pressing F6, which by the way, PS doesn't have support for "copy con" but supposedly this guy wrote something equivalent to it:

F7 - Provides a list of the previously entered commands and you can select one using the arrow keys

F8 - Iterates in a loop backwards (when it gets to the first one it goes the last one) through the previously entered commands

F9 - "Enter command number": allows you to enter the command number you want to execute, to find out the command numbers you would have to use F7 first

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Tony said...

PowerShell.exe is an unmanaged application which load managed code of monad engine which is a console application.
That is to say, powershell is still using console subsystem.
No wander "old command line behavior" is supported.

Thomas said...

Thanks for the mention. Yes I did create a simple CopyfromConsole function. The script on, which you kindly linked to in your post, also creates an alias "copycon".

This is the sort of function that you'd put in your start-up script so that you can use it whenever you need it.

Also, Tony is right, PowerShell is hosted inside the console, thus the CMD.EXE command line behaviour is indeed supported. But there's some improvemements, e.g. command history.

BlackTigerX said...

command history has been supported for quite a while in cmd and DOS, what's the improvement in that area?

Thomas said...

History becomes an object you can manipulate programatically, rather than simply through the keyboard.

Take a look at and for some of the basics.

BlackTigerX said...

I see, pretty cool