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PowerShell: Command History

📅 2011-Aug-05 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 🏷️ powershell, powertab ⬩ 📚 Archive

The Windows command prompt (cmd.exe) has simple command history. You can press the Up/Down arrow keys to cycle through the previous commands. If you want a visual display of previous commands, you can press F7 and use the Up/Down keys to navigate the list and Enter to execute a command.


PowerShell has powerful command history features. To see the list of all available commands from history:

PS> Get-History

To cycle through previous commands from history, press # followed by Tab key presses. Each press of the Tab key, displays one older command from the history stack.

PS> #[Tab]

To switch to a specific command from the stack displayed by Get-History, press #, the number of that command in the stack and Tab. For example, to get the command numbered 9 in the Get-History stack:

PS> #9[Tab]

PowerShell can also find a previous command if you can provide the starting few letters. For example, this will bring up all the commands where I invoked vim:

PS> #vim[Tab]

PowerShell can also understand the * wildcard. For example, this will bring up all the commands where I edited a log file using vim:

PS> #vim log*.txt[Tab]
PS> #vim log*[Tab]

The module that will hook you to command history is PowerTab. Install it (for instructions see here) and press # and Tab to get a visual list of all commands in the history stack! 😊 Note that PowerTab does not provide a few of the above features like the wildcards for example.

Tried with: PowerShell 2 and PowerTab 0.99.6

© 2022 Ashwin Nanjappa • All writing under CC BY-SA license • 🐘📧