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How to run PowerShell scripts from C#

, 29 Aug 2008
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An article on embedding and/or launching PowerShell scripts from a C# program.

Screenshot - HowToRunPowerShell_Screen.png

Introduction

This article contains a bare-bones sample on how to add PowerShell scripting to your C# programs. To paraphrase that movie: "the Power of Shell compels you!"

Background

With the release of Windows PowerShell 1.0 in November 2006, we finally have a powerful command line shell for Windows, one that rivals or even exceeds the capabilities of the common Unix/Linux shells such as csh and bash. The reason for this is that PowerShell commands can read and write objects, as opposed to conventional shells that can only process strings of text. Because PowerShell runs on the .NET platform, the objects that are used are .NET objects, which makes it an ideal scripting language for .NET programs.

Prerequisites

Before you can compile the sample code, you'll need a couple of things. First of all, you have to install PowerShell itself, of course, which you can find at the following location: PowerShell homepage. The sample program also references some assemblies that aren't included with the standard PowerShell installation, so you'll have to get those by installing the Windows SDK for Windows Server 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5. Don't worry: even though the latter has 'Server 2008' in its name, it will also install on Vista and XP.

Using the Code

To add PowerShell scripting to your program, you first have to add a reference to the System.Management.Automation assembly. The SDK installs this assembly in the C:\Program Files\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0 directory.

Then, you have to add the following 'using' statements to import the required types:

using System.Collections.ObjectModel;
using System.Management.Automation;
using System.Management.Automation.Runspaces;

The following code block shows the RunScript method that does all the hard work. It takes the script text, executes it, and returns the result as a string.

private string RunScript(string scriptText)
{
    // create Powershell runspace

    Runspace runspace = RunspaceFactory.CreateRunspace();

    // open it

    runspace.Open();

    // create a pipeline and feed it the script text

    Pipeline pipeline = runspace.CreatePipeline();
    pipeline.Commands.AddScript(scriptText);

    // add an extra command to transform the script
    // output objects into nicely formatted strings

    // remove this line to get the actual objects
    // that the script returns. For example, the script

    // "Get-Process" returns a collection
    // of System.Diagnostics.Process instances.

    pipeline.Commands.Add("Out-String");

    // execute the script

    Collection<psobject /> results = pipeline.Invoke();

    // close the runspace

    runspace.Close();

    // convert the script result into a single string

    StringBuilder stringBuilder = new StringBuilder();
    foreach (PSObject obj in results)
    {
        stringBuilder.AppendLine(obj.ToString());
    }

    return stringBuilder.ToString();
}

How to Let the Script Interact with your Program

Before executing the script using the pipeline.Invoke() call, it's possible to expose the objects of your program to the script by using the method runspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("someName", someObject). This will create a named variable that the script can access (getting/setting properties, and even calling methods). As an example, suppose we would expose the main form of the sample to the script by adding the SetVariable() call like this:

...
// open it

runspace.Open();
runspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("DemoForm", this);
....

Then, the following script would print the caption of the window:

$DemoForm.Text

The following script would show all the properties and methods of the window:

$DemoForm | Get-Member

Please note, however, that any calls a script makes to your objects will be from another thread context, as pipeline.Invoke() seems to start its own worker thread. This means that your exposed objects will have to be thread-safe.

Points of Interest

As an extra feature, I added the ability to drag-n-drop a script on the form, so you don't have to copy-paste PowerShell scripts into the textbox all the time.

More Information on PowerShell

History

  • Apr 01, 2007: First release
  • Apr 04, 2007: Minor update
  • Aug 28, 2008: Fixed the broken link to the SDK, and the broken link to my second powershell article

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

jpmik
Architect
Netherlands Netherlands
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionCredential error with a complex script PinmemberaSnoussi1-May-13 1:33 
QuestionHow to execute Hyper-V Powershell Cmdlets command (GET-VM) in Windows Server 2012 using VS2010 C#?? PinmemberAlok Kumar Sharma1-Apr-13 11:45 
AnswerRe: How to execute Hyper-V Powershell Cmdlets command (GET-VM) in Windows Server 2012 using VS2010 C#?? Pinmemberjpmik2-Apr-13 10:39 
AnswerRe: How to execute Hyper-V Powershell Cmdlets command (GET-VM) in Windows Server 2012 using VS2010 C#?? Pinmemberroninttk24-Mar-14 7:24 
QuestionApplication hangs if I run .cmd script PinmemberMember 167164322-Feb-13 18:03 
QuestionPowerShell scripts from C# Failed while runing "Get-Content -Wait C:\TEMP\producer.txt" PinmemberYuri Shterenberg2-Feb-13 23:23 
GeneralSimple typos or fix in code [modified] Pinmemberrama charan28-Jan-13 19:02 
Questionhow to add ad user from sql table Pinmemberocean_blue421-Sep-12 0:18 
QuestionXML Exporting Pinmembervipfangirl11-Sep-12 22:57 
QuestionScheduled ShutdownVMGuest_Task Pinmembertrobolan21-Aug-12 2:21 
Hi all
Im pretty new in powershell script, so this might be an odd question, but here we go: I'm writing a ASP.Net site which includes PowerShell script code in the C# methods.. the site is ment to perform PowerOn operations and scheduled shutdownGuest operations on Virtual machines.. I need this to be done from the C#/Script code and not in the VM Client.. I can only find the PowerOff_Task which is the bad way to shutdown VMs.. I need this PowerOff word replaced with some Shutdown-VM_Task thing.. but cant find any.. not possible? I've posted the Scheduled PowerOff script code
 
#Add-PSSnapin VMware.VimAutomation.Core
 
$VIServer = Connect-VIserver -Server server-Protocol https -User user-Password password
 
$VMs = Get-View -ViewType VirtualMachine -Filter @{"Name" = "Gameserver*"}
 
$timestart = (Get-Date).addminutes(5)
 
foreach($vm in $VMs){
 
 $ma = New-Object VMware.Vim.MethodAction
 $ma.Argument = $null
 $ma.Name = "PowerOffVM_Task"
 
 $ots = New-Object VMware.Vim.OnceTaskScheduler
 $ots.runat = $timestart
 
 $spec = New-Object VMware.Vim.ScheduledTaskSpec
 $spec.Name = "Shut Down Guest"# + $VM.name
 $spec.Description = "Shut Down Guest " + $VM.name
 $spec.Enabled = $true
 $spec.Notification = "p.mikkelsen81@gmail.com"
 $spec.Action = $ma
 $spec.Scheduler = $ots
 
 $si = Get-View ServiceInstance
 $stm = Get-View $si.Content.ScheduledTaskManager
 $stm.CreateScheduledTask($vm.MoRef,$Spec)
}

AnswerRe: Scheduled ShutdownVMGuest_Task Pinmemberjpmik23-Aug-12 5:41 
GeneralRe: Scheduled ShutdownVMGuest_Task Pinmembertrobolan23-Aug-12 20:18 
GeneralMy vote of 4 PinmemberBurak Tunçbilek29-Jul-12 11:59 
Questionimprovements Pinmemberkiquenet.com24-May-12 23:33 
QuestionCan not run backup script Pinmemberaugustwind21-Apr-12 5:50 
AnswerRe: Can not run backup script Pinmemberjpmik21-Apr-12 8:00 
GeneralRe: Can not run backup script [modified] Pinmemberaugustwind21-Apr-12 12:44 
AnswerRe: Can not run backup script PinmemberBh@nu4-Jul-12 20:52 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberRayler21-Mar-12 0:51 
QuestionCannot process command because of one or more missing mandatory parameters: ComputerName. PinmemberJeremyProg122-Nov-11 10:22 
Questionremotely access the server PinmemberAbsials16-Nov-11 19:59 
QuestionStart Service as an Administrator PinmemberGustavo Eduardo Mendoza Ramirez1-Sep-11 9:38 
GeneralHere's posting that extends this example a bit... Pinmemberrlrcstr23-Aug-10 3:32 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberScott Munro12-Aug-10 21:30 
GeneralThe article is great, but I need some help [modified] PinmemberKevin Stock (Atempo)5-Mar-10 3:31 

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