Your Getting Started Guide to PowerShell Approved Verbs

Published:8 August 2023 - 5 min. read

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Nicholas Xuan Nguyen

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When it comes to PowerShell scripting, consistent naming conventions make the task of building robust solutions much easier. The good news is that there are PowerShell approved verbs you can use when writing scripts and commands.

In this tutorial, you will learn which approved verbs to use in PowerShell through a series of examples.

Jump right in and level up your PowerShell scripting!


This tutorial comprises hands-on demonstrations. If you wish to follow along, ensure you have a system running PowerShell 5.1 or later. This tutorial uses Windows 11 with PowerShell 7.

Retrieving a List of PowerShell Approved Verbs

In PowerShell, cmdlets are small, single-function commands that perform specific actions in the PowerShell environment.

Each cmdlet in PowerShell has a unique name that follows a verb-noun pair format where:

  • The verb part of the name describes the action that the cmdlet performs. Some common verbs used in PowerShell are as follows:
GetRetrieves information.
SetChanges or updates settings.
NewCreates something new.
RemoveDeletes or removes something.
  • The noun part of the name identifies the entity or object on which the action is performed, the target to take action upon. The noun typically describes the category or type of object the cmdlet interacts with, such as command, process, service, or file.

To see all approved verbs you can use for your script:

Execute the following Get-Verb cmdlet to get a complete list of PowerShell-approved verbs.


The output below shows just a few verbs you can use for your script.

powershell approved verbs - Retrieving a complete list of approved verbs
Retrieving a complete list of approved verbs

Now, run the same command as below, but this time, you will list all approved verbs that start with re via a wildcard search. Doing so narrows down the list of verbs to those associated with reset, resize, redo, and so on.

Get-Verb re*

As shown below, narrowing down the list of verbs can be helpful when you have a specific action in mind and wish to find a verb that closely matches that action.

Narrowing down the list of approved verbs
Narrowing down the list of approved verbs

Creating New Resources via the New Verb

You have just retrieved a list of approved verbs in PowerShell, but how do you use those verbs in your script or when running commands? You will prepend the New verb to a noun representing the type of resource you wish to create (i.e., user, file, service).

But in this example, you will create a new resource, specifically a new user, as follows:

Execute the following New-LocalUser command to create a new user called John Smith with a password (Password123) and set the account never to expire (-AccountNeverExpires).

New-LocalUser -Name "John Smith" -AccountNeverExpires -Password (ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText "Password123" -Force
Creating a new resource (user account) via the New verb
Creating a new resource (user account) via the New verb

Retrieving Resource Information via the Get Verb

Besides creating new resources, PowerShell also has a verb that lets you retrieve information about any of your existing resources. In PowerShell, the Get verb is commonly used to retrieve or fetch information about a particular resource, such as the OS, services, files, and other objects.

To retrieve resource information via the Get verb:

Run the Get-LocalUser command below to get information about a specific local user (John Smith).

Get-LocalUser -Name "John Smith"

Below, the output shows the user account John Smith is Enabled (active).

Retrieving resource information via the Get verb
Retrieving resource information via the Get verb

Modifying Existing Resources via the Set Verb

Imagine you noticed something was off after seeing one of your resource’s information. How can you modify an existing resource? Worry not! A PowerShell-approved verb, the Set verb, allows you to make changes to existing resources.

Instead of recreating resources, the Set verb lets you adjust by modifying their properties or configurations.

To modify existing resources via the Set verb:

Execute the below commands to set the value of $myVariable to Hello and modify the value of $myVariable to Hello, World!. These commands do not provide output, but you will verify the changes in the following step.

# Define a variable resource
$myVariable = "Hello"

# Modify the value of an existing variable resource
Set-Variable -Name myVariable -Value "Hello, World!"

Now, run the Get-Variable command below to retrieve information about your resource ($myVariable).

Get-Variable -Name myVariable

As shown below, the output shows the variable’s name and value.

Retrieving information about a resource
Retrieving information about a resource

Triggering Actions or Invoking Commands via the Invoke Verb

Instead of manually running commands, as you did in the previous examples, why not automate them in a PowerShell script? How? The Invoke verb allows you to initiate actions or invoke commands programmatically.

With a PowerShell script and the Invoke verb, you can run multiple PowerShell commands at once without typing them all in the console.

To see how triggering actions work via the Invoke verb:

1. Execute the following Invoke-Expression command to invoke the Get-Date command, which lets you retrieve the current date and time.

Invoke-Expression -Command "Get-Date"

The output below shows a successful execution of the Get-Date command via the Invoke verb.

Triggering a command via the Invoke verb
Triggering a command via the Invoke verb

2. Next, create a PowerShell script file (i.e., InvokeVerbDemo.ps1) with your preferred code editor, and populate the following code.

This code displays (Write-Host) a welcome message and invokes the Get-Service cmdlet to list all services in your system.

# Display a warm welcome message
Write-Host "Welcome to the Invoke Example!"

# Invoke the Get-Service cmdlet
Invoke-Command -ScriptBlock { Get-Service }

3. Now, run the following commands to invoke (Invoke-Expression) your PowerShell script (InvokeVerbDemo.ps1). Replace the $scriptPath variable’s value with your script file’s path.

$scriptPath = "C:\PowerShellScripts\InvokeVerbDemo.ps1"
Invoke-Expression -Command $scriptPath

The output below shows a welcome message and a list of all services in your system, which confirms a successful execution of your script.

Invoking a script via the Invoke verb
Invoking a script via the Invoke verb

4. Instead of just commands, write a reusable function (i.e., Invoke-MyTask) that you can call at any time, as shown below. Essentially, functions enhance the maintainability and reusability of your PowerShell scripts.

In this example, the Invoke-MyTask function encapsulates commands to perform the following when invoked:

  • Displays (Write-Host) the string Executing MyTask... on the console.
  • Retrieves the list of all processes (Get-Process) and selects only (Select-Object) the Name and CPU properties for each process.
# Define a custom function using the Invoke verb
function Invoke-MyTask {
    # Your custom task goes here
    Write-Host "Executing MyTask..."
    Get-Process | Select-Object Name, CPU
Defining a PowerShell function
Defining a PowerShell function

5. Lastly, execute the below command to invoke your function (Invoke-MyTask).

Invoke-Expression -Command Invoke-MyTask

You will see a list of all processes running on your system with their names and CPU usage, as shown below.

Invoking a function
Invoking a function

Validating Resources via the Test Verb

Ensuring the accuracy of input values and conditions is paramount when crafting robust and error-resistant PowerShell scripts. One powerful tool at your disposal for this purpose is the Test verb.

By employing the Test verb, you can quickly verify whether a given condition holds a true or false value, enabling you to execute different actions based on the outcome. In this example, you will validate if a file exists via the Test verb.

Execute the code below to test (Test-Path) whether a file exists (C:\MyFolder\example.txt) at the specified $filePath, and print a message depending on the result.

# Define a file path.
$filePath = "C:\MyFolder\example.txt"

# Test if the file exists, and print a message depending on the result
if (Test-Path $filePath) {
    Write-Host "The file exists at $filePath."
else {
    Write-Host "The file does not exist at $filePath."
Validating a resource via the Test verb
Validating a resource via the Test verb


You now have a basic understanding of PowerShell-approved verbs and how to use them effectively in your scripts and commands. By leveraging these verbs, you can now create robust, efficient, and consistent PowerShell solutions for various tasks and scenarios.

This tutorial is just the beginning of your journey to becoming a proficient PowerShell user. Why not learn other approved verbs, such as data manipulation verbs (i.e., Export, Import, Sort) and lifecycle verbs (i.e., Start, Stop)? Take your PowerShell skills to the next level today!

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