Using Familiar Command Names

Using a mechanism called aliasing, Windows PowerShell allows users to refer to commands by alternate names. Aliasing allows users with experience in other shells to reuse common command names that they already know to perform similar operations in Windows PowerShell. Although we will not discuss Windows PowerShell aliases in detail, you can still use them as you get started with Windows PowerShell.

Aliasing associates a command name that you type with another command. For example, Windows PowerShell has an internal function named Clear-Host that clears the output window. If you type either the cls or clear command at a command prompt, Windows PowerShell interprets that this is an alias for the Clear-Host function and runs the Clear-Host function.

This feature helps users to learn Windows PowerShell. First, most Cmd.exe and UNIX users have a large repertoire of commands that users already know by name, and although the Windows PowerShell equivalents may not produce identical results, they are close enough in form that users can use them to do work without having to first memorize the Windows PowerShell names. Second, the major source of frustration in learning a new shell when the user is already familiar with another shell, is the errors that are caused by "finger memory". If you have used Cmd.exe for years, when you have a screen full of output and want to clean it up, you would reflexively type the cls command and press the ENTER key. Without the alias to the Clear-Host function in Windows PowerShell, you would simply get the error message "'cls' is not recognized as a cmdlet, function, operable program, or script file." and be left with no idea of what to do to clear the output.

To make examples more readable, the Windows PowerShell Primer generally avoids using aliases. However, knowing more about aliases this early can still be useful if you are working with arbitrary snippets of Windows PowerShell code from another source or wish to define your own aliases. The rest of this section will discuss standard aliases and how to define your own aliases.

Source of Information : Windows PowerShell™ Primer


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