PowerShell Basics – Check and Escalate your ExecutionPolicy

PowerShell ExecutionPolicy
PowerShell ExecutionPolicy

Windows PowerShell gives you a powerful interface when working with your computer. A basic task when working with PowerShell is escalating your permissions so that scripts you run have enough access to do the tasks you want them to do. By default your permission level in PowerShell is quite restricted and you will need to escalate this in order to be able to run any meaningful scripts.

First things first: you will need to start PowerShell with Administrator level access. PowerShell is included with modern versions of MS Windows (such as Windows 7 and Windows 8). If you are running Windows XP then you will need to download and install PowerShell from the Microsoft support site.

To start PowerShell on Windows 7, browse to:

Start Menu -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Windows PowerShell -> Windows PowerShell

To start PowerShell on Windows 8:

  1. Move your mouse to the top right corner of the screen
  2. In the options bar that appears click the Search option
  3. Type powershell
  4. Click the Windows PowerShell option that appears in the results.

Checking and Updating your Execution Policy

Once you have found where PowerShell is on your system, you’ll want to create a shortcut to it from your Desktop for ease of access.

To start working with PowerShell from your desktop, right click the shortcut and select the option to Run as Administrator. This will allow you to adjust your execution permissions in PowerShell.

Once PowerShell is running, type:

get-executionpolicy

PowerShell comes with four permission levels: Restricted, AllSigned, RemoteSigned, Unrestricted

By default PowerShell starts using the lowest security level: Restricted. As a power user you will want to escalate your permissions to the highest security level before you run any scripts, otherwise your scripts will most likely fail. You escalate your permissions to the Unrestricted level using the command:

set-executionpolicy -executionpolicy Unrestricted

After inputting this line, you will need to confirm that you want to escalate your permissions by entering y for yes.

Congratulations, at this point you have successfully started PowerShell and set your permissions so that scripts you run will not fail due to lack of permissions.

Further Reading:

A Microsoft article outlining Windows Powershell basics

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