PowerTip: Update Windows PowerShell Help Files

Summary: Learn to easily update Windows PowerShell Help files.

Hey, Scripting Guy! Question I try to use Get-Help, but I am unable to retrieve any information. What do I need to do?

Hey, Scripting Guy! Answer Open the Windows PowerShell console (or the Windows PowerShell ISE) with admin rights, and
           type Update-Help.

Comments (5)

  1. PS C:Windowssystem32> Update-Help
    The term ‘Update-Help’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
    At line:1 char:12
    + Update-Help <<<<
    + CategoryInfo : ObjectNotFound: (Update-Help:String) [], CommandNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : CommandNotFoundException

  2. AllanM says:

    Check your powershell version Colby – possibly version 2 which still seems to be the default distribution version.
    $psversiontable will tell you
    I’m using v4, and if I remember right, v3 had update-help also. I did find some strange behavior at work behind a firewall / proxy server where update-help alone could not connect out. But then I discovered this trick whcih works perfectly:

    $mywebClient = New-Object System.Net.WebClient
    $mywebClient.Proxy.Credentials = [System.Net.CredentialCache]::DefaultNetworkCredentials

  3. oblivious says:

    I found typing get-help verb-noun in Bing.com brings up the full help in from MS

  4. guche9999 says:

    Because of company network restriction, I can not update using this command. Is there any other way to do this?

  5. Cloud Rider says:

    Hard learned lesson here: I have recently upgraded my physical workstation to 8.1 Pro, and sometime after the upgrade if found my PoSH help was incomplete; get-help would frequently warn ‘Displaying only partial help files; the full help files could not
    be found’ (don’t remember the exact phrasing).

    Searches everywhere were no help; all my results were only reminders to run Update-Help in an elevated shell (that, I knew..). The error looked like a path or (read) permissions issue, as if Get-Help didn’t know where (or couldn’t) to read what help data files
    that existed.

    So, I did sfcscan , dism /online repair, all manner of stuff — no help.

    Finally, I got lucky and found a thread which discussed doing a Save-Help (to copy down the files) then an Update-Help -Sourcepath -Force to make them available… and it dawned on me: TRY THE -force SWITCH, LUKE!

    And sure enough, I tried (from elevated shell, natch):

    Update-Help -force

    And it worked! All my incomplete help data was now available.

    So if you’re help data seems incomplete, even after a run of Update-Help, give the -force switch a try [1].

    –Cloud Rider

    [1] If there are any caveats wrt the -force switch, I welcome comments; but for me, I needed to get my help fixed anyway I could, and it did the trick.

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