Visual Studio Gets 'Developer PowerShell' Prompt

On Jan. 17, 2018, Microsoft's Scott Hanselman asked Visual Studio developers if they would like a PowerShell prompt with pre-set PATH and Environment variables baked right into the IDE. They said yes.

Today, Aug. 20, 2019, Microsoft announced that in Visual Studio 2019 16.2, there is now a "Developer PowerShell" prompt along with a "Developer Command Prompt" under the Tools > Command Line menu.

This opens up new time-saving opportunities for Visual Studio developers as the two command-line schemes sport different capabilities and functionality, with explaining: "PowerShell is a more advanced version of the cmd used to run external programs like ping or copy and automate many different system administration tasks which are not accessible from cmd.exe. It's quite similar to cmd except it's more powerful and uses different commands altogether."

Now both options are available, via the menu items above or the Ctrl+Q search keyboard combination.

VS PowerShell
[Click on image for larger view.] VS PowerShell (source: Microsoft).

"Selecting either of these tools, will launch them in their respective external windows, and with all the predefined goodness (e.g. preset PATHs and environment variables) you already rely on," said Ruben Rios, a program manager 2 on the VS team in a blog post. "Opening them from Visual Studio automatically adjust their directories based on current solution or folder's location. Additionally, if no solution or folder is open at the time of invocation, their directories are set based on the 'Projects location' setting. This setting is located under Tools > Options > Locations."

When Hanselman published his informal Twitter poll last year, he actually asked if developers wanted a PowerShell prompt and if they would prefer it to the existing "Visual Studio Command Prompt" that sets the PATH and Environment variables for development work, using cmd.exe.

The Poll
[Click on image for larger view.] The Poll (source: Twitter).

Of 2,485 voters, 73 percent preferred a PowerShell prompt, but many comments indicated a preference for both prompts, which is what Microsoft delivered. One developer pointed out that he had been seeking to use PowerShell with the VS command prompt for more than nine years.

Other developers had all kinds of ideas, with several offering a bash prompt as an alternative. One commenter said: "VS Command prompt is nice, but I like the bash-shell more (I do a lot on Mac and Linux). So I use cygwin on windows (if possible) or use the git-bash shell from git4windows mainly. I tried PS but it can't convince me."

Another said: "It's 2018 and we're talking about PATH Environment variables #fail."

Of course, now it's 2019 and we're still talking about PATH Environment variables.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

comments powered by Disqus


  • Visual Studio Code Dev Team Cleans Up

    The Visual Studio Code development team focused on some housekeeping in the October update, closing more than 4,000 issues on GitHub, where the cross-platform, open-source editor lives.

  • ML.NET Model Builder Update Boosts Image Classification

    Microsoft announced an update to the Model Builder component of its ML.NET machine learning framework, boosting image classification and adding "try your model" functionality for predictions with sample input.

  • How to Do Naive Bayes with Numeric Data Using C#

    Dr. James McCaffrey of Microsoft Research uses a full code sample and screenshots to demonstrate how to create a naive Bayes classification system when the predictor values are numeric, using the C# language without any special code libraries.

  • Vortex

    Open Source 'Infrastructure-as-Code' SDK Adds .NET Core Support for Working with Azure

    Pulumi, known for its "Infrastructure-as-Code" cloud development tooling, has added support for .NET Core, letting .NET-centric developers use C#, F# and VB.NET to create, deploy, and manage Azure infrastructure.

  • .NET Framework Not Forgotten: Repair Tool Updated

    Even though Microsoft's development focus has shifted to the open-source, cross-platform .NET Core initiative -- with the aging, traditional, Windows-only .NET Framework relegated primarily to fixes and maintenance such as quality and reliability improvements -- the latter is still getting some other attention, as exemplified in a repair tool update.

.NET Insight

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Upcoming Events