Set-Location, and [Environment]::CurrentDirectory

Tue, Jul 18, 2006 One-minute read

One question that comes up frequently is, “Why does PowerShell not change its [System.Environment]::CurrentDirectory as I navigate around the shell?

One of the difficult aspects of this comes from the fact that PowerShell supports multiple pipelines of execution.  Although it’s not directly exposed yet, users will soon be able to suspend jobs to the background, and other concurrent tasks.

The current directory affects the entire process, so if we change the directory as you navigate around the shell, you risk corrupting the environment of jobs you have running in the background.

When you use filenames in .Net methods, the best practice is to use fully-qualified path names.  The Resolve-Path cmdlet makes this easy:

PS:37 > $reader = new-object System.Xml.XmlTextReader (Resolve-Path baseline.xml)
Suggestion: An alias for Resolve-Path is rvpa

PS:38 > $reader.BaseURI

If you wish to access a path that doesn’t already exist, use the Join-Path  cmdlet:

(Join-Path (Get-Location) newfile.txt)