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PowerShell search file contents

PowerShell has a lot of features that makes life of a System Administrator easier.

But if you haven't learned PowerShell then it’s quite hard to appreciate the beauty of it.

Learn PowerShell and you will learn to love the power it brings.

On this example below, is quite a good and useful feature.

Log files are quite important, it will help to record data and keep track or monitor any activities on the system.

Example, if you have a log file or ".txt" files that keeps track of IP Addresses that connects to a particular server.

And need to check whether a particular IP Address has connected to the server.

One way, of course is to open one by one the log files.

Another way is to automate the process using PowerShell and let PowerShell do the task.

The code snippet below will browse through the text files in a directory and PowerShell will read or get the contents of  the text file and will check if the string specified will match its content.

If the string matches the content on the text file, the file name of the text will appear above the result of the search string.

Get-content cmdlet as it names specified will get the content or contents of a file. And using select-string cmdlet, you can use a parameter to search for a specific content.

If Select-string cmdlet will get a match from the content, the search string will appear after the filename of the text file.

Code snippet below, will filter all text files and inside "for loop" statement are get-content and select-string cmdlets to check which files contains the IP Address.


$xPath = Get-ChildItem -Path d:\IPLogs -Filter *.txt
Foreach($xfilename in $xPath)
write-host $xfilename
get-content $xfilename.FullName | select-string ""

Samle output:

write-host $xfilename == This is important to check which file the result is being read

select-string "" == This cmdlet will check if there is a match string on the text file.

The filename above the selected string or searched string is the file that contains the data.

On the example above log2.txt and log3.txt contains "".

That's it PowerShell does the heavy burden of reading all the files and searching the data.

If  get-content and select-string matches the string, you can always have the options on what to do with the data. You can have options such as copy, delete or move the file. But for inventory purposes to check which files contains the selected string, above script can handle the task.

To search for pattern or search criteria that are quite complicated, PowerShell supports RegEx for complex queries.

Below is just a simple query to match a pattern.


$xPath = Get-ChildItem -Path d:\IPLogs -Filter *.txt

Foreach($xfilename in $xPath)
write-host $xfilename
get-content $xfilename.FullName | Select-String  -pattern ":15"


Above script will match any line that starts with ":15", if the line contains port ":1530", ":1577" or contains time log like "19:26:15" all those lines that matches the specified pattern will display on the output.

Cheers!! Happy coding!!!

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