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Build PowerShell on Windows for .NET Core

This guide will walk you through building PowerShell on Windows, targeting .NET Core. We'll start by showing how to set up your environment from scratch.


These instructions are tested on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 R2, though they should work anywhere the dependencies work.

Git Setup

Using Git requires it to be setup correctly; refer to the README and Contributing Guidelines.

This guide assumes that you have recursively cloned the PowerShell repository and cded into it.

Visual Studio

Install Visual Studio 2019. The Community edition is available free of charge.

The PowerShell/PowerShell repository requires at least Visual Studio 2019 16.7.

Visual Studio Code

Building PowerShell using Visual Studio Code depends on the PowerShell executable to be called pwsh which means that you must have PowerShell Core 6 Beta.9 (or newer) installed to successfully build this project (typically for the purpose of debugging).


We use the .NET Command Line Interface (dotnet) to build PowerShell. The version we are currently using is mentioned in global.json at the root of this repository. The Start-PSBootstrap function will automatically install it and add it to your path:

Import-Module ./build.psm1

Or you can call Install-Dotnet directly:


It removes the previously installed version of .NET CLI and installs the version that PowerShell Core depends on. If you have any problems installing dotnet, please see their documentation.

Build using our module

We maintain a PowerShell module with the function Start-PSBuild to build PowerShell.

Import-Module ./build.psm1

Congratulations! If everything went right, PowerShell is now built and executable as ./src/powershell-win-core/bin/Debug/net5.0/win7-x64/publish/pwsh.exe.

This location is of the form ./[project]/bin/[configuration]/[framework]/[rid]/publish/[binary name], and our project is powershell, configuration is Debug by default, framework is net5.0, runtime identifier is win7-x64 by default, and binary name is pwsh. The function Get-PSOutput will return the path to the executable; thus you can execute the development copy via & (Get-PSOutput).

The powershell project is the .NET Core PowerShell host. It is the top-level project, so dotnet build transitively builds all its dependencies, and emits a pwsh executable. The cross-platform host has built-in documentation via --help.

You can run our cross-platform Pester tests with Start-PSPester.

Import-Module ./build.psm1

Building in Visual Studio

We currently have the issue #3400 tracking this task.