Enhancing PowerShell With .NET Classes and Methods

In Part One of this series, we explore the concepts of classes, methods, and properties within .NET.

Brien Posey

June 6, 2024

4 Min Read
abstract background with program code and Microsoft .NET

As much as I love working with PowerShell, there are certain tasks that PowerShell just can’t do on its own. After all, PowerShell started out as a tool for managing Windows Server, not as the full-blown scripting language it is today. For example, I’m currently hard at work on a robotics project, but I’m writing the code in Python, not PowerShell.

Despite PowerShell’s limitations, we can build out its capabilities by leveraging the Microsoft .NET Framework. Believe it or not, this is easier than it sounds, even for non-developers. The trick is understanding the .NET way of doing things.

Advanced PowerShell Techniques with the .NET Framework

  • Part 1: Understanding .NET Classes and Methods

  • Part 2: Integrate .NET Classes in PowerShell Scripts

  • Part 3: Using .NET Properties and Methods

.NET enhances PowerShell scripts by allowing them to use .NET classes and methods. Admittedly, the first time that someone tried to explain the concepts of classes and methods to me, my eyes glazed over. I immediately dismissed it as something best left to the developers among us. In retrospect, though, classes and methods are actually pretty simple.

Building Better Scripts Using .NET Tools

Let me use an analogy to explain these concepts.

I’ve spent nearly all my recent free time helping a relative with much-needed home renovations. These projects have included painting, tile work, electrical tasks, and plumbing. As a result, I have used many different tools, though not every project has required the same ones. Imagine the chaos if I used a wet saw (which is filled with water and meant for cutting tile) to cut an electric line. Likewise, I probably wouldn’t use a multimeter (used for electrical work) to replace a water pipe. Different jobs need different tools.

Related:How To Use PS2EXE To Convert PowerShell Scripts Into EXE Files

Of course, I need to store these tools somewhere. At the moment, most are in my garage. Despite being chronically disorganized, imagine I spent a weekend organizing my garage. In doing so, I might group various tools by their use – for instance, electrical tools in one drawer, plumbing tools in another. Now, before I explain how all this relates to .NET, let me extend the analogy. Yesterday, I installed new baseboards, which required using a compound miter saw to cut the baseboards to the correct length. The miter saw had been collecting dust in my garage for at least 10 years. I had to reacquaint myself with the saw, like remembering how to release the safety lock that holds the blade in place. Thankfully, there were instructions conveniently placed on a sticker attached to the back of the saw.

So, how does this relate to Microsoft .NET? Well, building a script is like a complex home renovation project; it involves using various tools. In native PowerShell, for instance, you might use variables, pipelines, and maybe even loops. Similarly, .NET offers numerous tools housed within its framework.

Classes and namespaces

.NET tools are called classes, organized into namespaces within the .NET Framework Class Library. Think of a namespace as a drawer in my organized toolbox. One drawer might contain tools for installing drywall, another for installing tile. In .NET, one namespace might include tools for mathematical operations, another for building a GUI (graphic user interface). For example, the GUI namespace might include tools (classes) for creating buttons, text boxes, and sliders. To put it another way, a namespace is a collection of classes, and a class is a specific tool within that namespace.


Methods are akin to the instructions for using each tool. Remember my miter saw? It has procedures for releasing the safety lock, setting the cut angle, and turning on the motor. In the world of .NET, methods provide standardized ways of working with classes.


There is one more .NET concept to cover before we move on: properties. A property is an attribute of a class. For instance, to use the tool analogy, my power drill is green. “Green” is an attribute, or property. In .NET, properties allow you to configure a text box’s size, color, position, and more.

Having covered what .NET classes and methods are, let’s discuss incorporating classes into PowerShell scripts in Part Two.

Part Two will be published on Monday, June 10.

About the Author(s)

Brien Posey

Brien Posey is a bestselling technology author, a speaker, and a 20X Microsoft MVP. In addition to his ongoing work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years training as a commercial astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space.


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