PowerShell: Get Files Containing a String

I have hundreds of script files, and as hard as I try, I don’t always name them effectively. Many of those scripts contain an obscure piece of code that I’m not very familiar with. I normally refer to previous scripts to remember the rarely used bits. While the standard windows search feature helps me narrow down which file I need when I’ve named the file efficiently, it fails to help a lot. When I’m looking for a script with a particular line of code on say, line 1021, where I did a weird time conversion, I’m not going to find it fast, if at all.

Last week I was hunting for a script that used the PowerShell feature of creating a Progress Bar. In the past I’ve mostly used the bar as a gimmick, but this time I wanted to keep track of how far along a script was in a long-running multi-server query. I quickly scripted something to search the contents of my documents for a specific piece of text. I even added a progress bar to this script. Granted the search is normally so fast that the bar doesn’t matter, but hey, I needed to practice the calculations for the progress bar anyways.

Function Search-Folder
 $Files = Get-ChildItem $Folder
 $Count = $Files.Count
 $i = 0
 ForEach( $File in $Files )
  $Percent = $i/$Count*100
  Write-Progress -Activity "Searching through files..." -Status "$Percent% Complete" -PercentComplete $Percent
  $Text = Get-Content "$Folder\$File" -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
  IF( $Text | WHERE { $Text -LIKE "*$SearchTerm*" } )
  { Write-Host $File }

Most of the math and code here is to display the Progress Bar. The function takes two mandatory parameters, $Folder and $SearchTerm. It then loops through each file in the folder using Get-ChildItem and then Get-Content, filtering for the desired text string.

I commonly clear the screen with CLS before executing a function, just to keep the results easy to read. The below example execution will cycle through my PowerShellScripts folder and return the name of any files with the word progress in them.

Search-Folder -Folder "C:\Scripts\PowerShellScripts" -SearchTerm "progress"


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