Keeping Help Helpful: Use -Online and Redirectable Links

When you refer to Windows PowerShell help topics, such as in tools and blog posts, be sure to refer to the most recent version of the help topics. Few things are less helpful or more confusing than sending a reader to a topic that is missing a parameter or includes an example that doesn’t work.

To be sure that you’re always referring to the newest help topics, refer to the online help topics in the TechNet library.

  • In tools, use a Get-Help -Online command.
  • In web pages, use the redirectable “forwarding” links (also known as “FWLinks”) to the help topics.

The redirectable links will always be current. Even if a help topic page moves or changes, the redirectable link always connects to the newest version of the help topic.

You can find redirectable links to all Windows PowerShell 2.0 core help topics in the CSV file that is attached to the following blog post: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/archive/2009/07/21/urls-for-powershell-core-help-topics.aspx

All redirectable links have the format: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=<LinkID>, where only the LinkID varies. If you see a raw URL link, such as http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd819454.aspx, or worse, a help topic that is copied so it isn’t updated, please notify the author that their topics are likely to be obsolete and point them to the redirectable links.

To make it easy to find the redirectable link to any topic, create a function that reads the CSV file and displays the redirectable link. Here’s the one I use:

function get-fwlink
{
    param ([string]$title)

    $a = import-csv -path .\PowerShellHelpURLs.csv -Header Type, TopicName, URL
    $b = $a | where {$_.TopicName -like “*$title*”}
    foreach ($match in $b)
    {
        write-host “”
        $match.TopicName
        $match.URL
    }
}

PS C:\ps-test> get-fwlink keyword

about_Language_Keywords
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=136588

Even if you're getting old and obsolete, your links will always be current.

June Blender [MSFT]
Windows PowerShell Documentation
Twitter: juneb_get_help