Many IT professionals use PowerShell to manage Windows computers and devices and to execute administrative tasks of all kinds. Before you can use PowerShell, you first need to know how to start it. That's why we made a long list of all the methods available for starting this tool, including with admin rights. Read on and see them all:
NOTE: This guide covers Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. Some methods work in all three versions of Windows, others just in one or two. For each method, we mention the Windows version in which it works. If you do not know the version of Windows that you have, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed?
1. Start PowerShell using search (all Windows versions)
In Windows 10, one of the fastest ways to launch PowerShell is to use search. Inside the search field from the taskbar, enter powershell. Then, click or tap the Windows PowerShell result.
If you want to run PowerShell as administrator, right-click (or tap and hold, if you use a touchscreen) on the Windows PowerShell search result, and then click or tap "Run as administrator."
If you use Windows 7, open the Start Menu, type powershell in the search field, and then press Enter or click the Windows PowerShell result.
When you want to run PowerShell as administrator, right-click on the Windows PowerShell search result, and choose "Run as administrator."
In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start screen and start typing powershell. Then, once the search results are displayed, press Enter on your keyboard or press the Windows PowerShell result.
When you want to run PowerShell as administrator, right-click on the Windows PowerShell search result, and choose "Run as administrator" in the menu that is displayed.
2. Start the PowerShell using the Run window (all Windows versions)
One of the quickest ways to start PowerShell, in any modern version of Windows, is to use the Run window. A fast way to launch this window is to press the Win + R keys on your keyboard. Then, type powershell and press Enter or click OK.
3. Launch the PowerShell from the Start Menu (in Windows 10 and Windows 7) or the Start Screen (in Windows 8.1)
In Windows 10, open the Start Menu and go to the Windows PowerShell shortcuts folder. There, you can find a shortcut for Windows PowerShell.
If you use Windows 7, open the Start Menu and go to All Programs. Then, open Accessories, and then the Windows PowerShell folder. There, click the Windows PowerShell shortcut.
In Windows 8.1, go to the Start screen. Open the Apps View and scroll right, until you find the Windows System folder. There, click or tap the Windows PowerShell shortcut.
NOTE: To run it as administrator, right-click on the Windows PowerShell shortcut and then click the "Run as administrator" option.
4. Run PowerShell using its executable file (all Windows versions)
You can also open File Explorer (in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7). If you are using a 32-bit version of Windows, browse to: "C:WindowsSystem32WindowsPowerShellv1.0." There you find the powershell.exe file on 32-bits.
If you use a 64-bit version of Windows, browse to: "C:WindowsSysWOW64WindowsPowerShellv1.0." There you find the powershell.exe file on 64-bits.
NOTE: If you do not know whether your Windows is 32-bit or 64-bit, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed?. Also, to run the file as administrator, right-click on powershell.exe and then choose the "Run as administrator" option.
5. Start PowerShell using the WinX power user menu (Windows 10 only)
Windows 10 includes a hidden menu for power users, named the WinX menu. The quickest way to launch it is to press the Win + X keys on your keyboard, but you can also do it with right-click (or tap and hold) on Windows logo from the bottom-left corner of your desktop. Here you find shortcuts for starting PowerShell, both with limited permissions and with admin rights.
Use the Windows PowerShell shortcut you prefer for starting it.
6. Create a shortcut for PowerShell on your desktop (all Windows versions)
If you prefer using shortcuts, then do not hesitate to create a shortcut to PowerShell. If you do not know how and need help with creating shortcuts, read this guide: How to create shortcuts for apps, files, folders and web pages in Windows. The only thing you have to remember is to type powershell as the location of the item you create the shortcut for, just like in the screenshot below.
You can also use the direct path to the powershell.exe file, shared at method four from this guide.
7. Use Task Manager to start PowerShell (all Windows versions)
Another way of opening PowerShell is to use the Task Manager. Launch Task Manager: a quick way to do it is to press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard. If you are using Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 and the Task Manager opens up in its compact mode, click or tap on "More details." Then, in all Windows versions, open the File menu and click or tap on "Run new task." In the "Create new task" window, type powershell and press Enter or OK.
8. Open PowerShell by using the shortcut from our collection (all Windows versions)
We assembled an extensive collection of shortcuts for Windows. Download it, extract it and you can find the Windows PowerShell shortcut in the Windows PowerShell subfolder for your Windows version.
9. Open PowerShell from the Command Prompt (all Windows versions)
A geeky method that works involves starting PowerShell from the Command Prompt. If you have opened the Command Prompt, type "start powershell" (without the quotation marks) and press Enter on your keyboard.
If you want to start PowerShell from the Command Prompt, as administrator, make sure that you first open the Command Prompt as administrator.
Do you know other ways of starting PowerShell?
These are all the ways we know for launching PowerShell in Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. If you know of others, do not hesitate to share them in a comment below. Also, if you are looking for some good articles on how to use PowerShell, do not hesitate to read the tutorials recommended below.