How Do I Debug A Powershell Script Line By Line

Shell Programming

Debugging a PowerShell script line by line can be a crucial skill for any developer or system administrator. As a PowerShell enthusiast, I have spent countless hours honing my debugging techniques, and I’m excited to share some insights with you.

Setting Up the Debugging Environment

The first step is to ensure that the script you want to debug is ready. I often start by adding the -Debug parameter to my script, which allows me to set breakpoints and step through the code.

Adding Breakpoints

Once I’ve added the -Debug parameter, I can place breakpoints at specific lines in the script where I suspect issues may exist. To do this, I use the Set-PSBreakpoint cmdlet. For instance, to set a breakpoint at line 10, I’d use the command Set-PSBreakpoint -Script .\MyScript.ps1 -Line 10.

Stepping Through the Code

With breakpoints in place, I run the script using the F5 key in my PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE). As the script execution hits a breakpoint, I can inspect variables, evaluate expressions, or even modify the script on-the-fly to observe its behavior.

Utilizing the Debugging Tools

PowerShell offers a range of debugging tools that have been invaluable to my debugging process. For example, the Get-PSCallStack cmdlet allows me to view the call stack, which is particularly useful for understanding the flow of execution and identifying the source of errors.

Handling Errors Gracefully

During debugging, I often encounter errors that require immediate attention. In such cases, I make use of the try-catch construct to gracefully handle exceptions and prevent script termination. This has been a lifesaver in ensuring that my scripts remain robust and resilient.


Debugging a PowerShell script line by line is undoubtedly an essential skill that demands patience, perseverance, and a thorough understanding of the PowerShell environment. By leveraging the debugging techniques and tools available, I’ve been able to tackle complex issues and optimize my scripts with greater confidence and efficiency.