How To Change Directories In Powershell

How To Articles

In this article, I will guide you through the process of changing directories in PowerShell. As someone who has been using PowerShell for several years, I have found this feature to be immensely helpful in navigating through my files and directories seamlessly.

Changing directories is a common task for any command-line user, and PowerShell provides several ways to accomplish this. The most basic and straightforward way is to use the Set-Location cmdlet, also known as cd. Let’s dive into how it works!

Using the Set-Location Cmdlet

The Set-Location cmdlet allows us to change our current working directory to a new location. It can accept multiple types of input, including paths, environment variables, and even registry paths. Here’s how you can use it:

$ cd C:\Path\To\Directory

By running the above command, you will change your current location to the specified directory. You can also use relative paths:

$ cd ..\NewDirectory

This will move you one level up in the directory structure and then to the specified directory. It is essential to note that paths are case-insensitive in PowerShell, so you don’t need to worry about the capitalization.

If you are unsure about the directory structure or want to explore the available options, use the Get-ChildItem cmdlet, also known as ls or dir. It will list all the items (folders and files) in your current directory, helping you navigate through the folders.

PowerShell Drive Navigation

PowerShell also allows you to navigate through its various drives. By default, you can access your local drives (C:, D:, etc.) using the drive letter. For example:

$ cd C:\

This command will change your current location to the root of the C:\ drive. However, PowerShell also has a concept called “PowerShell drives,” which is similar to the concept of drives in the traditional file system.

To list all the available PowerShell drives, you can use the Get-PSDrive cmdlet. It will provide you with a list of drives, including not only local drives but also other resources such as the registry, certificates, and even active directory.

Changing Directory with Variables

Powershell allows you to use variables to make your scripts more flexible and reusable. You can leverage the power of variables while changing directories too. For example:

$newPath = "C:\Path\To\Directory"
$cd $newPath

By defining the $newPath variable and then passing it to the cd command, you can change to the desired directory without typing the full path every time. This technique is handy when you frequently switch between different directories.


Changing directories in PowerShell is a fundamental command-line task that can tremendously boost your productivity. With the help of the Set-Location cmdlet and other features like variable usage and PowerShell drives, you can navigate through your file system effortlessly.

I hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of how to change directories in PowerShell. So go ahead, start exploring and manipulating your directories with confidence!