PowerShellPowerShell Background Jobs

Introduction

Jobs were introduced in PowerShell 2.0 and helped to solve a problem inherent in the command-line tools. In a nutshell, if you start a long running task, your prompt is unavailable until the task finishes. As an example of a long running task, think of this simple PowerShell command:

Get-ChildItem -Path c:\ -Recurse

It will take a while to fetch full directory list of your C: drive. If you run it as Job then the console will get the control back and you can capture the result later on.

Remarks

PowerShell Jobs run in a new process. This has pros and cons which are related.

Pros:

  1. The job runs in a clean process, including environment.
  2. The job can run asynchronously to your main PowerShell process

Cons:

  1. Process environment changes will not be present in the job.
  2. Parameters pass to and returned results are serialized.
    • This means if you change a parameter object while the job is running it will not be reflected in the job.
    • This also means if an object cannot be serialized you cannot pass or return it (although PowerShell may Copy any parameters and pass/return a PSObject.)

Basic job creation

Start a Script Block as background job:

$job = Start-Job -ScriptBlock {Get-Process}

Start a script as background job:

$job = Start-Job -FilePath "C:\YourFolder\Script.ps1"

Start a job using Invoke-Command on a remote machine:

$job = Invoke-Command -ComputerName "ComputerName" -ScriptBlock {Get-Service winrm} -JobName "WinRM" -ThrottleLimit 16 -AsJob

Start job as a different user (Prompts for password):

Start-Job -ScriptBlock {Get-Process} -Credential "Domain\Username"

Or

Start-Job -ScriptBlock {Get-Process} -Credential (Get-Credential)

Start job as a different user (No prompt):

$username = "Domain\Username" 
$password = "password"
$secPassword = ConvertTo-SecureString -String $password -AsPlainText -Force
$credentials = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -ArgumentList @($username, $secPassword)
Start-Job -ScriptBlock {Get-Process} -Credential $credentials

Basic job management

Get a list of all jobs in the current session:

Get-Job

Waiting on a job to finish before getting the result:

$job | Wait-job | Receive-Job 

Timeout a job if it runs too long (10 seconds in this example)

$job | Wait-job -Timeout 10

Stopping a job (completes all tasks that are pending in that job queue before ending):

$job | Stop-Job 

Remove job from current session's background jobs list:

$job | Remove-Job

Note: The following will only work on Workflow Jobs.

Suspend a Workflow Job (Pause):

$job | Suspend-Job 

Resume a Workflow Job:

$job | Resume-Job