Powershell is now the most powerfull tool on Microsoft operating systems, exactly as I predicted a couple of years ago. In this article I will explain the set-execution command. In order to prevent the execution of malicious scripts, especially for instance copied right from the internet,... PowerShell enforces an execution policy. By default, the execution policy is set to Restricted, which means that PowerShell scripts will not run. You can determine the current execution policy by using the following cmdlet:


The current execution status will be displayed.

The execution policies that you can use are:

  • Restricted - Scripts won’t run.
  • RemoteSigned - Scripts created locally will run, but those downloaded from the Internet will not (unless they are digitally signed by a trusted publisher).
  • AllSigned - Scripts will run only if they have been signed by a trusted publisher.
  • Unrestricted - Scripts will run regardless of where they have come from and whether they are signed.

You can set PowerShell’s execution policy by using the following cmdlet:

Set-ExecutionPolicy < PolicyName >

There have been questions towards me about the notation of "unless they are digitally signed by a trusted publisher" in the description of Remote Signed. This seems to imply that it operates the same as AllSigned. That is true in most cases. However, special powershell command packs from vendors do actually contain signing most of the times. If properly downloaded from a website and not just copy/pasted into a new .ps file. Some vendors, like Microsoft with the System Center Suite, Kaseya with some products, and/or hardware- & backup suppliers, throw there own certificate in the trusted certificate store, during installations of consoles, installations etcetera, etcetera.  Underneath these often beautiful shells, only PowerShell commands are doing the actual work, but that couldn't be done through a user friendly GUI if the signing wasn't valid. All the scripts underneath will contain code-signing, throwing up the first barrier for those stupid engineers that do a lot of copy/paste shit, to hide that they should study instead of copy.

I hope this has been informative for you.
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Tip 1: I often use the following commandline in batches, scheduled- or remote powershell scripts
          It skips the execution, is easy to automate while security on the machine remains untouched !
          Path,... Powershell.exe -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy bypass -file 

          Works like a charm :-) :-) 

Have fun, using Microsoft Powershell !



Ben OostdamBen Oostdam has been working with Windows systems since 1993. Worked for several companies as a system administrator, and is currently a Senior Support Engineer for a large company in the Netherlands.

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