How to catch error from Remove-Item and emit a warning instead?


In a post-deployment script used in a continuous integration pipeline (Azure DevOps), I’m removing old files.

Basically, it’s a PowerShell script that removes every release folder but the current one in the deployment directory.

Sometimes, the Remove-Item fails for some reason (old file still opened by someone one the deplyoment machine, for instance)

It’s not a big deal. I don’t want an error saying my whole deployment failed because of this. However, I want a warning, so I’m aware that it happened.

For instance (MCVE):

Problem : it causes an error.

Attempt 1 :

Problem : It removes the Error completely, that’s not what I want (I want a warning)

Attempt 2 : I tried to use ErrorVariable as recommended here :

Problem : it doesn’t work, it doesn’t show the if part. If I remove “SilentlyContinue” error action, it just emits an error, and in any case never goes into the if part.

Attempt 3 : I tried to use also Try Catch block as proposed here : PowerShell -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue Does not work with Get-ADUser

Problem : it never goes into the catch block either (!?)

Anyone has another option to show a warning instead of an error if Remove-Item fails ?


The error produced by Remove-Item is considered ‘non-terminating’, which means that it is ignored by ‘try/catch’. To force it to become ‘visible’ to ‘try/catch’ use the ErrorAction parameter:

Remove-Item INEXISTENT_FILE -ErrorAction Stop

Alternatively, you can change this at the script level (i.e. for all subsequent commands) like this:

$ErrorActionPreference = 'Stop'

The error message can be retrieved using $_.Exception.Message or $error[0]


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