PowerShell Capture Write-Host output


I am having to run a Microsoft cmdlet, and the important bit of information is written to console using a Write-Host line within the cmdlet.

It is NOT returned, so I cannot do $result = Commandlet …
A different value is returned that is not of use to me, what I actually need is printed to console within the commandlet is there anyway I can ‘sniff’ or ‘scrape’ the console to get the information I want?

Test-Cluster will print stuff like: ‘HadUnselectedTests’, ‘ClusterConditionallyApproved’, etc.
But the value it returns in the path to the .htm report file.
And the .htm report file does not contain one of those status codes unfortunately so I cannot just parse the .htm file for it either.

Any suggestions?


Note: As for why you should never use Write-Host to output data, see this answer.

In PSv5+:

Since version 5, Write-Host writes to the newly introduced information stream, whose number is 6.

6>&1 redirects that stream to the success output stream (number 1), so that it too can be captured in $result.

Caveat: The related Out-Host cmdlet does not write to the information stream; its output cannot be captured – see this answer for the differences between Write-Host and Out-Host.

In PSv4-:

There is no way to capture Write-Host output in-session.

The only workaround is to launch another instance of Powershell with the target command specified as a string.

  • Such an invocation is slow,
  • prevents passing of arguments with their original data type
  • invariably only returns string data (lines of text)
  • returns output from all output streams, including error output

Note that using a script block to pass the command (-command { Test-Cluster }) would not work, because PowerShell then uses serialization and deserialization to emulate the in-session behavior.

Optional reading: output streams in PowerShell and how to redirect them:

Get-Help about_Redirection discusses a list of all output streams, which can be targeted by their numbers; since PSv5, these are:

Note that some streams are silent by default and require opt-in to produce output, either via a preference variable (e.g., $VerbosePreference) or a common parameter (e.g., -Verbose)

  • {n}> allows redirecting the number {n} stream; if {n} is omitted, 1 is implied:
    • to a file (e.g., 3> c:/tmp/warnings.txt
    • to “nowhere”, i.e suppressing the output (e.g., 3> $null)
    • to the success output stream (e.g., 3>&1); note: only stream 1 can be targeted this way.
  • *> targets all output streams.

Note: Unlike in POSIX-like shells (e.g., bash), the order of multiple redirection expression does not matter.

Therefore, the following POSIX-like shell idiom – which redirects error output to the success stream and silences only the original success output – does NOT work:

To achieve this in PowerShell, you mustn’t redirect 1 and instead filter the objects in the success by their stream of origin.

Case in point: In the end, the OP wanted the following: capture only warning output, without the regular (success) output:

Objects that came from the warning stream have type [System.Management.Automation.WarningRecord], which is what enables the filtering above.


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