Installing PowerShell with Package Manager on Windows Vista

Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe) is a new Windows Vista command-line tool that you can use offline to install, remove, or update Windows packages. You can add a package, provided as a .cab file, to an offline Windows image.  Package Manager can also enable or disable a Windows feature, either offline or on a running Windows installation. And it is this last piece of functionality that we are going to be using here.

When you install the PowerShell package (KB928439) on Windows Vista it extends the list of optional features that can be selected to enable or disable. A lot of updates behave like this, eg. the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) package. You can run optionalfeatures.exe to use a GUI to enable or disable the available features. But as mentioned you can also use Package Manager (pkgmgr.exe) to enable or disable the same features. The command to enable PowerShell is:

start /w pkgmgr.exe /iu:MicrosoftWindowsPowerShell

To disable PowerShell; run:

start /w pkgmgr.exe /uu:MicrosoftWindowsPowerShell

The start /w part is necessary because the default behaviour of pkgmgr.exe is to return immediately to the command line even when it is still performing its tasks. So to have the command prompt wait for the pkgmgr.exe process to finish before returning, add start /w.

Package Manager requires elevation to run, so either start it from an elevated prompt or be prepared to approve the elevation with the UAC prompt. To check the result of the Package Manager operation run echo %errorlevel% after Package Manager has finished.

To enable or disable other features have a look here for the names:

Windows Vista packages:

Windows Server 2008 packages:


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