Finding Executable for File

by Jul 3, 2018

Most things can be handled by built-in PowerShell commands, but if that’s not enough, you can always resort to the internal Windows API. For example, if you’d like to find out what the application is that is associated with a given file, try this:

function Get-ExecutableForFile

    $Source = @"

using System;
using System.Text;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
public class Win32API
        [DllImport("shell32.dll", EntryPoint="FindExecutable")] 

        public static extern long FindExecutableA(string lpFile, string lpDirectory, StringBuilder lpResult);

        public static string FindExecutable(string pv_strFilename)
            StringBuilder objResultBuffer = new StringBuilder(1024);
            long lngResult = 0;

            lngResult = FindExecutableA(pv_strFilename, string.Empty, objResultBuffer);

            if(lngResult >= 32)
                return objResultBuffer.ToString();

            return string.Format("Error: ({0})", lngResult);


    Add-Type -TypeDefinition $Source -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

And here is how you’d use the function:

PS> Set-EnvironmentVariable -Name test -Value 123 -Target User  

Twitter This Tip! ReTweet this Tip!