PowerShell x64 vs x86: set execution policy when using Visual Studio post build events

Running PowerShell scripts in the Post build events within a Visual Studio project? Getting errors telling you “running scripts is disabled on this system”?

Visual Studio Output window showing PowerShell execution error

While working on Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices (PnP) solution OfficeDevPnP.PowerShell Commands I had troubles with building my solution. Visual Studio uses PowerShell x86 in the background instead of my default PowerShell which uses the x64 version.

Check PowerShell version: x64 versus x86

By running the following you can check the current version. Download the PowerShell function from Check-PSVersion.ps1

function Check-PSVersion { if ([System.IntPtr]::Size -eq 4) { # When equal to 4, then x86 Write-Host "Running x86 PowerShell session" } else { # When equal to 8, then x64 Write-Host "Running x64 PowerShell session" } } Check-PSVersion

Where to find the PowerShell executable for both x64 and x86

The x64 version of PowerShell (Windows 8.1) can be found under:

"C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe"

The x86 version of PowerShell (Windows 8.1) can be found under:

"C:\Windows\syswow64\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe"

Change execution policy to use PowerShell in Visual Studio

Now we know we have two versions of PowerShell we can change the execution policy for the x86 version of PowerShell. Start the "C:\Windows\syswow64\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe" with “Run as administrator”. Now change the execution policy accordantly.

Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

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