WSL 2 – PowerShell Update-Help cmdlet is not working

Just recently I discovered, when executing the Update-Help cmdlet in WSL 2, that it doesn’t do anything.

Behavior: Run with no progress bar and no error messages at the end of the process. 

I have reported in the PowerShell Github repository and it will be addressed to the proper product group. This is on Windows 10 Version 2004, including Windows 10 Insider edition.

There are two workarounds to this issue:

Workaround #1

The workaround is shown below, thanks to Aditya Patwardhan (Microsoft PowerShell Developer) who provide the hint.

There are two Linux Bash environment variables that need to be updated: LANG and LC_ALL.

Check the current values using the echo command and, in my case, it shows:

## Current values:
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ echo $LANG
C.UTF-8
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ echo $LC_ALL
-EMPTY-
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$

Use the following “export” commands to change their values to be “en_US.UTF-8“:

(base) maxt@sapien01:~$
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ export LC_ALL='en_US.UTF-8'
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ export LANG='en_US.UTF-8'
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ echo $LC_ALL
en_US.UTF-8
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ echo $LANG
en_US.UTF-8
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$

This will fix the issue temporarily during your WSL session, and the Update-Help will work properly.

For now, it may be needed to add these “export …” lines to the “~/.bashrc” file until the fix is available.

Workaround #2

Simply use the “Update-Help” specifying the UIculture:

Update-Help -uiculture en-us

That’s it!!

Keep PowerShelling!

Creating the PowerShell User Profile in Linux

In WSL, as on any Linux distribution, there’s no PowerShell User Profile file(“Microsoft.PowerShell_Profile.ps1“). So, it needs to be created manually.

Creating the profile folder

This profile is stored in the user home configuration folder “~/.config/powershell” folder.

But, the “powershell” folder doesn’t exist, it needs to be created in the configuration folder:

From the bash prompt, follow these steps:

1. Make sure you are in the user home folder:

pwd
cd /home/yourUserFolder

2. Verify the PowerShell folder doesn’t exist:

ls ~/.config

3. Change to the configuration folder:

cd ~/.config

3. Create the “powershell” folder, and assign permissions:

cd ~/.config
mkdir powershell
chmod 755
ll

Creating Microsoft.PowerShell_profile file

1. Using your Linux editor, create the Microsoft.PowerShell_Profile.ps1 file, and add code to the file: (Below using “vim” editor)

sudo vim /home/yourUserFolder/.config/powershell/Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1
-> Write-Host "Welcome to PowerShell in Linux" -foreground 'Yellow';
-> Import-Module Microsoft.PowerShell.UnixCompleters
-> Import-UnixCompleters
-> Write-Host "UnixCompleters is loaded!" -foreground 'Yellow';

5. When done, save changes and exit “vim’ editor by typing:

:wq

Testing the PowerShell Profile

Open PowerShell and the “Welcome to PowerShell in Linux” with any other text will be displayed. At the same time, anything else in the profile will be executed.

Now, you can add more commands to the file when needed.

Keep on PowerShelling!

Getting Started – UnixCompleters Module for PowerShell in Linux

Yes! This module has been around for a while and it’s a great helper for completing bash commands in PowerShell.

Get it from the PowerShell Gallery: Microsoft.PowerShell.UnixCompleters

Installing the module

To install the UnixCompleted module manually execute the following command:

Install-Module -Name Microsoft.PowerShell.UnixCompleters

This module includes the following cmdlets:

Import-UnixCompleters
Remove-UnixCompleters
Set-UnixCompleter

Then, import the module by typing:

Import-Module Microsoft.PowerShell.UnixCompleters

Follow by running the cmdlet “Import-UnixCompleters” to load the module:

Import-UnixCompleters

Now, let’s use the ‘df‘ Linux command, which displays the amount of disk space available, to test this module:

df --

After typing the double-dash, press the tab key twice. The list of parameters will show at the bottom of the command.

Implementation

You can have this module to be loaded from your “PowerShell User Profile” which should be located in the user’s home configuration folder: /home/username/.config/powershell/Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1. Remember! The “PowerShell User Profile” needs to be created manually.

Keep PowerShelling!!