Get-ChildItem Folders Only: List Directories Fast – Example Script

Have you ever found yourself sifting through countless files when all you needed was a list of folders? We’ve all been there. But what if I told you there’s a way to retrieve folders only with a simple PowerShell command? That’s right, no more scrolling through unnecessary files or wasting precious time. In this article, I will show you how to use the Get-ChildItem cmdlet to list directories efficiently, saving you time and effort.

When it comes to retrieving folders only, the Get-ChildItem command is your go-to tool. With the right combination of parameters, you can quickly retrieve the information you need without any unnecessary processing or slowing down your script. Let’s dive in and discover how to make the most of this powerful command.

Key Takeaways:

  • By using the appropriate parameters, such as -Directory and -Recurse, you can retrieve folders only with the Get-ChildItem command.
  • Customize the output by combining filtering options like -Filter, -Include, and -Exclude.
  • The -Depth parameter allows you to control the depth of the directory listing, limiting it to a specific portion of the hierarchy.
  • Experiment with different options and filters to refine your folder listing and streamline your workflow.
  • By leveraging the power of the Get-ChildItem command, you can quickly and efficiently retrieve folders only, saving time and effort.

Using the Get-ChildItem Command to Retrieve Folders Only

To retrieve folders only with the Get-ChildItem command, you can use the -Directory parameter. This parameter instructs PowerShell to only return directory objects, excluding files. Additionally, if you want to search through subdirectories, you can use the -Recurse parameter. This allows you to retrieve directories at multiple levels in the hierarchy. By combining these parameters with other filtering options, you can customize the output to meet your specific needs.


Suppose I want to list all the folders within a specific directory and its subdirectories. I can use the following PowerShell command:

Get-ChildItem -Path "C:\MyDirectory" -Directory -Recurse

Filtering Folders with the Get-ChildItem Command

In addition to its versatility, the Get-ChildItem command in PowerShell provides various filtering options to help you retrieve specific folders efficiently. By utilizing these filtering parameters, you can narrow down your results and pinpoint the exact folders you need.

Using the -Filter Parameter

One way to filter folders is by using the -Filter parameter. This parameter allows you to specify a pattern or wildcard to match folder names. For example, if you want to retrieve all folders that start with “folder A,” you can use the filter “folder A*”. This simple pattern matching technique helps you quickly retrieve folders based on their names.

Employing the -Include and -Exclude Parameters

In addition to the -Filter parameter, PowerShell offers the -Include and -Exclude parameters as powerful filtering options. With the -Include parameter, you can selectively include folders that meet specific criteria. For instance, you can include folders with a particular attribute or that match certain conditions.

Conversely, the -Exclude parameter allows you to exclude folders that do not meet your desired criteria. By utilizing this parameter, you can effectively filter out irrelevant folders from your search results and focus on the ones that matter.

These filtering options provide a high degree of flexibility, enabling you to retrieve the exact folders you need while excluding unnecessary ones.

Example of Filtering Folders

Let’s consider an example scenario:

You need to retrieve folders related to artwork. These folders have a naming convention that includes the word “art” followed by a series of numbers. However, there are also non-art related folders present in the same directory.

To retrieve only the art-related folders, you can use the following command:

Get-ChildItem -Directory -Filter "art*"

This command uses the -Directory parameter to limit the output to folders only. The -Filter parameter is set to “art*”, which matches any folder name starting with “art”. This allows you to retrieve only the art-related folders, excluding any non-related ones.

Filtering Folders: Use Case Scenarios

There are numerous use case scenarios where leveraging the filtering options of the Get-ChildItem command can be beneficial:

  1. Retrieve folders that contain a specific keyword in their name.
  2. Filter folders based on their creation date, modified date, or other attributes.
  3. Include folders that meet certain conditions, such as a specific size or file count.
  4. Exclude folders that don’t meet specific criteria or adhere to a particular naming convention.

By customizing the filtering parameters of the Get-ChildItem command based on your requirements, you can efficiently retrieve the desired folders and streamline your workflow.

Filtering OptionsDescription
-FilterSpecifies a pattern or wildcard to match folder names
-IncludeSelectively includes folders based on specific criteria
-ExcludeExcludes folders that do not meet desired criteria

By combining these filtering options with the power of the Get-ChildItem command, you can efficiently retrieve the folders you need and optimize your PowerShell scripts.

Retrieving Folders Only at a Specified Depth

If you want to have fine-grained control over the depth of the directory listing, the -Depth parameter in the Get-ChildItem command can be extremely useful. By specifying the number of levels deep you want to retrieve directories, you can tailor the output to your specific needs.

For example, let’s say you have a directory structure with multiple levels, and you want to retrieve folders only up to two levels down from a specified path. In this case, you can set the depth to 2, and the command will return only the folders within that specific depth range.

Retrieving Folders Only at a Depth of 2

Here’s an example command that retrieves folders only at a depth of 2:

Get-ChildItem -Path "C:\RootFolder" -Directory -Depth 2

This command will list all the folders within the specified depth range, excluding any files:

Folder NamePath
Folder AC:\RootFolder\Folder A
Folder BC:\RootFolder\Folder B
Subfolder AC:\RootFolder\Folder A\Subfolder A
Subfolder BC:\RootFolder\Folder B\Subfolder B

The -Directory parameter ensures that only folders are returned, while the -Depth 2 parameter restricts the output to the desired depth.

This visual representation illustrates how the -Depth parameter works:

  • The root folder is at depth 0.
  • The immediate subfolders are at depth 1.
  • The folders within subfolders are at depth 2.

By specifying the desired depth level, you can effectively filter the output and retrieve only the folders within that range, eliminating unnecessary information in your directory listing.

Power Tips for Using the Get-ChildItem Command to List Folders

Here are some power tips for using the Get-ChildItem command to list folders efficiently:

  1. Combine the -Directory parameter with other filtering options to refine the output.

  2. Use the -Recurse parameter to search through subdirectories for a broader listing.

  3. Utilize the -Depth parameter to control how deep the directory listing should go.

  4. Experiment with different filters, includes, and excludes to retrieve specific folders based on name or attributes.

By leveraging these tips and exploring the various options available, you can streamline your workflow and retrieve folders only with ease.

Image: Example image illustrating the use of the Get-ChildItem command to list folders


The Get-ChildItem command in PowerShell is a powerful and versatile tool for effectively listing directories. By utilizing the appropriate parameters and filtering options, you can retrieve folders only and tailor the output to meet your specific needs. Whether you require retrieving folders at a particular depth, filtering based on name or attributes, or including subdirectories in the listing, the Get-ChildItem command offers the flexibility and efficiency you seek.

Incorporating these techniques into your PowerShell scripts can greatly streamline the process of listing directories. By taking advantage of the extensive capabilities of the Get-ChildItem command, you can enhance your productivity and efficiently manage your folder structures. The ability to retrieve folders only with precision and ease empowers you to focus on the critical tasks at hand, while keeping your script performance optimized.

Discover the convenience and power of the Get-ChildItem command in PowerShell to effortlessly list folders. With its extensive range of features, you can efficiently navigate your directory structures, retrieve specific folders, and achieve increased productivity in your scripting workflow. As you explore the various options and combine them to suit your requirements, you’ll unlock a new level of efficiency in managing and organizing your folders with PowerShell.

Nilesh Kamble is Certified in Microsoft & GCP, having 13+ Years of Experience in IT Industry. As a Senior IT Employee, having vast experience on Windows Server, Windows Client, Powershell, Cloud Technologies. Passionate about Laptop, Mobiles & Other emerging Technologies.