Mason Prewett, Business Intelligence at Key2 Consulting
By: Mason Prewett

We’ve written many blog articles about PowerShell and how incredibly useful the Microsoft framework can be, and this article is another example. PowerShell is a great tool for performing long running tasks. A common strategy used to speed up a long running process is to separate tasks into asynchronous jobs so they can be executed in parallel.

PowerShell offers a very simple way to create these jobs using the Start-Job command, which is what I will be using in this demonstration. It is unfortunately difficult to put together a visual method of monitoring job progress as jobs are processing.

This article will show you how to create a PowerShell progress bar per job. Using the provided code, your PowerShell progress bar will look like this:

PowerShell Progress Bar Key2 Consulting

PowerShell Progress Bar – The Code


Code Explanation

The code above creates two jobs that iterate through a “for loop” and sleeps after each iteration. This is used to simulate some heavy lifting being done. In each of these jobs, I am using the Write-Progress method to report the activity that is being completed, the status of the job, and the percentage complete. If the Write-Progress method is called outside of an asynchronous job, it will display a progress bar similar to my screenshot above but it will not display when called inside of an asynchronous job.

Instead, each Write-Progress call creates a record in the Job.Progress object that is retained throughout the life of the job. I have seen many people trying to achieve this solution and I believe this concept is the part that holds everyone back, as it is not documented very well. I learned a lot about this from reading Boe Prox’s article on PowerShell background jobs. I highly recommend reading it.

After creating the jobs, I used a “while loop” to check if there are any jobs that are not complete. In this loop, I am calling my custom function for displaying the progress of each job and then “sleeping” for one second before repeating the process.

The custom function WriteJobProgress accepts a job as a parameter. The first thing I do is make sure that the job has a child job. This is also explained well in Boe Prox’s article, as the parent job not actually doing the work but just being a container for child jobs that handle the processing. So this means you want to check Job.ChildJobs[0].Progress for the Write-Progress information that was done in the job. Since the Job.Progress object contains a history of the progress written, you will need to get the latest record to get the latest progress.

This is done by the following two lines of code:

The $latestProgress variable is set to the last progress record in the array by using the position of the count of all progress records minus one. I am then accessing each property of the progress record by using the Select –expand method. Finally, I am writing the progress of the latest progress record using the Write-Progress method, which will be displayed to the end user since it is not being called from inside a job. Since there will be multiple progress bars, it is necessary to set the –Id property of the Write-Progress call to uniquely identify them. In my case, I am using the id of the job.


1. Article by Boe Prox – – Quick Tip To Find Out What Your Background Jobs Are Doing –


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Key2 Consulting is a data warehousing and business intelligence company located in Atlanta, Georgia. We create and deliver custom data warehouse solutions, business intelligence solutions, and custom applications.