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I know I can download and install the aformentioned library (wget for Windows), but my question is this:

In Windows PowerShell, is there a native alternative to wget?

I need wget simply to retrieve a file from a given URL with HTTP GET. For instance:

wget http://www.google.com/
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6 Answers 6

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Here's a simple PS 3.0 and later one-liner that works and doesn't involve much PS barf:

(wget http://blog.stackexchange.com/).Content >out.html

Note that:

  • wget is an alias for Invoke-WebRequest
  • Invoke-WebRequest returns a HtmlWebResponseObject which contains a lot of useful HTML parsing properties such as Links, Images, Forms, InputFields, etc., in this case we're just using the raw Content.
  • Content is just a string so we can use standard output redirection syntax instead of using -OutFile

If you are using Windows 7, you will need to install a newer version of the Windows Management Framework. Version 4 (which comes with Windows 8.1 / 2012 R2) is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40855

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This is now the correct answer, and I ran into wget accidentally testing if I had the actual wget installed. Annoying that it can't get the filename easily (you have to specify it in the output redirection), but this option has a better UI than the real wget (in my opinion) so there's that. –  Matthew Scharley Jan 14 at 0:52
This is brilliant. Thank you! –  jsalonen May 25 at 17:32
But Windows 7 only comes with PowerShell 2.0, and the result will be "The term 'Invoke-WebRequest' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, ...". –  Peter Mortensen Jun 6 at 17:51
Powershell 4 is available for Windows 7 -- it's part of the Windows Management Framework. microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40855 –  Warren Jun 6 at 18:26
Fair warning: This method will put the entire content of the file into memory before writing it out to the file. This is not a good solution for downloading large files. –  im_nullable Jul 13 at 6:35

It's a bit messy but there is this blog post which gives you instructions for downloading files.

Alternatively (and this is one I'd recommend) you can use BITS:

Import-Module BitsTransfer
Start-BitsTransfer -source "http://urlToDownload"

It will show progress and will download the file to the current directory.

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BITS relies on support at the server end, if available this works in the background and you can get progress updates with other cmdlets. –  Richard Nov 28 '11 at 10:42
I tried to fetch google.com, but all I get is Start-BitsTransfer : Access is denied. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070005 (E_ACCESSDENIED)). I'm puzzled :| –  jsalonen Nov 28 '11 at 10:45
@jsalonen I think that BITS will only download files rather than pages. As Richard says it relies on some server side support (although I don't think it's Microsoft specific). –  Matthew Steeples Nov 28 '11 at 11:09
I see and I think I get the point in using BITS, however, its not what I'm looking for in here. –  jsalonen Nov 28 '11 at 11:23

If you just need to retrieve a file, you can use the DownloadFile method of the WebClient object:

$client = new-object System.Net.WebClient
$client.DownloadFile( $url, $path )

Where $url is a string representing the file's URL, and $path representing the local path the file will be saved to.

Note that $path must include the file name; it can't just be a directory.

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So far this has been the best solution proposed. Also given that it seems I can rewrite it in one line format as (new-object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile( '$url, $path) it is the best correspondence for wget I have seen so far. Thanks! –  jsalonen Nov 28 '11 at 10:49
As a side-note you can also do this asynchronously using something like (new-object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFileAsync(url,filePath) –  James Apr 23 '13 at 8:49
Can we fetch a particular text via Webclient and outout to a notepad ? thanks –  Mowgli Jun 18 '13 at 16:11
Yes, this works out of the box on Windows 7 (that comes with PowerShell 2.0). Sample: $client.DownloadFile( "http://blog.stackexchange.com/", "c:/temp2/_Download.html") –  Peter Mortensen Jun 6 at 17:57

There is Invoke-WebRequest in the upcoming Powershell V3

Invoke-WebRequest http://www.google.com/ -OutFile c:\google.html


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all the elegance of dd... –  gWaldo Aug 31 '12 at 15:29
@gWaldo you are kidding–this is a joy to use (speaking as someone just learning PS) –  Jack Douglas Oct 16 '12 at 20:41
I just mean that the -Outfile parameter seems extraneous when you could just use > (to overwrite) or >> (to append) to a file. –  gWaldo Oct 17 '12 at 13:12
@gWaldo or even deduce the filename from the URL just like wget does :) –  Peltier Jul 17 '13 at 10:29
And as of PS 4.0, wget and curl are aliasted to Invoke-WebRequest (iwr) by default :D –  Bob Mar 25 at 16:12

Powershell V4 One-liner:

(iwr http://blog.stackexchange.com/).Content >index.html or
(iwr http://demo.mediacore.tv/files/31266.mp4).Content >video.mp4

This is basically Warren's (awesome) V3 one-liner (thanks for this!) - with just a tiny change in order to make it work in a V4 Powershell.

Warren's one-liner - which simply uses wget rather than iwr - should still work for V3 (At least, I guess; didn't tested it, though). Anyway. But when trying to execute it in a V4 Powershell (as I tried), you'll see PS failing to resolve wget as a valid Cmdlet/program.

For those interested, that is - as I picked up from Bob's comment in reply to the accepted answer (thanks, man!) - because as of PS V4, wget and curl are aliased to Invoke-WebRequest, set to iwr by default. Thus, wget can not be resolved (as well as curl can not work here).


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Here is a PowerShell-function that resolves short URLs before downloading the file

function get-FileFromUri {
[parameter(Mandatory=$true, Position=0, ValueFromPipeline=$true, ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName=$true)]
[parameter(Mandatory=$false, Position=1)]
process {
try {
# resolve short URLs
$req = [System.Net.HttpWebRequest]::Create($Url)
$req.Method = "HEAD"
$response = $req.GetResponse()
$fUri = $response.ResponseUri
$filename = [System.IO.Path]::GetFileName($fUri.LocalPath);
# download file
$destination = (Get-Item -Path ".\" -Verbose).FullName
if($FolderPath) { $destination = $FolderPath }
if ($destination.EndsWith('\')) {
$destination += $filename
} else {
$destination += '\' + $filename
$webclient = New-Object System.Net.webclient
$webclient.downloadfile($fUri.AbsoluteUri, $destination)
write-host -ForegroundColor DarkGreen "downloaded '$($fUri.AbsoluteUri)' to '$($destination)'"
} catch {
write-host -ForegroundColor DarkRed $_.Exception.Message

use it like this:

get-FileFromUri http://example.com/url/of/example/file

to download the file to the current folder

get-FileFromUri http://example.com/url/of/example/file C:\example-folder

to download the file to the specified folder

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