By default, PowerShell in Windows seems to be outputting UTF-16 (e.g., if I do a simple echo hello > hi.txt, then hi.txt ends up in UTF-16). I know that I can force this to my desired text encoding by instead doing echo hello | out-file -encoding utf8 hi.txt, but what I'd like is for that to just be the default when I use the redirection operator. Is there any way to achieve this?

  • 1
    thanks for the tip for an alternative, doing this from the terminal can be quicker than a text editor sometimes. Jun 5 '17 at 15:24
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    In Powershell 6.0, this has been rendered unnecessary - Powershell now defaults to UTF-8 without encoding for redirection. See github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell/issues/4878
    – kumarharsh
    May 22 '18 at 11:44

Using a .NET decompiler on the System.Management.Automation assembly (a.k.a. the "Microsoft Windows PowerShell Engine Core Assembly") reveals this code fragment:

// class: System.Management.Automation.RedirectionNode
private PipelineProcessor BuildRedirectionPipeline(string path, ExecutionContext context)
    CommandProcessorBase commandProcessorBase = context.CreateCommand("out-file");
    commandProcessorBase.AddParameter("-encoding", "unicode");
    if (this.Appending)
        commandProcessorBase.AddParameter("-append", true);
    commandProcessorBase.AddParameter("-filepath", path);

So, it looks pretty hardcoded to me.

FYI, this was on Windows 7 Enterprise x64 system with PowerShell 2.0 installed.

  • 5
    Still hard-coded in PowerShell 5 on Windows 10, unfortunately: CommandParameterInternal.CreateParameterWithArgument(PositionUtilities.EmptyExtent, "Encoding", "-Encoding:", PositionUtilities.EmptyExtent, "Unicode", false, false);
    – Artfunkel
    Sep 17 '15 at 9:00

Not sure if this will do exactly what you're looking for, but you can try setting the environment variable as mentioned here

$OutputEncoding = New-Object -typename System.Text.UTF8Encoding
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    I don't think $OutputEncoding is quite what I need; that's set to ASCII in PowerShell, and affects how things are displayed. What I want to do is to change the format of text that's saved in a file, which (AFAICT) is different than what $OutputEncoding controls. Nov 16 '12 at 15:49

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