I once asked a similar question but in C#. Now I have the same problem in powershell..

What is the fastest way, to search files newer than 15 minutes, in a file system with more than 1 million files?

Is there any faster way than using pipe?

Get-ChildItem -Path $path -Recurse | Select Name, PSIsContainer, Directory, LastWriteTime, Length| where {($_.LastWriteTime -gt (Get-Date).AddMinutes(-15))}

I already cut off some attributes to minimize the object size. It still takes ages.


First, you don't need to call Get-Date for every file. Just call it once at the beginning:

$t = (Get-Date).AddMinutes(-15)

Get-ChildItem -Path $path -Recurse | 
    Select Name, PSIsContainer, Directory, LastWriteTime, Length | 
    where {($_.LastWriteTime -gt $t)}

That's saves about 10% (as measured by Measure-Command).

Secondly, you don't need to call Select-Object for each file either. Just change the processing order:

$t = (Get-Date).AddMinutes(-15)

Get-ChildItem -Path $path -Recurse | 
    where {($_.LastWriteTime -gt $t)} |
    Select Name, PSIsContainer, Directory, LastWriteTime, Length

Thirdly, try increasing the buffer size using the OutBuffer parameter:

$t = (Get-Date).AddMinutes(-15)

Get-ChildItem -Path $path -Recurse -OutBuffer 1000 | 
    where {($_.LastWriteTime -gt $t)} |
    Select Name, PSIsContainer, Directory, LastWriteTime, Length

I've used 1000, but you can experiment with the value.

Those three changes reduced the running time to under one half on my system.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. This saves a lot of time. I know the question is about powershell. Nevertheless I found an even faster solution -> Batch. Batch does the whole thing 10 times faster. \$\endgroup\$ – greenhoorn Jan 22 '15 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @greenhoorn, do you mean batch files (cmd.exe)? \$\endgroup\$ – Dangph Jan 22 '15 at 12:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I do mean batch files. \$\endgroup\$ – greenhoorn Jan 22 '15 at 12:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @greenhoorn Do you want to post your solution? Using Batch files, that is. \$\endgroup\$ – Anthony Horne Feb 7 '17 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnthonyHorne This post is over 2 y old. I'm not in possession of the solution anymore. I'm sure you will find it with google like I did. \$\endgroup\$ – greenhoorn Feb 8 '17 at 7:34


On this website, I found an example that I prefer to most of the solutions that are easily found with Google search.

The key is in using foreach-object instead of pipelining where-object filters and sort operations.

From the link above:

$newdate = [DateTime]::MinValue
$newfn = ""
$path = "."
get-childitem $path | ForEach-Object {
    if ($_.LastWriteTime -gt $newdate -and -not $_.PSIsContainer) {
        $newfn = $_.Name
        $newdate = $_.LastWriteTime
$output = ""
if ($newfn -ne "") { $output += "`nNewest: " + $newdate + " -- " + $newfn }
if ($output -eq "") { $output += "`nFolder is empty." }
$output + "`n"

Based on everything I have read, using dir command in a batch script is still fastest option, but I dont have the motivation to learn the subtleties of batch scripting to extract the properties I want and format them as I want. PowerShell is easier to manage and GCI is great.

Using Microsoft.VisualBasic.FileIO.FileSystem may be a good alternative if you found this question. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7196937/how-to-speed-up-powershell-get-childitem-over-unc see here for more details.


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