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Adding and Deploying Solutions with PowerShell in SharePoint 2010

Visual Studio 2010 makes it really easy to add and deploy solutions when you are developing, but you may eventually want to deploy those solution packages elsewhere right?  We can still use stsadm, but that is effectively considered deprecated now in favor of PowerShell.  In the past to add a solution, we used an stsadm command like the one below.  In today’s example, we’ll be working with a package called SharePointProject2.wsp on my server named sp2010.

stsadm –o addsolution –name SharePointProject2.wsp

To get started with PowerShell, run the SharePoint 2010 Management Console located in your Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products folder on your start menu.  This automatically loads the Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell snappin so that we can execute SharePoint commands.  To install a solution we use the Add-SPSolution command.  If you are using a Sandboxed solution you would use Add-SPUserSolution instead.  It takes just one parameter, –literalpath, which is the path to the solution file.  One thing that is different is that you must specify the full path to the file for some reason.  I haven’t been able to get it to take a path to the solution in the current folder even if I make use of .\ before the filename.  Here is an example.

Add-SPSolution c:\code\SharePointProject2\bin\debug\SharePointProject2.wsp

In this case you don’t actually have to type –literalpath before the parameter.  This is what it looks like when executed.  You can see that it displays the id of the solution along with its deployment status.


Now we need to deploy the solution.  In the past, we used an stsadm command like the following.

stsadm –o deploysolution –name SharePointProject2.wsp –url http://moss-server –allowCasPolicies –immediate

We would also follow this up with a call to stsadm with the execadmsvcjobs operation.  To do the same operation in PowerShell, we use the Install-SPSolution command (again use Install-SPUserSolution for Sandboxed solutions).  You can use the Get-Help command (i.e.: Get-Help Install-SPSolution) to get more information on a command but it’s not always obvious what it is expecting as you can see below.  That is why I am writing the post today.


The first parameter you need is the –Identity parameter.  This is the name of the solution package (i.e.: MySolution.wsp).  Depending on if you are using the GAC or Code Access Security, you will specify either –GACDeployment or –CASPolicies.  You then need to specify a specific web application using the –WebApplication parameter or –AllWebApplications to deploy it to all web applications (assuming the manifest allows it).  If you need to force the deployment, you can still use the –Force command.  Here is what an install command might look like.

Install-SPSolution –Identity SharePointProject2.wsp –WebApplication http://sp2010 -GACDeployment

I’ll point out that executing this command actually does do the deployment operation.  You don’t have to fire off something to execute a job later like you did with stsadm.

You might want to update your solution, so we’ll talk about how to do that as well.  Here is what your stsadm command might have looked like in WSS3.  Which would also be followed up with an execadmsvcjobs operation.

stsadm –o upgradesolution –name SharePointProject2.wsp –filename SharePointProject2.wsp –immediate –allowCasPolicies

The upgrade solution syntax is similar to the others.  We just have to specify an identity and a literalpath with the Update-SPSolution command.  The identity is the name of the package on the server to upgrade and the literalpath is the full path to the new solution package on the file system.  Here is what that might look like.

Update-SPSolution –Identity SharePointProject2.wsp –LiteralPath c:\code\SharePointProject2\bin\debug\SharePointProject2.wspGACDeployment

We’ve talked about everything else, so we’ll finish it up by talking about retraction and removal.  To retract a solution we use the Uninstall-SPSolution command.  By now you are probably noticing a pattern in the way things are named.  Install –> Deploys, Uninstall –> Retracts.  It also just uses the -Identity parameter and the –WebApplication parameter.  You can also use the –AllWebApplications parameter to retract it from all web applications. Many of these commands may prompt you with an “Are you sure?” type prompt.  You can skip this prompt by adding a –confirm parameter.  Here is what it looks like.

Uninstall-SPSolution –Identity SharePointProject2.wsp –WebApplication http://sp2010

Lastly, to remove the package from the solution store, we use the Remove-SPSolution command.  It just takes the name of the package.

Remove-SPSolution –Identity SharePointProject2.wsp

I hope this helps.  If you’re like me, it’s one thing to see the docs on something, but I like to see real examples.  There aren’t any examples in the Get-Help command yet.  This should cover all of the common commands that you probably used to used with stsadm in regards to solution deployment.  The nice thing is that you can script these things together very easily and create highly flexible PowerShell scripts.  Expect a few more posts soon on the basics of working with PowerShell and SharePoint 2010.

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More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.

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