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In this little article, I describe how to use the cmdlet Test-Path to check whether a folder exists. Type "Get-Help Test-Path" for built-in information. I also briefly demonstrate how to use the .NET class method Exists() from the class System.IO.Directory. The Test-Path cmdlet returns a boolean for whether or not the folder exists. True if it exists and False if it does not exist.

How To Check If A Folder Exists With PowerShell

You can use something like this for verification on the command line:
PS C:\> Test-Path C:\Windows

Remember that you need single or double quotes around the path if it contains a space. Single quotes are recommended, since they don't expand/substitute/interpolate variables.

To explicitly make sure it's a directory and not a file, use the -PathType parameter which accepts the following values:

PS C:\> Test-Path C:\Windows -PathType Any
PS C:\> Test-Path C:\Windows -PathType Container
PS C:\> Test-Path C:\Windows -PathType Leaf

Screenshot Example

Example of how to check if a folder exists in PowerShell

Script Usage

In a script, you would typically use it in an if statement. To negate and check if the folder or file does not exist, use either "!" or "-not", and remember to enclose the Test-Path statement in parentheses.

Also remember that if the path or folder name contains a space, you need to surround the entire path in quotes. Single quotes or double quotes will work the same if there are no "expandable" parts in the path or folder name, but the slightly safer choice is single quotes. This is what PowerShell defaults to when you auto-complete names with tab at the prompt.

PS C:\> if (Test-Path -Path 'C:\Windows' -PathType Container) {
    "It's a container/folder/directory"

It's a container/folder/directory

PS C:\> if ( -not (Test-Path -LiteralPath 'C:\Windows' -PathType Leaf) ) { "It's not a leaf/file" }

It's not a leaf/file

You should also be made aware of the parameter -LiteralPath to Test-Path, that you can see in the second example above. This also works if your file contains characters like brackets that causes the -Path parameter to expand the path since it supports wildcard syntax by default. Use -LiteralPath if you don't need expansion from -Path, as it's the safer choice for oddly named files.

Create A Directory If It Does Not Exist

To create a directory if it does not exist, this is a very robust example of how you might want to handle it. Adapt to suit your needs.

This code was put in the file "NewDirDemo.ps1" that you see me using below.
    [Parameter(Mandatory = $True)]
    [String] $DirectoryToCreate)

if (-not (Test-Path -LiteralPath $DirectoryToCreate)) {
    try {
        New-Item -Path $DirectoryToCreate -ItemType Directory -ErrorAction Stop | Out-Null #-Force
    catch {
        Write-Error -Message "Unable to create directory '$DirectoryToCreate'. Error was: $_" -ErrorAction Stop
    "Successfully created directory '$DirectoryToCreate'."

else {
    "Directory already existed"

Demonstration of use in the following screenshot.

Example of sample script usage to check if a directory exists

Enumerating Possible PathType Values

A small "trick" to see the possible enumeration values for -PathType is to use one that doesn't exist, like this:
PS C:\> Test-Path C:\Windows -PathType foo
Test-Path : Cannot bind parameter 'PathType'. Cannot convert value "foo" to type
"Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.TestPathType" due to invalid enumeration values.
Specify one of the following enumeration values and try again.
The possible enumeration values are "Any, Container, Leaf".
At line:1 char:31
+ Test-Path C:\Windows -PathType <<<<  foo
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidArgument: (:) [Test-Path], ParameterBindingException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : CannotConvertArgumentNoMessage,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.TestPathCommand

Using The .NET System.IO.Directory Class Method "Exists"

You can also use the Exists() method from the .NET System.IO.Directory class, which requires a full path:
PS E:\temp> [System.IO.Directory]::Exists('E:\temp\')
PS E:\temp> [System.IO.Directory]::Exists('E:\temp')

If you want to check if the directory the script/program is currently in contains a subdirectory, you can use the trick I demonstrate below - where I check if there's a subdirectory called "Windows".

In PowerShell, the namespace "System" doesn't have to be typed in explicitly, so you can omit it.
PS C:\> [IO.Directory]::Exists( (Join-Path (Get-Location) 'Windows') )

PS C:\> cd E:\temp

PS E:\temp> [IO.Directory]::Exists( (Join-Path (Get-Location) 'Windows') ) False
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