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Starting ISESteroids Right

We receive great feedback, and occasionally, we get reports that ISESteroids won’t start (right).

Literally all of the reported launch issues can be solved with the steps outlined below. Please use our support forum should you encounter launch issues that cannot be resolved with this guideline.

Install Location

In a nutshell: Make sure you save the ISESteroids folder on a local drive, and also make sure no binary files are blocked.

  • Unblock: When you download ISESteroids, make sure you unblock the ZIP file before you unpack it. To unblock, right-click the ZIP file, choose Properties, then click on Unblock in the dialog window.
  • Local Drive: Save the ISESteroids folder anywhere on a local drive (which can also be a USB stick). However, do not use network drives, and do not use folders that really are redirected, such as roaming profiles.

What will happen if I don’t care?

  • If you do not unblock the ZIP file prior to unpacking it, all binary files will remain blocked by Windows. So when you try and load ISESteroids, Windows will refuse to load the extension, and you get a nasty red error message.
  • If you store ISESteroids on a network location, Windows will refuse to load any binaries across the network. This again will lead to nasty red error messages, and ISESteroids won’t load.

Starting ISESteroids

In a nutshell: You can load ISESteroids from any location. It does not need to be one of the PowerShell profile folders. However, make sure you start ISESteroids before you configure the ISE editor. So load it before you do anything else.

  • Launch Command: If you place ISESteroids in one of the official PowerShell module folders found in $env:PSModulePath, then you can start ISESteroids with the cmdlet Start-Steroids. If you place ISESteroids anywhere else, you need to tell PowerShell where it is. Use Import-Module instead, and specify the path to the ISESteroids folder. When the module is imported, ISESteroids launches automatically. No need for Start-Steroids in this case.
  • Autostart: To launch ISESteroids automatically whenever ISE starts, start ISE and look at the path found in $profile. Make sure this autostart script exists (if it does not, create it, including all the folders in its path). Then, add the ISESteroids launch command (see above) to this file. Make sure you launch ISESteroids before anything else.
  • Use Fresh ISE: Always make sure you launch ISESteroids from a fresh ISE editor. Do not configure ISE in any way before loading ISESteroids. When you launch ISESteroids automatically, make sure it is the first command in your profile script. If your profile script does configure ISE settings, you may even want to add a Start-Sleep -Second 2 after loading ISESteroids, to give the extension 2 extra seconds to unfold itself.

What will happen if I don’t care?

  • When you configure ISE settings before you load ISESteroids, two things may happen:ISE may still be busy processing your request (i.e. importing snippets, or changing the UI layout) when ISESteroids is loaded. Typically, when this occurs, you will experience race conditions, and the launch may fail.Because of your adjustments, ISE may have changed its state to some unexpected state. So when ISESteroids loads and tries to integrate itself, it may not find what it expected to find. For ISESteroids to always integrate properly, ISE needs to be in a default state.

    So please make sure you load ISESteroids into a fresh ISE, and only after ISESteroids is loaded, add your customizations to the ISE.


In a nutshell: ISESteroids requires PowerShell 3.0 or better. It will run in the ISE editor only. You do not need Administrator privileges to install and run it.

  • PowerShell 3 or better: ISESteroids extends the ISE editor found in PowerShell 3, 4, and 5 Preview. It will not run outside the ISE (i.e. the regular PowerShell console), and it will not run with the old ISE version found in PowerShell 2.
  • No Permissions Needed: Since ISESteroids is a PowerShell module, no special permissions or privileges are needed to run it. When you load ISESteroids, it extends the ISE editor and runs with your current privileges. Note that ISESteroids displays a red icon when you run it with Administrator privileges. Else, the icon is blue.