Understanding and Using PowerShell AWS Profiles


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Learn how you can use PowerShell AWS profiles to manage your environment resources in a secure and reliable way. The tool takes advantage of the power of cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

The “aws powershell examples” is a command-line tool that allows users to create and manage AWS profiles. The “powershell aws profile” is how the user interacts with the profiles.

Understanding and Using PowerShell AWS Profiles

In this article, you’ll learn how to use PowerShell to interact with AWS profiles. You’ll learn how to use the default profile, build your own, and more while learning how to create and manage profiles.

When using PowerShell to communicate with AWS services, you can’t merely download the requisite AWSPowerShell PowerShell module and start interacting with services in your AWS account right away. To let AWS know who you are, you must first authenticate. You may use either your AWS account’s root user or an IAM user to log in to AWS.

What are the Benefits of Using AWS Profiles in PowerShell?

You’ll need an access key and a secret key to authenticate programmatically (rather than navigating to the AWS administration interface). These two keys enable you to log in as a certain user. This access key and secret key must be encrypted and stored someplace on your machine in PowerShell so that the different AWS commands can use them to authenticate.

Credentials such as an access key and a secret key may be maintained on a command-by-command, session-by-session, or all-session basis. With AWS PowerShell commands, you can be quite specific with credentials. All of these references to commands or sessions may be preserved in profiles that are saved locally on your computer. These profiles include your access and secret keys, which are used by AWS commands.

Making Use of a Default Profile

You may establish one or more PowerShell AWS profiles, but having a single default profile is the easiest option. If you just have one access key and will always use it, you may utilize a single default profile.

There are two methods to set up default profiles:

  • Using default as a profile
  • Choosing a different profile as the default

Assume you only have one access key for AWS authentication. Using this single access key, you may establish a default profile. The Initialize-AWSDefaultConfiguration command, for example, may be used to establish a default profile. When this command is executed, it establishes a default profile that is used by all AWS commands in all sessions.

PS51> $accessKey = ‘XXXXXXX’ PS51> $secretKey = ‘XXXXXXX’ PS51> Initialize-AWSDefaultConfiguration -AccessKey $accessKey -SecretKey $secretKey

This script generates a default profile, which you may find with the Get-AWSCredential command, which enumerates all profiles on your machine.

PS51> Get-AWSCredential -ListProfileDetail ProfileName StoreTypeName ProfileLocation ———– ————- ————— default NetSDKCredentialsFile

You may now execute any AWS command you want, and they will operate without problem if the access key and secret key are appropriately set.

However, it’s possible that I’ve already made a profile or that I’d want to give it a more descriptive name than default. You may then set an existing profile as the default in such instance.

Making Personal Profiles

If you require numerous profiles, you may use the Set-AWSCredential command to generate as many as you need. This command is similar to the Initialize-AWSDefaultConfiguration command in that it enables you to input your access key and secret key. However, rather than generating a default profile, it will create one with the name you provide.

Perhaps I have two AWS accounts, one for business and one for personal use, and I’d want to establish two unique profiles. As you can see here, I am capable of doing so.

PS51> Set-AWSCredential -AccessKey $accessKey -SecretKey $secretKey -StoreAs ‘Work’

After I’ve generated the profile, I can use the Get-AWSCredential command to verify that it exists.

PS51> Get-AWSCredential -ListProfileDetail ProfileName StoreTypeName ProfileLocation ———– ————- ————— default NetSDKCredentialsFile Work NetSDKCredentialsFile

Now that I have two profiles, I’m thinking about making my Work profile the default in preparation for eliminating the existing default. Instead of generating a default profile, you should create a custom profile. I may also make the newly formed Work profile the default.

To do this, I’ll use the Initialize-AWSDefaultConfiguration command once again, but instead of supplying an access key and secret key, I’ll use the ProfileName option.

PS51> Initialize-AWSDefaultConfiguration -ProfileName Work

Work will now be our default profile name.

Making Use of Profiles

We’ve now built two profiles: default and Work, with Work serving as the true default. Which AWS commands will you use? It is debatable. Unless another profile overrides it, your default profile (not to be confused with the default profile) will always be utilized.

For example, you might use Retrieve-EC2Instance to get a list of all of your EC2 instances on your PowerShell console. To do this, just execute the command as-is, and my EC2 instances will appear as predicted.

Because you didn’t provide a profile when you ran this command, it utilized the default profile, which is Work because you set the default profile to Work.

If you want to change the default, use the ProfileName option (Get-EC2Instance -ProfileName Work), which will accomplish the same thing but with the access key and secret key you specified previously in that profile. This ProfileName option appears in all AWS cmdlets.

Profiles Can Be Removed

Remove the default profile from the list. You don’t need this profile any more since you’ve already changed the default profile to Work.

The Remove-AWSCredentialProfile command may be used to delete profiles. You can see where I’m eliminating the default profile in the screenshot below.

PS> Remove-AWSCredentialProfile -ProfileName default Confirm Are you sure you want to perform this action? Performing the operation “Remove-AWSCredentialProfile” on target “default”. [Y] Yes [A] Yes to All [N] No [L] No to All [S] Suspend [?] Help (default is “Y”): a

Profiles for Each Session

Up until now, you’ve been creating all-session profiles. This means that the profiles will remain even across PowerShell sessions. Although convenient that you don’t have to set these every time, perhaps you only temporarily need to use a profile. In that case, you can use Profiles for Each Session.

“Per-session” credentials are not stored across your PowerShell sessions. Instead, they are temporary and removed when the session closes. Creating Profiles for Each Session is nearly identical to creating all-session profiles. You’ll still use the same Set-AWSCredential command but this time don’t use the StoreAs parameter. You’d simply run Set-AWSCredential -AccessKey $accessKey -SecretKey $secretKey and the temporary profile would be created.

When you establish a per-session profile, it overrides the default profile kept on disk.


When authenticating to AWS, AWS always recommends Making Use of Profiles. They are a secure and more manageable way to pass credentials to AWS services. Using just a few PowerShell commands, you can create and manage as many different access key/secret key combinations as you’d like giving you ultimate flexibility in how you’d like to authenticate.

The “aws powershell assume role” is a command that allows users to create a new AWS profile. The profile will be automatically configured for the user and can be used to manage multiple AWS accounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create an AWS profile in PowerShell?

A: The only way to create an AWS profile is by going through a process of logging in with your Amazon account.

What is PowerShell for AWS?

A: PowerShell is a command and scripting language for the Microsoft Windows operating system, which can automate tasks on the computer. It was developed by Microsoft as part of their .NET initiative to provide an alternative to using MS-DOS prompts.

How do I access AWS from PowerShell?

A: This is a common question from IT professionals and aspiring AWS administrators. Here are some steps that can be taken to accomplish this goal using PowerShell.

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