Simple requirement: delete files on remote path older than 20 days.

PS C:\Users\Administrator> Get-ChildItem `
    -Path \\FileServer\SQLBackups\SQLServer\ `
    -File -Recurse -Force | 
  Where-Object {
    ($_.LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-20))
} | Remove-Item

The above command succeeds (vanity backticks & linebreaks added for readability).

The relevant SQL 2016 Job (backticks and linebreaks not added, but the command text is the same)

@command=N'Get-ChildItem -Path \\FileServer\SQLBackups\SQLServer\ -File -Recurse -Force | Where-Object {($_.LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-20))}|Remove-Item', 

The error information returned by PowerShell is:

'A parameter cannot be found that matches parameter name 'File'.

No permissions issues (refer proxy_name); SQL Powershell version:

Major  Minor  Build  Revision

-----  -----  -----  --------
4      0      -1     -1      


Microsoft SQL Server 2016 (SP1) (KB3182545) - 13.0.4001.0 (X64) Oct 28 2016 18:17:30 Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation Standard Edition (64-bit) on Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard 6.3 (Build 9600: ) (Hypervisor)

Below is the actual parameter list of the Get-ChildItem function. Why can't SQL use the -File parameter?

   [[-Path] <String[]>] 
   [[-Filter] <String>] 
   [-Attributes {ReadOnly | Hidden | System | Directory | Archive | Device | Normal | Temporary | SparseFile | ReparsePoint | Compressed | Offline | NotContentIndexed | Encrypted | IntegrityStream | NoScrubData}] 
   [-Depth <UInt32>] 
   [-Exclude <String[]>] 
   [-Include <String[]>] 
  • What are the [#MediaServerIP#]/[#SQLInstanceName#] tokens/how are they getting replaced with the actual path the command is executing? I'm wondering if the command is getting interrupted with a space or special character (which would mean Get-ChildItem executes before ever reading the -File flag) Sep 19, 2019 at 10:51
  • Hi Peter - UNC values hardcoded in the call on the job removed for simplicity and security. Could be FileServer, SQLServer respectively ;)
    – Alocyte
    Sep 19, 2019 at 10:53
  • 1
    Are you able to minimally reproduce the behavior without those specific values? E.g. create c:\temp\foo.txt locally on your sql server and then modify the job to try and delete foo.txt? Sep 19, 2019 at 10:56
  • trying DEL \\FileServer\SQLBackups\SQLServer\File.bak. Correct the script and reschedule the job. The error information returned by PowerShell is: 'Invalid Path: '\\FileServer\SQLBackups\SQLServer\File.bak' SAME command did succeed in Powershell...
    – Alocyte
    Sep 19, 2019 at 11:06
  • Well that sounds like a permissions issue ;p Sep 19, 2019 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


cd C:

Get-ChildItem -Path \\FileServer\SQLBackups\SQLServer\ -File -Recurse -Force | Where-Object {($_.LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-20))}|Remove-Item

https://www.sqlservercentral.com/forums/topic/powershell-for-network-path http://www.midnightdba.com/Jen/2013/05/quick-tip-navigating-to-a-unc-within-sqlps/

Adding the cd C: line to my Powershell task in SQL Job allowed UNC references to resolve remote server file directory.

To quote a wise man: "SQL Server Agent integrates with powershell in very unintuitive ways sometimes"

Thanks for your help, Peter.


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