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Powershell - Select-Object -Unique vs Group-Object

Posted on 2013-12-14
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Last Modified: 2014-01-06
Hi,

I have the following problem with powershell.

I have a list of strings call it $machine_list which
I know there are duplicates.

The following  code produces the following output:

$machine_list.count -- 15375

$a = $machine_list | Select-Object -Unique
$a.Count -- 12134

$b = $machine_list | Group-Object -NoElement
$b.Count -- 12082

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I am trying to get a unique list and looking at different
ways of doing it.

So in my example above why are the counts different?
Should they not be the same - $a.Count -eq $b.Count?

I am hoping somebody can explain this in more detail to me.

Also is there a way I can compare the results to see how they
differ? (Comparing $a with the Name Values of $b).

Thanks,

Ward.
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Question by:whorsfall
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3 Comments
 
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Rainer Jeschor
ID: 39718737
Hi Ward,
could you provide the machine list? How did you create this list of strings?

As far as I can remember, the unique command needs to have the list sorted.
What does this return:
$a = $machine_list | Sort-Object | Select-Object -Unique

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HTH
Rainer
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LVL 44

Accepted Solution

by:
Rainer Jeschor earned 1000 total points
ID: 39718747
Hi,

OK - I did a quick test:
Select-Object is case-sensitive
Sort-Object is NOT case-sensitive

Sample:
$machineList = @("abc","aBc","DEF","ABC","def","DEF")

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1. Sort-Object
$result = $machineList | Sort-Object -Unique

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returns just ABC and DEF

2. Select-Object
$result = $machineList | Select-Object -Unique

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returns all unique values - even if the difference is just upper/lowercase

3. Group-Object
$result = $machineList | Group-Object -NoElement

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returns abc and DEF.

HTH
Rainer
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LVL 41

Assisted Solution

by:footech
footech earned 1000 total points
ID: 39719008
RainerJ provided a very good comparison of the different commands.

A couple things I wanted to expand on though...
- There's also the Get-Unique cmdlet, which is the only one that needs the input to be sorted before it is sent to it.
- Sort-Object and Group-Object also include  a -CaseSensitive switch parameter which can affect the results.

You can try using Compare-Object, but the objects need to have the same properties (or be of the same type).  So to make $b like $a, use
$b = $machine_list | Group-Object -NoElement | Select -ExpandProperty name

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Then
compare $a $b

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This might give you some insight.  However, I'm hesitant to suggest it in this situation since when there are duplicates within the objects (as opposed to between them), it doesn't do a good job (i.e. doesn't output as I would expect).
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