Date posted: 25 May 2021, 2 minutes to read

Pester tests: moving from v4 to v5

This one took me way to many trials and searches to figure out, so I wanted to store it here in case I need it later on. Maybe someone else will find this useful as well 😄.

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The premise

We have a pipeline for GDBC from June 2019 that uses Pester tests written in PowerShell to verify the outcome of our pipeline: we create (a lot of) resources in Azure and Azure DevOps and want to check if they actually exists.

We run the tests inside a PowerShell task in Azure DevOps and install the Pester module with this:

Install-Module -Name Pester -Force -SkipPublisherCheck
Import-Module Pester

This of course installs the latest version. After moving things to a different environment, I skipped the tests for a while (booh!) and yesterday decided to add them back. And lo and behold: things where not working anymore.

The tricky part was getting things to work with a Pester file that holds parameters that we need to pass into it.

Pester file has parameters

param (
    [string] $region,
    [string] $pathToJson,
    [string] $runDirectory

Parameters we need:

To set things up, we need to set the parameters with some values to use:


Pester 4.0

With the previous version of Pester we called Pester and added a Data object to pass in the variable values.

 -Script 'GDBC-AzureDevopsProvisioning.Tests.ps1'
 -Data = @{
     region = '$region';
     pathToJson = '$dataFilePath/$datafilename';
     runDirectory = 'AzureDevOps-provisioning' }
 -OutputFile Test-Pester.XML
 -OutputFormat NUnitXML

Error running the v4 setup against v5

This gave the following warning / error with version 5:

WARNING: You are using Legacy parameter set that adapts Pester 5 syntax to Pester 4 syntax. This parameter set is deprecated, and does not work 100%. The -Strict and -PesterOption parameters are ignored, and providing advanced configuration to -Path (-Script), and -CodeCoverage via a hash table does not work. Please refer to for more information.

System.Management.Automation.RuntimeException: No test files were found and no scriptblocks were provided.

 at Invoke-Pester<End>, C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\5.2.1\Pester.psm1: line 5082
 at <ScriptBlock>, D:\a\_temp\272537fd-8fdd-42fc-b176-803d9ca859d6.ps1: line 7
 at <ScriptBlock>, <No file>: line 1

Pester 5.*

This is the part that took me way to long to figure out. You can run Pester with a container by calling Invoke-Pester -Container $container and add the parameters to pass along to the test. That is step 1.

If you also want to add settings, you need to wrap the container in a configuration!

So the steps are:

  1. Create a container
  2. Add the parameters and the testfile(s) to the container
  3. Create a configuration
  4. Add your settings on the configuration
  5. Set the container as the run in the configuration
  6. Run Pester with the configuration


# create a new container that will be executed
$container = New-PesterContainer
 -Path './gdbc2019-provisioning/AzureDevOps-provisioning/GDBC-AzureDevopsProvisioning.Tests.ps1'
 # include the parameters to pass into the Pester file
 -Data @{
     region = '$region';
     pathToJson =
     runDirectory = './gdbc2019-provisioning/AzureDevOps-provisioning'

# create a new configuration with our settings
$config = New-PesterConfiguration
$config.TestResult.OutputFormat = "NUnitXML"
$config.TestResult.OutputPath = "Test-Pester.XML"
$config.TestResult.Enabled = $True

# configure the run with the new container from step 1
$config.Run.Container = $container

# actually call Pester
Invoke-Pester -Configuration $config

More information can be found here: