16 April 2014

Had a need to write a re-usable function at work to compare version numbers so that an action could be taken accordingly.  It’s pretty simple but thought I’d share it anyway.

Function verCompare($ver1, $ver2) {
   # returns whether ver1 is Less, Greater, or Equal to ver2
   $ver1Array = $ver1.Split(".")
   $ver2Array = $ver2.Split(".")

   # Decide which array has the least amount of subversions and we'll only compare the least amount
   If ($ver1Array.count -ge $ver2Array.count) { $count = $ver1Array.count }
   Else { $count = $ver2Array.count }

   # Loop through each sub version and compare them.
   # Once I hit a Greater or Less than I change the count to break
   # Out of the for loop because there is no need to compare further
   For ($i=0; $i -lt $count; $i++) {
      Switch ( $ver1Array[$i].CompareTo($ver2Array[$i]) ) {
         -1 { $compare = "Less"; $i = $count + 1 }
         0 { $compare = "Equal" }
         1 { $compare = "Greater"; $i = $count + 1 }

   return $compare



What I’m doing here is accepting two versions.  This function will tell you, in the end, if ver1 is greater than, equal to, or less than ver2.  First I split each one using the “.” and store the array.  I do this because, obviously, a number with multiple “.’s” isn’t really a number so you have to break them up and compare them separately.

Next I decide which one is the longer version number, for example 8.0.7601.3572 vs 8.1.7601.  The second one has the least amount of subversions so I would only compare the first 3 version numbers instead of 4.  Why?  Well, to be honest, if you are using this function you’re 99% of the time going to be comparing versions of the same software and the number of subversions will probably be the same.  I know this wont be true 100% of the time but lets go with it.  In the event that the first 3 subversions are equal but one has an addition .### will you really know whether it’s greater, equal, or less than the other version had it been showing a subversion?  Who knows.  It would be simple enough to take this into consideration but I didn’t need to.

Next is just a for loop using a counter that counts up to the lowest number of subversions and uses that counter as the index to the array that holds the subversions for each version.  It compares them using the built-in .CompareTo() method for [ints] and you can see in the switch what value that method returns depending on the result.  I break out of the loop unless they are equal because there is no need to compare further once you already hit a value that is greater or equal.  Using the numbers above this function would compare the first “8’s” and see they are equal, the move onto the next one which is 0 for ver1 and 1 for ver2.  The loop would see ver2 is greater and then not bother to continue comparing the 7601 to 7601 because there is no need.

Once you return that value you can easily use it to act upon, such as we did below:

Function checkRegValue() {
   # Establish a minimum and maximum value that we
   # want the range to fall in, to act upon
   $minValue = "8.0.7601.15526"
   $maxValue = "9.11"

   # Get the current version installed
   $version = (get-itemproperty -Path "Registry::HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\").Version

   # Use our compare function to see how the current
   # version compares to the min and max
   $minCompare = verCompare $version $minValue
   $maxCompare = verCompare $version $maxValue

   # To see if it is or falls between the min or max
   # values we want to know if it's NOT less than the
   # min value and NOT greater than the max value
   If ( ($minCompare -ne "Less") -and ($maxCompare -ne "Greater") ) {
      return 1
   Else {
      return 0


And there you have it…

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