Finding Azure VM Images using PowerShell

I have been trying to write a PowerShell command that would help me find the right Azure VM Image to use when creating a new Virtual Machine.

In the Portal UI you get something not very useful like the following when search for a VM Image. No unique identifying information to locate the image from script.


However, when using such a simple search in PowerShell, you get a lot more data returned and working out which one you want is a bit of a pain.

After a few iterations I thought I would share it and save others the time.

The first thing is how to filter the huge list to just the images that contain what I am after, whether that’s a service or OS. It turns out that there is not much consistency to help here, but two fields stand out for searching.

  • Label – The publicly visible name of the image
  • ImageFamily – A sometimes useful category that can be used to filter, but depend on the type of image. Often this value is either the same as the Label or some cryptic value.

Once filtered, there seemed to be a number of additional fields that may vary and influence your decision as to which VM Image you want when creating a new VM.

  • OS – This is usually repeated in the Label so have left this off the listing.
  • PublisherName – Was hoping this may match the Portal listing, but no!
  • PublishedDate – The date the image was published. I have use this to sort the list, showing the latest first.
  • Category – I was also hoping this would match the Portal listing, but no! This seems to only indicate if the image is public or …something else! I am only interested in Public ones.
  • IsPremium – This indicates if the image includes any licensing. If false, it’s more than likely a ‘Bring You Own License’ (BYOL)
  • ShowInGui – I assume when this is ‘true’ then the image is available in the portal. Again I think unless you have a very specific image in mind, this should also be ‘true’.
  • RecommnededVMSize – sows the recommended VM size to use

I was looking for a simple “Windows Server 2016 Datacenter”. Ideally the recommended or default. For this case it was possible to filter by the ImageFamily. However I noticed this was not going to be so easy for other things such as ‘SQL Server’ images as some ImageFamily were return with text like ‘Windows SQL14-PCU-MAIN-12.0.5000.0-SQLENTCORE.ENU.Nov-WS2012R2-127gb.’ , so opted for filter on the Label instead.

$searchTerm = "*Windows Server 2016*"
Get-AzureVMImage | Where-Object {$_.Label -like $searchTerm -and $_.Category -eq "Public" -and $_.ShowInGui -ne $false} | Sort-Object PublishedDate -Descending | Select-Object Label,PublisherName, PublishedDate,IsPremium,RecommendedVMSize,ImageName | Format-Table

The line above will produce a table output as shown below, but the ImageName, which is probably what you are after, may well be truncated.

$searchTerm=”*SQL Server 2014*”


$searchTerm=”*Windows Server 2016 Datacenter*”

So, once you have honed your search term down, then run this smaller table version.

Get-AzureVMImage | Where-Object {$_.Label -like $searchTerm -and $_.Category -eq "Public" -and $_.ShowInGui -ne $false} | Sort-Object PublishedDate -Descending | Select-Object Label,ImageName | Format-Table

which produces something like the listing below, from where you can copy the full ImageName.



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