PowerShell is slow (much slower than Python) in large Search/Replace operation?


I have 265 CSV files with over 4 million total records (lines), and need to do a search and replace in all the CSV files. I have a snippet of my PowerShell code below that does this, but it takes 17 minutes to perform the action:

ForEach ($file in Get-ChildItem C:\temp\csv\*.csv) 
    $content = Get-Content -path $file
    $content | foreach {$_ -replace $SearchStr, $ReplaceStr} | Set-Content $file

Now I have the following Python code that does the same thing but takes less than 1 minute to perform:

import os, fnmatch

def findReplace(directory, find, replace, filePattern):
    for path, dirs, files in os.walk(os.path.abspath(directory)):
        for filename in fnmatch.filter(files, filePattern):
            filepath = os.path.join(path, filename)
            with open(filepath) as f:
                s = f.read()
            s = s.replace(find, replace)
            with open(filepath, "w") as f:

findReplace("c:/temp/csv", "Search String", "Replace String", "*.csv")

Why is the Python method so much more efficient? Is my PowerShell code in-efficient, or is Python just a more powerful programming language when it comes to text manipulation?

3/15/2012 5:38:26 PM

Give this PowerShell script a try. It should perform much better. Much less use of RAM too as the file is read in a buffered stream.

$reader = [IO.File]::OpenText("C:\input.csv")
$writer = New-Object System.IO.StreamWriter("C:\output.csv")

while ($reader.Peek() -ge 0) {
    $line = $reader.ReadLine()
    $line2 = $line -replace $SearchStr, $ReplaceStr


This processes one file, but you can test performance with it and if its more acceptable add it to a loop.

Alternatively you can use Get-Content to read a number of lines into memory, perform the replacement and then write the updated chunk utilizing the PowerShell pipeline.

Get-Content "C:\input.csv" -ReadCount 512 | % {
    $_ -replace $SearchStr, $ReplaceStr
} | Set-Content "C:\output.csv"

To squeeze a little more performance you can also compile the regex (-replace uses regular expressions) like this:

$re = New-Object Regex $SearchStr, 'Compiled'
$re.Replace( $_ , $ReplaceStr )
3/16/2012 12:59:58 AM

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