Powershell – You cannot call a method on a null-valued expression


I am simply trying to create a powershell script which calculates the md5 sum of an executable (a file).

My .ps1 script:

$answer = Read-Host "File name and extension (ie; file.exe)"
$someFilePath = "C:\Users\xxx\Downloads\$answer"

If (Test-Path $someFilePath){
                        $stream = [System.IO.File]::Open("$someFilePath",[System.IO.Filemode]::Open, [System.IO.FileAccess]::Read)
                        $hash = [System.BitConverter]::ToString($md5.ComputeHash($stream))
Write-Host "Sorry, file $answer doesn't seem to exist."

Upon running my script I receive the following error:

You cannot call a method on a null-valued expression.
At C:\Users\xxx\Downloads\md5sum.ps1:6 char:29
+                             $hash = [System.BitConverter]::ToString($md5.Compute ...
+                             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (:) [], RuntimeException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : InvokeMethodOnNull

To my understanding, this error means the script is attempting to do something, but another part of the script does not have any information to permit the first part of the script to work properly. In this case, $hash.

Get-ExecutionPolicy outputs Unrestricted.

What is causing this error?
What exactly is my null valued expression?

Any help is appreciated. I apologize if this is trivial and will continue my research.



How to get an MD5 checksum in PowerShell

Best Answer

The simple answer for this one is that you have an undeclared (null) variable. In this case it is $md5. From the comment you put this needed to be declared elsewhere in your code

$md5 = new-object -TypeName System.Security.Cryptography.MD5CryptoServiceProvider

The error was because you are trying to execute a method that does not exist.

PS C:\Users\Matt> $md5 | gm

   TypeName: System.Security.Cryptography.MD5CryptoServiceProvider

Name                       MemberType Definition                                                                                                                            
----                       ---------- ----------                                                                                                                            
Clear                      Method     void Clear()                                                                                                                          
ComputeHash                Method     byte[] ComputeHash(System.IO.Stream inputStream), byte[] ComputeHash(byte[] buffer), byte[] ComputeHash(byte[] buffer, int offset, ...

The .ComputeHash() of $md5.ComputeHash() was the null valued expression. Typing in gibberish would create the same effect.

PS C:\Users\Matt> $bagel.MakeMeABagel()
You cannot call a method on a null-valued expression.
At line:1 char:1
+ $bagel.MakeMeABagel()
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (:) [], RuntimeException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : InvokeMethodOnNull

PowerShell by default allows this to happen as defined its StrictMode

When Set-StrictMode is off, uninitialized variables (Version 1) are assumed to have a value of 0 (zero) or $Null, depending on type. References to non-existent properties return $Null, and the results of function syntax that is not valid vary with the error. Unnamed variables are not permitted.

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