Knowledge Base/Windows/Batch Scripting
Starting an executable in the background (without blocking)
This will start executable.exe in a separate window without blocking your batch script. Thus if the above line is the last one in your batch script, executable.exe will be kicked off while your batch script terminates. This way you won't be left with a dangling command prompt window.
In fact, start is even more powerful than this:
START ["title"] [/Dpath] [/I] [/MIN] [/MAX] [/SEPARATE | /SHARED] [/LOW | /NORMAL | /HIGH | /REALTIME | /ABOVENORMAL | /BELOWNORMAL] [/WAIT] [/B] [command/program] [parameters] "title" Title to display in window title bar. path Starting directory B Start application without creating a new window. The application has ^C handling ignored. Unless the application enables ^C processing, ^Break is the only way to interrupt the application I The new environment will be the original environment passed to the cmd.exe and not the current environment. MIN Start window minimized MAX Start window maximized SEPARATE Start 16-bit Windows program in separate memory space SHARED Start 16-bit Windows program in shared memory space LOW Start application in the IDLE priority class NORMAL Start application in the NORMAL priority class HIGH Start application in the HIGH priority class REALTIME Start application in the REALTIME priority class ABOVENORMAL Start application in the ABOVENORMAL priority class BELOWNORMAL Start application in the BELOWNORMAL priority class WAIT Start application and wait for it to terminate command/program If it is an internal cmd command or a batch file then the command processor is run with the /K switch to cmd.exe. This means that the window will remain after the command has been run. If it is not an internal cmd command or batch file then it is a program and will run as either a windowed application or a console application. parameters These are the parameters passed to the command/program
Nesting batch files
Batch files can be "nested". To call two.bat from one.bat, use the following command:
The execution of one.bat continues as soon as two.bat is done.
Passing on the command line arguments of the batch file to another batch file or executable
Within the batch file, the individual command line arguments are available as %1, %2, %3, ..., and the entire command line (omitting the batch file path and file name) is available as %*. For example, you can use the following batch file to test this (call it test.bat):
@echo off echo First command line argument: [%1] echo Second command line argument: [%2] echo Third command line argument: [%3] echo Fourth command line argument: [%4] echo Fifth command line argument: [%4] echo Entire command line: [%*]
The square brackets are for clarity. They are not essential.
You can call it as follows:
Test.bat foo "bar baz" 123
The output will be:
First command line argument: [foo] Second command line argument: ["bar baz"] Third command line argument:  Fourth command line argument:  Fifth command line argument:  Entire command line: [foo "bar baz" 123]
Determining the batch file name
%~nx0 contains the name of the running batch file (without the path):
It may be a good idea to assign the value of %~nx0 to an environment variable with a more meaningful name which you can use later on:
set THIS_SCRIPT_FILE_BASENAME=%~nx0 echo %THIS_SCRIPT_FILE_BASENAME%
Determining the batch file directory
%~dp0 contains the name of the directory of the running batch file (without the name):
Save this as a batch file and try running it.
It may be a good idea to assign the value of %~dp0 to an environment variable with a more meaningful name which you can use later on:
set THIS_SCRIPT_DIRECTORY_PATHNAME=%~dp0 echo %THIS_SCRIPT_DIRECTORY_PATHNAME%
LEFT, RIGHT and MID equivalents for batch files
The following syntax can be used to obtain the results equivalent to those of BASIC's LEFT, RIGHT and MID:
set TEST=foobarbaz echo Three leftmost characters ("LEFT") set LEFT_TEST=%TEST:~0,3% echo %LEFT_TEST% echo Two rightmost characters ("RIGHT") set RIGHT_TEST=%TEST:~-2% echo %RIGHT_TEST% echo Five characters starting from the fourth ("MID") set MID_TEST1=%TEST:~3,5% echo %MID_TEST1% echo From the fourth character onwards ("MID") set MID_TEST2=%TEST:~3% echo %MID_TEST2% echo Discarding the first one and the last two characters ("MID") set MID_TEST3=%TEST:~1,-2% echo %MID_TEST3%
Building a timestamp
The following code displays the current timestamp:
set hour=%time:~0,2% if "%hour:~0,1%"==" " set hour=0%time:~1,1% set timestamp=%date:~6,4%-%date:~3,2%-%date:~0,2%_%hour%-%time:~3,2%-%time:~6,2% echo %timestamp%
Saving a variable value to a file
set value=foo echo %value%>myfile.txt
Loading a variable value from a file
set /p value=<myfile.txt echo %value%
echoing to STDERR
It is possible to echo to STDERR (rather than STDOUT):
echo Some error message >&2
Redirecting STDOUT and STDERR to a file
The following syntax can be used to redirect STDOUT alone to a file:
dir > output.txt
The STDOUT output of DIR will be redirected to output.txt. However, STDERR will not be redirected.
To redirect both STDOUT and STDERR, use the following syntax:
dir > output.txt 2>&1
Of course, the command doesn't have to be dir. It can be pretty much anything.
Determining the current user's home directory
Use %HOMEDRIVE% and %HOMEPATH%:
if /I "%1" equ "debug" ( set BUILD_CONFIG=Debug ) else if /I "%1" equ "release" ( set BUILD_CONFIG=Release ) else ( echo Please specify build config -- debug or release -- by running either echo. echo run.bat debug echo. echo or echo. echo run.bat release echo. exit 1 )
ECHOing blank lines
ECHOing pipe characters
echo This is a pipe character: ^|
- This page was last modified on 9 February 2010, at 11:24.
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