Batch Files

Most Windows books treat batch files as though they are some kind of skeleton in the closet or a crazy aunt you wouldn’t want anyone to meet. Although it’s true that batch files are much less important than they were in DOS and earlier versions of Windows, they can still provide useful functionality.

A batch file is a text file containing a series of commands, each on its own line, that will be executed one line at a time. The filename of the batch file becomes a command that can be executed at the Command Prompt, executed from another batch file, or even run from a Windows shortcut.

Although any commands you can type at the command line can be used in a batch file, several additional commands can be used only in a batch file. These commands are used for loops, conditionals, and other programming functions within the batch file and are explained in detail later in this chapter.

Creating Batch Files

You can create batch files with any text editor or word processor that can save plain-text files, such as Notepad. In fact, by default, you can right-click any batch file and select Edit to open that file in Notepad.

When naming a batch file, make sure you don’t use a name that is already used by a Command Prompt internal command (such as dir, copy, or cd) or by a .com or .exe file in your search path. The reason for this is that when the Command Prompt executes programs, it first looks for the .com extension and then the .exe extension before finally executing a file with the ...

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