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MS - DOS Command

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Microsoft DOS start command

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About start

About start

Enables a user to start a separate window in Windows from the Windows command line.


The start command is an internal command that is available in the below Microsoft operating systems.

Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7


Starts a separate window to run a specified program or command.

START ["title"] [/Dpath] [/I] [/MIN] [/MAX] [/SEPARATE | /SHARED]
[/WAIT] [/B] [command/program]

"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

If Command Extensions are enabled, external command invocation
through the command line or the START command changes as follows:

non-executable files may be invoked through their file association just by typing the name of the file as a command. (e.g. WORD.DOC would launch the application associated with the .DOC file extension). See the ASSOC and FTYPE commands for how to create these
associations from within a command script.

When executing an application that is a 32-bit GUI application, CMD.EXE does not wait for the application to terminate before returning to
the command prompt. This new behavior does NOT occur if executing within a command script.

When executing a command line whose first token is the string "CMD " without an extension or path qualifier, then "CMD" is replaced with the value of the COMSPEC variable. This prevents picking up CMD.EXE from the current directory.

When executing a command line whose first token does NOT contain an extension, then CMD.EXE uses the value of the PATHEXT environment variable to determine what extensions to look for and in what order. The default value for the PATHEXT variable is:


Notice the syntax is the same as the PATH variable, with semicolons separating the different elements.

When searching for an executable, if there is no match on any extension, then looks to see if the name matches a directory name. If it does, the START command launches the Explorer on that path. If done from the command line, it is the equivalent to doing a CD /D to that path.


start notepad myfile.txt

Start a new instance of notepad with the file myfile.txt open in it.  

start /MAX notepad

Start the notepad window with the screen maximized.

start /MIN mybatch.bat

The above example would start the batch file mybatch.bat in a minimized window.

start c:\music\"my song.mp3"

If the file or folder has a space in it you must surround it with quotes. In the above example we're starting the MP3 song file "my song.mp3". Without the quotes surrounding the file name with a space you would get a windows cannot find the file error.


Open the Shine web page from the command line.

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