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Chapter 4.  Configuring the Windows 2000... > Execute a program using command-line...

4.20. Execute a program using command-line switches

Command-line switches modify the function of a command. For example, the switch /ogn when added to a dir command sorts the directory listing with directories first followed by files, all in alphanumeric order. You can open a console prompt and type dir /ogn to see how it works. Another example is Symantec's pcAnywhere, which supports several switches that control the way pcAnywhere starts. The /r switch, for example, hides the startup splash screen. Microsoft Word supports several switches including /m, which prevents any autoexec macros from executing. Many other applications, including most Windows 2000 console commands, also support command-line switches. You can incorporate these switches in a few different ways depending on what you're trying to accomplish.

With most console commands you can execute the command followed by the /? switch to view a list of available switches and other command parameters, as well as the command syntax. For some Windows applications, executing the program with the /? switch opens the program's Help file focused on the page that references the program's startup switches.

4.20.1. Modify the shortcut's properties

Most likely you have a shortcut on the desktop, in a folder, or in the Start menu that points to an application with which you'd like to use command-line switches to modify the program's startup. You can add command switches simply by modifying the shortcut's target:

  1. Right-click the shortcut and choose Properties.

  2. Click in the Target text box and move the cursor to the end of the command line. The command is enclosed in quotes.

  3. Outside of the last quote, add the desired switches.

  4. Click OK to close the shortcut's property sheet, and then test the application.

If you try to add the switches inside the quotes, Windows 2000 interprets the switches as part of the path and generates an error. The switches must be added outside the quotes.

4.20.2. Start the program from a .cmd file

If for some reason you don't want to modify a shortcut or can't apply the switches through a shortcut, you can instead use a .cmd file to execute the application with the desired switches. Here's how:

  1. Open Notepad.

  2. Type the path and command you want to execute, such as:

    C:\Program Files\Office2000\Winword.exe /m

  3. Save the file and give it the file extension .bat or .cmd.

  4. Create a shortcut on the desktop, in a folder, or on the Start menu to the file you just created. Double-clicking the shortcut will execute the file, which executes the application contained in the file.

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