On Windows 10, a batch file is a special kind of text file that typically uses a .bat extension, which can include one or multiple commands that Command Prompt can understand and run in sequence to perform various actions.

Usually, you can just input commands manually to perform a particular task, but a batch file simplifies the work of retyping commands, saving you time.

Also, even though, there are other tools, such as PowerShell, that write more advanced scripts, using batch files with Command Prompt is an effective option when you need to run commands to change system settings, automate routines, and launch applications or websites.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to get started creating and running your first batch file on your computer.

How to create a batch file on Windows 10

The process to write a batch (script or batch script) file is easy. You only need a text editor and a little bit of knowledge to run commands on Command Prompt. In the steps below, we detail the steps for creating a simple and advanced batch file, as well as the steps to write a script to change the system settings.

Writing a simple batch file

To create a simple batch file on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Notepad, and click the top result to launch the app.
  3. Type the following lines to create a simple batch file:

    
    
    
    @ECHO OFF
    ECHO Congratulations! Your first batch file executed successfully.
    PAUSE
    

    The above script outputs the phrase “Congratulations! Your first batch file executed successfully” on the screen.

    • @ECHO OFF — This turns off the display prompt to show only the message on a clean line. Usually, this particular line goes at the beginning of the file. (You can use this command without “@,” but the symbol hides the command being executed for a cleaner output.)
    • ECHO — This prints the desired text on the screen.
    • PAUSE — This prevents the console window from closing after executing the command. You can use this command at the end of the script or after a specific command when running multiple tasks and you want to pause between them.
  4. Click the File menu.
  5. Select the Save as option.
  6. Type a name for the script, for example, first_simple_batch.bat.

    Note: While batch files typically use the .bat file extensions, you may also see scripts using the .cmd or .btm file extensions.

Once you complete these steps, you can double-click the file to run it, or you can use the steps below to learn the different ways to execute a batch file on Windows 10.

Writing an advanced batch file

To create an interactive batch file that executes multiple commands, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Notepad, and click the top result to launch the app.
  3. Type the following lines to create a complex batch file:

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    @ECHO OFF :: This batch file reveals OS, hardware, and networking configuration.
    TITLE My System Info
    ECHO Please wait... Checking system information.
    :: Section 1: OS information.
    ECHO ============================
    ECHO OS INFO
    ECHO ============================
    systeminfo | findstr /c:"OS Name"
    systeminfo | findstr /c:"OS Version"
    systeminfo | findstr /c:"System Type"
    :: Section 2: Hardware information.
    ECHO ============================
    ECHO HARDWARE INFO
    ECHO ============================
    systeminfo | findstr /c:"Total Physical Memory"
    wmic cpu get name
    :: Section 3: Networking information.
    ECHO ============================
    ECHO NETWORK INFO
    ECHO ============================
    ipconfig | findstr IPv4
    ipconfig | findstr IPv6
    PAUSE
    

    The above batch script will run a series of commands to query different system information, which are grouped into three different categories: OS INFO, HARDWARE INFO, and NETWORK INFO.

    • @ECHO OFF — This turns off the display prompt to show only the message on a clean line. Usually, this particular line goes at the beginning of the file. (You can use this command without “@,” but the symbol hides the command being executed for a cleaner output.)
    • TITLE — This displays a custom name in the title bar of the console.
    • :: — This allows you to add comments and documentation information, which are ignored when the batch file runs.
    • ECHO — This prints the text on the screen.
    • PAUSE — This prevents the console window from closing after executing the command. You can use this command at the end of the script or after a specific command when running multiple tasks and you want to pause between them.
  4. Click the File menu.
  5. Select the Save as option.
  6. Type a name for the script, for example, first_advanced_batch.bat.

After you complete these steps, you can run the script double-clicking the .bat file, or you can use the steps below to learn the different ways to execute a batch on Windows 10.

Writing an actionable batch file

You’re not limited to showing information on a Windows 10 console. You can also write non-interactive batch files to perform virtually any task. For example, to write a batch file that runs a specific command without the need for user interaction, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Notepad, and click the top result to launch the app.
  3. Copy and paste the following command:

    
    net use z: \\PATH-NETWORK-SHARE\FOLDER-NAME /user:YOUR-USERNAME YOUR-PASSWORD
    

    The above command is just an ordinary command that maps a network folder as a drive using the “z” drive letter.

  4. Click the File menu.
  5. Select the Save as option.
  6. Type a name for the script, for example, map-z-drive.bat.

Once you complete these steps, when you run the batch file, the command will map a shared network folder with the settings you specified without the need to open Command Prompt to type the commands manually. Although we only specified one command in the file, you can include as many commands as you like, as long as you write one per line.

How to run a batch file on Windows 10

On Windows 10, there are a least three ways to run a batch file. You can run a batch on-demand (using File Explorer or Command Prompt). You can create a scheduled task using the Task Scheduler. Or you can place the script in the Startup folder to run it every time you sign into your computer.

Running batch file on-demand

When you need to run a batch file on-demand, you can use File Explorer or Command Prompt.

File Explorer

To run a batch file using File Explorer, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the folder with the script.
  3. Double-click the batch file to run it.

    If you’re executing a command that requires administrator privileges, you’ll need to run the script as an admin by right-clicking the batch file and selecting the Run as administrator option.

After completing the steps, the batch will run each command in sequence displaying the results on the screen.

Command Prompt

To run a batch file from Command Prompt, use these steps.

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the path and the name of the batch file and press Enter:

    C:\PATH\TO\FOLDER\BATCH-NAME.bat

Once you run the command, the output will display on the screen regardless of the script containing the “PAUSE” command or not.

Running batch file on scheduled

To schedule a batch file on Windows 10, you’ll need to use the Task Scheduler with these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Task Scheduler, and click the top result to open the experience.
  3. Right-click the “Task Scheduler Library” branch, and select the New Folder option.
  4. Type a name for the folder, for example, MyScripts.
  5. Click the OK button.
  6. Expand the “Task Scheduler Library” branch.
  7. Right-click the MyScripts folder.
  8. Select the Create Basic Task option.

  9. In the “Name” field, type a short descriptive name for the task, for example, SystemInfoBatch.

  10. In the “Description” field, create a description for the task. (This step is optional.)
  11. Click the Next button.
  12. Select the Monthly option.

    Task Scheduler allows you to select from a number of triggers, including on a specific date, during startup, or when you or a particular user signs in. Depending on your requirements, you’ll need to configure additional parameters. In this case, we’re selecting the option to run a task every month.

  13. Click the Next button.
  14. Using the “Start” settings, specify when the task should start running and the time.
  15. Use the “Monthly” drop-down menu to pick the months of the year that you want to run the task.

  16. Use the “Days” or “On” drop-down menu to specify the days that the task will run.

  17. Click the Next button.
  18. Select the Start a program option to run the batch file.

  19. In the “Program/script” field, specify the path for the batch file.

  20. Click the Finish button.

Once you complete these steps, the task will be saved, and it’ll run the batch file on the schedule you specified.

These instructions cover the steps to create a basic task. If you want to create a more customizable task, use this guide.

Running batch files on startup

Alternatively, if you want to run a batch file every time that you sign into your account, use these easy steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command
  2. Type the following command, and click the OK button:

    shell:startup

  3. Copy and paste the batch file (or shortcut) in the Startup folder.

    Tip: To create a shortcut, right-click, hold, and drag the file into the folder, then release the right-click, and select the Create shortcuts here option from the context menu.

  4. Sign out of your account.
  5. Sign back into your account.

After completing the steps, every time you sign in to your account, the batch file will automatically execute in sequence the commands you wrote.

This guide is focused on Windows 10, but the ability to use batch files has been around for many years, which means that you can refer to these instructions if you’re still running Windows 8.1, Windows 7, or an older version.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

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