As an example , to load up Microsoft's simple editing program , you had to type the name of the drive that the program was on , the directory that the program was in , and then the name of the program . So if Microsoft Edit was in a directory or folder named "Process ," you could start the program by typing , "C :>process|edit .com" Then , and only then would the program load up for use .
This is a small command , but just imagine if you had a program that was deeply nested within a series of folder . You could end up typing a command as wide as your computer screen or worse , long enough that the entire command would have to wrap onto the next line ! Now imagine having to type these long commands every time that you wanted to start a program . Yikes !
That's one of the reasons why batch files became so popular . Batch files are small text-based documents that contain a bunch of these commands on their own lines . When executed , they would process each command without the user having to type each and every one of them .
When Windows was developed , the need for typing commands was essentially eradicated thanks to
the introduction of the point-and-click ( mouse ) interface . But this didn't stop the batch file fever that started under MS-DOS - and in some small circles , batch files are still as popular as they were in the beginning .
Even though you may use Windows XP or Vista , batch files can save you tons of time by automatically starting multiple programs and performing different tasks at the single click of a button . They don't require any extensive programming background and they don't need to be encrypted with some weird , expensive compiler . Batch files are plain text files , and you can build one for your own personal use with Windows' Notepad .
You could make a batch file that loads up your favorite websites at once for example , or you could make a batch file that fills your desktop with the most important applications for the day . To do so only requires a little knowledge about the locations of these applications .
Let's say that every day we need to load up the Yahoo web browser , Microsoft Word , and then the calculator that comes with Windows . Instead of doing this by hand , we could write a batch file to do it for us .
First , we'd load up Notepad and type in the following :
START "http ://www .yahoo .com"
START "c :/program files/microsoft office/office/winword .exe"
START "c :/windows/calc .exe"
We would then save this data into a file named , "mytasks .bat" onto the Desktop for easy access . Each time we double-clicked on this file , the Yahoo website would load up , Microsoft Word would start , and the simple calculator would pop up .
Since we want these programs to load every day , we could create a shortcut to this file and then place the shortcut inside our computer's Start Up folder . That way , these three programs would load every time we turn on the computer . If you wanted these programs to start minimized , you could type the following into a batch file instead :
START http ://www .yahoo .com /m
START "c :/program files/microsoft office/office/winword .exe" /m
START "c :/windows/calc .exe" /m
This will run all three programs as before , however the "/m" parameter will minimize them so that they don't clutter up the desktop .
Other people have found much more creative and effective ways to use batch files , but the important thing is that you know they're a resource you can use to save a few seconds or minutes in performing important tasks . We've come a long way from MS-DOS , but it's still a valuable source of automation that anyone can use with no programming knowledge at all .