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How can I execute multiple commands in the Windows commandline with just a single line?

So for example say I want to perform an SVN update and then copy all of the files to another location...

svn update; copy *.* c:\development\copy\

That doesn't work obviously. Is there a character or delimiter like ';' to perform something like this?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 63 down vote accepted

Yes there is. It's &.

&& will execute command 2 when command 1 is complete providing it didn't fail, & will execute regardless.

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3  
& and && only work in Windows' cmd.exe - which is not DOS. –  grawity Oct 30 '09 at 15:21
12  
'DOS' as a term is often used to describe cmd, and seeing as the op uses svn I highly doubt he's still using DOS. No need to be pedantic :) –  Phoshi Oct 30 '09 at 15:37
    
There: urlencode.blogspot.com/2009/06/vista-desktop-june-09.html He uses Windows XP. Certainly not DOS (it never looked that good ;)) –  Phoshi Oct 30 '09 at 15:45
6  
I think it's safe to assume that when anyone mentions "DOS", they really mean "Windows Command Prompt". I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most people probably don't use DOS much these days. Thanks for the correction - it's just a bit unnecessary in this day and age. –  Murdoch Ripper Nov 5 '09 at 4:35

At least in MS-DOS 6.22 I used to use the key Ctrl+T to get a kind of paragraph symbol. This worked just like the & mentioned by Phoshi. This will only work however, if you have doskey.exe running.

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In case you want to wrap the first command with an if but would still like the second command to execute regardless then then you have to wrap the if with a cmd /c as well like this:

cmd /c if exist abc. (rd /q abc) & echo hello

If you don't prefix the if with cmd /c then the whole command becomes part of if (which you may not want).

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If you want to execute multiple commands with 1 line, where you are starting the commands with start, for example, if you wanted to execute a command like this:

start "" netsh dump && pause

Then, you need to do it in 2 steps (one-line solution is at the end of this answer).

First, write the commands to a temporary batch file (in this case, you can use & or &&):

echo netsh dump ^&^& pause ^&^& exit>foobar.cmd
  -or-
echo netsh dump ^& pause ^& exit>foobar.cmd

Note that you need to "escape" each of the "&"s (ampersands) with a "^" to allow them to be treated as ordinary characters in the echo command.  Alternatively, you can create the temporary batch file with a text editor, such as Notepad.

Then, use start to start the batch file:

start "" foobar.cmd
  -or-
start "" "temporary foobar.cmd"


Note: The empty pair of double-quote marks is for the "Title" that will be shown in the title-bar of the command window that start will open. This "Title" argument is technically an optional argument to start, but it is actually required, if the command that start will run is double-quoted. For instance, in the second example:

start "" "temporary foobar.cmd"

if you leave out the empty pair of double quote marks like this:

start "temporary foobar.cmd"

then start will open a new command window, and use "temporary foobar.cmd" as the new command window "Title", and nothing will be executed in the new command window.)

If you want start to wait for the batch file to complete (after the pause is dismissed), before start completes, then you need to add the /w switch to the start command:

start "" /w foobar.cmd

You can put this all together on one line and even remove (delete) the temporary batch file (foobar.cmd):

echo netsh dump ^&^& pause ^&^& exit>foobar.cmd && start "" /w foobar.cmd && del foobar.cmd
  -or-
echo netsh dump ^& pause ^& exit>foobar.cmd & start "" /w foobar.cmd & del foobar.cmd

Note that if you are going to delete the temporary batch file, you need to run start with the /w switch, otherwise, the temporary batch file will probably be deleted before it has a chance to run.

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