How can I execute a windows command line in the background, without it interacting with the active user?

  • 1
    Can you specify what you want to do? Do you want to perform a command on the command line in background or do you want to perform the whole command line in background, so it is unvisible from the desktop?
    – oldwired
    Oct 12, 2010 at 6:20
  • i need two cane perform a command on the command line in background or do you want to perform the whole command line in background Oct 12, 2010 at 6:41
  • Duplicates this question on ServerFault. Aug 16, 2015 at 20:11

11 Answers 11


Your question is pretty vague, but there is a post on ServerFault which may contain the information you need. The answer there describes how to run a batch file window hidden:

You could run it silently using a Windows Script file instead. The Run Method allows you running a script in invisible mode. Create a .vbs file like this one

Dim WinScriptHost
Set WinScriptHost = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
WinScriptHost.Run Chr(34) & "C:\Scheduled Jobs\mybat.bat" & Chr(34), 0
Set WinScriptHost = Nothing

and schedule it. The second argument in this example sets the window style. 0 means "hide the window."

  • This is perfect. SetPoint for Logitech never, NEVER, starts with windows. I've been starting it manually for about 3 years now. Does it matter where the batch is? I've seen some people put this type of batch file in C, or the root.
    – ejbytes
    Jan 31, 2016 at 0:00
  • 2
    It really isn't vague if you are used to linux. Just put a & at the end and its backgrounded. Feb 8, 2021 at 7:14

This is a little late but I just ran across this question while searching for the answer myself and I found this:

START /B program

which, on Windows, is the closest to the Linux command:

program &

From the console HELP system:


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

START ["title"] [/D path] [/I] [/MIN] [/MAX] [/SEPARATE | /SHARED]
      [/NODE <NUMA node>] [/AFFINITY <hex affinity mask>] [/WAIT] [/B]
      [command/program] [parameters]

    "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.

One problem I saw with it is that you have more than one program writing to the console window, it gets a little confusing and jumbled.

To make it not interact with the user, you can redirect the output to a file:

START /B program > somefile.txt
  • 5
    I like this answer best because it doesn't open another command window
    – wisbucky
    Jan 3, 2014 at 16:17
  • 8
    This doesn't seem to work for me, it seems to only create a new cmd instance [?] however if I run it like start /B "" program then it worked...
    – rogerdpack
    Jun 24, 2015 at 4:56
  • 4
    @rogerdpack That's right. For some reason with Windows 7, this is the command format. The "" is the mandatory title parameter.
    – ejbytes
    Jan 30, 2016 at 23:58
  • 17
    Unfortunately, if I exit the shell window in which I spawned the process, it looks like the process also terminates.
    – palswim
    Jul 21, 2016 at 22:36
  • 2
    @Qwerty: Look at the MSDN for SetConsoleCtrlHandler
    – Zan Lynx
    Sep 12, 2016 at 19:29

I suspect you mean: Run something in the background and get the command line back immediately with the launched program continuing.

START "" program

Which is the Unix equivalent of

program &
  • 9
    what is the fg equivalent? Can we close the command prompt and the porgram will still run? Oct 15, 2014 at 11:34
  • 1
    Also, I want to run a program in command prompt and return to it from time to time, like in screen - is that doable with this? I need to be able to close the command prompt but keep the running program usable. Oct 15, 2014 at 11:36
  • 6
    What's that empty parameter of start? It doesn't work without it (executes just a new command instance), but start's help doesn't say anything about it, it states all parameters are optinional (or I don't understand it). Oct 14, 2015 at 17:41
  • @DawidFerenczy start works without the empty parameter for me, but I seem to get a shells with a separate configuration when I use the empty parameter, as a setting I did when I didn't have the empty parameter isn't used when I do use the empty parameter. I wonder why they use separate configurations? Apr 13, 2016 at 15:23
  • 1
    @Paul START "" program starts a command in a new terminal for me, while program & in Unix runs the command in and prints the output to the same terminal. Apr 13, 2016 at 15:25
START /MIN program 

the above one is pretty closer with its Unix counterpart program &


You can use this (commented!) PowerShell script:

# Create the .NET objects
$psi = New-Object System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo
$newproc = New-Object System.Diagnostics.Process
# Basic stuff, process name and arguments
$psi.FileName = $args[0]
$psi.Arguments = $args[1]
# Hide any window it might try to create
$psi.CreateNoWindow = $true
$psi.WindowStyle = 'Hidden'
# Set up and start the process
$newproc.StartInfo = $psi
# Return the process object to the caller

Save it as a .ps1 file. After enabling script execution (see Enabling Scripts in the PowerShell tag wiki), you can pass it one or two strings: the name of the executable and optionally the arguments line. For example:

.\hideproc.ps1 'sc' 'stop SomeService'

I confirm that this works on Windows 10.

  • 4
    yep start /b no longer works.
    – Sajuuk
    May 6, 2018 at 5:32

This is how my PHP internal server goes into background. So technically it should work for all.

start /B "" php -S &



A related answer, with 2 examples:

  1. Below opens calc.exe:

call START /B "my calc" "calc.exe"

  1. Sometimes foreground is not desireable, then you run minimized as below:

call start /min "n" "notepad.exe"

call START /MIN "my mongod" "%ProgramFiles%\MongoDB\Server\3.4\bin\mongod.exe"

Hope that helps.

  • 1
    This doesn't seem to run it minimized: call Start /MIN "c" "calc.exe"
    – moondra
    Mar 12, 2018 at 4:19
  • 1
    correct, it works for notepad: call start /min "n" "notepad.exe" Mar 12, 2018 at 6:44
  • 1
    So it works for windowed applications but not for console applications. Figures, as one can pass the SW_* to CreateProcessW via STARTUPINFO::wShowWindow (including SW_HIDE). Aug 14, 2018 at 18:57
  • What is a full command, with above like "start" or other tool? do we need to write another program? Aug 15, 2018 at 1:50

If you want the command-line program to run without the user even knowing about it, define it as a Windows Service and it will run on a schedule.

  • 4
    how do you do that?
    – barlop
    Sep 30, 2011 at 19:26
  • 1
    Alternatively you can make it a scheduled task - Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Scheduled Tasks or use the schtasks command in Windows XP and above (warning: schtasks is complicated).
    – LawrenceC
    Apr 6, 2012 at 19:02

You can see the correct way to do this in this link:

How to Run a Scheduled Task Without a Command Window Appearing

Summarizing, you have to checkbox for 'Run whether user is logged on or not'. Task user credentials should be enter after pressing 'Ok'.


I did this in a batch file: by starting the apps and sending them to the background. Not exact to the spec, but it worked and I could see them start.

rem   Work Start Batch Job from Desktop
rem   Launchs All Work Apps
@echo off
start "Start OneDrive" "C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\OneDrive.exe"
start  "Start Google Sync" "C:\Program Files\Google\Drive\GoogleDriveSync.exe"
start skype
start "Start Teams" "C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Teams\current\Teams.exe"
start Slack
start Zoom
sleep 10
taskkill /IM "explorer.exe"
taskkill /IM "teams.exe"
taskkill /IM "skype.exe"
taskkill /IM "slack.exe"
taskkill /IM "zoom.exe"
taskkill /IM "cmd.exe"
@echo on

killing explorer kills all explorer windows, I run this batch file after start up, so killing explorer is no issue for me. You can seemingly have multiple explorer processes and kill them individually but I could not get it to work. killing cmd.exe is to close the CMD window which starts because of the bad apps erroring.

  • 1
    You are launching work apps and then terminating them all ? Why ?
    – Amit Naidu
    Apr 23, 2021 at 22:10

just came across this thread windows 7 , using power shell, runs executable's in the background , exact same as unix filename &

example: start -NoNewWindow filename

help start

NAME Start-Process

SYNTAX Start-Process [-FilePath] [[-ArgumentList] ] [-Credential ] [-WorkingDirectory ] [-LoadUserProfile] [-NoNewWindow] [-PassThru] [-RedirectStandardError ] [-RedirectStandardInput ] [-RedirectStandardOutput ] [-Wait] [-WindowStyle {Normal | Hidden | Minimized | Maximized}] [-UseNewEnvironment] []

Start-Process [-FilePath] <string> [[-ArgumentList] <string[]>] [-WorkingDirectory <string>] [-PassThru] [-Verb
<string>] [-Wait] [-WindowStyle <ProcessWindowStyle> {Normal | Hidden | Minimized | Maximized}]

ALIASES saps start


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