15

I am on the windows console trying to find out whether a file/folder exists or not.

EXIST could be used in batch, but it is not available on the command-line:

C:\Users\WIN7PR~1>EXIST C:\Users
'EXIST' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.
0
16

The solution when the resource is a file it is pretty straight-forward as indicated by others:

C:\> IF EXIST C:\CONFIG.SYS ECHO C:\CONFIG.SYS exists.

Unfortunately, the above does not work for directories. The EXIST function returns the same result for both missing and present folders. Fortunately, there is an obscure workaround:

C:\> IF NOT EXIST C:\FOLDER\NUL ECHO C:\FOLDER missing.
C:\FOLDER missing.
C:\> MD C:\FOLDER
C:\> IF EXIST C:\FOLDER\NUL ECHO C:\FOLDER exists.
C:\FOLDER exists.

It turns out that to support constructs like appending >NUL on command statements, there is a sort of virtual file named "NUL" in every directory. Checking for its existence is equivalent to a check for the directory's existence.

This behavior is documented in a Microsoft knowledge base article ( https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/65994 ) and I have confirmed its behavior on FreeDOS 1.1 and in a Windows 7 command shell.

EXTRA: The KB article indicates this technique can also be used to see if a drive is present. In the case of checking for drive existence, however, caveats exist:

  • An Abort, Retry, Fail? error occurs if the drive is not formatted.

  • Using this technique to check for drive existence depends on device driver implementation and may not always work.

2
  • This does work on FreeDOS 1.1 and is documented at support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/65994 . If you say it does not work on Windows 7, then apparently CMD is not DOS ;-), however, I disagree that it does not work as I just tried it on Windows 7.
    – kbulgrien
    Apr 12 '16 at 12:50
  • Windows stopped being DOS around 1999-2000, when Microsoft finally dropped the Windows 9x line of products and went with the Windows NT line (NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, ...).
    – user
    Apr 12 '16 at 13:03
12

You can use a simple

DIR C:\User
0
6

You can use type command, it will return the contents of a text file without opening it, and for a directory it will return: Access is denied.

If the file or directory is not available you get the message: The system cannot find the file specified.

So for example:

C:\>type c:\temp
Access is denied.

C:\>type c:\example.txt
Some example content in a text file

C:\>type c:\doesnotexist
The system cannot find the file specified.
1
  • +1, this is pretty handy for scripting like in Lua being able to check directory without needing 3rd party module.
    – greatwolf
    Feb 3 '20 at 19:31
4

Just put if on the front :)

if exist C:\Users echo It exists!
1
  • 1
    Returns: C:\Users was unexpected at this time.
    – Vaccano
    Aug 25 '14 at 20:27
0

You can use this code:

<pre>
:init
SETLOCAL enabledelayedexpansion
GOTO make_dir

:make_dir
ECHO .
ECHO Checking if exists directory %out_path% ...
CD %out_path%
IF !ERRORLEVEL! GTR 0 (
   ECHO Directory doesn't exist, creating...
   MD %out_path%
   GOTO make_dir
) ELSE (
   ECHO Directory already exists.
)
:GOTO back_it_up

:back_it_up
::Procedure that makes an backup
GOTO done

:done
ECHO Finished
SETLOCAL
EXIT /B
</pre>
1
  • My question is about command line. Would you mind giving an example command line? Also, preferably it should work on read-only filesystems too. Dec 2 '20 at 9:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.