Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2


Starts a separate Command Prompt window to run a specified program or command. Used without parameters, start opens a second command prompt window.


start ["Title"] [/dPath] [/i] [/min] [/max] [{/separate | /shared}] [{/low | /normal | /high | /realtime | /abovenormal | belownormal}] [/wait] [/b] [FileName] [Parameters]

  • " Title "
    Specifies the title to display in Command Prompt window title bar.
  • /d Path
    Specifies the startup directory.
  • /i
    Passes the Cmd.exe startup environment to the new Command Prompt window.
  • /min
    Starts a new minimized Command Prompt window.
  • /max
    Starts a new maximized Command Prompt window.
  • /separate
    Starts 16-bit programs in a separate memory space.
  • /shared
    Starts 16-bit programs in a shared memory space.
  • /low
    Starts an application in the idle priority class.
  • /normal
    Starts an application in the normal priority class.
  • /high
    Starts an application in the high priority class.
  • /realtime
    Starts an application in the realtime priority class.
  • /abovenormal
    Starts an application in the abovenormal priority class.
  • /belownormal
    Starts an application in the belownormal priority class.
  • /wait
    Starts an application and waits for it to end.
  • /b
    Starts an application without opening a new Command Prompt window. CTRL+C handling is ignored unless the application enables CTRL+C processing. Use CTRL+BREAK to interrupt the application.
  • FileName
    Specifies the command or program to start.
  • Parameters
    Specifies parameters to pass to the command or program.
  • You can run nonexecutable files through their file association by typing the name of the file as a command. For more information about creating these associations in a command script by using assoc and ftype, see Related Topics.

  • When you run a command that contains a the string "CMD" as the first token without an extension or path qualifier, "CMD" is replaced with the value of the COMSPEC variable. This prevents users from picking up cmd from the current directory.

  • When you run a 32-bit graphical user interface (GUI) application, cmd does not wait for the application to quit before returning to the command prompt. This new behavior does not occur if you run the application from a command script.

  • When you run a command that uses a first token that does not contain an extension, Cmd.exe uses the value of the PATHEXT environment variable to determine which extensions to look for and in what order. The default value for the PATHEXT variable is: .COM;.EXE;.BAT;.CMD (that is, the syntax is the same as the PATH variable, with semicolons separating the different elements).

  • When you search for an executable and there is no match on any extension, start searches directory name. If it does, start opens Explorer.exe on that path.


To start the Myapp program at the command prompt and retain use of the current Command Prompt window, type:

start myapp

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Format Meaning


Information that the user must supply


Elements that the user must type exactly as shown

Ellipsis (...)

Parameter that can be repeated several times in a command line

Between brackets ([])

Optional items

Between braces ({}); choices separated by pipe (|). Example: {even|odd}

Set of choices from which the user must choose only one

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Code or program output

See Also


Command-line reference A-Z
Command shell overview