Starts a program written for Windows or Dos in a new window.


To run a program:
START [/Switches] programname

To open a data file (in the program associated with its extension):
START [/Switches] document.ext

/MThe specified program is opened in a minimized window.
/MAXThe specified program is opened in a full screen window.
/RThe specified program is opened in its default sized window. [default]
/WControl does not pass back to the window from which START was invoked until the new window is closed.


  1. There is some overlap in the function of START, CALL, and Command /c in that all commands are typically used in batch files to invoke secondary batch files or programs.

  2. A program invoked with START opens under a new, temporary instance of the command interpreter ( in a new window. This window remains open until closed by the user.

  3. START will run executable programs with .exe, .com, and .bat extensions but not Dos internal commands. In addition, if the parameter following START is a data file that Win95 has associated with a particular program, that program will be run and the data file loaded. (Analogous to double-clicking on a file in Windows Explorer).

  4. START will only accept one parameter (batch file, program, or data file). Any additional parameters entered are assumed to be associated with programname or document.ext and handled accordingly.

  5. If long file names contain spaces, they must be enclosed in inverted commas [""]. Otherwise, the parameter is considered "multiple" - see above.

  6. An observation rather than a note, perhaps: unlike every other command, START/? will not be redirected to a file! The file will be created, but output goes to the screen, not the file (which remains empty).

Exit Codes:

0The command was executed without errors
255An error occurred.

File Details

File NameDefault LocationDos Ver.Win Ver.SizeDateSource
Start.exec:\windows\command 7.0Win95 9 216111/07/
7.1Win95 (OSR2.x) 9 216224/08/
Win98 28 672311/05/
Win98 SE 28 672423/04/

Superscripts denote which same size files, if any, are identical (using FC).

If you should have any comments or suggestions,
please contact: Bob Watson
This page last revised:
August 29, 2000.