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RE: DOS Script for pop up question ?

From: Reardon, Bruce (CALBBAY) <>
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 15:13:18 -0800
Message-ID: <>


Is it really a DOS batch file or is it 95 or NT4 or W2K / XP - or does it need to run on all of them? This is important as the options vary.

Anyway, below is a copy of a post I made in March 2002 describing some of the options:

Bruce Reardon

"In W2K it is easy, you can use set/p - type set/? to get the help and see below.
H:\>set/p fred=[input value for fred]
[input value for fred]oracleis?

H:\>echo %fred%


Or you can call sqlplus and have sqlplus do the prompting and then have it host out to the bat file and pass in the parameters. Or you could Perl or a Unix emulator or I imagine their are many shareware / freeware utilities.

Under NT4 other options are not easy and I have listed a number of ways and links that show how you can achieve this:

Or from a Tom Lavedas posting on the newsgroup alt.msdos.batch.nt

        (dated Tue, 05 Jun 2001 09:04:04 -0400 entitled "prompting for a parameter"

Old problem - batches were initially assumed to run unattended - therefore, there was no need for user interaction. However, in the PC/Windows environment, they are useful for scripting many redundant tasks, even some that require/benefit user interaction.  

MS finally added recognized this fact by adding the /P (prompt) functionality to the SET statement in Win 2000 (but not before that). So, if you are in a pure Win 2000 environment, type SET/? at a command prompt to get information on the use of the /P switch.  

If you are using NT 4 or are in a mixed NT/2000 environment, there is no 'perfect' solution. I have been interested in the subject of user input for a long time and have developed and collected various techniques, which I offer for your consideration:  

  1. Get a third party utility like, from PC Magazine, (e.g. see - recently reported to be broken in NT. A third party utility is probably the most viable solution for use in Win NT, though AFAIK all of the little utilities out there were written for the original DOS (pre-NT). See
  2. Another NT approach, posted by Bennett Benson, is explained at this link: [this doesn't seem to be working as at 1-Mar-2002]
  3. Write a Win Script Host script using the InputBox function (requires Win 98, Win NT 4.0, IE 5 or a free download from MS),

    For example ...  

          Dim Input
          Input = InputBox("Enter your name")
          MsgBox ("You entered: " & Input)

    (see to get     started)  

4. A variation on the theme of 3 above is a hybrid WSH script/batch


:: InWSH.bat - A WSH/Batch hybrid string input routine.
::             Requires Windows Script Host version 1.0 or later.
::             Use optional command line argument UCASE to convert
::             input to all uppercase or LCASE for lowercase.
::             With WSH V2+, EVAL allows math operations, as well.
:: Tom Lavedas <>
 @echo off
  Set _T=%temp%\~tmp
  echo Set oFS=CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")>%_T%.vbs   Echo oFS.OpenTextFile("CON",2).Write "Enter a string: ">>%_T%.vbs   echo S=%1(Trim(oFS.OpenTextFile("CON",1).Readline))>>%_T%.vbs   echo Wscript.Echo "set Input="+CStr(S)>>%_T%.vbs   cscript.exe //nologo %_T%.vbs > %_T%.bat   for %%v in (%_T%.bat del) do call %%v %_T%.???   set _T=
  % For Example % echo You typed %Input%  

  If you call this with a single command line parameter of Ucase or   LCase, it will return the string input by the user in the   appropriate case. If you have WSH v5.1+ and use EVAL as the command   line argument, it will do math operations as well, as in ....  

C:\> inwsh eval
Enter a string: 11 * 12
You typed 132  

  This approach will work with Win 98 and Win 2000 and probably NT   right out of the box.  

5. In Win2K the following works:  

  SET /P variable=[promptString]  

6. Finally, this NT specific approach, originally given by Walter

   Zachery, improved and supplied by Clay Calvert, ....  

  @echo off
  echo Enter Input:
  for /f "tokens=*" %%a in (
    'format/f:160 a: ^|find "..."') do set Input=%%a   set Input=%Input:~30%  

  This approach will spin the floppy drive, but won't change   anything. The drive does not need to be occupied.


Tom Lavedas

I have seen a web site showing how to do it using label (similar to the format command).  

You Can also use choice command - available from

And from another alt.msdos.batch.nt posting:

Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 16:28:40 -0800 ...
Here's one way that will work in WinNT4.0. If you are using Win2000, you can use 'SET /P' instead.  

==========begin file C:\cmd\TEST\ZZZINPUT.CMD ==========

001. @echo off
002. echo.
003. call rdstring ZQusername   "Please enter your name:"
004. call rdstring ZQuserphone  "Phone:"
005. call rdstring ZQaddress1   "Street Address:"
006. call rdstring ZQcity       "City:"
007. call rdstring ZQstate      "State:"
008. call rdstring ZQZip        "ZIP Code:"
009. set ZQ
010. goto :EOF
011. :EOF

==========end file C:\cmd\TEST\ZZZINPUT.CMD ==========  

==========begin file C:\cmd\TEST\RDSTRING.CMD ==========

001. @echo off
002. ::
003. :: based on method originally provided by Walter Zachary
004. :: and modified by Tom Lavedas
005. ::
006. :: syntax: call rdstring (varname) "your prompt in double quotes"
007. ::
008. setlocal
009. set target=%1
010. set myprompt="""%2"""
011. set myprompt=%myprompt:""""=%
012. echo.
013. echo %myprompt%
014. for /f "tokens=*" %%a in (
015.   'format/f:160 a: ^|find "..."') do set input=%%a
016. set input=%input:~30%
017. endlocal&set %target%=%input%&goto :EOF
018. :EOF

==========end file C:\cmd\TEST\RDSTRING.CMD ==========

eg 1 "convoluted" freeware option is to use ask from to put the response into a text file and then parse that with for command.

Bruce Reardon

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, 12 July 2002 7:34

You could use utility "choice.exe" (I think it comes with NT Resource Kit). Here is an example of the batch file:

echo off
choice /c:YN Do you want to Continue ?
if errorlevel 2 goto end

rem do whatever you need here

echo End of processing.

Obviously "N" answer returns "errorlevel 2".

Igor Neyman, OCP DBA   

> All,
> I have a DOS batch file. In between this script, I
> would like to add user interactive question.
> Ex: Do you want to Continue [Y/N]?
> Once they hit "Y", it will continue rest of the batch
> file.
> Could someone able to help me out as per the above
> requirement?
> Thanks,
> Bob
Please see the official ORACLE-L FAQ:
Author: Reardon, Bruce (CALBBAY)

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Received on Thu Jul 11 2002 - 18:13:18 CDT

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