Microsoft DOS if command

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About if
Availability
Syntax
Examples

About if

Performs conditional processing in batch programs.

Availability

The if command is an internal command accessed and used in batch files.

Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows NT
Windows XP
Windows 2000
Windows Vista
Windows 7

Syntax

Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7 syntax

IF [NOT] ERRORLEVEL number command
IF [NOT] string1==string2 command
IF [NOT] EXIST filename command

NOT Specifies that Windows 2000 or XP should carry out the command only if the condition is false.
ERRORLEVEL number Specifies a true condition if the last program run returned an exit code equal to or greater than the number specified.
string1==string2 Specifies a true condition if the specified text strings match.
EXIST filename Specifies a true condition if the specified filename exists.
command Specifies the command to carry out if the condition is met. Command can be followed by ELSE command that will execute the command after the ELSE keyword if the specified condition is FALSE

The ELSE clause must occur on the same line as the command after the IF. For
example:

IF EXIST filename. (
del filename.
) ELSE (
echo filename. missing.
)

The example below would NOT work because the del command needs to be terminated by a newline:

IF EXIST filename. del filename. ELSE echo filename. missing

Nor would the example below work, since the ELSE command must be on the same line as the end of the IF command:

IF EXIST filename. del filename.
ELSE echo filename. missing

The example below would work if you want it all on one line:

IF EXIST filename. (del filename.) ELSE echo filename. missing

If Command Extensions are enabled IF changes as follows:

IF [/I] string1 compare-op string2 command
IF CMDEXTVERSION number command
IF DEFINED variable command

where compare-op may be one of:

EQU - equal
NEQ - not equal
LSS - less than
LEQ - less than or equal
GTR - greater than
GEQ - greater than or equal

and the /I switch, if specified, says to do case insensitive string compares. The /I switch can also be used on the string1==string2 form of IF. These comparisons are generic, in that if both string1 and string2 are both comprised of all numeric digits, then the strings are converted to numbers and a numeric comparison is performed.

The CMDEXTVERSION conditional works just like ERRORLEVEL, except it is comparing against an internal version number associated with the Command Extensions. The first version is 1. It will be incremented by one when significant enhancements are added to the Command Extensions. CMDEXTVERSION conditional is never true when Command Extensions are disabled.

The DEFINED conditional works just like EXISTS except it takes an environment variable name and returns true if the environment variable is defined.

%ERRORLEVEL% will expand into a string representation of the current value of ERRORLEVEL, provided that there is not already an environment variable with the name ERRORLEVEL, in which case you will get its value instead. After running a program, the example below illustrates ERRORLEVEL use:

goto answer%ERRORLEVEL%
:answer0
echo Program had return code 0
:answer1
echo Program had return code 1

You can also using the numerical comparisons above:

IF %ERRORLEVEL% LEQ 1 goto okay

%CMDCMDLINE% will expand into the original command line passed to CMD.EXE prior to any processing by CMD.EXE, provided that there is not already an environment variable with the name CMDCMDLINE, in which case you will get its value instead.

%CMDEXTVERSION% will expand into the a string representation of the current value of CMDEXTVERSION, provided that there is not already an environment variable with the name CMDEXTVERSION, in which case you will get its value instead.

Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME syntax

Performs conditional processing in batch programs.

IF [NOT] ERRORLEVEL number command
IF [NOT] string1==string2 command
IF [NOT] EXIST filename command

NOT Specifies that Windows should carry out the command only if the condition is false.
ERRORLEVEL number Specifies a true condition if the last program run returned an exit code equal to or greater than the number specified.
command Specifies the command to carry out if the condition is met.
string1==string2 Specifies a true condition if the specified text strings match.
EXIST filename Specifies a true condition if the specified filename exists.

Examples

See batch file page for additional examples and uses of the choice command.

Additional information

  • See our if else definition for further information and related links on this term.