MS-DOS and Windows command line choice command

Updated: 12/30/2021 by Computer Hope
choice command

The choice command allows users to keep batch files and scripts from running while they make a set of choices.

Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP users who have batch files that utilize the choice command should modify the batch file to use the MS-DOS set command.


Choice is an external command and is available for the following Microsoft operating systems. Early versions of MS-DOS used as the external file. All versions of Windows utilize choicee.exe as the external file.

Choice syntax

Windows Vista and later syntax

CHOICE [/C choices] [/N] [/CS] [/T timeout /D choice] [/M text]
/C choices Specifies the list of choices to be created. Default list is "YN".
/N Hides the list of choices in the prompt. The message before the prompt is displayed and the choices are still enabled.
/CS Enables case-sensitive choices to be selected. By default, the utility is case-insensitive.
/T timeout The number of seconds to pause before a default choice is made. Acceptable values are from 0 to 9999. If 0 is specified, there will be no pause and the default choice is selected.
/D choice Specifies the default choice after nnnn seconds. Character must be in the set of choices specified by /C option and must also specify nnnn with /T.
/M text Specifies the message to show before the prompt. If not specified, the utility displays only a prompt.


The ERRORLEVEL environment variable is set to the index of the key that was selected from the set of choices. The first choice listed returns a value of 1, the second a value of 2, etc. If the user presses a key that is not a valid choice, the tool sounds a warning beep. If tool detects an error condition, it returns an ERRORLEVEL value of 255. If the user presses Ctrl+Break or Ctrl+C, the tool returns an ERRORLEVEL value of 0. When you use ERRORLEVEL parameters in a batch program, list them in decreasing order.


CHOICE /C YNC /M "Press Y for Yes, N for No or C for Cancel."
CHOICE /T 10 /C ync /CS /D y
CHOICE /C ab /M "Select a for option 1 and b for option 2."
CHOICE /C ab /N /M "Select a for option 1 and b for option 2."

Windows XP and earlier syntax

choice [/C[:]choices] [/N] [/S] [/T[:]c,nn] [text]


/C[:]choices Specifies allowable keys. Default is Y/N.
/N Do not display choices and "?" at end of prompt string.
/S Treat choice keys as case-sensitive.
/T[:]c,nn Default choice to c after nn seconds.
text Prompt string to display.

Choice examples

See the following page for examples on using the choice and set in a batch file.