Preventing an MS-DOS window from automatically closing in Windows

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope
Windows command line (DOS)

By default, new versions of Windows will automatically close the Window of any program, including an MS-DOS program or batch file, when the program terminates. Unfortunately, if that MS-DOS command or program outputs or displays any information that the user needs to read, they will be unable to read it because it closes too fast.

This issue can be resolved by doing any of the below recommendations.


Unfortunately, there is no setting in Windows for disabling the auto-closure of the MS-DOS windows.

Open an MS-DOS window

If you are running an MS-DOS command or program from within Windows, try opening an MS-DOS prompt and executing the command or program from within MS-DOS.

Change the path of the command in the shortcut

Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP users can execute the command through CMD.EXE using the /K option. Doing so will open a command window and then executes the command or program. After the command or program has completed, the computer will remain at the command prompt. To do this, follow the steps below.

  1. Create a shortcut to your MS-DOS program or command.
  2. Once a shortcut is created, right-click the shortcut and click Properties.
  3. In the Properties window, change the Target location to contain the CMD.EXE command with the /K switch as shown in the example below.


"C:\My programs\test.bat"


C:\WINNT\system32\CMD.EXE /K "C:\My programs\test.bat"
  • See the CMD command page for further information about this command.

Add a pause statement to a batch file

Finally, it is important to realize that the window will not close if Microsoft Windows believes the program is still running. If you are creating a batch file and want the MS-DOS window to remain open, one trick is to add PAUSE to the end of your batch file, which will prompt the user to press any key. Until the user presses any key, the window will remain open instead of closing automatically.

Additional information