Home > Posts > Windows 7 Command Line Help mistake for IF command

Windows 7 Command Line Help mistake for IF command

If you type

help IF

at the Windows 7 command-line (can launch this by searching at Windows Start menu search box for “Command” or by typing cmd there and pressing ENTER), you get in one of the help pages printed out for the batch files’ IF command:

%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 following
illustrates ERRORLEVEL use:

goto answer%ERRORLEVEL%
echo Program had return code 0
echo Program had return code 1

If a program you launched from the batch file returns error code 0 (meaning usually no error), then you jump to label (using “goto” command) answer%ERRORLEVEL% that is answer0 (labels are prefixed with : in DOS/Windows batch files) and it prints out (using echo command) on the console “Program had return code 0”.

Fine till here, but then it will proceed to next commands (the block labeled :answer1) and also print out “Program had return code 1”. Obviously the correct example should be:

goto answer%ERRORLEVEL%
echo Program had return code 0
goto finish
echo Program had return code 1

Could also have a goto finish after the last echo, but its needless since we don’t have :answer2 etc. labels after that and proceeds to finish by itself anyway.

Thinking of this example again, it’s a pretty silly one since one could do instead:

echo Program had return code %ERRORLEVEL%

BTW, to output an empty line to the console you can use echo:
And speaking of batch file tips, you can use :: for comment lines instead of REM command.

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