How do I make a Windows batch script completely silent?

There has been variants of this question asked for generations, but despite writing some quite complicated Windows scripts, I can't seem to find out how to make them actually silent.

The following is an excerpt from one of my current scripts:

@ECHO OFF
SET scriptDirectory=%~dp0
COPY %scriptDirectory%test.bat %scriptDirectory%test2.bat
FOR /F %%f IN ('dir /B "%scriptDirectory%*.noext"') DO (
del "%scriptDirectory%%%f"
)
ECHO

The result of this is:

C:\Temp> test.bat
        1 file(s) copied.
File Not Found
Echo is off.

C:\Temp>

Whereas the "1 file(s) copied." is just annoying, the "File Not Found" makes the user think that something has gone wrong (which it hasn't - no files is fine).

Answers


To suppress output, use redirection to NUL.

There are two kinds of output that console commands use:

  • standard output, or stdout,

  • standard error, or stderr.

Of the two, stdout is used more often, both by internal commands, like copy, and by console utilities, or external commands, like find and others, as well as by third-party console programs.

>NUL suppresses the standard output and works fine e.g. for suppressing the 1 file(s) copied. message of the copy command. An alternative syntax is 1>NUL. So,

COPY file1 file2 >NUL

or

COPY file1 file2 1>NUL

or

>NUL COPY file1 file2

or

1>NUL COPY file1 file2

suppresses all of COPY's standard output.

To suppress error messages, which are typically printed to stderr, use 2>NUL instead. So, to suppress a File Not Found message that DEL prints when, well, the specified file is not found, just add 2>NUL either at the beginning or at the end of the command line:

DEL file 2>NUL

or

2>NUL DEL file

Although sometimes it may be a better idea to actually verify whether the file exists before trying to delete it, like you are doing in your own solution. Note, however, that you don't need to delete the files one by one, using a loop. You can use a single command to delete the lot:

IF EXIST "%scriptDirectory%*.noext" DEL "%scriptDirectory%*.noext"

If you want that all normal output of your Batch script be silent (like in your example), the easiest way to do that is to run the Batch file with a redirection:

C:\Temp> test.bat >nul

This method does not require to modify a single line in the script and it still show error messages in the screen. To supress all the output, including error messages:

C:\Temp> test.bat >nul 2>&1

If your script have lines that produce output you want to appear in screen, perhaps will be simpler to add redirection to those lineas instead of all the lines you want to keep silent:

@ECHO OFF
SET scriptDirectory=%~dp0
COPY %scriptDirectory%test.bat %scriptDirectory%test2.bat
FOR /F %%f IN ('dir /B "%scriptDirectory%*.noext"') DO (
del "%scriptDirectory%%%f"
)
ECHO
REM Next line DO appear in the screen
ECHO Script completed >con

Antonio


Just add a >NUL at the end of the lines producing the messages.

For example,

COPY %scriptDirectory%test.bat %scriptDirectory%test2.bat >NUL


You can redirect stdout to nul to hide it.

COPY %scriptDirectory%test.bat %scriptDirectory%test2.bat >nul

Just add >nul to the commands you want to hide the output from.

Here you can see all the different ways of redirecting the std streams.


Copies a directory named html & all its contents to a destination directory in silent mode. If the destination directory is not present it will still create it.

@echo off
TITLE Copy Folder with Contents

set SOURCE=C:\labs
set DESTINATION=C:\Users\MyUser\Desktop\html

xcopy %SOURCE%\html\* %DESTINATION%\* /s /e /i /Y >NUL

  1. /S Copies directories and subdirectories except empty ones.

  2. /E Copies directories and subdirectories, including empty ones. Same as /S /E. May be used to modify /T.

  3. /I If destination does not exist and copying more than one file, assumes that destination must be a directory.

  4. /Y Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an existing destination file.

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