When using batch files, you sometimes might want a program to start minimized or full screen. This classic tip from 2000 shows how you used to do it in Windows 9x and how little things have changed.


Although they’re not as common as they used to be because of registry entries, group policy, and remote management tools, batch files have for decades been a quick and easy way of starting programs automatically on users’ machines. Sometimes in the course of running batch files, you don’t want users to see what’s going on. Other times you want things to run full screen.

Microsoft has allowed this ability forever. For example, I found a tip from our Windows 98 TechMail that discusses how to run programs from batch files either minimized or full screen. It was originally designed for Windows 98, but it still works today.

From the TechMail archives

This tip comes from the TechMail archives and was dated 1/3/2000:

Today’s Windows 95/98 Tip


If you use batch files to start applications for your users in order to

maintain a common environment, you may find the Start.exe command a

useful addition to your scripts. Using the Start command to run your

applications gives you a way to ensure that applications are always

started maximized or minimized when called from a batch file. Use the


start /max application.exe


start /m application.exe

to start the application maximized or minimized, respectively.

Fast forward to Windows XP and Vista

You can do the same thing in Windows XP and Vista, although Microsoft has changed the switches somewhat. For example, in both XP and Vista, rather than using /m to run programs minimized, you must use the full /MIN switch.

Additionally, you have new switches in XP and Vista that didn’t exist for Windows 9x. Most of these switches revolve around priority scheduling. For example, /HIGH will give the application more CPU time until the process has finished.

For a full list of Start switches, just type start /? at the command prompt.