Windows batch files: .bat vs .cmd

batch-filecmdwindows

As I understand it, .bat is the old 16-bit naming convention, and .cmd is for 32-bit Windows, i.e., starting with NT. But I continue to see .bat files everywhere, and they seem to work exactly the same using either suffix. Assuming that my code will never need to run on anything older than NT, does it really matter which way I name my batch files, or is there some gotcha awaiting me by using the wrong suffix?

Best Solution

From this news group posting by Mark Zbikowski himself:

The differences between .CMD and .BAT as far as CMD.EXE is concerned are: With extensions enabled, PATH/APPEND/PROMPT/SET/ASSOC in .CMD files will set ERRORLEVEL regardless of error. .BAT sets ERRORLEVEL only on errors.

In other words, if ERRORLEVEL is set to non-0 and then you run one of those commands, the resulting ERRORLEVEL will be:

  • left alone at its non-0 value in a .bat file
  • reset to 0 in a .cmd file.