ms-dos variable @path doesn't include & symbol of path - workarounds?

Posted on 2008-10-17
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
On any folders that have an & character in the folder name, the above (or below?) command seems to stop reading the name at that symbol.  For example, I have a folder called "A & A businees, inc."  When I run the forfiles command, the resultant command only shows "md c:\test\A " instead of md "c:\test\"A & A businees, inc."\TY08\Tax Returns"
It drops the & symbol and the rest of the name.  Ideas on how to overcome this?  I included the slashes so that I could get it to make folders with a space in the name - however, I'm not getting any folders with & in the name now.

Here's the catch:  If I run the second command included, the resultant command has the path correct (but isn't creating the directory as I wanted with a space.  I had to include the underscore.
1. forfiles /p c:\test /c "cmd /c if @isdir==TRUE md \"@path\TY08\Tax Returns\""
2. forfiles /p p:\ /c "cmd /c if @isdir==TRUE echo md @path\TY08\Tax_returns" > c:\fileorig.txt

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Question by:bruderbell
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

Shift-3 earned 400 total points
ID: 22744820
This may work better using the FOR command instead of FORFILES.

Paste the script below into a text file with a .cmd extension.  Running it will create the subfolders.

If you are going to run this from the command prompt rather than from a batch script, replace each instance of %%G with %G.

@echo off
set folder=c:\test
for /F "tokens=*" %%G in ('dir "%folder%" /A:D /B') do md "%folder%\%%G\TY\Tax Returns"

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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 22746009
If shift-3's comment doesn't work, it may be because & is used to join two commands on one command line.  For example:
C:\Temp\scripts>@echo firstline & @echo secondline

if you were not putting the & in a variable, you could probably escape it using ^ - for example,
C:\Temp\scripts>@echo firstline ^& @echo secondline
firstline & @echo secondline

Given this behavior and the possibility for problems, I would suggest your best solution is to search and replace every ampersand with the word "and"

For example, instead of using 'dir "%folder%" /A:D /B', make it two separate commands and do some editing:
Command 1:
dir "%folder%" /A:D /B>folderlist.txt

Then using notepad, do a quick search and replace, then run an if command similar to the one suggested above:
for /F "tokens=*" %%G in (folderlist.txt) do md "%folder%\%%G\TY\Tax Returns"

LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 22746029
You can probably also get around this using the for command alone:

@echo off
set folder=c:\test
for /F "tokens=1* delims=&" %%G in ('dir "%folder%" /A:D /B') do (
   If "%%H"=="" (
      md "%folder%\%%G\TY\Tax Returns"
   ) Else (
      md "%folder%\%%G ^& %%H\TY\Tax Returns"
      REM The next line replaces the & with the word and in the folder name but is commented out at the moment.
      REM md "%folder%\%%G and %%H\TY\Tax Returns"
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 22746064
And as I think about it and re-read the question, you cannot replace the & without renaming existing folders... so scratch that.  There's another way you can probably get around this:

@echo off
set folder=c:\test
Rem create sub folders for all clients with ampersands in their folder names
for /F "tokens=1* delims=&" %%G in ('dir "%folder%" /A:D /B ^| Find /i "&"') do md "%folder%\%%G ^& %%H\TY\Tax Returns"
Rem create sub folders for all clients without ampersands in their folder names
for /f "tokens=*" %%G in ('dir %folder% /ad /b ^| Find /i /v "&"') do md "%folder%\%%G\TY\Tax Returns"

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LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 22746268
Is there some problem with my method?
LVL 21

Assisted Solution

AmazingTech earned 100 total points
ID: 22753815
Here give this a go.

If you're running it from the command line then use this:
forfiles /p c:\test /c "cmd /c if @isdir==TRUE for %a in (@path) do md \"%~a\TY08\Tax Returns\""

forfiles /p c:\test /c "cmd /c if @isdir==TRUE for %%a in (@path) do md \"%%~a\TY08\Tax Returns\""

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Author Closing Comment

ID: 31507886
Both of your solutions fix the problem, apparently through the use of different variables than those that are available simply in the /c cmd format.  Thanks!

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