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

Open in new window

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"

Open in new window

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"
DevOps Toolchain Recommendations

Read this Gartner Research Note and discover how your IT organization can automate and optimize DevOps processes using a toolchain architecture.

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"

Open in new window

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\""

Open in new window


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!

Featured Post

Is Your Active Directory as Secure as You Think?

More than 75% of all records are compromised because of the loss or theft of a privileged credential. Experts have been exploring Active Directory infrastructure to identify key threats and establish best practices for keeping data safe. Attend this month’s webinar to learn more.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

YESTERDAY YESTERDAY.BAT is inspired by a previous article I wrote entitled: TOMORROW.BAT ( The crux of this batch f…
I have published numerous articles here at Experts Exchange that present programs/scripts written in a language called AutoHotkey. Each of those articles has a brief paragraph describing where to download the product and how to install it. I have al…
I designed this idea while studying technology in the classroom.  This is a semester long project.  Students are asked to take photographs on a specific topic which they find meaningful, it can be a place or situation such as travel or homelessness.…
Need to grow your business through quality cloud solutions? With everything required to build a cloud platform and solution, you may feel like the distance between you and the cloud is quite long. Help is here. Spend some time learning about the Con…

932 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

17 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now