Batch Files Are Still Valuable

Here we are in 2017 and as I think about the past I realize that the future still holds much valuable use of batch files. Microsoft introduced the VBS-based Windows Scripting Host (WSH) in the late 90s. Then PowerShell and yet Command Prompt commands and, therefore, batch files still live on. The simple fact is that batch files are still much easier to create and edit than WSH scripts or PowerShell scripts. This does not mean that PowerShell lacks value. It simply means that, when you want a quick solution to automation, batch files work well – usually very well.

Just a few example uses of batch files are:

  • Automating local user account and group management with NET USER and NET GROUP
  • Backing up closed files to an external drive or network share
  • Generating reports related to network operations
  • Configuring complex networking parameters automatically

Many, many more could be listed. To prove that the Command Prompt really isn’t going anywhere, Microsoft gave us a new tool with Windows 10 called MpCmdRun.exe. This command is used to execute Windows Defender scans from the Command Prompt. Adding yet another useful batch file example, malware scanning.

For example, the simple command mpcmdrun -scan -scantype 1 executes a quick scan from the Command Prompt. The command provides a return code of 0 when no malware is found. Consider, then, the coupling of the previous command with an if errorlevel == 0 (echo Success) else (echo Failure). The end result is the output of the word Success when no malware is found or Failure when malware is found.

Now, this example is not extravagant, but imagine if the if statement called other commands or applications to take action. As you can see, indeed, batch files are still valuable and powerful. Even in Windows 10, the latest and greatest from Microsoft.

MpCmdRun.exe example