Windows command choice command

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Prompts the user to select one item from a list of single-character choices in a batch program, and then returns the index of the selected choice. If used without parameters, choice displays the default choices Y and N.


choice [/c [<choice1><choice2><…>]] [/n] [/cs] [/t <timeout> /d <choice>] [/m <text>]


Parameter Description
/c <choice1><choice2><…> Specifies the list of choices to be created. Valid choices include a-z, A-Z, 0-9, and extended ASCII characters (128-254). The default list is YN, which is displayed as [Y,N]?.
/n Hides the list of choices, although the choices are still enabled and the message text (if specified by /m) is still displayed.
/cs Specifies that the choices are case-sensitive. By default, the choices are not case-sensitive.
/t <timeout> Specifies the number of seconds to pause before using the default choice specified by /d. Acceptable values are from 0 to 9999. If /t is set to 0choice does not pause before returning the default choice.
/d <choice> Specifies the default choice to use after waiting the number of seconds specified by /t. The default choice must be in the list of choices specified by /c.
/m <text> Specifies a message to display before the list of choices. If /m is not specified, only the choice prompt is displayed.
/? Displays help at the command prompt.


  • The ERRORLEVEL environment variable is set to the index of the key that the user selects from the list of choices. The first choice in the list returns a value of 1, the second a value of 2, and so on. If the user presses a key that is not a valid choice, choice sounds a warning beep.
  • If choice detects an error condition, it returns an ERRORLEVEL value of 255. If the user presses CTRL+BREAK or CTRL+C, choice returns an ERRORLEVEL value of 0.


When you use ERRORLEVEL values in a batch program, you must list them in decreasing order.


To present the choices YN, and C, type the following line in a batch file:

choice /c ync

The following prompt appears when the batch file runs the choice command:


To hide the choices YN, and C, but display the text YesNo, or Continue, type the following line in a batch file:

choice /c ync /n /m "Yes, No, or Continue?"


If you use the /n parameter, but do not use /m, the user is not prompted when choice is waiting for input.

To show both the text and the options used in the previous examples, type the following line in a batch file:

choice /c ync /m "Yes, No, or Continue"

To set a time limit of five seconds and specify N as the default value, type the following line in a batch file:

choice /c ync /t 5 /d n


In this example, if the user doesn’t press a key within five seconds, choice selects N by default and returns an error value of 2. Otherwise, choice returns the value corresponding to the user’s choice.