No "sleep" command for batch files? Make it a choice!

Posted by: admin  :  Category: DOS, Scripting, Windows

I just trapped myself while hacking up a batch file.
Used to shell scripting I wanted to add a delay to the batch using “sleep”.

Dough! Bad Idea! Bad command or filename. Smash your head here to continue {(x)}!

So I winded up my memories from stoneage. Wasn’t there the choice command!?

Yeah, after some lurking around with the ‘/?’ feature I had stuck it together:

choice /c 1 /d 1 /t 1 > nul


  • “/c 1” sets the choice values (1 is my value)
  • “/d 1” sets the default choice value (which is 1 from above)
  • “/t 1” sets the timeout to 1 second (or whatever is appropriate)
  • “> nul” means the same as “>/dev/null”: send output to nirvana (notice there being only one ‘l’ however)

Of course this may be bothersome to type if you use it often, so a “batch function” may be better, especially when you need other batch tricks to get around DOS command limitations (lazy man’s approach: create a second batch file for it).

@echo off

rem *******************
rem check args
rem *******************


if "%1/" == "func/" goto callfunc
goto main


rem *******************
rem call functions
rem *******************


 rem we could do "goto %1" instead
 rem if there is a lot of functions
 if "%1/" == "sleep/" goto sleep

 goto exit


rem *******************
rem function sleep
rem *******************


 choice /c 1 /d 1 /t %1 > nul

 goto exit


rem *******************
rem main body
rem *******************

 echo hello, going to sleep now
 call %0 func sleep 1

 echo sleep is over, good bye

 goto exit


rem *******************
rem exit handler
rem *******************

 rem if there is anything left to do, do it now.


3 Responses to “No "sleep" command for batch files? Make it a choice!”

  1. adamo Says:


    Cheers for that trick. very handy.
    I was wondering where did my sleep go when I switched to Vista. Your solution solved problem just right!

  2. Jagan Says:

    Thanks Buddy. This helped me quite a bit. I was not able to use sleep in Vista.

  3. Kevin de Vries Says:

    Nice finding !! Great 🙂