START is a command used in Windows CMD to initiate a separate window to run a specified program or command. This utility is useful for running scripts or applications in parallel, allowing multitasking and facilitating more complex workflows.


The basic syntax for START is:

START ["title"] [/D path] [/I] [/MIN] [/MAX] [options] [command/program] [parameters]
  • "title": Specifies the title of the command prompt window where the command is run.
  • /D path: Sets the initial starting directory.
  • /I: Starts with no environment variables.
  • /MIN and /MAX: Starts the window minimized or maximized, respectively.
  • command/program: The command or executable program to run.
  • parameters: Parameters or switches for the specified command.


  • /D path: Sets the startup directory for the command. This is where the command starts executing from.
  • /B: Starts an application without opening a new command prompt window. Direct output to the current shell environment.
  • /MIN and /MAX: Starts the command in a minimized or maximized window.
  • /SEPARATE and /SHARED: Starts 16-bit Windows-based programs in separate or shared memory spaces, respectively.
  • /WAIT: Waits for the started program to terminate before proceeding.
  • /REALTIME, /HIGH, /ABOVENORMAL, /NORMAL, /BELOWNORMAL, /LOW: Specifies the priority for the command.


  • Start Notepad:

    START notepad
  • Start Notepad minimized with a custom window title:

    START "My Notepad" /MIN notepad
  • Open a new CMD with a specific path:

    START /D C:\Users\admin cmd
  • Start a program with administrative privileges:

    runas /user:administrator "START notepad"

Common Issues

  • Path with spaces: When specifying paths or titles with spaces, always enclose them in quotes.
  • Command not found: Ensure the command or program’s path is correct and accessible. Use full paths for clarity.
  • Administrative Rights: Some commands require elevated permissions. Use runas for such cases.


Combine START with other commands like tasklist or taskkill for managing applications:

  • Starting a program and then finding its process ID:

    START notepad
    tasklist | findstr /i "notepad"
  • Starting multiple instances of a program in separate windows:

    START "Instance 1" /D C:\ProgramData\app1 app.exe
    START "Instance 2" /D C:\ProgramData\app2 app.exe
  • CMD: Opens a new instance of the Command Prompt.
  • RUNAS: Runs a program with the specified user rights.
  • TASKLIST and TASKKILL: Useful for process management in scripts using START.

For further reading and more detailed information, refer to the official Microsoft documentation on CMD commands and the START command here.