Append MS-DOS Command

Type: External (3.3 and later)


APPEND APPEND ; APPEND [d:]path[;][d:]path[…] APPEND [/X:on|off][/path:on|off][/E]

Purpose: Sets the path to be searched for data files or displays the current search path.


The APPEND command is new to DOS with Versions 3.3 and later. It gives you a way to set the search path for data files. The APPEND command is similar to the PATH command that tells DOS where to search for program files (files with a .COM, .EXE, or .BAT filename extension). The APPEND command guides the search for data files (such as text files).


If a file with a .COM, .EXE, or .BAT filename extension is to be treated as a data file (for example, if you want to edit the contents of a batch file), its path CAN be specified using the APPEND command. However, if you want to execute the file from any directory, you must specify its location using the PATH command. Use the APPEND command without options to display the current search path. Using APPEND followed only by a space and a semicolon (APPEND 😉 deletes previously appended search paths. DOS will then search for data files only on the current drive and directory. Use the APPEND command to tell DOS where to search for data files if a specified file is not found in the current directory. This means that you will need only one copy of a file on your fixed disk, even if you use it for different purposes. For example, you can store a copy of the file NAMES1.TXT in the directory LISTS and use it (copy from it, insert it into other files) while working in any drive or directory. Invalid drive designations will not be detected until DOS attempts to use the search path to find a specified file. Once APPEND has been loaded into memory, you can re-enter the APPEND command to change the specifications from any drive or directory. The APPEND command CAN be used on a network.

If you have used APPEND with the /X option and you plan to use the BACKUP and RESTORE commands, you must first cancel the option by entering append; If you plan to use the ASSIGN command to redirect drive requests, use the APPEND command first (refer to the ASSIGN command section for more information).

The APPEND command should not be used with Microsoft Windows or the Windows Setup program.


/X: [on | off] – The /X switch is used by DOS to guide the search path for programs (such as DOS commands). Set the /X switch before specifying paths to search. The /X switch can only be specified the first time you use the APPEND command. In versions after DOS Version 4 this parameter can be specified as either /X:on (to search appended directories when executing programs) or /X:off (to not search appended directories when executing programs). The default value is /X:off.

/Path:[on|off] – In DOS versions after DOS Version 4 the /Path: on|off option is used tell DOS whether to search the appended path for a data file when a path has been included with the name of the file the program is looking for. /path:off is the default.

/E – Use the command with the /E switch to store the names of the APPENDed directories in the DOS environment (refer to the SET command for more information about the DOS environment). The /E switch can only be specified the first time you use the APPEND command.


If you want DOS to automatically search for files stored on drive C in either the MEMOS subdirectory or the LETTERS subdirectory, enter

append c:\memos;c:\letters

DOS will first search for any data files you specify in the currently active drive and directory. If the files are not found there, it will search the path \MEMOS, and finally the path \LETTERS. For example, if you want to use the TYPE command to display the contents of the file LET3-9.TXT that is in the \LETTERS directory, you can enter

type let3-9.txt

DOS will first search for the file in the current directory, but if it is not found there, DOS will immediately search the \MEMOS and \LETTERS directories on drive B. If the file is found there, the TYPE command will immediately display its contents. If you want DOS to search additional directories, you must enter the entire command again, listing all the directories you want to search. Each path designation must be separated by a semicolon. For example, if you want DOS to continue to search the \MEMOS and \LETTERS directories, but want to first search for specified data files on drive B, re-enter the command like this:

append b:;c:\memos;c:\letters

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