Startup Directory Option Ignored in MS-DOS Shell

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In MS-DOS 5.0 and Shell, it is possible for the startup directory option to be ignored when a program item is started from the Active Task List.


The startup directory option will be ignored in the following two situations:

  • The program item being started from the Active Task List was originally placed there as a result of a LOAD=ENABLED entry in the DOSSHELL.INI file.
  • The program item being started from the Active Task List was added to the Active Task List by holding down the SHIFT key, and double-clicking on the program item (or pressing SHIFT+ENTER).
In the above cases, the effective startup directory will be the active directory at the time Shell was started.


To work around this limitation, write a batch file for the application that first changes to the desired startup directory before starting. Then create a program item for the batch file, not the executable. (Note: In this case, the startup directory option is now unnecessary.)


To make a batch file to run Microsoft Word for MS-DOS, do the following:

  1. Include the following lines in a batch file called WORD5.BAT:
          cd \word5
  2. Make a program item for WORD5.BAT using the procedure described on pages 186-188 of the version 5.0 "Microsoft MS-DOS User's Guide and Reference."


Article ID: 78670 - Last Review: October 7, 2013 - Revision: 3.0
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0a
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.0 Standard Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive KB78670

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