Description of Windows Script Host (WSH)


This article describes the Windows Script Host (WSH) in Windows.

More Information

WSH is a language-independent scripting host for 32-bit Windows platforms. Microsoft provides both Microsoft Visual Basic Script and Java Script scripting engines with WSH. It serves as a controller of ActiveX scripting engines, just as Microsoft Internet Explorer does. Because the scripting host is not a full Internet browser, it has a smaller memory footprint than Internet Explorer; therefore, WSH is appropriate for performing simple, quick tasks. Scripts can be run directly from the desktop by double-clicking a script file, or from a command prompt. WSH provides a low-memory scripting host that is ideal for non-interactive scripting needs such as logon scripting, administrative scripting, and so on. WSH can be run from either the protected-mode Windows-based host (Wscript.exe), or the real-mode command shell-based host (Cscript.exe).

Installing Windows Script Host

To install the Windows Script Host, please see the following Microsoft Web site:

NOTE: Windows Script Host is included in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.

Running Scripts

To run scripts from within Windows, you can use one of the following methods:
  • Double-click a .vbs or .js file.
  • Click Start, click Run, and then type the name of a .vbs or .js file in the Open box.
NOTE: Internet Explorer 4.0 and later treat WSH objects as unsafe ActiveX controls. If a Web site tries to initialize or script a WSH object (for example, to access files on your local computer), Internet Explorer does not initialize or script the object at high or medium security settings and provides the following warnings at low security:

Internet Explorer 5:

Some software (ActiveX controls) on this page might be unsafe. It is recommended that you not run it. Do you want to allow it to run?
Internet Explorer 4.0, 4.01, 4.01 Service Pack 1:

An ActiveX object on this page may be unsafe. Do you want to allow it to initialize and be accessed by scripts?
To enable Internet Explorer 4.0 or later to initialize and script WSH objects from a Web page without warnings (not recommended), select a custom setting for the security zone where the Web page resides, and enable the Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safeoption.

Note that Web sites can also create links to .vbs or .js files on a Web page. When you click such a link in Internet Explorer, a File Downloaddialog box appears prompting you (by default) to either open the file from its current location or save the file to disk. If you click Open, the file is downloaded and run from your local file system bypassing Internet Explorer's security settings.

IMPORTANT: If you click Open in the File Download dialog box and click the
Always ask before opening this type of file check box to clear it, Internet Explorer no longer prompts you with a File Download dialog box. To cause Internet Explorer to prompt you with a File Download dialog box again, follow these steps:

  1. In My Computer, click Folder Options on the View menu.
  2. On the File Types tab, select the appropriate registered file type (.vbs or .js).
  3. Click Edit, and then click the Confirm open after download check box to select it.
  4. Click OK, and then click OK again.
Several "HTML viruses" have been reported to use WSH objects. For example, HTML.Internal (or HTML.Prepend), HTML.Offline, and HTML.Redirect.Companion. Anti-virus software should not be necessary to protect you from such viruses provided you follow safe computing practices (including not installing software or scripts from unknown and untrusted sources). Viruses that use WSH objects do not expose or exploit any security issue regarding the Windows or Internet Explorer suite of products. Anytime you install software or run scripts from unknown or untrusted sources, you risk compromising your computer.

Minimum Requirements for WSH

The minimum requirement for WSH to function is Internet Explorer version 3.0 or later. WSH relies on the Visual Basic Script and Java Script engines provided in Internet Explorer.

Troubleshooting WSH

Several sample scripts are installed in the Windows\Samples\WSH folder. If these scripts run correctly, but others do not, contact the author of the script for support. Support and additional information is also available on the following Microsoft Web site: