Run / RunWait

Runs an external program. Unlike Run, RunWait will wait until the program finishes before continuing.

Run, Target , WorkingDir, Options, OutputVarPID
RunWait, Target , WorkingDir, Options, OutputVarPID



A document, URL, executable file (.exe, .com, .bat, etc.), shortcut (.lnk), or system verb to launch (see remarks). If Target is a local file and no path was specified with it, A_WorkingDir will be searched first. If no matching file is found there, the system will search for and launch the file if it is integrated ("known"), e.g. by being contained in one of the PATH folders.

To pass parameters, add them immediately after the program or document name. For example, Run, MyProgram.exe Param1 Param2.

If the program/document name or a parameter contains spaces, it is safest to enclose it in double quotes (even though it may work without them in some cases). For example, Run, "My Program.exe" "param with spaces".


The working directory for the launched item. Do not enclose the name in double quotes even if it contains spaces. If omitted, the script's own working directory (A_WorkingDir) will be used.


If blank or omitted, the command launches Target normally and shows a warning dialog whenever Target could not be launched. Otherwise, specify one or more of the following options:

Max: launch maximized

Min: launch minimized

Hide: launch hidden (cannot be used in combination with either of the above)

Note: Some applications (e.g. Calc.exe) do not obey the requested startup state and thus Max/Min/Hide will have no effect.

UseErrorLevel: UseErrorLevel can be specified alone or in addition to one of the above words (by separating it from the other word with a space). If the launch fails, this option skips the warning dialog, sets ErrorLevel to the word ERROR, and allows the current thread to continue. If the launch succeeds, RunWait sets ErrorLevel to the program's exit code, and Run sets it to 0.

When UseErrorLevel is specified, the variable A_LastError is set to the result of the operating system's GetLastError() function. A_LastError is a number between 0 and 4294967295 (always formatted as decimal, not hexadecimal). Zero (0) means success, but any other number means the launch failed. Each number corresponds to a specific error condition (to get a list, search for "system error codes"). Like ErrorLevel, A_LastError is a per-thread setting; that is, interruptions by other threads cannot change it. However, A_LastError is also set by DllCall().


The name of the output variable in which to store the newly launched program's unique Process ID (PID). The variable will be made blank if the PID could not be determined, which usually happens if a system verb, document, or shortcut is launched rather than a direct executable file. RunWait also supports this parameter, though its OutputVarPID must be checked in another thread (otherwise, the PID will be invalid because the process will have terminated by the time the line following RunWait executes).

After the Run command retrieves a PID, any windows to be created by the process might not exist yet. To wait for at least one window to be created, use WinWait ahk_pid %OutputVarPID%.

Error Handling

[v1.1.04+]: This command is able to throw an exception on failure. For more information, see Runtime Errors.

Run: Does not set ErrorLevel unless UseErrorLevel (above) is in effect, in which case ErrorLevel is set to the word ERROR upon failure or 0 upon success.

RunWait: Sets ErrorLevel to the program's exit code (a signed 32-bit integer). If UseErrorLevel is in effect and the launch failed, the word ERROR is stored.


Unlike Run, RunWait will wait until Target is closed or exits, at which time ErrorLevel will be set to the program's exit code (as a signed 32-bit integer). Some programs will appear to return immediately even though they are still running; these programs spawn another process.

If Target contains any commas, they must be escaped as highlighted three times in the following example:

Run rundll32.exe shell32.dll`,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl`,`, 3  ; Opens Control Panel > Display Properties > Settings

When running a program via ComSpec (cmd.exe) -- perhaps because you need to redirect the program's input or output -- if the path or name of the executable contains spaces, the entire string should be enclosed in an outer pair of quotes. In the following example, the outer quotes are highlighted in yellow:

Run %ComSpec% /c ""C:\My Utility.exe" "param 1" "second param" >"C:\My File.txt""

If Target cannot be launched, an error window is displayed and the current thread is exited, unless the string UseErrorLevel is included in the third parameter or the error is caught by a Try/Catch statement.

Performance may be slightly improved if Target is an exact path, e.g. Run, C:\Windows\Notepad.exe "C:\My Documents\Test.txt" rather than Run, C:\My Documents\Test.txt.

Special CLSID folders may be opened via Run. For example:

Run ::{20d04fe0-3aea-1069-a2d8-08002b30309d}  ; Opens the "My Computer" folder.
Run ::{645ff040-5081-101b-9f08-00aa002f954e}  ; Opens the Recycle Bin.

System verbs correspond to actions available in a file's right-click menu in the Explorer. If a file is launched without a verb, the default verb (usually "open") for that particular file type will be used. If specified, the verb should be followed by the name of the target file. The following verbs are currently supported:

Verb Description
*verb [AHK_L 57+]: Any system-defined or custom verb. For example: Run *Compile %A_ScriptFullPath%. On Windows Vista and later, the *RunAs verb may be used in place of the Run as administrator right-click menu item.

Displays the Explorer's properties window for the indicated file. For example: Run, properties "C:\My File.txt"

Note: The properties window will automatically close when the script terminates. To prevent this, use WinWait to wait for the window to appear, then use WinWaitClose to wait for the user to close it.

find Opens an instance of the Explorer's Search Companion or Find File window at the indicated folder. For example: Run, find D:\
explore Opens an instance of Explorer at the indicated folder. For example: Run, explore %A_ProgramFiles%.
edit Opens the indicated file for editing. It might not work if the indicated file's type does not have an "edit" action associated with it. For example: Run, edit "C:\My File.txt"
open Opens the indicated file (normally not needed because it is the default action for most file types). For example: Run, open "My File.txt".
print Prints the indicated file with the associated application, if any. For example: Run, print "My File.txt"

While RunWait is in a waiting state, new threads can be launched via hotkey, custom menu item, or timer.

Run as Administrator [AHK_L 57+]

For an executable file, the *RunAs verb is equivalent to selecting Run as administrator from the right-click menu of the file. For example, the following code attempts to restart the current script as admin:

full_command_line := DllCall("GetCommandLine", "str")

if not (A_IsAdmin or RegExMatch(full_command_line, " /restart(?!\S)"))
        if A_IsCompiled
            Run *RunAs "%A_ScriptFullPath%" /restart
            Run *RunAs "%A_AhkPath%" /restart "%A_ScriptFullPath%"

MsgBox A_IsAdmin: %A_IsAdmin%`nCommand line: %full_command_line%

If the user cancels the UAC dialog or Run fails for some other reason, the script will simply exit.

Using /restart ensures that a single instance prompt is not shown if the new instance of the script starts before ExitApp is called.

If UAC is disabled, *RunAs will launch the process without elevating it. Checking for /restart in the command line ensures that the script does not enter a runaway loop in that case. Note that /restart is a built-in switch, so is not included in the array of command-line parameters.

The example can be modified to fit the script's needs:

[v1.0.92.01+]: If UAC is enabled, the AutoHotkey installer registers the RunAs verb for .ahk files, which allows Run *RunAs script.ahk to launch a script as admin with the default executable.

RunAs, Process, Exit, CLSID List, DllCall()


Run is able to launch Windows system programs from any directory. Note that executable file extensions such as .exe can be omitted.

Run, notepad

Run is able to launch URLs:

The following opens an internet address in the user's default web browser.


The following opens the default e-mail application with the recipient filled in.

Run, mailto:[email protected]

The following does the same as above, plus the subject and body.

Run, mailto:[email protected]?subject=This is the subject line&body=This is the message body's text.

Opens a document in a maximized application and displays a custom error message on failure.

Run, ReadMe.doc, , Max UseErrorLevel
if (ErrorLevel = "ERROR")
    MsgBox The document could not be launched.

Runs the dir command in minimized state and stores the output in a text file. After that, the text file and its properties dialog will be opened.

RunWait, %ComSpec% /c dir C:\ >>C:\DirTest.txt, , Min
Run, C:\DirTest.txt
Run, properties C:\DirTest.txt

Run is able to launch CLSIDs:

The following opens the recycle bin.

Run, ::{645ff040-5081-101b-9f08-00aa002f954e}

The following opens the "My Computer" directory.

Run, ::{20d04fe0-3aea-1069-a2d8-08002b30309d}

To run multiple commands consecutively, use "&&" between each.

Run, %ComSpec% /c dir /b > C:\list.txt && type C:\list.txt && pause

The following functions can be used to run a command and retrieve its output or to run multiple commands in one go and retrieve their output. For the WshShell object, see Microsoft Docs.

MsgBox % RunWaitOne("dir " A_ScriptDir)

MsgBox % RunWaitMany("
echo Put your commands here,
echo each one will be run,
echo and you'll get the output.

RunWaitOne(command) {
    shell := ComObjCreate("WScript.Shell")
    ; Execute a single command via cmd.exe
    exec := shell.Exec(ComSpec " /C " command)
    ; Read and return the command's output
    return exec.StdOut.ReadAll()

RunWaitMany(commands) {
    shell := ComObjCreate("WScript.Shell")
    ; Open cmd.exe with echoing of commands disabled
    exec := shell.Exec(ComSpec " /Q /K echo off")
    ; Send the commands to execute, separated by newline
    exec.StdIn.WriteLine(commands "`nexit")  ; Always exit at the end!
    ; Read and return the output of all commands
    return exec.StdOut.ReadAll()

Executes the given code as a new AutoHotkey process.

ExecScript(Script, Wait:=true)
    shell := ComObjCreate("WScript.Shell")
    exec := shell.Exec("AutoHotkey.exe /ErrorStdOut *")
    if Wait
        return exec.StdOut.ReadAll()

; Example:
InputBox expr,, Enter an expression to evaluate as a new script.,,,,,,,, Asc("*")
result := ExecScript("FileAppend % (" expr "), *")
MsgBox % "Result: " result