Run Apps and Batch Files without a Console Window or UAC Prompt with Hidden Start

Console applications and batch files are regularly run at Windows startup or in a schedule. The main inconvenience of this is that each application opens a console window that flickers on the screen. Hidden Start (or Hstart) is a lightweight command line utility that allows you to run console applications and batch files without any window in the background, handle UAC privilege elevation under Windows 7 and Vista, start multiple commands in parallel or synchronously, and much more.

Hstart is a must have if you use batch files on an everyday basis for backups, various file sync and copy scripts, automatic source code compilation or code signing. Read the examples section below to see how it works out and how it can help you.

Hidden Start - Help

For your convenience, Hstart comes with a handy GUI tool:

Hstart GUI Tool

The GUI tool makes it easy to create complex command lines and test them immediately.

Examples of Usage

Hstart is usually started by entering the following command line:

hstart /NOCONSOLE "batch_file_1.bat" "batch_file_2.bat" "batch_file_3.bat"

It is possible to redirect the console output of batch files into a log file:

hstart /NOCONSOLE /IDLE /D="E:\Backups"
     "cmd.exe /c "MyDailyBackup.bat > backup-log.txt""

The /IDLE command line switch means that the backup process will run with the lowest priority class, and /D="" sets the starting directory of the batch file (required if the command line or script contain relative paths).

Run Applications without UAC Prompt

The /NOUAC switch allows you to run applications and batch files with administrative privileges without any UAC prompts (requires a license key). Here is a simple example:

hstart.exe /NOUAC regedit.exe

Of course, it can be used with other options:

hstart.exe /NOUAC /NOCONSOLE "D:\Batch Files\Riquires_Admin_Rights.bat"

The following command opens Local Group Policy Editor:

hstart.exe /NOUAC /SHELL gpedit.msc

And here is how to open Windows Hosts file for editing:

hstart.exe /NOUAC "notepad.exe "%SystemRoot%\System32\drivers\etc\hosts""

Environment Variables

As you can see from the previous example, Hstart 4.0 expands environment variables in the executed command lines. This may help you to make more system independent commands:

hstart.exe /NOCONSOLE /WAIT /D="%TEMP%"
     "cmd.exe /c "D:\test.bat > test-output.txt""
     ""%ProgramFiles%\EmEditor\emeditor.exe" test-output.txt"

For more information, see tutorials and browse the "examples" folder.


Tutorials on Hidden Start →

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