Open with a command line tool on Windows

On Linux it is quite easy to create shortcuts and add them to Open With menu, for example I can open any image with the exiftool command I configured.
I tried to create similar shortcuts on Windows via a .bat file and via a shortcut but I can’t seem to figure it out hot to keep the terminal (CMD) open. I am not sure if the command works either.
I am wondering if any users here have figured that out and could share their experience here.

You can insert a “pause” command at the end of the script. Then it won’t exit until the user presses a key.

I tried it but it didn’t work.

Here is the content of my .bat file:

C:\Windows\exiftool.exe -a -s -G1

I think it is but I might be wrong.

Maybe you can find a solution on StackOverflow

You don’t provide an input file for exiftool, so that won’t work.

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You should never install programs into C:\Windows.

That is the only way I know to launch exiftool, ffmpeg, etc. without typing the whole path.

Do you know windows analog for linux’s %f , %F, %u and %U by chance?

  1. %1 is what you use to specify the first command line argument
  2. I do this for all the command line programs I use: make a directory somewhere, preferrably under your c:\users\Andrius directory, put all the command line programs (and their .dlls, if needed) and put that directory in your PATH environment variable, accessed through the Control Panel → System → Advanced thing…
  3. ‘pause’ by itself should work as you intend.
  4. Consider installing MSYS2 and doing it all in bash… :smiley:
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As with Linux, you may add your directories to the Windows path. That way, you are able to install your files anywhere and have a more organized system. Steps:

1 Search env.


2 Go to Environment Variables…


3 Edit path under user variables.


4 Done! Now, commands can be typed without the full path and extension; e.g., gmic instead of long-path-to\gmic.exe.

PowerShell has more scripting capabilities than CMD. For reference on CMD or PowerShell, I often go to

@snibgo’s IM site has lots of CMD scripts on image processing. Be warned: they tend to be too much for my poor heart. :blush: I think bash is so much easier.


From the OP, @Andrius wants to add a script to the Windows “open with” menu. As far as I know, that script must be a BAT script. It can’t be a bash script. (Corrections welcome, as always.)

So advice to use bash instead of BAT doesn’t help.

Of course, the “open with” BAT script could be a single-liner that actually calls a bash script to do whatever work is needed.

I agree that programs should not generally be installed in C:\Windows. However, exiftool.exe is a single-file program, without any DLLs or other dependencies, so putting it in a drectory that already exists isn’t a big problem. Personally, I use a single specific directory for all the single-file programs on my computer.

You can route the output of the command to a text file, example:
C:\Windows\exiftool.exe -a -s -G1 > output.txt

Not sure where the output.txt is saved; in c:\windows or the file’s path. When I remember correctly you can specify a path variable to the output file (I switched to Linux some time ago, not sure about that)

Thank you for the tip, I will look at this option. An output in terminal seems to be a better option for me though. I will try to use exiftool %1 pause and see if it works.

Thank you Glenn. I will try ## 1-3 shortly here.
I will investigate on MSYS2 as well. I had WSL in my previous installation. It requires switching your Windows into developer mode and it is more like a virtual environment rather than a bash tool so I am not sure I want it again.

Thank you, afre, your post helps a lot!

I have no experience with MSYS2. I do use Cygwin, which has bash and many other tools (sed, awk, bc, etc), which run on Windows just like Windows CMD and other programs run on Windows. I wouldn’t recommend it as a substitute for a proper Unix environment, but if you want to run bash and Unix tools on Windows, it works fine.

Years since I had dealings with this, but back then it was often start which saved the day.

Wanted to confirm that the following .bat file:

C:\Users\Andrius\Programs\exiftool.exe -a -s -G1 %1

worked! Now I can read all metadata simply opening images with that batch file :grinning: