Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
The automatically executed batch file, abbreviated with the file name autoexec.bat, is a system file on older DOS operating systems that provides a list of boot commands. Autoexec.bat provides an alternative to manually inputting each boot command as the computer starts up. The automatically executed batch file was often included in Windows designs around the turn of the millennium as a plain text batch file located in the root directory.
DOS-based systems would read the automatically executed batch file to collect different types of commands for booting up the computer. For example, autoexec.bat might provide initiation for device drivers, or provide helpful commands for using virus scanners or other tools.
In the early systems where autoexec.bat was utilized, it often showed up in top-level user windows in the operating system. That meant that many users who are unfamiliar with boot execution would see the file and at least have a passing interest in what was inside it. By contrast, similar files are now mostly hidden in today's operating systems, and users are free to ignore them.