Free Software for DOS
Menus & Program Executers

21 Aug 2006

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NOTES: DougMenu (versatile), MOO (easy configuration), PCMENU and Menux (lean, clean, and fast), WBAT Batch-driven, input fields, buttons.


DougMenu — Rock-solid, mouse- and keyboard-driven command menu.

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[added 1994 ?]

DougMenu has been my default shell for DOS since 1994. It will not suit everyone's tastes but it is a smartly designed and simple to use menu...once you get it configured. The small chore is setting up your menu structure. This involves creating a properly formatted text file with all of the commands you wish to launch from the menu. People who are constantly changing their menu may find this tedious and should opt for a menu program whose configuration is more user-friendly. However, once configured DougMenu is simple to use. Commands can also be assigned to function keys. Includes time/date display, built-in screen saver, and menu password feature. Best of all, DougMenu is fast and its memory usage is next to nothing (uses recursive batch file when launching programs). Multi-user compatible. Executable size is 64K.

Author: Douglas Bell (1994).

1994-12-16: v1.77.

Download (58K).

AUMenu — Keyboard-only menu handles large number of menu items.

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[added 1997, updated 2005-04-28]

AUMenu is a clean looking, powerful, and easy to use DOS menu developed as a companion to the author's Unix AUMenu (shareware). The DOS version is freeware. The interface consists of a list of 10 menu items representing commands or submenus. The number of submenus is limited only by memory. Menu items are selected with the arrow keys or by entering a menu item's number. A user-edited text file stores the menu structure. Can swap out to extended memory or remain resident during program execution. Brief splashscreen delay on startup.

Power user features: Includes a script language (define password access, colors, etc); optional auto logout/ exit after a configured amount of inactive minutes, optional logging of who executes a menu item, and when. The included sample menu files demonstrate well the flexibility of this program.

Author: Eugenio Alvarez / Eugiworks Incorporated (2001).

2001-12-09: v1.4.3b.

Download (84K), which is actually v1.4.3b.

Online manual.

Go to the AUMenu page for more info and screenshots.

RVMS — Simple, effective keyboard-only menu.

* * * 1/2

[added 1995]

"The River View Menu System aims to provide the same degree of functionality as the shareware Magee Automenu program version 3.0." The keyboard driven RVMS is a breeze to use, and it used to be my default shell for DOS. Menus are navigated with the arrow keys and the Pg keys. The simple menu and submenu structure is defined in text files written by the user. Optional descriptions of each menu entry are displayed on a status line. Requires a hearty diet of RAM (256K), a hard disk drive, and DOS 3.3 or higher. EXE size: 53K.

Other features:
  1. Passwords can be used to restrict access to specific menu items.
  2. Use of memory resident or non-resident (temp batch file) RVMS commands is possible.
  3. A clock is available on screen as is a display of free memory.
  4. Screen color customization possible with included RVMSCONF program.

Author: Ian M. Clark, UK (1993).

1993-11-18: v1.0.

Download (69K).


MOO — Mouse compatible menu; auto configuration, network, and password features.

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A top pick, especially for network use. Moo is a well designed menu program with network and Windows 3.x awareness. Notable features include mouse support, pulldown menus, automatic menu creation option, network/security features, and memory usage options (memory resident vs. non-memory resident program launching). This package also includes a less impressive 16-bit Windows version. Not readily available on the Net. A Win9x version is available at the author's page.

Other nice features:

Author: Harry Gensler (1992).

1998-08-28: v3.1.

Download (101K).

Access — Auto-configurable, category-based menu system (text mode version also available).


[added 1999-09-19, updated 2006-03-14]

Access is a simple but effectively designed menu system which displays program categories on a left panel and associated programs on a right panel. A text mode version is available for users with older hardware (8086/8088+).

Tips: Text mode version (v3.01) — If you have a large hard disk, auto-configure feature during install may abort (just add programs to menu manually). To launch programs using mouse, highlight program name and click BOTH mouse buttons.

Author: Ronald Blankendaal, Netherlands (1997-2005). Suggested by Dev Teelucksingh.

80x25 Text Mode. Runs on 8086/8088, better on 80286.
Graphics Mode 480x640x256. Requires 80386, SVGA, 2MB XMS.
Graphics Mode 800x600x256. Requires 80386, runs better on 80486+.
5.00 RC1
First 32-bit version, DJGPP build, requires CWSDPMI (included). New graphics library. Requires 80386, runs better on 80486+.

In English
In Dutch
In Dutch & English
In Dutch & English
v5.00 RC1
In Dutch & English

German language pack

French language pack

Get a more detailed comparison of versions, other info, screenshots & more at the Access page (but [2006-03-14] still very litle on v5.00).


WBAT — Versatile batch tool / menu with support for mouse, input fields, buttons, more.

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[added 1999-05-11, updated 2005-12-09]

WBAT is a batch utility that builds dialog boxes with menus, buttons and input fields. No ANSI color codes needed, only color names. Runs under DOS 3.3 or better, or under any Windows, in a DOS box or full screen. VGA monitor recommended. Mouse operation in all environments.

For a demonstration of WBAT's broad capabilities, make sure to run the included demo.bat.

Author: Horst Schaeffer, Germany (2005). Suggested by Robert Bull.

2005-09-17: v2.50.

Download (54K).

Go to Horst Schaeffer's Software Pages, in Englishauf Deutsch, for more info and other software for DOS & Windows.

More in these pages from Horst Schaeffer.

PMENUE — Batch-based menu with mouse support.

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[added 1998-06-17]

PMENUE is the older predecessor of WBAT, above. From the docs:
PMENUE controls batch menues with bar and mouse handling. The selected item number is returned by errorlevel. In addition the environmental variable P is set to the string of the selected item...Background, frames and menu lines may be produced any way you want:: by ECHO (with ANSI colors if you wish); by TYPE from a file; by any utility – ASCREEN for example (supplied), displays ANSI screens or boxes without using any ANSI device driver.

Notes: The demo menus look awesome – but you'll obviously need to be comfortable with batch language to get the most from this program. COM file is only 1.8K; several supporting utilities included. Also see Browse, part of the PMENUE package.

Author: Horst Schaeffer, Germany (1997).

1997-12-19: v2.3.

Download (19K).

Go to Horst Schaeffer's Software Pages, in Englishauf Deutsch, for more info and other software for DOS & Windows.

More in these pages from Horst Schaeffer.

PCMENU — Lean and clean menu with password protection.

* * * * *

[added 2000-06-06]

From the docs:
Many (most) of the menus available...attempt to be all-purpose DOS 'shells' in addition to being menu systems. for people who want a menu, period. It is specifically tailored for those who administer large numbers of PCs – but is so simple to use that even beginners seem to like it...PCMENU can run any and all applications on your computer, with or without password protection, and steals NO memory (and very little disk space) from your applications.

Authors: Bob Trevithick, Rick Kiss (1990). Suggested by Jon-Egil Korsvold.

1990-07-22: v1.30.

Download (33K).

MENUX — 15K, memory efficient menu with mouse support.

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[added 1998-03-05, updated 2005-06-18]

Menux is an older (1991) menu that's small (15K) and has built-in configuration. Includes mouse support, submenu capability, and zero memory usage during program execution.

Other features:

Notes: Although you initially run MENUX.COM to create menus, remember to use the generated MENU.BAT to actually start your menu. Submenu creation is not entirely intuitive; here's a tip from a reader:

Copy to (or whatever you like to call it with an x before the . ), start and make a menu for it (then it will make a bat file named my.bat), make last entry menu.bat. Now you can call my.bat from menu.bat and menu.bat ( will be restarted when my.bat is finished. I guess Menux will take 40 menu items including submenus...

Author: Yijun Ding (1991). Suggestion and tips by Lars-Erik Sandberg.

1991-08-06 release.

Download (17K).


Medley — 6K menu with easy configuration, submenu capability, more.

* * *

Medley is a small yet remarkably full featured menu program. The program is only 6K and uses a modest 12K RAM when resident. A second program is used for menu/display configuration, or you can manually create and edit menu files with a text editor.

Features: Limitations:

Author: Jim Knopf, aka Jim Button (1992).

1992-07-30 release.

Download (31K).

Power Menu — 3.2K menu requires little memory.

* * *

[updated 2004-06-26]

Power Menu's interface consists of a single screen which can display up to 255 menu items. The plain text configuration file must be edited by user. EXE size is only 3.2K and requires only 1.4 KB RAM when launching programs. Power Menu was designed not to use a recursive batch file when launching programs and is thus better suited to network use than some other programs listed here. Free only for non-commercial use on a single machine; other uses require paid license.

Author: Jem Berkes / PC-Tools.Net, Canada (2004).

Package contains manual and sample INI file
1.0c beta
No manual, no INI

Download both packages

Power Menu page.

More in these pages from Jem E. Berkes.


Except for RUN, most of these programs require too much memory for some uses. Nonetheless, they represent interesting approaches to making the command line more user friendly.

PICK and CHOOSE   — Pick files from popup list to pass to c-line programs.

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[updated 2005-04-16]

PICK and CHOOSE are two similar programs that act as directory browsers for command line programs that lack them or don't support wildcards. For example, suppose you have a directory of text files (*.txt) that you'd like to view in a certain sequence – but your text file viewer requires that you load each file separately on the command line because it lacks its own directory browser. Typing the commands repeatedly is a bit tedious. You supply PICK /CHOOSE the program name (e.g., MYVIEWER) and optionally the extension of the files you want to view (e.g., *.TXT) as parameters. PICK / CHOOSE then pop up a list of matching files in the current directory, and you highlight a file to pass to the viewing program.

Comparative notes:

Authors: PICK – Bob Ferguson, Netherlands (2000); CHOOSE – Alan Bretzin (1992).



More in these pages from Bob Ferguson.

RUN — Launch programs using pop-up list.

* * *

Run is a simple program execution aid. RUN pops up a list of EXE, COM, and BAT files contained in the current directory (or any directory if you supply a path on the command line). Scroll or jump through the list using the cursor, Home, End and Page keys. Simply highlight and launch a selected program or press its short-cut letter. You can filter the list by passing RUN an executable wildcard (e.g., RUN *.bat displays only batch files.). There are no hidden "costs" to using RUN (no memory overhead, doesn't load a new command processor); it passes commands to DOS and then kills itself. Documentation is sparse.

USAGE: RUN [drive:\][path\][filespec]

Limitations: Does not allow addition of program parameters.

Author: Bremer Corporation (1995). Suggested by Bjørn Simonsen.

1995-01-02: v7.0a.

Download (13K).

EXEC — Allows execution of a program from any directory.

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[updated 2004-06-27]

Execute any program from any directory without typing its path. Creates a control file to store program locations. You can pass parameters to programs when executing with EXEC. If you are unsure of a program's name you can type a substring, and EXEC will list possible alternatives. A drawback of this feature is that EXEC always queries the user if the name is correct. It would be nice if there was an option that made using EXEC a less interactive affair. If you are running under DOS, EXEC also has an option to launch Windows and run a Windows program (this doesn't work in a DOS box under Windows).

Notes: 1) Not all programs will launch using EXEC. 2) The EXEC control file is generated for one drive only. Workaround: Since the control file is a text file you can generate separate control files for each drive, and then join them into a master control file.

Author: Wayne Chestnut (1996).

1996-10-18: v2.0. Part of the DOSUT package. Also see the included companion program EX, which doesn't use a data file.

Download (473K).

Also see: LINK/LN, next item, for a different approach to the "PATH problem".

LINK/LN — Link executable files to file names in other directories.

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[added 1998-10-03, updated 2005-04-10]

reviewed by Howard Schwartz (10-2-98)

In Unix, the "ln" program lets you link a real file in directory A, to a filename in directory B. Within directory B, the filename "points to" the real file and reacts (to commands) exactly like it was the real file. LINK/LN allows you to link executable files (i.e., exe and com files) to file names in other directories, within DOS (using a tool like bat2exec, you can also create links for bat files). Why would you want to do this? Doing so lets you execute programs from any directory, without the problems related to DOS's PATH variable. To execute programs in any directory, DOS has you set the PATH variable to all directories containing executable programs. However:

Using LINK/LN, you place all your executable file names in, and set PATH to, only ONE directory. Advantages:
  1. Faster execution of programs and less wear on your disk.
  2. Saving environment space and RAM, since the PATH variable need contain only one directory.
  3. Saving disk space: LINK/LN stores a filename, not a real file, in a directory. This requires about 12 bytes instead of the minimum 2 Kbytes or so (1 cluster) required for a file of any size.
  4. For convenience or clarity, you may wish a file to show up in different directories, with different names. You can link a file to file names in one or many directories, using any file names you want.

Author: Oliver Fromme, Germany (1994).

1994-10-29: v1.1. Free only for private use.

Download (25K). Note that, which is still widely available, contains a bad bug.

More in these pages from Oliver Fromme.

X (X.COM) — Run programs from ZIP file.

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[added 1998-03-11, updated 2006-03-14]

With multi-gigabyte drives now common, this program may appear dated. But if you still have limited disk space, or if you dislike leaving tens or hundreds of rarely used DOS programs scattered on your disk, you might find X very useful. With a simple command, it executes zipped programs. To set X up, simply pack desired programs (COM, EXE, BAT) into a single ZIP file (e.g., and add an environment variable to autoexec.bat [set comlib=PATH\]. You can then run any program contained in the ZIP file. Requires PKZIP/PKUNZIP 1.x or 2.x.

How it works, from the docs:
for example: X WHEREIS *.bat
  1. A temp directory is created in the root directory of C:\
  2. X spawns off PKUNZIP.EXE to extract WHEREIS.*
  3. If more than one WHEREIS.* file exists, give the user an error message telling them that the names must be unique.
  4. If the extracted file is a BATCH file spawn a second copy of COMMAND.COM and execute it, Else spawn the program that was extracted.
  5. Delete all files in the temporary directory.
  6. Delete the temporary directory.

Limitations: Programs that require external support / config files, or programs that modify themselves, may not work as expected. If you're already running disk compression software like Stacker or Double Space, X.COM won't save you much disk space. Requires around 30K during program execution.

Author: Keith Ledbetter (1993).

1993-03-27: v3.1. Donationware.

Download (17K).

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