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Execute a DOS command and capture the output

   

Here's a tip from Joe Donth that shows how to run and capture the output of a "DOS" command using cmd.exe (NT systems only?).

It works by running cmd.exe with the command to be run passed in CommandLine with the current directory optionally passed in the Work. The command is run and the output is returned as a string.

function GetDosOutput(CommandLine: string; Work: string = 'C:\'): string;
var
  SA: TSecurityAttributes;
  SI: TStartupInfo;
  PI: TProcessInformation;
  StdOutPipeRead, StdOutPipeWrite: THandle;
  WasOK: Boolean;
  Buffer: array[0..255] of AnsiChar;
  BytesRead: Cardinal;
  WorkDir: string;
  Handle: Boolean;
begin
  Result := '';
  with SA do begin
    nLength := SizeOf(SA);
    bInheritHandle := True;
    lpSecurityDescriptor := nil;
  end;
  CreatePipe(StdOutPipeRead, StdOutPipeWrite, @SA, 0);
  try
    with SI do
    begin
      FillChar(SI, SizeOf(SI), 0);
      cb := SizeOf(SI);
      dwFlags := STARTF_USESHOWWINDOW or STARTF_USESTDHANDLES;
      wShowWindow := SW_HIDE;
      hStdInput := GetStdHandle(STD_INPUT_HANDLE); // don't redirect stdin
      hStdOutput := StdOutPipeWrite;
      hStdError := StdOutPipeWrite;
    end;
    WorkDir := Work;
    Handle := CreateProcess(nil, PChar('cmd.exe /C ' + CommandLine),
                            nil, nil, True, 0, nil,
                            PChar(WorkDir), SI, PI);
    CloseHandle(StdOutPipeWrite);
    if Handle then
      try
        repeat
          WasOK := ReadFile(StdOutPipeRead, Buffer, 255, BytesRead, nil);
          if BytesRead > 0 then
          begin
            Buffer[BytesRead] := #0;
            Result := Result + Buffer;
          end;
        until not WasOK or (BytesRead = 0);
        WaitForSingleObject(PI.hProcess, INFINITE);
      finally
        CloseHandle(PI.hThread);
        CloseHandle(PI.hProcess);
      end;
  finally
    CloseHandle(StdOutPipeRead);
  end;
end;

To test it, drop a TMemo, a TEdit and a TButton on a form. Set the button's click event handler as follows:

procedure TForm1.Button1Click(Sender: TObject);
begin
  Memo1.Text := GetDosOutput(Edit1.Text);
end;

Type the required command in the edit box, e.g. Help DIR, and click the button to display the output in the memo control.

Author: Joe Donth
Contributor: Joe Donth
Added: 2008-03-31
Last updated: 2009-12-26

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