Command Piped in Root Directory May Hang Machine (82216)
The information in this article applies to:
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0a
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.0
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.2
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.21
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.22
• Microsoft Windows 3.0
• Microsoft Windows 3.0a
• Microsoft Windows 3.1
• Microsoft Windows 3.11
This article was previously published under Q82216
If you run an MS-DOS command in a root directory that contains the maximum
allowable number of directory entries, and redirect the output by using a
pipe character (|), your system may stop responding (hang).
MS-DOS provides the means to direct the output of one command as input to
another using a redirection technique known as "piping." Because MS-DOS is
a single-tasking environment, these pipes are created via temporary files
MS-DOS checks for the presence of an environment variable called TEMP
specifying the drive and directory where such temporary files should be
placed. If no TEMP variable or directory exists, MS-DOS uses the current
If the output from one command is piped to another when the current
directory is a root directory that already contains the maximum number
of directory entries (for example, 512 files for fixed disks,) the
inability to create the temporary files may stop (hang) the machine.
To eliminate this problem, do the following:
• Delete or move some files from the root directory to create space
for additional directory entries.
• Create an X:\TEMP directory and place a SET TEMP=X:\TEMP statement
in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. The temporary files created by the pipe
are then placed in the X:\TEMP directory, where X: is a valid
MS-DOS logical drive.
Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in MS-DOS. We are researching
this problem and will post new information here as it becomes available.
For additional information on command redirection, refer to the
"Microsoft MS-DOS User's Guide and Reference," for version 5.0.
For additional information on the limits of the root directory with
regard to the number of directory entries, query on the following
words in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
directory and limit and entries
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