Using special characters in C$SYSTEM command line

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PROBLEM

A call to C$SYSTEM fails when the command contains special characters like ‘&’:

CALL "C$SYSTEM" USING "START C:\TEMP\MF&2019.XLSX" 225
                GIVING RETURN-VAL

The following error is recieved. Only part of the command is recognized so the file cannot be found.

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RESOLUTION

Windows command shell will recognise the ampersand as a special character. An escape character is needed in the command line to enable it to work. For example using the previous command with the escape character will look like this:

CALL "C$SYSTEM" USING "START C:\TEMP\MF^&2019.XLSX" 96
                GIVING RETURN-VAL

Adding the escape character before a command symbol allows it to be treated as ordinary text. This applies to the following characters also:

^ & < > | ‘ ` , ; = ( )

Other characters may require a different escape character, like a backslash, depending on the command line you are executing.

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