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Background: Arguments in general

Our scripting column this month explains how to use an important object collection in Windows Script Host: named arguments.

Arguments are on-the-fly refinements you can make to a script so you don't have to hard code everything. Without arguments you could not, for example, choose the server against which you wanted to run a script. You would have to edit the code every time you wanted to point the script at a different server.

When you supply arguments to a script, they're stored in the WshArguments collection in a memory area available to the script; they're not persistent. Windows Script Host (WSH) identifies individual arguments according to where the spaces are, so if an argument is more than one word you must include it in quotation marks.

Arguments are organized in memory according to their index number or the order in which they were supplied to the script. Therefore, if you have myscript.vbs and it takes three arguments, the input and the storage would look something like this:

Myscript.vbs server1 server2 server3

Accordingly, to refer to Server2 in your script, you would need to refer to Wscript.Arguments.Item(1). Even if you had only one argument, you'd still need its index number to refer to it in the script. Most often, you'd assign the value of this particular argument to a variable so you wouldn't have to remember the index number.

Scripting School: Windows Script Host arguments

  Background: Arguments in general
  The value of named arguments
  Supporting optional arguments
  Mixing argument types

Read Christa's previous columns:
Beginner's guide to scripting
It's time to increase your scripting expertise
Scripting: Connect users to network resources
Scripting School: More on connecting to network resources
Scripting School: Find objects with Windows Scripting Host

Christa Anderson
When Christa Anderson began working with Windows Server operating systems in 1992, she became increasingly interested in finding more efficient and flexible ways of performing routine tasks. Christa has written extensively about administrative scripting and taught technical sessions on the subject at conferences such as Comdex and CeBIT, helping people who had never done any scripting to write their own scripts in half a day. In addition to her interest in scripting Windows management, Christa is an authority on server-based computing and the program manager for Terminal Services licensing in Longhorn. If you have a scripting question for Christa, please e-mail her at

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