The equals sign is "special" when the DOS shell is processing values from the 
command line, and different versions of DOS may treat it differently.  For 
example, in the FOR command it is basically treated as white space (the same as 
commas and real spaces).  At least in some versions of DOS, the following are 

FOR %f in (1 2 3) DO DIR %f.EXE
FOR %f in (1,2,3) DO DIR %f.EXE
FOR %f in (1=2=3) DO DIR %f.EXE

Also, you can't normally have an equals sign in any part of an environment 
variable (either its name or its contents), though you can sometimes manipulate 
things with double quotes to make it happen (with some versions of DOS, at 

You can also use an equals sign after ECHO with some versions of DOS to write 
an empty line:


In your batch examples, the equals sign is not being treated as a switch 
character, it is be treated (sometimes) as white space.  There's no way your 
batch files will work consistently across different DOSes if you expect them to 
treat equals signs as "regular" characters.
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