Always worth a bit of time to automate a repetitive process,  and I so here I go again.  Here is a automation tool using windows shell.

Goal –  go through two large firewall configs,  and find every spot where the IP addresses show up.  End result is data processed from the files,  and results put into another file, only matching the strings I am looking for.

So, how does it work?

It is a single line command using FOR.  The input into the for command, the switches and tokens=2,3*  means take the second data field in each line of the file.  See a part of fire.txt here:




So that means process the second field, which is the IP address,  assign to variable %i.   also third field, it will assign the next letter variable (%j in this case). %j never got used, as there is no third field (per line).   Delims=,  means look for comma as the separator,  and indeed there is a comma separator.  I could have used a period . separator,  and then it would get a certain part of the ip address,  say I only wanted the third octet of the IP address to get listed in a file.

You can see ‘fire.txt’ is specified as the file to work on, and also running_config_ext.   The work comes at the @ sign,  so @find is the thing that is ran for each line.


find “%i” running_config_ext >> ext_rules.txt    does basically run the find command on each line of text,  then output the results to ext_rules.txt


Here is the for command I used.  I ran it twice,  one for each file.

C:\sysinternals>FOR /F “eol=; tokens=2,3* delims=, ” %i in (fire.txt) do @find “%i” running_config_ext >> ext_rules.txt

C:\sysinternals>FOR /F “eol=; tokens=2,3* delims=, ” %i in (fire.txt) do @find “%i” running_config_int >> int_rules.txt

To get help on “for” command, use below switch.  Bonus, it also has example.  The example,  I end up using all the time. . .so lame,  I can’t remember the syntax. Even though I have used the stupid thing for over 15 years!  I do know it pretty well though after using it so often.  🙂

C:\sysinternals>for /?

Runs a specified command for each file in a set of files.


FOR %variable IN (set) DO command [command-parameters]


  %variable  Specifies a single letter replaceable parameter.

  (set)      Specifies a set of one or more files.  Wildcards may be used.

  command    Specifies the command to carry out for each file.


             Specifies parameters or switches for the specified command.


To use the FOR command in a batch program, specify %%variable instead

of %variable.  Variable names are case sensitive, so %i is different

from %I.


If Command Extensions are enabled, the following additional

forms of the FOR command are supported:


FOR /D %variable IN (set) DO command [command-parameters]


    If set contains wildcards, then specifies to match against directory

    names instead of file names.


FOR /R [[drive:]path] %variable IN (set) DO command [command-parameters]


    Walks the directory tree rooted at [drive:]path, executing the FOR

    statement in each directory of the tree.  If no directory

    specification is specified after /R then the current directory is

    assumed.  If set is just a single period (.) character then it

    will just enumerate the directory tree.


FOR /L %variable IN (start,step,end) DO command [command-parameters]


    The set is a sequence of numbers from start to end, by step amount.

    So (1,1,5) would generate the sequence 1 2 3 4 5 and (5,-1,1) would

    generate the sequence (5 4 3 2 1)


FOR /F [“options”] %variable IN (file-set) DO command [command-parameters]

FOR /F [“options”] %variable IN (“string”) DO command [command-parameters]

FOR /F [“options”] %variable IN (‘command’) DO command [command-parameters]


    or, if usebackq option present:


FOR /F [“options”] %variable IN (file-set) DO command [command-parameters]

FOR /F [“options”] %variable IN (‘string’) DO command [command-parameters]

FOR /F [“options”] %variable IN (`command`) DO command [command-parameters]


    file-set is one or more file names.  Each file is opened, read

    and processed before going on to the next file in file-set.

    Processing consists of reading in the file, breaking it up into

    individual lines of text and then parsing each line into zero or

    more tokens.  The body of the for loop is then called with the

    variable value(s) set to the found token string(s).  By default, /F

    passes the first blank separated token from each line of each file.

    Blank lines are skipped.  You can override the default parsing

    behavior by specifying the optional “options” parameter.  This

    is a quoted string which contains one or more keywords to specify

    different parsing options.  The keywords are:


        eol=c           – specifies an end of line comment character

                          (just one)

        skip=n          – specifies the number of lines to skip at the

                          beginning of the file.

        delims=xxx      – specifies a delimiter set.  This replaces the

                          default delimiter set of space and tab.

        tokens=x,y,m-n  – specifies which tokens from each line are to

                          be passed to the for body for each iteration.

                          This will cause additional variable names to

                          be allocated.  The m-n form is a range,

                          specifying the mth through the nth tokens.  If

                          the last character in the tokens= string is an

                          asterisk, then an additional variable is

                          allocated and receives the remaining text on

                          the line after the last token parsed.

        usebackq        – specifies that the new semantics are in force,

                          where a back quoted string is executed as a

                          command and a single quoted string is a

                          literal string command and allows the use of

                          double quotes to quote file names in



    Some examples might help:


FOR /F “eol=; tokens=2,3* delims=, ” %i in (myfile.txt) do @echo %i %j %k


    would parse each line in myfile.txt, ignoring lines that begin with

    a semicolon, passing the 2nd and 3rd token from each line to the for

    body, with tokens delimited by commas and/or spaces.  Notice the for

    body statements reference %i to get the 2nd token, %j to get the

    3rd token, and %k to get all remaining tokens after the 3rd.  For

    file names that contain spaces, you need to quote the filenames with

    double quotes.  In order to use double quotes in this manner, you also

    need to use the usebackq option, otherwise the double quotes will be

    interpreted as defining a literal string to parse.


    %i is explicitly declared in the for statement and the %j and %k

    are implicitly declared via the tokens= option.  You can specify up

    to 26 tokens via the tokens= line, provided it does not cause an

    attempt to declare a variable higher than the letter ‘z’ or ‘Z’.

    Remember, FOR variables are single-letter, case sensitive, global,

    and you can’t have more than 52 total active at any one time.


    You can also use the FOR /F parsing logic on an immediate string, by

    making the file-set between the parenthesis a quoted string,

    using single quote characters.  It will be treated as a single line

    of input from a file and parsed.


    Finally, you can use the FOR /F command to parse the output of a

    command.  You do this by making the file-set between the

    parenthesis a back quoted string.  It will be treated as a command

    line, which is passed to a child CMD.EXE and the output is captured

    into memory and parsed as if it was a file.  So the following



      FOR /F “usebackq delims==” %i IN (`set`) DO @echo %i


    would enumerate the environment variable names in the current



In addition, substitution of FOR variable references has been enhanced.

You can now use the following optional syntax:


    %~I         – expands %I removing any surrounding quotes (“)

    %~fI        – expands %I to a fully qualified path name

    %~dI        – expands %I to a drive letter only

    %~pI        – expands %I to a path only

    %~nI        – expands %I to a file name only

    %~xI        – expands %I to a file extension only

    %~sI        – expanded path contains short names only

    %~aI        – expands %I to file attributes of file

    %~tI        – expands %I to date/time of file

    %~zI        – expands %I to size of file

    %~$PATH:I   – searches the directories listed in the PATH

                   environment variable and expands %I to the

                   fully qualified name of the first one found.

                   If the environment variable name is not

                   defined or the file is not found by the

                   search, then this modifier expands to the

                   empty string


The modifiers can be combined to get compound results:


    %~dpI       – expands %I to a drive letter and path only

    %~nxI       – expands %I to a file name and extension only

    %~fsI       – expands %I to a full path name with short names only

    %~dp$PATH:I – searches the directories listed in the PATH

                   environment variable for %I and expands to the

                   drive letter and path of the first one found.

    %~ftzaI     – expands %I to a DIR like output line


In the above examples %I and PATH can be replaced by other valid

values.  The %~ syntax is terminated by a valid FOR variable name.

Picking upper case variable names like %I makes it more readable and

avoids confusion with the modifiers, which are not case sensitive.

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