Thanks Romeo29 & Amazing Andrew
I finally got it to work by moving the test folder to c:\ and typing either
ads.txt:np.exe or start c:\test\
ads.txt:np.exe [both ways work I found out by "accident"]
I'm still confused about ads, but I understand the start command much better, which was really what my question was about.
I tried using the tilde [`] but I kept getting the message "The system cannot find the file c:\documen~\user\mydocum~\test\ads.txt:np.exe." I also tried putting the forward slash [/] before the file name but "The system cannot find the file c:\documen~\user\mydocum~\test/ads.txt:np.exe" I'm a dyslexic typist so long paths can defeat me. I typed them umpteen times and they looked correct. I copied the messages above from the command prompt window, just substituting user for my username once pasted. So those are the paths I typed that didn't work.
I've tried Streams by SysInternals, but it didn't find any ads in folders where I know the files have ads - maybe it's not SP3 ready. AlternateStreamView
listed the ads's on my Word docs that Streams didn't. To this non-expert it seems like a nice little freeware utility. I always like utilities that let you save the list they generate and this one gives you text/html/csv/xml as options. I'll take a look at Stream Viewer. I also came across a way to add a streams tab to file properties, but I don't remember where or how. It's in my notes somewhere
My original interest in ADS was if Word's summary and other info [such as printdate] were in those files, couldn't a program be written [or had one been written] that would allow separating the files in a folder into printed and not printed? A database-type or file search program might be able to use the keywords in the summary tab. I used to be able to search by the keywords in my Word docs [Windows for Workgroups 3.1], but I don't see much use in being able to print the keywords per document or in the document. [You also ought to be able to highlight a word and click a button and add it to your keyword list w/out opening the properties box ]
The hacking/infection potential is also of concern, but [if I understand what I've read] for someone besides me to put an exe in an ADS file on my computer at this point they'd have to be skillful and specifically targeting my computer.
Another concern [probably just theoretical] would be if some program added lots & lots of info to the ads of the files they generate since Explorer doesn't show you the size of the ads files.
I apologize for not being clearer about my question and the misleading title topic. It started out as "2 Questions about ADS". When I decided one question was enough I should have changed it to "problem w/start command and ADS".