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Command prompt cannot find such common commands as ping, ipconfig etc until I navigate to system32. But PATH variable contains %SystemRoot%\System32\.

What problem could be?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you're sure that the contents of PATH variable are correct, then check the registry:

  1. Open regedit.exe
  2. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment
  3. What's the type of "Path" registry key? If it's not not REG_EXPAND_SZ then this could be the problem.
  4. You can change it to REG_EXPAND_SZ by doing this:

      * Double Click “Path” and copy it’s Data Value “…%SystemRoot%system32;%SystemRoot%; …”
      * Delete the “Path”
      * Create New > Expandable String Value
      * Give “Path” as the name, double click it, and Paste the value copied in the previous step to the “Value Data” field
  5. Close the Regedit window and restart
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Thank you! It worked. Anyway, could you explain the difference? – DixonD Nov 24 '10 at 9:49
They are just different Registry Value Types. It could be that some recently installed program has changed the type to REG_SZ which makes the Path variable unusuable. So if you can recall what you have recently installed then you can test which installer messes it up :) – Siim K Nov 24 '10 at 10:52
But why does REG_SZ type make the Path variable unusable? – DixonD Nov 24 '10 at 11:48
Because then the command prompt interpreter does not replace the %variables% (like %SystemRoot%) variable with its value. Probably you could use REG_SZ type but then you'd have to write out the full paths, i.e. c:\windows\system32 instead of %SystemRoot%\System32\ – Siim K Nov 24 '10 at 12:04

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