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When clicking on "Advanced system settings", I need to login as the administrator and hence only edit the administrators environment variables (in addition to the machine wide ones). How do I edit the environment variables of a standard user?


With the migration to Windows 7, I decided to work as a standard user instead of an unprivileged administrator. Works well so far but I encountered a tiny problem:

When I try to change per user environment variables via the control panel I have to login as an administrator. But since I run that part of the control panel as the administrator I can only edit the administrators variables.

How am I supposed to edit my own environment variables? Without resorting to extreme measures, such as editing the registry (as suggested in "Is there any command line tool that can be used to edit environment variables in Windows?" )

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up vote 126 down vote accepted

Just type “environment” into the start menu (or press Win+W in Windows 8 and search there). One option you are presented will be “Edit environment variables for your account”.

Similarly, searching for “environment” in the control panel yields that option, too.

Generally, I have noticed that simply searching for something in the start menu or control panel is much faster than trying to remember a series of icons, dialogs, etc. one has to access to find something. At least for the vast majority of tasks1.

A little digging yields that

rundll32 sysdm.cpl,EditEnvironmentVariables

is the command used to present that dialog. You can put a shortcut to that somewhere if you like.

1 There are exceptions, such as installing a loopback network adapter. I looked for a few minutes before finally finding how to do that. But those things are hardly common scenarios :-)

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Thanks! Being able to search the control panel is indeed one of the most useful features of Vista/7. Also thx for the rundll shortcut. – SealedSun Aug 19 '09 at 12:37
This does not function for Admin users, right? I do not have that item. – EASI Apr 28 '13 at 14:38
awesome rundll shortcut man! – Kristof Feys Feb 26 '14 at 12:22
I could not find "environment" in either the start menu or Control Panel. But still the command line you posted worked well. Perhaps specific company restrictions were in place. – sancho.s Apr 24 '15 at 21:53
You can check with set on the commandline if the changes you made are active. If not restarting the commandline should be enough to activate your changes to the environment values. – asmaier Aug 27 '15 at 13:10

In addition to searching (as Johannes mentioned), "Change my environment variables" is listed under "Tasks" on the "User Accounts" control panel.

From the command line, you can create/modify persistent environment variables using the setx command, which is included in Windows Vista (and presumably Windows 7 too) and was part of the Windows Resource Kit Tools before that.

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+1 for setx. This might be the answer to the somewhat related question I posted in the question. – SealedSun Aug 19 '09 at 12:40
+1. Nice to know, definitely. – Joey Aug 19 '09 at 13:56

It is possible with the Rapid Environment Editor.

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Nice little utility. The path error checking is a nice bonus, as is the possibility to edit the environment variables for any user on your computer - far more handy then to fiddle in the registry directly. – parvus Oct 3 '13 at 5:21

In case you wish to edit an environment variable for a particular account but that variable is a part of system variables (which might be the case if you are setting path for a particular plugin) e.g. Path in Windows, you can achieve this by appending a semi-colon, if required, followed by %variable_value% like so:

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Refer solution provided here...

Quick tip: Use setx command

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The correct way to refer to another answer is to vote to close this question as a duplicate of the other one (when you have enough reputation), not to write an answer pointing to your own answer in another question. – DavidPostill May 29 at 9:55

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