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When I try to run Chrome via Start → Run → "chrome", I succeed.

However, I fail when I'm trying to run the Beyond Compare program via Start → Run → "bcompare", as I saw the executable is bcompare.exe.

Why is that?

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What happens when you type "beyond..." Perhaps Windows is searching the display name, not the file name –  uSlackr Sep 9 '11 at 12:58
    
I receive the same error –  waka Sep 9 '11 at 13:00
    
What version of windows is this? –  uSlackr Sep 9 '11 at 13:35
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

When running programs by just their name, Windows traditionally searches all directories listed in the %PATH% environment variable.

C:\> set path
PATH=C:\WINDOWS;C:\WINDOWS\System32;C:\Program Files\PuTTY;C:\Perl;C:\Program Files\Python
C:\>

Since many programs install to their own directories, adding everything to %PATH% would be very complicated. For this, some Windows components – including the Run... dialog – search a second location, called App Paths. For example, when you installed Chrome, it registered itself in the Registry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\Chrome.exe. You can see it with Registry Editor (run regedit).

When you try to run bcompare, it fails because Beyond Compare has not registered itself under App Paths. If you want, you can create the key and values manually with Regedit:

  • key HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    • subkey App Paths
      • subkey bcompare.exe
        • value (default) with data C:\Program Files\..........\bcompare.exe
          Replace ..... with the correct path, of course.
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You are a genius, thanks, where did You learn that? can You recommend me something to make better use of regedit? thanks in advance –  waka Sep 9 '11 at 13:13
    
+1 Never knew that. –  paradroid Sep 9 '11 at 14:21
    
Paths have been a standard part of Windows OSes for quite some time. This information is just something you pick up over time and with experience. –  music2myear Sep 9 '11 at 15:43
1  
"...something you pick up over years of fixing Windows problems for yourself, your family, friends, "friends", teachers, and random guys on IRC/forums/SU." –  grawity Sep 10 '11 at 10:15
    
LOL @ " "friends" ". –  music2myear Sep 12 '11 at 14:11
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