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Once upon a lifetime ago (in a much different phase of my career) I was pretty good at handling MS-DOS and MS Windows (3.x ... pre-NT, pre-XP, etc) technical support.

For the last 14 years I've focused primarily on Linux and other UNIX systems. A year or so ago I bought a PC laptop and actually left MS Windows XP running on it. (Okay, I've partitioned it and have Debian on the other side). Mostly I've used it to play Might & Magic VI and WoW. Other than that I run Firefox and PuTTY.

Recently I've also been doing some scripting on it ... using the Python (2.6) and gVIM. So NOW I want to know ...

... where do I put my personal start-up settings? Where do I had C:\PYTHON26 to my %PATH%? Where does my _VIMRC go? Does JP Software still exist? Should I get the latest 4DOS?

(I am, for now, resisting the urge to install Cygwin32 and just use it for everything ... though that's tempting, as is the notion of installing coLinux).

(Note this system is NOT connected nor configured for any sort of MS Windows domain networking at all. So any network profile management stuff is useless to me).

I'd prefer to do this in my own configuration files and not in AUTOEXEC.BAT AUTOEXEC.CMD CONFIG.SYS or any of those (if those are even still honored by MS Windows in this GUI ridden realm/era).

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Your path variable hides in the system properties window. If you right click on my computer and choose properties then switch to the advanced tab and click environment variables you'll find path in the list.

I'd guess your vimrc file will be hiding under my documents or possibly application data some where in c:\documents and settings\username application data is a hidden folder so you'll need to unhide it by going into tools folder options view and selecting show hidden files and folders.

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Your environment variables are usually set in the Registry, HKCU\Environment\ (system-wide ones go in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment\). Both can be accessed through System Properties -> Advanced, like Col said.

The "home directory", $HOME, is your user profile, %UserProfile% (usually C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\ or C:\Users\<user>\). Some programs put settings directly to the profile folder (_vimrc goes there), others choose to use %AppData% (usually %UserProfile%\Application Data).

If you want a .cmd/.bat script to be automatically run every time you open Command Prompt, put its path in the AutoRun value at HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor\.

Windows XP does read AUTOEXEC.BAT and AUTOEXEC.NT, but only for setting environment variables.

Startup programs (and anything else that can be opened) can go to Start Menu\Programs\Startup\, or if you prefer, Registry's HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Run\.

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