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While installing a third-party software, it asks me to add something to the PATH environment to the operating system. How to do that under Windows 7.

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migrated from Jul 2 '12 at 19:19

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

I do this using Rapid Environment Editor which is a bit easier than using the rather small Window UI – David Heffernan Jul 2 '12 at 20:50

Start > Control Panel > System > System Properties > Advanced > Environment Variables

Go to the box at the bottom and scroll down to where it says: PATH Highlight it, click edit, and append your new PATH data to the string. Be sure to add a semi-colon at the end before adding your new string. Look at the rest of the PATH string to understand this.

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You could just type "SETX" "ENV_VAR" "Value" on command-prompt to set new enviroment variables on Windows.

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That is untrue. It will actually only affect the current process (usually the command processor cmd.exe in this case) and its sub-processes. It won't affect the system or even the user variables in any way outside that scope. – 0xC0000022L Jul 2 '12 at 19:46
@STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED ops, that is true, edited it to SETX command, which is permanent. – Diogo Jul 2 '12 at 20:02
Good one, also mentioned in the answer over at SO I referenced. +1 :) – 0xC0000022L Jul 2 '12 at 21:46

In addition to the existing answer I think it is noteworthy to point out the registry locations. The global environment variables are stored in:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment

the user-specific ones are stored in:


(or HKEY_USERS\<USER-SID>\Environment, in case you want to modify it for other logged-on users).

Refer to this question and the accepted answer for how to tell all running programs that you changed the environment. This is done by broadcasting a special window message.

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You asked for software, so may I recommend EnvMan.

I use it all the time, and it provides a nice way to manage your path. Make sure to run it as administrator.

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