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I have just edited my PATH variable, adding one directory at the end.

When I run CMD.EXE from the start menu and typed PATH, I could see my new directory.

But when I opened a command window by shift-right clicking a folder in windows explorer and choosing 'open command window here', and then typed PATH, I couldn't find my addition.

Why are the contents of the PATH variables different?

How do I set the PATH variable of 'open command window here' command window?

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Tried after a reboot? – HaydnWVN Jul 11 '12 at 16:08
reboot not required.. see my answer below – Heston T. Holtmann Jul 14 '15 at 17:29
No reboot, no process killing. See my answer below ( – Michael Repucci Oct 19 '15 at 16:21
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Like @HaydnWVN said in the comment, I need to reboot the PC. After reboot the new directory appears in the path of 'open command window here'.

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Any way to actually avoid the reboot? – Byrån Mar 30 '13 at 0:00
Yes.. kill the "explorer.exe" shell process; see my details answer below – Heston T. Holtmann Jul 14 '15 at 17:29

Yes... there is a much better and faster solution then Rebooting that works every time.

After you make your change to the System or User Environment vars, Kill the "Explorer.exe" shell process. Windows will restart it again and re-read the latest Environment Vars allowing the "Open Command Window Here" feature to get the new path; or any other var you added/removed/changed.


launch the windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) or the nicer SysInternals Tool (Process Explorer) from:

Find the process "Explorer.exe" and right click and select Kill Process or use the Del key shortcut

Since the Microsoft System Environment editor dialog has sucked since 1995.. I use the following tool to tweak and manage my System Global and User Local Environment Vars;

Rapid Environment Editor: (Donation/Freeware)

Enjoy and Good Luck.

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What happens if you type echo %path% and press enter, in both Windows and compare the difference? I've just added c:\test to my System Variables, right clicked my D drive and done open prompt here then echo %path% does indeed show my extra path...

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Simply close and reopen the Windows Explorer from which you were right-clicking the folder of interest. I started with the solution given by Heston T Holtmann, but found that this is even easier and equally effective on Windows 7.

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