Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently made some system changes - in particular, installing SQL Server 2012 Developer (though I can't swear that this is what caused the problem). When I rebooted, I noticed that all my path information seemed to have disappeared. Applications requiring path information fail to start.

If I go to a command window and type "echo %path%", I see a list of just three seemingly unrelated folders. (The second folder is one that I created manually):

*PATH=C:\Program Files\Mercurial;C:\MyLibs;C:\Program Files\CVSNT*

This path is just my user-define path variables, missing the system-defined ones.

I can't find any command script, autoexec, config, or anything else that sets the path this way. I tried to go into advanced settings by right-clicking Computer, selecting Properties, and clicking Advanced System Settings. That gives me the error "Windows cannot find '%windir%\system32\systempropertiesadvanced.exe'. ...*"

The fact that this system executable isn't found by Windows seems to indicate that other environment variables besides PATH are also changed. However, when I located and manually ran the properties .exe mentioned above, I see that it lists all the variable values that it should. I conclude that something must change the values after the startup process has finished running.

How can I find out what is different in my network vs. non-network startup profiles that would cause this?

share|improve this question
If it's not resolving %windir% properly then you have other environment variables broken, not just path. You can open advanced system properties by navigating directly to that .exe in explorer and try to sort it that way. – Josh Jan 4 '13 at 18:18
@Josh - I did run the advanced system properties manually. In there, I can see that that the settings for things such as PATH are intact. So, something must be undoing them subsequently. – Buggieboy Jan 4 '13 at 19:55

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.