Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Until a few days ago, I was able to run java applications from the command line, then something broke. I traced the problem down to being unable to invoke java.exe from c:\Windows\System32. Even if I give the full pathname (c:\windows\system32\java.exe) it still wont execute "'c:\Windows\System32\java.exe' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.". I tried coping it to a different name in the same directory but it still wouldn't work. Only when I copied to java.exe to a different directory & putting that dir into PATH did I finally get it to work so this is my workaround solution but I would still like to know why it stopped executing from c:\Windows\System32 after months of being happy there!

share|improve this question
I'm not sure how java.exe got into Windows\System32 in the first place but this wasn't an install question. I want to know why java.exe is executable from any directory except this one. –  Its me Feb 1 '13 at 21:02
@Karan The Windows installer for Oracle/Sun java does place a copy of the executable in C:\Windows\System32, at least on my Windows 7 machine. This is in addition to the full install located in C:\Program Files\Java –  Darth Android Feb 1 '13 at 21:48
@DarthAndroid: You're right, seems it does place a dummy java.exe in system32. –  Karan Feb 1 '13 at 22:59

2 Answers 2

If you want to execute java form the command line, you should add it to your path. Go to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced System Settings, then go to the Advanced tab and click on Environment Variables. Look for the system variable called PATH, and append ;C:\Path\to\java\bin to it. Now you should be able to run java from cmd.exe.

share|improve this answer
java.exe has always been in my PATH. I can execute java now from the CL because I put the new dir into PATH. However, c:\Windows\System32 is also in my PATH but it wont execute java from that location. why? I tried copying other cmds (with new names) into that dir to see if they exexcute & they work fine. So what's up with c:\Windows\System32\java.exe ? –  Its me Feb 4 '13 at 15:27

Your problem may have to do with 64-bit vs 32-bit Java JRE installation. I was having similar problems where I could see


but was unable to run it. I found a thread which hinted that there should be a copy of the file at


for the 64-bit Java to execute from a 32-bit app.

In my case I know a corporate security patch confounded my installation since it worked then didn't work right after I allowed the patch to run.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.