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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!

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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.

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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

C:\Windows\System32\java.exe

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

C:\Windows\SysWOW64\java.exe

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.

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