To reduce the excessive quantity of paths in the environment variables PATH , just save the whole line out to a notepad, and remove some and test.
Most of them are there so if a shortcut does not have a full path set for the "Target", If the "Start In" is not set in the shortcut correctly or a launch is done oddly their program and its parts and pieces are always found. It is a Failsafe in most situations.
That set of paths WAS limited to less than 255(or260) charachters (if I remember correct) , that changed to 1024 some time long ago, then was patched back in server'03 era to handle 2048 , and supposedly could handle 8096? I am trying to sort out the facts still.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms682653(v=vs.85).aspx here Microsoft says:
"The maximum size of a user-defined environment variable is 32,767
characters. There is no technical limitation on the size of the
environment block. However, there are practical limits depending on
the mechanism used to access the block. For example, a batch file
cannot set a variable that is longer than the maximum command line
At that location ^ they specifically point to the registry location that contains the system paths
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment Must read the rest of it there.
After reading that, I would think it is not length that was the reasons people have broken this, but that removing something that broke how it worked, was what fixed it.
Too many folder paths in Path Variable?
At this location Surfasb states:
BTW, while the OS has a limit of 32,767 for the PATH variable, the
Command Prompt has a much much shorter length, somewhere around 2,000.
I don't know the exact number.
Also see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830473, which discusses the command prompt and batch length for older systems.
To make sure that the entries are correct in there, The wiki has this to say:
%PATH% This variable contains a semicolon-delimited (do not put spaces
in between) list of directories in which the command interpreter will
search for an executable file that matches the given command.
Environment variables that represent paths may be nested within the
PATH variable but only at one level of indirection. If this subpath
environment variable itself contains an environment variable
representing a path, PATH will not expand properly in the variable
Having all the extra paths in there slows certain things down by quite a bit, because it is then forced to look in all those places, before it gives up. Using full paths whenever possible will always be faster, even when batching or using the CMDprompt.
Here is how mine looks, it has been worse.
%SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem;%SYSTEMROOT%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime\QTSystem\
I would toss out quicktime in a heartbeat, and AMDs programs have put an extended path in there before, tossed it, it did not mater.