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This is a very basic question, but I can't find an answer. I want to set an environment variable from the command prompt and then be able to access it globally (for instance, I should see it by going to system -> environment variables).

When I use the set command, it isn't accessible in a new cmd session.

set NEWVAR=SOMETHING
echo %NEWVAR%

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2 Answers 2

up vote 58 down vote accepted

To make the environment variable accessible globally you need to set it in the registry. As you've realised by just using:

set NEWVAR=SOMETHING

you are just setting it in the current process space.

According to this page you can use the setx command:

setx NEWVAR SOMETHING

setx is built into Windows 7, but for older versions may only be available if you install the Windows Resource Kit

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It turns out that setx is also built into windows 7. –  Shane Mar 25 '10 at 11:30

We can also use "setx var variable /M" to set the var to system environment variable level instead of user level

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