Is there a way to set environment variables for a single command on Windows like ENVVAR=abc command on Unix?

Variables set by set command on Windows seem to remain for the following commands, but this is not what I want.

  • I think you will have to unset them yourself.
    – Zina
    Mar 6, 2016 at 17:36
  • Not a duplicate - that other one is specific to CMD, this does not exclude powershell Apr 20, 2021 at 10:01

1 Answer 1


Is there a way to set environment variables for a single command?

From the current cmd shell:

You have to clear the variable yourself.

set ENVVAR=abc && dir & set ENVVAR=

From a batch file:

You can use setlocal and endlocal.

@echo off
  set ENVVAR=abc && dir

Use a child cmd shell:

You can use cmd /c to create a child shell.

The variable is set in the child shell and doesn't affect the parent shell (as pointed out in a comment by jpmc26).

cmd /C "set ENVVAR=abc && dir"

Further Reading

  • An A-Z Index of the Windows CMD command line - An excellent reference for all things Windows cmd line related.
  • cmd - Start a new CMD shell and (optionally) run a command/executable program.
  • endlocal - End localisation of environment changes in a batch file. Pass variables from one batch file to another.
  • redirection - Redirection operators.
  • set - Display, set, or remove CMD environment variables. Changes made with SET will remain only for the duration of the current CMD session.
  • setlocal - Set options to control the visibility of environment variables in a batch file.
  • 1
    Another option is to launch a separate cmd process and set them there. E.g., cmd /C "set ENVVAR=abc && dir". Since it won't affect the parent process, it will be effectively "cleared" on exit.
    – jpmc26
    Mar 6, 2016 at 19:48
  • @jpmc26 Good one. Thanks. Added to answer.
    – DavidPostill
    Mar 6, 2016 at 20:26
  • That first method won't clear the variable if the command fails.
    – nobody
    Mar 6, 2016 at 22:36
  • @AndrewMedico Thanks. Good point. Answer fixed.
    – DavidPostill
    Mar 6, 2016 at 22:53

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