I installed an application that screwed my PATH variable. Now I cannot run anything from the command prompt. Is there any way I can restore PATH variable?

  • Had the same thing happen to me after I installed Delphi 7 ent. Luckily I'm running Windows 7 and some other fella showed me the way at another thread! – k9dog Jan 19 '13 at 21:55

Got the answer on Experts Exchange. Here is the excerpt:

Start regedit and check for the "Path" value in HKLM\System\ControlSet<xx>\Control\Session Manager\Environment (replace <xx> with all numbered ControlSet entries that are present. No need to check CurrentControlSet, it's one of the ControlSetxx keys, and you won't find anything under there.)

These are the "Last Know Good" configurations; if you're lucky, there's still one left that has a path variable.

If not, the bare minimum required is this:

  • 2
    Can't view the above solution without providing experts-exchange.com some payment details :( – AffineMesh Feb 26 '10 at 5:14
  • Please update your answer with some details of what you found in that link. – hlovdal Feb 26 '10 at 15:57
  • For the record, this also works on Windows 7. – Corey Ogburn May 9 '13 at 14:46

The default environment variables are stored in the registry under following key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment

Set the path variable to its default value here:


A system restore should restore the PATH variable.


Windows XP System Environment Variables

The key is

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment

The value is

Path REG_EXPAND_SZ %SystemRoot%\;%SystemRoot%\system32\;%SystemRoot%\system32\wbem\

That's it.

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