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Windows 10 brought new PATH environment variable editor, but for some reason, it just stopped working for me.

The odd thing is that path editor is "broken" only for system variables.. in case of User variables, the editor is fine.

System editor:

enter image description here

User Path editor:

enter image description here

As you can see, both are editing Path variable, however both use different editor. This is quite infuriating, have you ever encountered such error?

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  • It's not an error. The system and user PATH variables are different things.
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 17:54
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    They are, however the editor is not, that should be the same because I was editing system Path with the same editor a week ago. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 17:56
  • Ah. OK. Reopened.
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 17:57
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    The new editor is much cleaner and organized, easier to navigate and to make changes. For example load priorities, that is why this bug is quite painful.. while this style of editor (which is inherited from windows 7) is working, it's not, great.. Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 18:08
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    @LoneWanderer The issue is that the first entry on your Path variable starts with a non-built-in environment variable. Move %SystemRoot%\System32 (the third entry) to the front of your path, and this issue will be resolved. Note that in your first screenshot, the background dialog displays the path as %M2_HOME%..., whereas the second displays the path as C:\Users\.... That indicates that USERPROFILE is a built-in Windows environment variable, but M2_HOME is not (This can be verified by observing USERPROFILE isn't listed in HKCU\Environment). See my answer for more details.
    – Jeff G
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 1:08

1 Answer 1

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I was having the exact same issue, and finally figured this out via trial-and-error. The issue is that there is a bug in the Windows 10 Path environment variable parser. In my case, the first entry in my Path environment variable started with an application-defined REG_SZ environment variable (e.g., Path was set to %MyAppPath%\some\subdir;...). From my testing, it appears that the first entry on the Path must not start with a non-built-in environment variable.

For example, if my Path environment variable were set to %SystemRoot%;%MyAppPath%\some\subdir;..., it would be editable in the Path list view editor, since SystemRoot is a built-in environment variable. If you swap the first two paths in that example, I observed the symptom you describe (that editing the Path variable results in opening the standard text editing dialog instead of the Path list editor).

To fix this issue, ensure the first entry in your Path doesn't start with a non-built-in environment variable.

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    Note that this issue has been resolved by Microsoft.
    – Jeff G
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 15:49
  • Jeff G, I still have that problem. How can I get that fix from Microsoft?
    – Holger
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:25
  • Unfortunately, I'm not exactly certain when this fix was rolled out. What I do know is that this symptom is no longer occurring on any of my machines, which are Windows 10 Enterprise 1709 build 16299.904, and Windows 10 Professional 1703 build 15063.1029. Is your system up-to-date? What is your Windows version/OS build #?
    – Jeff G
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 20:33
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    Sorry, but I'm still not able to reproduce. The only way I am able to break the editor is to make the first path in the good dialog ;%CDSROOT%. Then, the old, much less usable dialog pops up. When I remove the semicolon (and quotes), it gets fixed again. Sorry that I couldn't be more help, but hopefully it was either fixed by some patch applied to your computer, or you were able to get help directly from MS.
    – Jeff G
    Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 1:24
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    hello from 2023. Paraphrasing @ChristophRackwitz, I also experienced this issue myself. I'm working on 22H2 dated 25.Oct.2020 OSBuild 19045.2965. And the solution giver here still works. One caveat on the solution. For Windows to display the Editor properly, if your PATH variable has only one entry it must end in a semi-colon. Commented May 28, 2023 at 19:54

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