Open the registry editor (Win+R,
regedit, Enter), and under either of the following keys:
make a new key (right-click
App Paths and choose
Key), and name it whatever shortcut word you want followed by
.exe. With that key selected, double-click "(Default)" in the right hand pane and enter the full path of the executable you want to run.
Now Win+R followed by your shortcut word (without
.exe) and Enter will run that program.
This approach doesn't pollute the
PATH, doesn't subject you to the vagaries of whatever Windows may think you want to find today, and doesn't require any extra software to be installed. The shortcut word needn't match the executable name.
If you do this in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE then it will apply to every user, while HKEY_CURRENT_USER will only apply to you. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, you will find a lot of existing entries to pattern yours after, while under HKEY_CURRENT_USER you may not. (You may even have to create the
App Paths key.)