As a specific example, I was troubleshooting something related to javaws.exe (Java Web Start) and found it in two places:

C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin\javaws.exe



I'm guessing the Java installer put it in both folders. Is it also in the System32 folder because C:\Windows\System32 is in the PATH? Which means you can call javaws from a cmd shell without specifying the absolute path (is that correct?).

My background is mainly Linux, so just trying to understand Windows a little deeper. Thanks!

2 Answers 2


Actually yes,

System32 is in the system path and you can call these apps (executables) in every where.

  • However, it's not recommended on newer versions of Windows.
    – user3463
    Commented Dec 16, 2010 at 16:18
  • I agree Randolph, You should not copy files in system32 manually, If an installer copies it, it generally has a good reason to do it. Commented Dec 16, 2010 at 20:56

Some programs put them there so they can run at boot time, or run with other programs when started. System32 is the default system path in Windows.

javaws.exe is a process by Sun Microsystems which gives functionality to this Internet protocol. Often works together with Internet Explorer.

The javaw.exe command is identical to java.exe, except that with javaw.exe there is no associated console window. This implies you can't get it to display the version with -version, since there is no console to display it on. Use javaw.exe when you don't want a command prompt window to appear. The javaw.exe launcher will, however, display a dialog box with error information if a launch fails for some reason.



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