In Bash, I can do EDITOR=vim command and command will be run with EDITOR set to vim, but this won't affect the value of EDITOR in the shell itself. Is it possible to do this in cmd.exe?

up vote 37 down vote accepted

Note that cmd /C "set "EDITOR=vim" && echo %EDITOR%" would not work.
Nor would cmd /C "setlocal ENABLEDELAYEDEXPANSION && set "EDITOR=vim" && echo !EDITOR!"

What would is the /V option, to enable delayed environment variable expansion using ! as delimiter.

C:\> cmd /V /C "set EDITOR=vim&& echo !EDITOR!"

As noted below by maoizm, it is cmd /V /C, not cmd /C /V (which would not work)

I can't think of any practical reason you'd ever actually want this within the context of a single command

Typically, you need this when you have to replace a value used multiple times in a long command line.
For instance, to deploy a file to Nexus (in multiple lines for readability):

cmd /v /c "set g=com.agroup&& set a=anArtifact&& set v=1.1.0&& \
           mvn deploy:deploy-file -Dfile=C:\path\!a!-!v!.jar \
           -Dpackaging=jar -DgroupId=!g! -DartifactId=!a! -Dversion=!v! \

Instead of having to replace group, artifact (used 2 times) and version in a long and complex command line, you can edit them at the beginning of said command. It is clearer/easier to manipulate and change the parameter values.

  • Tested it on my machine with Windows 10 version 1607, the cmd prompt crashes. – Fernando Bertoldi Dec 21 '16 at 20:37
  • Note that EDITOR will not be set to 'vim' but 'vim ' in the last command. Add the internal quotes to avoid the space in the end. – Zitrax Feb 3 '17 at 11:57
  • @Zitrax Right! I have edited the answer accordingly. – VonC Feb 3 '17 at 11:59
  • Based on given solution I created a way to access ERRORLEVEL of two commands that run on same command line: cmd /v /c "dir file1.txt >NUL 2>&1 & echo !ERRORLEVEL! & dir file2.txt >NUL 2>&1 & echo !ERRORLEVEL!" – sactiw May 10 '17 at 19:37
  • NB: interesting: the order of switches matters in this case. cmd /v/c "..." works, but cmd /c/v "..." fails -- hopefully it can save you 15 minutes – maoizm Jun 4 '17 at 11:12

You can do it in windows like this no need for installing anything.

cmd /C "set EDITOR=vim && set"

You'll see a list of variables and you'll see EDITOR=vim, now run "set" again and it won't be listed.

You can do multiple &&'s to add additional commands:

cmd /C "set EDITOR=vim && do this && do that && otherstuff"

EDIT: /C exits the new cmd right away after running, if you produce output with the new one it will still be visible in the parent window.

You can opt to use /K in which case the new cmd window stays open at the end of the run.

  • 4
    Be careful. Setting the variable this way will result in a trailng space in the variable EDITOR: "vim ". To avoid the trailing space use: cmd /C "set "EDITOR=vim" && do this && do that" – Gerd K Apr 3 '15 at 12:00
  • 1
    This is not working on "Windows Server 2008", for example. I tried this: set name="username" && echo %username%. And username is empty. – akozin May 15 '15 at 12:10
  • @akozin Do you realize that you got the keyvalue backwards? Did you mean set name=foo&&echo %name% or set username=foo&&echo %username%? – Phrogz Jul 30 '15 at 23:00
  • @akozin see my answer below – VonC Aug 5 '15 at 6:03
  • @VonC, thanks to answer. It works for me! – akozin Aug 5 '15 at 7:40

you can use ported util env from package CoreUtils in GnuWin32

  1. Setup it
  2. Check what directory with env.exe exists in %PATH% variable
  3. Use same way like linux version env EDITOR=vim command
  • maybe worth saying that if you have git/docker/msys/cygwin you'll already have a version of this. – xenoterracide Feb 26 at 16:29

I have knocked up a batch file env.cmd which works more or less like the Linux env command:-

echo off
for %%f in (%*) do (
  echo %%f|find "=" >nul:
  if errorlevel 1 goto DoCmd
  set %%f
%1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9

The only difference is that, because of the way cmd parses, the environment assignments need to be quoted, so your command would be:

env "EDITOR=vim" command [up to 8 parameters]

The batch file could be elaborated to remove the 8-parameter restriction by building up the command string within the for loop (delayed expansion will be needed).

  • Why not just use %* as the penultimate line (i.e., the one after the :DoCmd label) to allow for very long user commands? – Scott May 22 '16 at 23:47
  • @Scott - Because %* is the original parameter list: it is unaffected by shift (unlike $* in Unix). – AFH May 23 '16 at 0:34

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