I'm on mac os x 10.6 aka snow leopard and I seen when I do echo $PATH some strange characters are appended to it. My path looks like:


I've tried to see where it comes from but now I'm starting to question my Mac OS X knowledge more. I removed the export path stmts from ~/.bashrc and ~/.bash_profile. logged out, logged in no change. I moved the contents from `/etc/paths.d away. still same path. (exclude path_helper) I commented out the contents of /etc/profile logged out restart computer, still same characters.

I'm getting a bit worried that something evil is residing on my machine, or am I overlooking something?

BTW there are 2 user accounts on my mac, and the other is normal. Hope somebody can shine a light.

  • You also need to look in ~/MacOSX/environment.plist and see if there is a <key>PATH</key> entry
    – mmmmmm
    Feb 12, 2011 at 12:19
  • Thanks for your reply, I would have voted it if it were answered :-). I just restarted again, after completely removing that file, and I wanted tot add that this did reset my PATH parameter. Also apparently the file /etc/paths is also read. Question remains how to open the .MacOSX/environment.plit with property list editor as I cannot find a way to select a directory starting with a . (as in .MacOSX)
    – dr jerry
    Feb 12, 2011 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


Paths are also read for apps launched from the Finder or desktop from ~/MacOSX/environment.plist.

I think /etc/paths is read only if ~/.bashrc is not there

To see hidden files from a Snow Leopard file open dialog hit Shift-Cmd-.

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