I have two related questions for XP variables; it may end up the same method works for both of them. I as a user want to modify my Path but lack the admin rights necessary to change it. I imagine there must be a way I can still change the path at log-in so that when I log in as a user I see the modified PATH variable without changing it for other users. I even know exactly how to do this in Linux, but how do I do it for Windows?

Second, If I create a new user Variable using My Computer-> advanced -> environmental variables when is it performed? Specifically if I use a System Variable as part of my user variable will my new user variable have the full contents of the system variable when read, or could I end up in some sort of a data-race where the user variable may be created before the System Variable is fully populated?

3 Answers 3


You can add any values to your the PATH variable in your user environment variables instead of the system environment variable (including the system PATH)...

A good tool to do this easily is the freeware Rapid Environment Editor:

Rapid Environment Editor Web site


You can always invoke a cmd shell with administrator rights (or any other Run As... method), and use a tool such as SETX (found in the Microsoft Windows Support Tools to modify the PATH permanently. Existing shells and/or running programs will probably be using the old PATH, but any new shell/program will use the new settings.


Administrative privilege is not required to set user environment variables! You can set the PATH variable for the current session using the SET command, or the template in the user's registry key for any future sessions using the SETX command.

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