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I'm having a problem with my laptop, it can't resolve the %windir% environment variable. I checked on the net and find that the PATH variable must be under 2024 characters length. Mine is 3145. Problem is, my laptop in a dev machine, with 4 different versions of Visual Studio and 3 of SQL Server and tons of programming tools that all adds their own path in the PATH variable. I can't shrink it or something won't work anymore. I must keep all versions of VS and MSSQL too.

Is there something I can do to work around this problem??

thanks a lot for your time and help

here is my PATH variable:

%SystemRoot%\system32;
%SystemRoot%;
%SystemRoot%\system32\wbem;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Rockwell Software\RSCommon;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\iCLS Client;
C:\Program Files\Intel\iCLS Client;
%SYSTEMROOT%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0;
C:\Program Files\Intel\Intel(R) Management Engine Components\DAL;
C:\Program Files\Intel\Intel(R) Management Engine Components\IPT;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Intel(R) Management Engine Components\DAL;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Intel(R) Management Engine Components\IPT;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\OpenCL SDK\3.0\bin\x86;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\OpenCL SDK\3.0\bin\x64;
C:\Program Files\Lenovo\Fingerprint Manager Pro;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Lenovo;
C:\Program Files\Intel\WiFi\bin;
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intel\WirelessCommon;
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn;
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\DTS\Binn;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\DTS\Binn;
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DTS\Binn;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\Tools\Binn;C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\110\Tools\Binn;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\Tools\Binn\ManagementStudio;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DTS\Binn;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Rockwell;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\Binn;
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\DTS\Binn;C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\binn;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\binn;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\90\DTS\Binn;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies;
C:\Program Files (x86)\GtkSharp\2.12\bin;
c:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\binn\;
c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\binn\;
c:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\DTS\Binn\;
c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\90\DTS\Binn\;
c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE\;
c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\lenovo\easyplussdk\bin;
C:\Program Files\JAI\SDK\bin;
C:\Program Files\JAI\SDK\bin\Win32_i86;
C:\Program Files\JAI\SDK\GenICam\bin\Win64_x64;
C:\Program Files\JAI\SDK\GenICam\bin\Win32_i86;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DTS\Binn\;
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DTS\Binn\;
C:\Program Files\Lenovo\Fingerprint Manager Pro\;
C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Web Platform Installer\;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft ASP.NET\ASP.NET Web Pages\v1.0\;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Windows Performance Toolkit\;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE\;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\;
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\DTS\Binn\;%HALCONROOT%\bin\%HALCONARCH%;%HALCONROOT%\FLEXlm\%HALCONARCH%

(newlines added by me)

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    Please post your PATH variable's content. On my machine I have got two VS (not in PATH) and two MSSQL (three paths in PATH), so I doubt that your multiple instance of VS and MSSQL are the problem. – Werner Henze Mar 10 '15 at 14:23
  • You have to shrink it otherwise some of your variables won't work. – Ramhound Mar 10 '15 at 14:26
  • Why is VS in the path at all... surely that causes all manner of problems. – RJFalconer Mar 10 '15 at 17:06
  • I posted my PATH variable. As you can see, there is a lot of references to VS and MSSQL – Dominic Mar 11 '15 at 15:32
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I think you can cleanup your PATH variable and run every IDE (like Visual Studio) in its own "startup script", where you set appropriate PATH variable:

set PATH=%PATH%;C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\binn
start "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe"

In that way you can limit your PATH length.

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If you need to keep the path shorter, one solution could be to use the ugly 8.3 MS-DOS style names, i.e., instead of C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0 you could have something like C:\Progra~2\Micros~1.0 (22 characters instead of 50, i.e. 56% shorter). For the actual names, you should check on your system, for example from a command prompt using dir /x. This way the PATH variable will become pretty difficult to read, but should be shortened quite a lot, possibly under the 2024 characters limit, if you have lots of paths with long names.

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This question is highly relevant: Too many folders in the path variable, and one of the answers suggests using directory junctions as workaround:

Above solution wouldn't work for me, so I went for directory junctions:

  • Select some of the longest paths in my PATH (Like C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE\)
  • Create a small folder to store my junctions: c:\d\
  • Create short junctions for long paths:

mklink /j c:\d\sql "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE\"

Doing that on 15 paths reduced my PATH from 2045 to 1285 characters.

It may be a problem when you finally uninstall stuff from your machine as junctions will remain there in the path and you'll have to clean them up manually.

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