Saturday, March 4, 2017

How can I edit the PATH variable under Windows 10?

The PATH variable is an environment variable of an operating system. The value of this variable is a list of folder (directory) paths. These specified folders are the names of installation paths—also called system paths—of executable programs.

Here, we are interested in the accessibility of programs installed in Windows 10. The list of folder names is searched when a program is called from the Run dialog box, a Command Prompt or Powershell command line and also when requested by a running process. Thus, inclusion of a program's directory path in the PATH list enables a program launch by program name without typing or providing the complete path.

Updated Windows 10 versions now contain a PATH editor that facilitates modification, addition and deletion of path names. Using this editor infrequently, I am finding it difficult to memorize the step sequence to access it. In the following, I am sharing how to tab down to the PATH editing dialog:

  1. Right-click the Windows icon (Start button) and, from the pop-up menu, select System to open the System window.
  2. From the menu items on the left side of the basic computer information, click Advanced system settings to open the System Properties window.
  3. Click the Environment Variables... button to open the Environment Variables window containing a scrollable System variables pane.
  4. In the pane, double-click the line with the system variable Path to open the PATH Editor (with the heading Edit environment variable). 
In the editor, select a line with a given installation path. Click the Edit button to modify the path or the Delete button to remove the path. To add a new path, click the Browse... button to open a dialog that assists you in finding the folder path you want to add. No typing required! Leave the editor by clicking the OK button to save your changes.