How to Change the PATH Environment Variable on Windows

 The PATH environment variable specifies in which directories the Windows command line looks for executable binaries. The process for changing it is not obvious, but it's not too hard. Read on to learn how to change PATH.

Windows 7–11

Open the “settings” application.

This can be done by pressing the Windows key and clicking the gear icon in the “Start” menu. You can also search “settings” in Cortana or in the “Start” menu.

Search “path” in the settings menu.

Select Edit the System Environment Details.

This option should be below Show Full Path in Title Bar and above Edit the Environment Details for your Account. A menu titled “System Properties” should pop up.

Click Environment Variables.

This should be on the right-hand side of the menu below the Startup and Recovery section.

Select Path.

You should not have to scroll down to find this option. It is in between two options titled OS and PATHEXT.

Click Edit, and proceed to edit the PATH environment variable.

Select OK once you’re done editing.

This will save any changes you may have made.

Windows XP

Create a shortcut to “My Computer”.

Click on “Start”, mouse over “My Computer”, right-click on it, and select “Show on Desktop”.

Right-click on the shortcut and select Properties.

A window will open.

Switch to the Advanced tab.

In that tab, click on Environment Variables. Another window will open.

Scroll down until you see “Path”.

Select it and click on Edit. A third window will open.

Edit the PATH environment variable.

Unless you really know what you’re doing, don’t remove what’s already there, only append to it. For example, you could add another directory by appending: ;C:pathtodirectory, with “pathtodirectory” being the actual path to the directory.

Click on OK.

When the window closes, there should be a short delay because the environment variable is being updated. After that, you can press OK to close the other two windows, too.

Check that the environment variable changed.

Open the command line by pressing ⊞ Win+R, entering cmd, and pressing ↵ Enter. Type: echo %PATH%. The output should be your updated PATH environment variable.


  • Changing the PATH environment variable wrongly can cause your system to stop working correctly. You should have a basic understanding of what you’re doing before changing PATH.

Leave a Comment