Users can run an executable from windows command prompt either by giving the absolute path of the file or just by the executable file name. In the latter case, Windows searches for the executable in a list of folders which is configured in environment variables. These environment variables are as below.
1. System path
2. User path
The values of these variables can be checked in system properties( Run sysdm.cpl from Run or computer properties). Initially user specific path environment variable will be empty. Users can add paths of the directories having executables to this variable. Administrators can modify the system path environment variable also.
How to set path from command line?
In Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 we can set path from command line using ‘setx’ command.
setx path "%path%;c:\directoryPath"
For example, to add c:\dir1\dir2 to the path variable, we can run the below command.
setx path "%path%;c:\dir1\dir2"
Alternative way is to use Windows resource kit tools ‘pathman.exe‘. Using this command we can even remove a directory from path variable. See download windows resource kit tools. This works for Windows 7 also.
Add directory to system path environment variable:
Open administrator command prompt
Run the below command
pathman /as directoryPath
Remove path from system path environment variable:
Run the below command from elevated command prompt
pathman /rs directoryPath
Setting user path environment variable
For user environment varlables, admin privileges are not required. We can run the below command to add a directory to user path environment variable.
pathman /au directoryPath
To remove a directory from user path, you can run the below command.
pathman /ru directoryPath