Environment variables are strings that contain information such as drive, path, or file name. They control the behavior of various programs. For example, the TEMP environment variable specifies the location in which programs place temporary files.
Any user can add, modify, or remove a user environment variable. However, only an administrator can add, modify, or remove a system environment variable.
Using System in Control Panel, you can customize the following variables:
User environment variables for logged_on_user_name
The user environment variables are different for each user of a particular computer. The variables include any that are set by the user, as well as any variables defined by programs, such as the path to the location of the program files.
System environment variables
Administrators can change or add environment variables that apply to the system, and thus to all system users. During installation, Windows Setup configures the default system variables, such as the path to the Windows files.
To add or change the values of
- Open System in Control Panel.
- On the Advanced tab, click Environment Variables, then click the name of the user variable or system variable you want to change, as follows. Click:
- New to add a new variable name and value.
- Edit to change a current variable name and value.
- Delete to remove a variable name and value.
- If you are not logged on as administrator to the local computer, the only environment variables you can change are user variables.
- To open System, click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.Windows saves changes in the registry so they are available automatically the next time you start your computer.
- You might have to close and reopen running programs for the new settings to take effect.