New York University Faculty of Arts and Science College of Arts and Science Graduate School of Arts and Science

Computing Resources

CIMS Windows Support

How to set the Path variable

If you install any new programs that need to be executed from a command-line, you may need to set your path variable so that the new program can be executed from any directory. Otherwise, if you don't set the path variable, you will need to be in the directory that the executable is in to actually execute it. Note: You must exercise caution when assuming this edit. Other programs may not execute properly if the path is incorrectly set.


Windows 2000, XP

To set the PATH permanently:

  1. From the Start menu, open the Control Panel. From there, double click the System icon to open the System Control panel.
  2. In the System control panel, select the Advanced tab, and then click the Environment Variables; button. This will bring up a window in which you can edit system variables, including the PATH variable.
  3. Highlight the path variable and choose to edit it, or add it if it's not there. You'll notice that all the directories currently stored in your path variable are seperated by semi-colons. It's a good idea to leave the other directories alone and just add the new directory to the end. Type in the directory that you wish to add at the end of the list.
  4. After you've added the directory to your PATH, save the changes and reboot your machine when prompted.