How to edit system environment path variables on Windows 10

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • The Windows 10 path variable edit is a very useful feature if you use Command Prompt very often.
  • Using the advanced system settings is one way of how to change the path in Windows 10.
  • The process is as simple as editing the variables in the Environment Variables.
  • There you can also set the path in Windows 10 in the System variables box.
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The Command Prompt is the last remnant of DOS (a former command-based operating system) preserved in Windows. You can open software and run handy tools, such as the System File Checker, with it.

For example, you can run SFC by entering sfc /scannow without specifying any path. To open third-party software in Windows 10, you would usually need to input a full directory in the Command Prompt.

The path environment variable tells your system where it can find the SFC, but not the software.

The path environment variable could be a handy setting for those who often make use of the Command Prompt.

Microsoft even replaced the Edit System Variable dialog in earlier Windows platforms with a new Edit environment variable path window in Windows 10.

How do I set the path variable in Windows 10? The easiest way is through View advanced system setting. There you can add, edit, or delete a path variable. After that, select the path that’s of interest to you and modify it in any way you want.

For a more detailed process, check the guide below.

How can I edit the path environment variable in Windows 10?

  1. In the Windows search box type advanced system settings and select View advanced system settings to open the window in the shot below.
  2. Press the Environment Variables button to open the window shown below.
  3. There you can select Path in the System variables box. Selecting Path and pressing the Edit button opens the window shown directly below.
  4. The Edit environment variable window above includes the following path: C:\Windows\system32 This is where the System File Checker tool is. To add your own path, press the New button.
  5. Enter C: in the empty space and press the Browse button to select a folder (If you don’t enter something in the space for the new path, your selected folder directory replaces the path listed above it).
  6. Select a folder that includes third-party software in the Browse for Folder window. For example, we selected a folder that includes Firefox.
  7. Press the OK button on the Browse for Folder window to confirm the selection (The Edit environment variable window will include your selected path as in the snapshot below).
  8. Press the OK button on Edit environment variable window to close it.
  9. Click the OK buttons on the Environment Variables and System Properties windows to close them.
  10. Type cmd in the Windows search box and click on Command Prompt on that menu to open it as below.
  11. Now you can open the software path you added to the Edit environment variable window by entering its executable. For example, if you added Firefox’s path to it you can open that browser by entering Firefox in the Command Prompt.

The Edit environment variable window enables you to add new paths to third-party software so that you can open the programs without entering their full directories in the Command Prompt.

Note: A program’s executable doesn’t always match the exact software title. For example, we found that Opera‘s executable was Launcher. As such, check the software’s executable title in File Explorer and then enter that in the Command Prompt.

No longer do you need to enter C:\folder\sub-folder\sub-folder software title to open a program. This certainly comes in handy if you’re not entirely sure what the software’s path is.

This is a fairly simple process and after following the steps above setting, editing, or changing the path environment variable in Windows 10 should be more or less a formality.

If you have any other questions about the process, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in April 2017 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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  • @ Matthew Adams

    Hi Matthew, I’m surprised that nobody has commented yet on your excellent pictorial,
    but I will.
    Thanks very much for your clear and detailed description and accompanying
    snapshots., incuding the New entry and caution.
    This can be used to add any path at that point and I’ve used it already 3 times.

    Great job – and just as I like to see it explained.

    Regards,
    Peter,