Updating the path environment variable vista
To change System variables, you need non-restricted access to your machine (i.e. Click that, and under System variables, edit the Path one.
Visit Stack Exchange I would like to add an Environment variable to a Windows machine (desktop or server) and be able to use it without rebooting that machine. Changes to environment variables should take effect immediately, if you make the change via the main Properties dialog for the computer in question (go to My Computer | Properties | Advanced | Environment Variables).
The kb article linked to in that answer actually states that: However, note that modifications to the environment variables do not result in immediate change.
Good example of this is having to open a new command prompt window after adding a PATH (yes, I've been tripped up by this).
Say you have a production server which hosts a variety of apps and a new app needs a particular Environment variable to run. After the changes are saved, Explorer broadcasts a message to all windows to inform them of the change.
You do not want to reboot it while users are connected to your other apps. I don't like the wait-until-a-good-time-to-reboot option. Any programs spawned via Explorer after this should get the updated environment, although already-running programs will not, unless they handle the setting change message.
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Visit Stack Exchange Windows has a built-in dialog for changing environment variables (following guide applies to XP classical view): Right-click the icon for your machine (usually located on your Desktop and called “My Computer”) and choose Properties there.