Redmond Path: Great Widget for Editing Path Variable

Those of you who, like me, have been tinkering with Windows for any length of time know that Windows uses an environment variable named ‘path’ to search for files when you enter input at the command line. As long as any program or filename you type in at the command line resides in a directory on this search path, Windows will find and run it for you without requiring you to provide a complete path specification (of the form C:\Program Files\CPU-Z\Redmond Path.exe, in the case of the executable that makes this fine little utility work, for example). Double-click that program name (or type it in the command line, provided it’s on your search path) and you’ll see a window like this one pop up.

Redmond Path lists all environment variables in a highly readable, easily accessible format

Redmond Path lists all environment variables in a highly readable, easily accessible format

Each variable shows up in its own line in the display. You can highlight any item, then click the red X to delete it. You click the plus sign to insert a new directory spec (by default additions always show up at the end of the vertical list), and you can use the up and down arrows to move selected items up or down (the higher an item appears in the list, the sooner it will be searched, which gives it priority when duplicate elements might appear in multiple directories on this list).

Editing the path variable in Windows XP, Vista, or 7 can be irksome. You can do it at the command line by making an assignment like path = %path%;C:\Example (which adds the C:\Example entry to the end of the path), or by using the Environment Variables/Edit System Variable or …/Edit User Variable control through the System Properties window (click Start, Control Panel, System, then Advanced System Settings to get here through the menus, or click the Windows Logo and Break key to jump right to the System window, and continue as before…). If you don’t do it at the command line, you get a textbox that’s only about 40 characters wide, through which you have to peer into the value of the path variable, which can easily be 100 characters or more in length. This screencap should give you a good idea why this might not be the most convenient presentation for this type of data (Redmond Path lists the values in their order of appearance, one value per line, and is much easier to see, understand, and manipulate).

Lots of text, little display room

Lots of text, little display room

Do yourself a big favor, and grab a copy of Redmond Path from the Website (part of GooglePages, actually). It’s free, it’s convenient, and it works nicely. It’s also a great little addition to any Windows user’s utility collection.


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