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Old 09-18-2015, 12:13 PM   #1
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Often overlooked : Tune your Path variable

Guys, If it has been a long time since you wiped your drive and did a Fresh install of Windows, or

If you "Upgraded" a current install to Win 10, or have lingered on a Win 7 install for quite
some time, I urge you to examine your Path variable.

The "Path" variable determines the search order Windows uses when it tries to find a program, or
module somewhere outside the current directory.

It is important to have this environment variable "tuned" so that your system can find executables
quick and easily.

Installation programs do NOT always modify this all important variable correctly.
I was shocked to find my path contained 2 copies of 3 windows libraries, and they were often preceeded
by garbage game libraries.

Please don't mess up... Done incorrectly this could prevent you from booting into windows
If you need to backup your system ... then do it...
I tend to just re-install when things go wrong.

1. Open up a command prompt.

2. Type Path= {carraige return}

3. Examine the response.

A) In its most simplistic form the path variable will list the libraries separated by semicolons ;


In the above example DirectoryA is searched first, followed by LibraryC and then FolderG

B) Your Path environment variable will look far more complicated, because they will specify
to full path to each individual libary.

So they won't specify "LibraryA"
but rather they will specify "C:\program files\Gollygees programs\LibraryA"

C) It is important to note that just the specific library specified will be searched

So if LibraryA had a subfolder called LibA
then the path variable Path=c:\LibraryG;C:\program files\Gollygees programs\LibraryA
only will search Two libraries.... LibraryG and LibraryA
specifically it will NOT search libA, the subfolder of LibraryA nor will it search
"Gollygees programs", the parent folder of LibaryA.

D) If you find a duplicate library, the copy specified last should be removed.
(Please examine the path carefully and make sure it is an exact duplicate.)

For example: Path=C:\windows;c:\program files\Nvidia;c:\windows;c:\windows\system32;

Removing the second "c:\windows;" in the above example will prevent the system from
searching the windows library twice before ever finding something in c:\windows\system32

E) Know that library search order is important.
If there are two modules of the same name in different directories,
The one that is found in the library specified first, will be the one executed.

Because of this, there is a tendency for Software writers to put their libraies at the
head of the chain. For instance if Sandog and Skully both write a program called
bestprogramintheworld.exe, and both coders were to put their libraries in the path
c:\program files\sandogLib;c:\windows;c\program files\skullylib;

Sandogs proram would get executed, while Skully's would be overridden by sandogs.

F) Keep your windows libraries closer to the front of the Path.
If you move a library further back in the chain, you must make sure that the library that
you are moving backward does not contain any modules that are similar to modules in
libraries that you are jumping over.

G) Control panel > system > advanced > environment variables > path
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:08 PM   #2
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Location: SoCal
Posts: 11,345
Re: Often overlooked : Tune your Path variable

Thanks. I checked. No Duplicates.
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