JSI Tip 6300. %APPDATA% environment variable does NOT expand when added to the PATH?

If you open a CMD prompt and type set %APPDATA%, the environment variable expands to the path to your Application Data folder.

If you use Control Panel / System / Advanced / Environment Variables or you right-click My Computer, press Properties, select the Advanced tab, and press Environment Variables (or Settings), when you add ;%APPDATA% to your path and apply the changes, the %APPDATA% variable does NOT expand. This behavior prevents you from starting a program from your Application Data folder by just typing the program name.

Apparently, there is a bug in the Shell32.dll library that is causing this problem. As of this writing, the bug exists in Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

To workaround this behavior:

1. Remove the ;%APPDATA% string from the PATH environment variable.

2. Right-click My Computer and press Manage.

3. Right-click Computer Management (Local) and press Properties.

4. Select the Advanced tab.

5. Press Environment Variables.

6. Add the ;%APPDATA% string to the PATH environment variable.

7. Press OK until the change is applied.

8. Close all related dialog boxes.

NOTE: You can use this method with any environment variable.

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