Store commonly used program paths in the registry

How to do this and save time typing paths in the CLI.

Despite Windows 2000's graphical shell, there are many administrators who are more comfortable with a command line....

They just like to bang a few keys to get their favorite programs to come up rather than navigate through a nest of menus and submenus.

However, most programs don't automatically add their executable path to the PATH: environment variable -- and the PATH: variable tops out at 1,023 characters in length. This length can be modified by a registry edit, but command-line sessions still truncate the variable to 1,023 characters. (This is not the total space devoted to environment variables, just the maximum size of any given variable.)

Fortunately there is a more sophisticated way to handle how Windows looks for executables. Open the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths and create a new key (i.e. subfolder). The name of the new key can be anything you wish and is simply used to describe the app being pointed to in it. Within this new key will be a pre-created REG_SZ value with the name (Default). Edit its value to be the full path and filename to the executable you want to add. This change takes effect immediately.

Many programs, when installed, take advantage of this technique to add their executables and their directories to this list, so you may see examples from other installed apps in App Paths.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.

This was first published in January 2003

Dig Deeper on Windows Operating System Management



Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.



Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:









  • VDI assessment guide

    Wait! Don't implement VDI technology until you know your goals and needs. A VDI assessment should consider the benefits of a VDI ...

  • Guide to calculating ROI from VDI

    Calculating ROI from VDI requires a solid VDI cost analysis. Consider ROI calculation models, storage costs and more to determine...

  • Keep the cost of VDI storage under control

    Layering, persona management tools and flash arrays help keep virtual desktop users happy and VDI storage costs down.