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How do I set or change the PATH system variable?


This article applies to:
  • Platform(s): Macintosh OS X, Oracle Linux, Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux, Solaris SPARC, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP

alert iconThe instructions on this page are intended for advanced users or system administrators.


General Information

  • The PATH is the system variable that your operating system uses to locate needed executables from the command line or Terminal window.
  • The PATH system variable can be set using System Utility in control panel on Windows, or in your shell's startup file on Linux and Solaris.
  • Making changes to the system PATH variable is typically not necessary for computers running Windows or Mac OS X.

Windows

Windows 10 and Windows 8
  1. In Search, search for and then select: System (Control Panel)
  2. Click the Advanced system settings link.
  3. Click Environment Variables. In the section System Variables, find the PATH environment variable and select it. Click Edit. If the PATH environment variable does not exist, click New.
  4. In the Edit System Variable (or New System Variable) window, specify the value of the PATH environment variable. Click OK. Close all remaining windows by clicking OK.
  5. Reopen Command prompt window, and run your java code.
Windows 7
  1. From the desktop, right click the Computer icon.
  2. Choose Properties from the context menu.
  3. Click the Advanced system settings link.
  4. Click Environment Variables. In the section System Variables, find the PATH environment variable and select it. Click Edit. If the PATH environment variable does not exist, click New.
  5. In the Edit System Variable (or New System Variable) window, specify the value of the PATH environment variable. Click OK. Close all remaining windows by clicking OK.
  6. Reopen Command prompt window, and run your java code.
Windows Vista
  1. From the desktop, right click the My Computer icon.
  2. Choose Properties from the context menu.
  3. Click the Advanced tab (Advanced system settings link in Vista).
  4. Click Environment Variables. In the section System Variables, find the PATH environment variable and select it. Click Edit. If the PATH environment variable does not exist, click New.
  5. In the Edit System Variable (or New System Variable) window, specify the value of the PATH environment variable. Click OK. Close all remaining windows by clicking OK.
  6. Reopen Command prompt window, and run your java code.
Windows XP
  1. Select Start, select Control Panel. double click System, and select the Advanced tab.
  2. Click Environment Variables. In the section System Variables, find the PATH environment variable and select it. Click Edit. If the PATH environment variable does not exist, click New.
  3. In the Edit System Variable (or New System Variable) window, specify the value of the PATH environment variable. Click OK. Close all remaining windows by clicking OK.
  4. Reopen Command prompt window, and run your java code.

Mac OS X

To run a different version of Java, either specify the full path, or use the java_home tool:

% /usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.8.0_73 --exec javac -version

Solaris and Linux

  1. To find out if the path is properly set:
    In a terminal windows, enter:
    % java -version
    This will print the version of the java tool, if it can find it. If the version is old or you get the error java: Command not found, then the path is not properly set.
  2. Determine which java executable is the first one found in your PATH
    In a terminal window, enter:
    % which java
Set the PATH permanently

To set the path permanently, set the path in your startup file.
Note: Instructions for two most popular Shells on Linux and Solaris are listed. If you are using other shells, see the Path Setting Tutorial.

Bash Shell

Edit the startup file (~/.bashrc)

  1. Modify PATH variable
    PATH=/usr/local/jdk1.8.0/bin:$PATH
    export PATH
  2. Save and close the file
  3. Load the startup file
    % . /.profile
  4. Verify that the path is set by repeating the java command
    % java -version
C Shell (csh)

Edit the startup file (~/.cshrc)

  1. Set Path
    set path=(/usr/local/jdk1.8.0/bin $path)
  2. Save and close the file
  3. Load the startup file
    % source ~/.cshrc
  4. Verify that the path is set by repeating the java command
    % java -version

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