capsule review

Redmond Path

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Redmond Path

I found Redmond Path while looking at a lot of tool installs on multiple systems with varying drive layouts. I knew with the certainty of a seasoned geek that surely someone had written a better way to edit the Windows path than the one Microsoft provides. Redmond Labs has, and it's free/donationware.

If you spend any time working with the command line, you have undoubtedly seen words to the effect of "Processjobs.bat is not recognized as an internal or external command...", and you have nearly screamed because you can see that the file you're trying to execute is sitting right there. Or perhaps you've needed to install PERL or MySQL or Apache, and you need to tell Windows where to find everything. If you've ever used the virtually-useless environment variable editor in Windows, which is buried some ten levels deep in order to keep clueless users from accidentally ruining their system, you know what a nightmare it can be.

Redmond Path ends this. It is a tiny and functional utility that shows you your system path, neatly broken down into manageable chunks. You can easily alter the order of elements in the path (for example, to make sure Windows searches the user's home directory for a preferences file before looking at the default preferences file in a global directory), delete an element, or edit an element. You can check to see if file can be found in the path, either in the first hit (the one Windows will use) or in all of them (good to see if there are redundancies or multiple versions). You can see the global path settings, your path settings, or both combined. There's amazing functionality compressed into this tiny interface.

My only quibble is that it would be nice if it edited all the other Windows environment variables, too. This isn't a feature Redmond Path promises, it's just one of those "Wouldn't it be nice if..." thoughts.

A quick warning: If you don't understand what the system path is or what every variable on it does or is for, if you don't know what "%SystemRoot%" might mean, you probably do not want to use this program. Changing paths arbitrarily can easily break complex software in strange ways and result in nigh-incomprehensible error messages when you restart your computer. If you are confident that you understand your system path and what programs rely on it, Redmond Path is a great tool to let you edit it.

Note: This program is donationware. It is free to try, but the author accepts and encourages donations towards further development.

--Ian Harac

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Redmond Path

Shop Tech Products at Amazon