How to Set User Environment Variable Using Setx

You probably know how to add or remove environment variables using GUI in Windows. It can be done by launching sysdm.cpl → Advanced → Environment Variables. Alternatively, one can run the following command in the Run dialog to launch the Environment Variables dialog directly:

rundll32 sysdm.cpl,EditEnvironmentVariables

(To set per-system environment variables, the above command needs to be run from admin Command Prompt.)

This post tells you how to use the Setx command to add a user environment variable.

Setting User Environment Variable

Open a Command Prompt window and type SETX /? to know the command usage. For example, to set the JAVA_HOME variable, you would use:

SETX JAVA_HOME "C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_02"

(Depending upon the version of the JDK installed and the bitness of your OS, change the JDK folder path accordingly.)

This permanently sets the environment variable for your user account; It takes effect for future Command Prompt windows.

Command Prompt

Delete a User Environment Variable

To clear the user variable, use this syntax/example:


This, however, doesn’t delete the value from the following registry key:


So you need another command to clear it, although this is optional.


This clears the JAVA_HOME user variable.

Note: The Setx command can also be used to set System Environment Variables using the “/M” switch, but you need to run it from elevated or administrator Command Prompt.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

2 thoughts on “How to Set User Environment Variable Using Setx”

  1. Thanks für this post!
    Found an article about this for german users:


  2. THANKS !
    i needed this info ,though i`m still looking for like a more complete pdf usage kind to setx path “%path% , them paths are my nightmare at times. thanks again


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