How to edit environment variables quickly in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

Environment variables in an operating system are values that contain information about the system environment, and the currently logged in user. Recently we covered how to view those variables for system, for a specific user or for a process. In this article, I would like to share with you a trick to view or edit environment variables directly, from the command line or a shortcut.

To open environment variables settings directly, it is possible to use a special RUNDLL32 command, as described below.

  1. Press Win + R shortcut keys together on your keyboard. This will open the Run dialog.
    Tip: See the ultimate list of all Windows keyboard shortcuts with Win keys.
  2. Type the following command in the Run box:
    rundll32.exe sysdm.cpl,EditEnvironmentVariables

    rundll32 sysdm.cpl EditEnvironmentVariables
    Press the Enter key, and it will run the Environment Variables window immediately.
    Environment Variables window
    You can start to edit them directly, which is very useful.

You can create a shortcut to this command to pin it on the Start screen or to the taskbar or even assign a global hotkey to that shortcut.

Note that by default the Environment Variables editor window will allow you to edit only current user variables. All system-related buttons will be disabled.
Environment Variables window per user
To edit the system variables, you have to run this command as administrator, for example, via an elevated command prompt instance.
rundll32 sysdm
After that, all options in the Environment Variables window will be accessible.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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