Environment Variables

Description:
Each computer may have a slightly different configuration, e.g. the directories chosen for various installations, software product versions, etc. To enable the software components to find each other and colaborate, operating systems like Windows and UNIX introduce environment variables.

How to Add a new Environment Variable under Windows

  • Right-click the icon "My Computer" and select "Properties" from the menu (or press WinKey + Pause). The following window appears:
"System Properties" dialogue for the Windows XP
  • Select the tab "Advanced" and press the button "Environment Variables". The following window appears:
Subdialogue to edit environment variables for Windows XP
  • Under "System variables" press button [New]
  • Fill in the name and the value of the variable.

How to Update an Existing Environment Variable under Windows

  • Right-click the icon "My Computer" and select "Properties" from the menu.
  • Select the tab "Advanced" and press the button "Environment Variables".
  • Select an existing variable (e.g. Path) and change its value. Notice that on Windows platform path-like variables may have several entries separated with semicolons (;). It is also important to avoid any unnecessary spaces, unless they are in the directory names. To avoid possible troubles with BAT scripts, we suggest using the c:\tools directory for various installations rather than the more common c:\Program Files.
  • Other instructions use this process repeatedly to introduce variables like JAVA_HOME, ANT_HOME and also to update the Path variable.
  • Since Java is platform-independent language, it has a platform-independent notion of environment variables. These are called "system properties" in Java - they include both the environment variables of the given operating system, and also some Java-specific key-value pairs, which describe the Java environment in general and also the values specified by the user. More information about Java System Properties see http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/essential/attributes/properties.html
  • In some environments you could have CLASSPATH environment variable defined. Such variable may interfere with some Java applications; remove this variable, if you can.