The PATH command in Windows CMD is used to display or set a specific path available in the PATH environment variable. This environment variable contains a list of directories where executable programs are located and allows these to be run from any command prompt without specifying their full path. The PATH command is crucial for system configuration and software management, optimizing the command-line experience by streamlining the execution of programs.


The basic syntax for using the PATH command is:

PATH <path1>[;<path2>...]
PATH ; (to clear the PATH)
  • <path1>[;<path2>...]: Specifies one or more directories to be added to the current PATH variable, separated by semicolons.
  • ;: A standalone semicolon clears the current PATH variable, removing all directory paths.


The PATH command does not have any formal options or flags. Its functionality is controlled entirely through the syntax and arguments provided:

  • Display Current Path: Simply typing PATH without any arguments will display the current paths included in the PATH environment variable.
  • Modify Path: Providing a sequence of paths separated by semicolons updates the PATH variable to the provided paths.
  • Clear Path: Entering PATH ; with a semicolon and no additional paths will clear all entries in the PATH variable.


  1. Display the current PATH:


    This command outputs the current list of directories in the PATH environment variable.

  2. Add a new directory to the PATH:

    PATH %PATH%;C:\NewFolder

    This example adds C:\NewFolder to the existing PATH variable.

  3. Set multiple directories:

    PATH C:\Directory1;C:\Directory2

    Replaces the entire current PATH with C:\Directory1 and C:\Directory2.

  4. Clear the PATH:

    PATH ;

    Clears all directories from the PATH, which might be useful in a testing or troubleshooting scenario.

Common Issues

  • Overly Long PATH: If the PATH becomes too long, newly added paths may not be recognized. Ensure PATH length does not exceed system limitations (typically 2048 characters on Windows).
  • Spaces in Paths: Always enclose paths that contain spaces in quotation marks to avoid interpretation as separate commands or parameters.


The PATH command can be used in conjunction with other CMD commands to enhance scripts or automate setups. For instance:

SET MYAPP=C:\Program Files\MyApp

This script sets a variable for an application path and then appends its bin directory to the PATH.

  • SET: Used to set or display environment variables.
  • CD: Changes the current directory.
  • DIR: Displays a list of files and directories in a directory.

For more information on managing environment variables and command-line tools, you can refer to the official Microsoft documentation: Windows Command Line Documentation.