Windows NT has three levels of environment variables, the system environment variables, the user environment variables, and the environment variables that are set in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. There are also some predefined environment variables that are set when the user logs on.
System Environment Variables
System environment variables can be viewed in Control Panel / System / Environment. These variables apply to all users and cannot be changed by any user. There are some predefined variables, some of which do not appears in the System dialog box:
If the home directory uses universal naming conventions:
HOMESHARE=\\<server name>\<share name>
If the home directory is a local path:
All above environment variables are always present and therefore may be used in log on scripts (see tip 120 for W95 clients).
User Environment Variables
User environment variables can be viewed from Control Panel also. The user may add, delete or modify the user environment variables. These variables take precedence over system environment variables. The user path is appended to the system path.
AUTOEXEC.BAT Environment Variables
All environment variables and the paths set in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file are used to create the Windows NT environment. Any paths in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file are append to the system path.
Environment variables are set in the following order:
- System variables
- AUTOEXEC.BAT variables
- User variables
The Path is constructed by appending the User path to the System path and then appending the path from the AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
If you type SET from a CMD.EXE prompt, you will see the environment variables.
See tip 170 for a freeware batch environment editor.