How to add a utility to your path

Adding a utility to your "Path" is a great way to get fast access to useful applications and utilities from anywhere on your computer. It also makes it easy to access from the command line and the "Run" dialogue box. Read on for a step-by-step tutorial on how to add an application to your path.

Editing your PATH

The PATH is simply a list of folders, as mentioned. Obviously wherever we downloaded RegCure was not one of these folders. So what if you wanted to be able to quickly access one of these files? It is actually super useful for people that love keyboard shortcuts, or for those that use the command line interface a lot (type in 'cmd' in the Run box, and it appears! It is just another program after all).

To bring up your current PATH for editing you want to head to your Control Panel, run System, Advanced, and then Environment Variables. You should see a list of 'System variables', and one of them is PATH. My PATH looks like this:

%SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem;C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\AGL;C:\PHP5\;C:\PHP5\ext;C:\Program Files\QuickTime\QTSystem\ %SystemRoot% is just a fancy variable name for whatever your C:\Windows\ type folder happens to be.

So, to add a folder to your System's PATH, just add a semicolon onto the end of the current PATH, and then type in the complete PATH - so possible C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\ or something like that. Now you should be able to run the Setup program from the Run dialog or from the Command Line.

Doing something useful!

No matter how cool RegCure is, you probably do not want the setup program for it on a regular basis. Instead you might want something really useful like...a notepad replacement! Notepad is great for editing a quick text file, but it leaves a lot to be desired if you use it for more than a few minutes. Enter Notepad2, Florian's open source notepad replacement. Grab it here. Place it somewhere, edit your PATH, and now you can access it from the Run dialog, or from the command line interface.

Cool hey?

However, in my opinion we still have one thing left to do. Go find a text file and double click on it - what happens? Notepad the original opens. Ugh! How about we actually fully replace Notepad with Notepad2! It is really not that hard.

You want to put it in 3 (yes, three!) locations, and in a specific order. Rename the executable to 'notepad.exe'. Copy it, and get ready. This has to be done very very fast for it to work (due to Windows's wonderful mechanism to make sure you do not ruin your computer - no worries, this is pretty safe).

You want to place the file in %SystemRoot%\system32\dllcache, %SystemRoot%\system32, and %SystemRoot%. The easiest way to do this is to navigate to them in reverse order, then paste (Control + V), hit Backspace on your keyboard to go 'back' to the next folder, paste, back again, paste, and then the file exists in all three locations. In a few moments Windows will ask you if you want to keep these changed files - make sure you say yes!

And now it is replaced!

Notice that notepad.exe was in your PATH already, so if you do this you no longer need to create a new reference for notepad2.exe, you can just type 'notepad.exe' into the Run dialog or the command line, and it will work just fine.

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