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A command-line utility for MS Windows to keep the Windows PATH variable tidy and short.

Project description

PyWinPath is an interactive command line tool to edit the %PATH% environment variable on Windows 7. The onboard tools for managing the content of %PATH% before Windows 10 are barely existent and easily lead to a cluttered %PATH%. If the PATH is longer than a specific limit, Windows will silently omit the entries that exceed the maximum length and executables will not be found.

PyWinPath tries to keep you sane when facing the %PATH%. There are many free tools to edit the %PATH%, however, I couldn’t find a nice one in Python. Windows 10 has its own GUI to manipulate the %PATH%, I haven’t seen it yet.

On Windows, the content of the %PATH% is generated from two registry values: the entries in the system-wide path followed by entries in the user-specific path.

  • User path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Environment::PATH
  • System path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment::Path

PyWinPath lets you manipulate both of these registry values and does a couple of additional tricks, see the features listing below.

Developed and tested on Windows 7 (EN-US) with Python 3.5, so don’t expect it to work in Python 2 or on other systems. Please let me know if it worked for you in other combinations, if not open an issue on Github, send me a patch or pull request.


pip install pywinpath

Or if you want to see some colored output (this will install colorama):

pip install pywinpath[color]


  • Warns you of a too long %PATH% on Windows 7
  • Normalization of PATH entries followed by …
  • Deduplication of system and user PATH variables
  • Purge non-existent directories from PATH variables
  • Shortening of PATH variables via junctions, e.g. C:Program Files… gets C:prg…
  • Insert entries at the beginning of the PATH


  • Add possibility to call with arguments instead of as interactive menu
  • Move entries up and down and between sys and user path (only after dedup?)
  • Handle variable expansions in PATH definitions such as %USERPROFILE%
  • Automatically identify efficient sub-paths for shortening via junctions
  • More tests
  • Test on other Windows-Python3 combinations than Windows 7 - Python 3.5


  • With Git for Windows installed, the following command should display a more readable PATH listing on the console: PATH | tr ; '\n'
  • Junctions work for PATH shortening, also accross local drives:
    1. >mklink /J C:prog(x86) “C:Program Files (x86)”
    2. >set PATH=c:prog(x86)Notepad++;%PATH%
    3. Notepad++.exe is found.
    4. Junctions can be deleted by rmdir, the target dir is left untouched.

Motivated by Anaconda errors with too long paths:

Deactivating environment "C:\Users\***\AppData\Local\Continuum\Anaconda3"...
Activating environment "C:\Users\***\AppData\Local\Continuum\Anaconda3"...
The input line is too long.

Some links:

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