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Refresh Environment Variables in Windows Command Prompt

Have you ever added an environment variable in Windows and having to close and re-open the command prompt just to use it? Or worse, having to reboot Windows.

I just found this cool command when I used Chocolatey to install maven. Right at the end of the installation, Chocolatey prompt me to run the refreshenv command to have the environment variable change(s) take effect without re-opening the command prompt.

alvin@ALVINSIM-HP C:\Users\alvin\
> refreshenv
Refreshing environment variables from registry for cmd.exe. Please wait...Finished..

For those who are familiar with Unix, the refreshenv command behaves the same as the source command. For example, if you have made some changes to the .bashrc file, you would run the command source ~/.bashrc.

After digging further, I found out that this command is part of Chocolatey. It is located at C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\bin, or which ever path you installed Chocolatey.

alvin@ALVINSIM-HP C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\bin
> dir refreshenv.cmd
 Volume in drive C is Windows
 Volume Serial Number is XX9X-97XX

 Directory of C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\bin

05/11/2018  09:32 AM             2,283 RefreshEnv.cmd
               1 File(s)          2,283 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  54,360,322,048 bytes free

If you have never heard of Chocolatey, I wrote about it briefly at another post. It is basically a package manager for Windows. I use it to find, install and update applications on my Windows machine. This is same with the apt or yum command in some Linux distros, or brew from Homebrew if you are on MacOS.

Published in MS WIndows