How can I display the contents of an environment variable from the command prompt in Windows 7?



In Windows 7, when I start the Command prompt, is there any command to display the contents of an environment variable (such as the JAVA_HOME or PATH variables)?

I have tried with echo $PATH, echo PATH and $PATH but none of these work.


Posted 2011-09-29T11:22:34.540

Reputation: 21 007

2echo %path:;=&echo.% gets the pretty list of semicolon separated paths. Works if a variable does not contain special characters like & or ^. – Andry – 2018-07-05T17:22:14.843

1the command to print path in Windows command shell is: path – Vyacheslav Lanovets – 2019-05-02T05:46:27.253

26@Daniel: I know how to set environment variables in Windows, I simply open "System properties" > "Advanced" and "Environment Variables". So I don't expect the answer to my question in a question titled with "How do I set PATH and other environment variables?", because I know that! I'm not asking about how to set them. – Jonas – 2011-10-01T12:00:15.543

In a way you're right - as one of the authors in the other topic, I haven't actually noticed the exact wording for a long time. I edited that topic to reflect its actual contents. I'm not going to change the vote though, both because I can't, and because I stand by my assessment that this topic shows no research effort. – Daniel Beck – 2011-10-01T12:14:42.060



In Windows Command-Prompt the syntax is echo %PATH%

To get a list of all environment variables enter the command set

To send those variables to a text file enter the command set > filename.txt



Posted 2011-09-29T11:22:34.540

Reputation: 70 632

@RedGrittyBrick, How do you differentiate those set throughout the system vs those that are only for the current user? – Pacerier – 2017-02-16T06:31:30.223

@Pacerier, that would be a separate question

– RedGrittyBrick – 2017-02-16T10:31:37.267

2Why is this value different from what I've specified in computer properties? – Johnny_D – 2013-09-19T09:45:40.813

2@Johnny_D It is likely that either you have a user scoped variable or you have a session scoped variable (using the set command inside a command prompt does not keep the change after you close the console window) that is overriding it. – Scott Chamberlain – 2013-12-07T09:09:01.230


To complement the previous answer, if you're using Powershell echo %PATH% would not work. You need to use the following command instead: echo $Env:PATH

Gerard Yin

Posted 2011-09-29T11:22:34.540

Reputation: 1 565

18Also in PS: ls env: for listing all environment variables – George Mauer – 2015-08-08T16:24:54.853

2Since PowerShell is now the default shell in modern Windows OS's this needs to be up-voted higher. Way too many answers out there that simply no longer work on modern Windows. – Lev – 2018-05-14T10:35:46.067

1@Lev. What version do you have that does not have cmd? – Mad Physicist – 2018-05-24T18:20:30.820

so how one shows a variable if its name contains a dot? Like echo $ doesn't work (highlighting suggests that it tries to show the artifactory variable) – YakovL – 2019-05-15T14:52:53.680


As an additional bit of information: While SET works with global or system variables, sometimes you want to write and read User variables, and this is done with the SETX command. SETX is included in the base installs of Windows beginning with Vista, but was also available in Windows XP by installing the Resource Pack.

One difference about SETX though is that you cannot read the variable out in the same command window you wrote it in. You have to write the SETX command in one Command or Powershell window, and then open a new window to read it using ECHO.

SETX can also write global or system variables.

To Set a user variable using SETX:

setx variable value

To set a global or system variable using SETX:

setx /m variable value

To read a user or global variable:

Remember, you must open a new Command or Powershell window to read this variable.

echo %variable%


Posted 2011-09-29T11:22:34.540

Reputation: 34 957


From SET /?:


would display all variables that begin with the letter 'P'

So for example if you want to find value of environment variable %PATH%, you can just type set path.

This is 3 characters shorter than echo %PATH%, but note that it also lists other variables starting with "path" (e.g. PATHEXT).


Posted 2011-09-29T11:22:34.540

Reputation: 578


The solution was a bit different for me: it won't recognize the system environment variable JAVA_HOME, so I had to set JAVA_HOME as User environment variable, so that i can use %JAVA_HOME% in system environment variable setting up.

Resuming, I had to:

  • add a user environment variable: %JAVA_HOME% as:

    "C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_25";
  • add to %PATH% system environment variable:

  • latter on command line:

    echo %JAVA_HOME%, and it retrieved the correct path (before it wasn't recognizing);

    echo %PATH%, and it retrieved the "C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_25\bin" composed with %JAVA_HOME% user variable;

And it worked for me. I hope it helps!!


Posted 2011-09-29T11:22:34.540

Reputation: 41


To display contents of an environment variable eg. path, at command prompt type: echo %path%
To display the values in separate lines, type: set
To display all variables starting with "h", type: set h
(Press enter after typing to get computer response, duh!)

Above commands are for cmd, not powershell. In powershell, type: echo $env:path or ls env:path
To display on separate lines, type: ls env:
To display all variables starting with "h", type: ls env:h*
To display contents/values of all variables containing "java", type: ls env:*java*


Posted 2011-09-29T11:22:34.540

Reputation: 107



echo $Env:PATH

Command Prompt:

echo $Env:%PATH%

on the Command Prompt %PATH% will also work

Bar Horing

Posted 2011-09-29T11:22:34.540

Reputation: 171