MS-DOS and Windows command line path command

Updated: 05/21/2018 by Computer Hope
path command

The path command is utilized to specify the location where MS-DOS should look when it executes a command. For example, if you were to use "format" command, the path must be specified or you will receive the message "bad command or file name." See our path definition for a full explanation and examples of paths on computers.


Path is an internal command that is available in the following Microsoft operating systems.

Path syntax

Displays or sets a search path for executable files.

PATH [[drive:]path[;...]]

Type PATH ; to clear all directory names stored in your PATH variable. This command will force Windows to search only in the current directory for command names you run.

Path examples


Typing "path" by itself shows the current path information. Below is an example of the output you may receive when utilizing this command. As shown in the example below, there are multiple directories in the path separated by a semicolon.

PATH=C:\Program Files (x86)\NVIDIA Corporation\PhysX\Common;C:\Program Files (x8 6)\WinSCP;C:\Perl\site\bin;C:\Perl\bin;C:\WINDOWS\system32;C:\WINDOWS;C:\WINDOWS \System32\Wbem;C:\WINDOWS\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\Program Files (x86 )\Windows Live\Shared;C:\Program Files (x86)\FAHClient;

The command above would set the path to C:\windows\command, which is where many of the Windows commands are located.

Additional information

DOS limits the path to 122 bytes. Every command is limited to 127 bytes; however, 127 - 5 (minus 5 because of PATH=) = 122.

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