October 1, 2013

Path issue when having installed a lot of software

Windows is having some trouble with very long path environment variable, even in Windows 7. There are several limits which prevent the path to be as long as one would like.

This present an issue when you have installed a bunch of software, each one adding is own items to the path variable. A some point, the path becomes too long and strange things happens such as control panel applet not working anymore.

This happened to me when installing Delphi XE5 on a system which already had a lot of software, including 6 other Delphi versions.

Actually, the solution is simple. Three steps:
  1. Remove the items installed by the application from the path
  2. Create a batch file adding the items back to the path and launch the application
  3. Change the shortcut (Desktop and Start Menu) to run your batch instead of the application.
I have done that for all the Delphi version I have currently installed on my system. Here is the batch for XE5:

ECHO Starting Delphi XE5
SET RSBIN=D:\Program Files (x86)\Embarcadero\RAD Studio\12.0
SET RSBPL=C:\Users\Public\Documents\RAD Studio\12.0\Bpl
START /D "%RSBIN%\bin" bds.exe %1

Please note that the paths in this batch reflect my own installation: Delphi is on D: driver and common files on C: drive. You must adapt this to your own setup!

The batch is almost the same for X2, XE3, XE4 and XE5. Just change the version number form 12.0 for XE5 down to 9.0 for XE2.

Before XE2, the batch is a little bit different because there was no win64 compiler. The arts with win64 and bin64 must be removed. At some point in the past, Embarcadero directory was CodeGear and even before it was Borland. The executable file is bds.exe for most versions, but it was Delphi32.exe for Delphi 7 and earlier. All in all, just have a look at your path variable and reproduce what you see.

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Janneman said...

Another trick is to do a SUBST for a common part of all the path directories, like SUBST P: "C:\Program Files (x86)". You can do this in a startup batch file, then replace all these parts in the PATH.

kmorwath said...

That's just because developers stubbornly keep on using DOS era settings instead of using "newer" (because now they are pretty old also!) Windows features: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ee872121(v=vs.85).aspx