How to reset environment variable set with setx in Windows?


Initial state: ABC_HOME C:\abc\bin\

In the batch file the variable is changed:

setx ABC_HOME "%ABC_HOME%;E:\newAbc\abc\bin\"    

How can I return to the state ABC_HOME C:\abc\bin\?


Since ABC_HOME is defined before the start of the batch file, we can simply set a temporary variable to store the old value:

setx ABC_HOME "%ABC_HOME%;E:\newAbc\abc\bin\"
<your code here>

If, however, you’re using setx multiple times in the same batch file, you would have to query the registry to get the updated value, so you could use something like:

setx ABC_HOME C:\abc\bin\
FOR /F "tokens=2* delims= " %%a IN ('reg query HKCU\Environment /v ABC_HOME') DO SET OLD_ABC_HOME=%%b
setx ABC_HOME "%ABC_HOME%;E:\newAbc\abc\bin\"
<your code here>

The reason for this is that setx doesn’t apply to the environment of the cmd.exe instance that it’s run in.


  • reg query HKCU\Environment /v ABC_HOME uses the Windows Registry to get the value of the ABC_HOME variable, since this is not available in your batch environment.
  • FOR /F "tokens=2* delims= " %%a IN ('...') DO will loop through the output of the reg query command and split it into three pieces.
    • delims= will set the space character as the delimiter for splitting the output
    • tokens=2* specifies which parts of the split output we want. The second piece will go into the %%a variable and the third portion and all portions after will go into the %%b variable. This way your variables can contain spaces.
    • SET OLD_ABC_HOME=%%b will set a temporary environment variable containing the contents of ABC_HOME.
  • setx ABC_HOME %OLD_ABC_HOME% will set ABC_HOME back to the old value it had before you ran your other code. It must be at the end of your code.

Further reading

Answered By – Worthwelle

This Answer collected from stackoverflow, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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