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Complete list of environment variables on Windows 10

Use these environment variables to quickly browse Windows 10 locations on any computer.

Windows 10 environment variables

On Windows 10, environment variables are predefined names that represent the path to certain locations within the operating system, such as to a drive or a particular file or folder.

Environment variables can be helpful in a number of scenarios, but they’re particularly useful if you’re an IT person or you’re fixing someone else’s computer, as you can quickly navigate to certain locations without even knowing the username or full path to a system folder.

For example, instead of browsing C:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming, you can simply open the Run command (Windows key + R), type %APPDATA%, and hit Enter to access the same path. Or you can use the %HOMEPATH% variable to access the current user default folders location — where the operating system stores the folders for Desktop, Documents, Downloads, OneDrive, etc.

In this guide, you’ll learn the list of the most common environment variables you can use on Windows 10.

Windows 10 default environment variables

VariableWindows 10
%COMMONPROGRAMFILES%C:\Program Files\Common Files
%COMMONPROGRAMFILES(x86)%C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files
%CommonProgramW6432%C:\Program Files\Common Files
%PROGRAMFILES%C:\Program Files
%ProgramW6432%C:\Program Files
%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%C:\Program Files (x86)

Although you can use environment variables to quickly access certain locations within Windows 10, you’ll typically use these variable when building an script or an application.

Keep in mind that some of the variables mentioned are not location specific, including %COMPUTERNAME%, %PATHEXT%, %PROMPT%, %USERDOMAIN%, %USERNAME%.

While this guide is focused on Windows 10, it’s important to note that these variable will also work on Windows 8.x, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.