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What Windows 11 and 10 Environment Variables are and how to use them

It's easy to add new variables that you need without having to change user or system variables. Take care of a group of variables at the same time.

By Newsd
Published on :
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What Windows 11 and 10 Environment Variables: Environment variables control the settings that apps and programs run in. Users can add, change, remove, or manage them, and they’re useful for controlling how certain processes work.

Here’s how to make profiles in Windows that let you handle multiple variables at once without having to change each one separately.

What Windows 11 and 10 Environment Variables are and how to use them

There are two types of environment variables on Windows: User variables and System variables. User variables only affect the present user, while System variables affect the whole computer. But with PowerToys, you can make a separate profile where you can add new variables and control the ones you already have. How to do it:

Step 1: Put PowerToys in place.

PowerToys has a tool called Environment Variables that lets you control environment variables by making profiles. It needs to be installed before it can be used. Open the Microsoft Store to do that.

  • Look for Power Toys.
  • Click on Set up.
  • You can also get PowerToys from its GitHub page, which is shown below:
  • On the GitHub page, click on the link that says “Download.”
  • Run the PowerToys software after you’ve downloaded it.
  • Check that you understand the rules, then click “Install.”

Step 2: In PowerToys, turn on environment variables.

  • Start PowerToys and go to the left side menu. Click on Environment Variables.
  • Turn on Enable Environment Variables on the right.
  • Also, make sure that “Launch as administrator” is turned on so that you can change “System” settings if you need to.

Step 3: Make a new account.

  • It will open when you click on Launch Environment Variables.
  • The two default variable settings, User and System, are on the left side of the “Environment Variables” window.
  • On the right will be the factors that are used.
  • Click on “+ New profile” in the upper left area to make a new profile.
  • Also, name your page.

Step 4: Add variables, both new and old.

  • To do this, click on “Add variable.”
  • You can add both new and old factors to a profile here. Type in the Name and Value of the environment variable under “New” to add a new profile.
  • After that, click “Add” at the bottom.
  • The new environment variable you made will be put to your profile.
  • Click on the “Existing” tab to add an existing variable.
  • Then pick out the factors you want to add.
  • Then click on “Add” at the bottom.
  • Last, click the Save button.

Step 5: Change or get rid of factors

The “Profiles” area is where you’ll find your custom environment variable profile. To see the factors that are part of the profile, click on the down arrow next to it.

If you want to change or delete a variable from the profile, click on the three dots that are next to it.

  • To change its name or number, click Edit.
  • Change what needs to be changed, then click “Save.”
  • If you want to get rid of the variable from the profile, click Remove.
  • To be sure, click “Yes.”
  • Click on the three dots next to the profile and choose Edit to make changes to the profile itself.
  • When you click this, you’ll be taken to the same window where you can add and change factors.
  • Choose “Remove” to get rid of the page.
  • To be sure, click “Yes.”

Step 6: Turn profiles on or off

  • Last but not least, don’t forget to turn on the profile so that the factors you added can be used.
  • On the right side of the “Environment Variables” window, you’ll see the variables that have been used.
  • Keep in mind that you can only use one name at a time, no matter how many you make.
  • To turn off a page, all you have to do is flip it off.

What happens when I use Environment Variables to make a profile?

Yes, the variables you add to that profile will be used instead of User and System variables when they are the same. It will be easy to turn variables on and off by either turning profiles on or off. In User and System Environment Variables, it won’t change anything, but if a variable is shared by all three, Profile will be chosen first, then User, and finally System.

Why should you use profiles in Environment Variables?

You can do the following when you use a different profile for environment variables:

It’s easy to add new variables that you need without having to change user or system variables.
Take care of a group of variables at the same time.

A variable with the same name as a User variable should be given more attention.

From the “Default variables” part of PowerToys’ Environment Variables tool, you can also change User and System variables that are already set. To make changes to System settings, make sure you run the tool as an administrator.


Let us look at some questions that people often have about how to use profiles in Windows Environment Variables.

How do I use PowerToys to change the usual system variables?

Run PowerToys’ Environment Variables tool as administrator to change the system variables that are already set. Then, go to the “System” tab and find the “Default variables” section. Next to the variable you want to change, click on the three-dot icon and choose “Edit” or “Remove.”

When there are two variables with the same name, profile and user, which one is more important?

When there are two variables with the same name, the ones that are part of a profile are used. From most important to least important, common values are set to Profile > User > System.

Can you have two accounts? What takes place when I make more than one profile?

You can only use one name at a time, though. You can make more than one name, but you can only use one at a time.

Profiles add a level of flexibility and ease to controlling environment variables that Windows hasn’t had before. PowerToys is a must-have for anyone who wants to get a better handle on Windows environment settings because it’s the only way to make these kinds of profiles. We hope that this guide helped you in the same way. Until then!