The Bear Minimum - Finding your path

Since most people are Windows users, you will probably have to modify your path variable to make programming a little easier for you. If you're using Ubuntu or OSX this should already be set up for your or you'll already know how to do it!

The path variable allows you to access files and programs easily from any directory or folder on your computer. For the most part, you will be compiling and running Java programs from the command-prompt so making sure your path correctly is extremely helpful. Before you modify your path variable, first you'll need to know where the JDK was installed -- it generally installs to c:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_13 where these numbers at the end specify the version.

Make sure that the jdk directory exists and you may want to look within the bin folder. Within it you should see a file named "javac.exe".

We want to be able to easily access the javac program from anywhere on the command-prompt so we'll want to add that bin directory to our System's path. Based on your flavor of Windows, finding the path variable may be a journey of it's own. You should be able to find it by following:

Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment > Variables
Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced Settings > Change Settings > Advanced > Environment > Variables

Basically we need to modify the environment variables. Once you find it, there should be two lists: one for user variables and one for system variables. Let's change the system variable as it will make the change for all users and programs. Within the system variables list, find the word "path" under the variable column and then click on edit.

And carefully add the following line to the front (or to the left of the existing text):

c:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_13\bin;

Remember, if your jdk directory exists at a different location on your computer, please make sure you use it! Your jdk and bin directory may be at c:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.5.0\bin or c:\java\current_jdk\bin so make sure you found it first.

And yes, there was a semi-colon.

You will not have to add anything to your path.

You may need to add the Python folder to your path. Find out where you installed python and make sure that the directory has the python.exe file. It may be at c:\python26 or c:\python.

Follow the same steps from above and add the following to your path variable:

Don't forget the semi-colon.