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Chapter 6. Managing Memory, Multitasking... > Working with Environment Variables

Working with Environment Variables

Environment variables are pieces of data used by the operating system of a PC or by applications that run on it. The variables store information about the PC that helps applications and operating systems run properly on differently configured PCs. Environment variables make it easy for applications or operating systems to look at a common location for important information about the platform they are running on. Examples of environment variables include TEMP, which defines the name of the directory where temporary files are stored, and PROMPT, which defines the appearance of the command prompt.

Every environment variable has a label. The label helps Windows NT Workstation and applications refer to its value. For example, the TEMP environment variable might have the value C:\TEMP. Even the PATH statement is an environment variable. Figure 6.6 shows all the environment variables in use on the computer that was used to write this chapter. Table 6.2 explains what the environment variables illustrated in the figure are used for.


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