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Windows XP - Set Environment Variables Not Being Recognized

Posted on 2005-03-25
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I have a 16-bit application that requires the use of three environment variables (set in System variables).  The application will not launch unless it reads these variable.

Problem:  The variables are properly entered and will show up in the variable list generated by the "Set" command in the "CMD" windows, but the application does not consistently read them, so it fails to launch.  This is happening only on new builds of Windows XP Pro.  After some playing around with the workstation (e.g. adding and deleting false set variables) the application will then read the set variables and being to work.  After the application begins to work, the condition does not reappear (at least yet) on the workstations.

Is this the result of not having an environment (e.g. "File Handles", etc) set in the "config.nt" file or something of a similar nature?  What are the default values for environment size, etc that could affect this condition?
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Question by:knswetzel
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9 Comments
 
LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:CarlWarner
ID: 13635050
I have had no problem doing something very similar for an old FoxPro for DOS program where the author needed five or six environmental variables set in order for it to work.

I went into Control Panel..System..Advanced...Environmental Variables where I entered them under System Variables.
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Author Comment

by:knswetzel
ID: 13641579
Additional Information on Problem:
The variables are entered under "Control Panel", "System", "Advanced", "Environment Variables".  The computer is not achnologing them upon initial build.  After some manipulation of the system, it will begin to read them, thus allowing the older application to begin functioning.

I'm upping the point value to 500, as it seems that this is not an easy one.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:CarlWarner
ID: 13641593
Have you tried a re-boot after entering them to see if it "holds" them and the system has calmed down.  I have seen developers argue over whether or not the re-boot is really necessary; however, when in doubt, re-boot.
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Author Comment

by:knswetzel
ID: 13641657
That too (re-booting) is inconsistent in making the application work on the computer.  This worries me about putting this application out on the user floor.  I agree with you, re-boot to give the machine a fresh start, which works sometimes, but not always.  I have re-booted a machine 5-7 times, with no changes to the computer, and then it began working.  Consistency and the root of this issue are baffling me.  

I do appreciate your help on this one, because it does not make any sense to me right now.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:CarlWarner
ID: 13641797
It's contagious-- it's not making any sense to me why it works sometimes and not others.  ????

If it's not a big secret, what is this 16-bit app based on anyway?
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Author Comment

by:knswetzel
ID: 13641828
The app uses the old SyBase 16-bit Client (read Windows 3.1).  The SyBase client is what is suspected as the culprit.  SyBase uses 3 variables and when it can't read them, it responds saying that itself doesn't exist.  No present upgrade path exists for this app, at this time, so I'm stuck.

Thanks again for your help.
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LVL 33

Accepted Solution

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CarlWarner earned 1500 total points
ID: 13641849
I hear you.  

Are you sure there just isn't some .ini it might get them from.  Or a specific old .ini file under Windows 3.1 that had a section entitled [Synase] with some entries below it that got called when Windows was loaded?

Just a thought.
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Author Comment

by:knswetzel
ID: 13698077
Your last comment was close, but provided a direction to the solution to the issue.  There were security settings on certain system files that prevented the application from loading.

Thank you for your help.
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Expert Comment

by:CarlWarner
ID: 13698351
You're welcome.
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