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Trying to understand the difference between an executable call at the Run command versus a command prompt.

Posted on 2011-02-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
If I call the Excel executable (excel.exe) from a command prompt, it doesn’t work (Image 1).  If I call it from the run command, however, it works just fine (Image 2).  Why does the Run command know what to do with excel.exe whereas, the command prompt doesn’t?  In an effort to answer my own question, I started poking around my computer’s Environment Variables.  (I’m running W7 Pro.)  

I took a look at the Path Variable, there’s no hint of C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office (or %programfiles%\Microsoft Office).  

Is there another Environment Variable that the Run command has the privilege of using that the command prompt does not?  Or, does the difference in behavior reside somewhere else?

From-Command-Prompt.png
From-Run-Command.png
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Question by:jdana
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Expert Comment

by:EnriquePhoenix
ID: 34873046
you need to give it a location where its located
cd Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\
excel.exe
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Accepted Solution

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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3] earned 250 total points
ID: 34873050
command prompt only looks in the current folder and in all folders declared by the PATH variable

the RUN command is however explorer integrated tool, which goes much further that this, knows about all installed/registered applications, and hence finds excel.exe, and is able to run it.

remember that command prompt basically is coming from good old DOS  ...
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Expert Comment

by:EnriquePhoenix
ID: 34873082
This site has a good breakdown on how to modify your enviromental variables

http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/articles/command_line.shtml
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Expert Comment

by:ragijshah
ID: 34873162
This is mainly due to two type of environment variable.

1) User Variable and 2) System Variable.

You can copy Path from System variable to user variable and both will work in same way for you.
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Author Comment

by:jdana
ID: 34873250
angelIII,

You mention "registered" applications.  Is that the key?  Does the Run Command know what to do with excel.exe through the OS (Windows 7) and registry values?

J
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Assisted Solution

by:oBdA
oBdA earned 250 total points
ID: 34873317
The "run" command does not only look in the Path variable (like the command prompt does), but it looks as well under "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths" if there's a key <application.exe>, and then checks the value below for the location.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jdana
ID: 34882590
oBdA,

Perfect.  Thanks for the info.

J
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