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explain WHY a path is need for php

This is my path
%SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\system32\wbem;C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Live;C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Live;%SYSTEMROOT%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0;C:\Program Files (x86)\EgisTec\MyWinLocker 3\x86;C:\Program Files (x86)\EgisTec\MyWinLocker 3\x64;C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Shared;c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn;c:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn;c:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\DTS\Binn;c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE;c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\DTS\Binn;C:\Program Files (x86)\WinSCP;C:\svn\bin;C:\Program Files\TortoiseSVN\bin;C:\Program Files (x86)\Smart Projects\IsoBuster;C:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime\QTSystem;C:\Program Files (x86)\Bitvise Tunnelier;C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\SYSTEM\MSMAPI\1033;C:\Program Files (x86)\WinSCP\;C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Web Platform Installer\;C:\Program Files\WIDCOMM\Bluetooth Software\;C:\Program Files\WIDCOMM\Bluetooth Software\syswow64;C:\Program Files (x86)\NuSphere\PhpED\php54;C:\Users\Acer\AppData\Roaming\PEAR;C:\Users\Acer\AppData\Roaming\PEAR\pear\PHPUnit;

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what happens to php when folders are added to windows environment path


I am told to add folder to path but I do not understand WHY

I am just told to avoid errors.
And when these folders are added, no errors.

Please explain why?
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rgb192
Asked:
rgb192
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3 Solutions
 
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
That's because of the way Windows searches for commands.
When you type, in command prompt, php, for ex, Windows will look in the current folder, in the Windows folder and, additionally, in the folders specified in PATH. If it's not found in any of these folders, it will complain that it can't find the file.

So, basically, you add a folder to PATH so you can run programs that are inside that folder from anywhere on the system, without specifying the full path.

HTH,
Dan
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käµfm³d 👽Commented:
The PATH environment variable holds a semi-colon-delimited list of locations for the shell to look in if it does not find the currently requested command/executable in the current directory. Adding something to the PATH is usually for convenience, though sometimes applications will check the PATH variable themselves, in which case you may need to manually add some location to PATH. It seems as though you have a PHP-related application that checks the PATH variable, hence your needing to add it.
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käµfm³d 👽Commented:
To add to my previous comment, reasons for why an application might want to check the PATH would be that perhaps some commonly-used application is installed to a well-known location within the file system, but some users might choose to override this an install the application to a different location. If the searching app were to try and run the commonly-used application by pointing at the well-known location, then it would error because it could not find the commonly-used application at that path. Inspecting the PATH variable gives the searching application a list of potential locations for where the commonly-used application might reside.
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rgb192Author Commented:
So when I type
php -v
pear -v
phpunit -v

windows would search all my path directories for
php.exe
pear.exe
phpunit.exe

but only php.exe exists
how does windows know the name of pear, phpunit
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käµfm³d 👽Commented:
If you don't prefix the command with the full path, then Windows will search the current directory first, then look in the places specified by the PATH variable.

As to pear.exe and phpunit.exe, I am not familiar with those utilities, so maybe they each do something special. I'll have to defer on those.
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
There are other file types that are executed, not only exe files.
The most popular on Windows are .bat files.

AFAIK, when you call phpunit you're calling phpunit.bat . Same for pear.bat
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rgb192Author Commented:
ok phpunit.bat, pear.bat
bat and exe files


for example path is one folder with many .exe and .bat
how does php know which file to run in that folder
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
In what folder? What command are you typing that is giving you unexpected results?
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rgb192Author Commented:
now my path is correct,
but I was having many questions about path

and even though path is correct: I still wonder how file is being chosen
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
Depends on where you launch your command from. As already pointed out, the order in which windows will look for your command/file is:
- current folder
- path folders
- windows folder

The moment it founds a match, it runs it, ignoring other similarly named files in other folders.
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rgb192Author Commented:
so if launched in current folder, windows will look for all the .exe / .bat files

 current folder

next will try all the folders in path

next will try c:/windows/
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
Yup
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rgb192Author Commented:
now I understand path better

thanks
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