Tag Archives: Environment Variables

Beware XAMPP meddling with your Environment Variables!

I decided to grab a copy of the official release of PHP 5.3.0 for XAMPP and try it out (replacing my hacked version in an effort to resolve some database compatibility issues).

Unfortunately, this proved to be a BIG MISTAKE!

Moments after installing the software, all my new shell windows reported that mkdir, doskey, ipconfig and even HELP are ‘unrecognized’ – so began my hour-long search for a resolution to the amnesia that had suddenly afflicted the command-line.

The problem turned out to be two-fold:

  1. It would seem the installation script (setup_xampp.bat) or shell script (xampp_shell.bat) had a misunderstanding with some of my custom command-line settings. In fact, it decided my PATH environment variable wasn’t up to scratch… so it erased it! This meant that the command-line had no idea where to look for system apps. and as result shut-down a large portion of my system utilities.
  2. In addition to the above, the script added to my default shell script (HKEY_USERS…SoftwareMicrosoftCommand ProcessorAutoRun) a small ‘set PATH=’ command that each time it was run added the XAMPP directory to PATH and then deformed it with an increasingly long string of semi-colons.

Needless to say, I’m somewhat annoyed that there is no visible warning during installation that it could potentially FUBAR your environment variables. I hope this provides some insight for people who might be experiencing a similar problem.