A program may not run when you try to start the program and the path may be truncated when you manually add a new environment variable in Windows 2000 and in Windows NT

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Article ID: 180410 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q180410
For a Microsoft Windows XP version of this article, see 832978.
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SYMPTOMS

When you try to start a program on a Microsoft Windows 2000-based computer or a Microsoft Windows NT-based computer, the program may not run. Additionally, when you manually add a new environment variable that contains a path value, the path may be truncated.

CAUSE

This problem occurs because a system environment variable or a user environment variable contains a path that exceeds the maximum character length.

If a system environment variable contains a path that exceeds the maximum character length, the path is truncated when you start a program. This truncated version of the path is then written back to the registry. When this occurs, the operating system may not be able to find the executable files or the DLL files for the program. In this case, the program may not run.

The maximum length of the combined system and user-defined path for an environment variable is 1,023 characters, excluding the "path=" part of either. The system path is limited to a maximum length of 1,023 characters. The user-defined path is limited to a maximum length of 511 characters. When a user-defined path is combined with a system path, the user-defined path is limited to 1,023 characters minus the system path. If the system path uses the total allocated environment space, the user-defined path may be truncated. In this case, you may experience the problem that is mentioned in the "Symptoms" section.

Note These path length limits for environment variables are also true for Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

RESOLUTION

Hotfix information

Note After you apply this hotfix, the path length limit for environment variables is increased to 2,048 characters.

A supported hotfix is now available from Microsoft, but it is only intended to correct the problem that this article describes. Apply it only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.

To resolve this problem, contact Microsoft Product Support Services to obtain the hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Product Support Services telephone numbers and information about support costs, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support
Note In special cases, charges that are ordinarily incurred for support calls may be canceled if a Microsoft Support Professional determines that a specific update will resolve your problem. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for the specific update in question.

Prerequisites

No prerequisites are required.

Restart requirement

You must restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.

Hotfix replacement information

This hotfix does not replace any other hotfixes.

File information

The English version of this hotfix has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time tool in Control Panel.
   Date         Time   Version             Size  File name
   ----------------------------------------------------------
   17-Jun-2004  23:05  5.0.2195.6951     46,352  Basesrv.dll
   21-Sep-2003  00:45  5.0.2195.6824    236,304  Cmd.exe
   17-Jun-2004  23:05  5.0.2195.6945    231,184  Gdi32.dll
   17-Jun-2004  23:05  5.0.2195.6946    712,464  Kernel32.dll
   24-Mar-2004  02:17  5.0.2195.6898     37,136  Mf3216.dll
   24-Mar-2004  02:17  5.0.2195.6824     54,544  Mpr.dll
   18-Apr-2005  15:01  5.0.2195.7040    337,168  Msgina.dll
   24-Mar-2004  02:17  5.0.2195.6892     90,264  Rdpwd.sys
   18-Apr-2005  15:01  5.0.3900.7040  2,359,568  Shell32.dll
   07-Feb-2005  05:35  5.0.2195.7026  6,301,696  Sp3res.dll
   18-Apr-2005  15:01  5.0.2195.7029    126,736  Sysdm.cpl
   29-Dec-2004  09:14  5.0.2195.7017    380,688  User32.dll
   18-Apr-2005  15:01  5.0.2195.7029    396,048  Userenv.dll
   24-Dec-2004  17:23  5.0.2195.7013  1,633,616  Win32k.sys
   15-Feb-2005  07:06  5.0.2195.7031    184,592  Winlogon.exe
   17-Jun-2004  23:05  5.0.2195.6946    244,496  Winsrv.dll
   17-Jun-2004  23:05  5.0.2195.6946    712,464  Kernel32.dll
   24-Dec-2004  17:23  5.0.2195.7013  1,633,616  Win32k.sys
   17-Jun-2004  23:05  5.0.2195.6946    244,496  Winsrv.dll
   25-Feb-2005  17:43  6.1.22.4         371,936  Updspapi.dll

Properties

Article ID: 180410 - Last Review: January 16, 2006 - Revision: 5.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
Keywords: 
kbhotfixserver kbbug kbfix kbqfe kbwin2000presp5fix kbenv kbinfo KB180410

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