Service does not recognize a Windows environment variable change on a Windows Server 2003-based computer


A service that runs on your Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based computer may not recognize Windows environment variable changes. For example, if you change the Path environment variable by using the System Properties item in Control Panel, a service that uses the Path environment variable may not recognize the change until you restart your computer.


This problem occurs because the service environment does not read the Windows registry to obtain the most recent changes to Windows environment variables. The service environment is the environment where the service runs.


Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site: Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.


No prerequisites are required.

Restart requirement

You must restart your 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.

Windows Server 2003, 32-bit versions

Date         Time   Version            Size    File name       Platform
15-Dec-2004 04:29 5.2.3790.242 104,448 Services.exe x86

Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems

Date         Time   Version            Size    File name      Platform
14-Dec-2004 23:12 5.2.3790.242 292,352 Services.exe IA-64


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

More Information

Tthe Service Control Manager creates a service environment that is similar to the Windows environment when a service that uses the Local System account starts. The service runs in that service environment. If a change is made to the Windows environment while the service is running, the change is not available to the service environment. This behavior occurs because the service environment does not read the Windows registry to obtain the most recent changes to the Windows environment variables.

Note If you restart the service, this problem still occurs. After you make a change to the Windows environment, you must restart your computer for the service environment to recognize the change.For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

824684 Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates


Article ID: 887693 - Last Review: May 29, 2008 - Revision: 1