[Rd] Windows: adding R/bin folder to the PATH variable

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Jul 18 10:18:17 CEST 2008

On Fri, 18 Jul 2008, Gorjanc Gregor wrote:

> Hi!
> Under Windows R is installed, but its bin folder is not added to the 
> system PATH variable. I know that this is handled properly under *nix 
> like systems and I wonder, why this is not the default also for the MS 
> Windows? I guess that for most users a shortcut on the desktop or 
> anywhere else is sufficient, but there are occasions when one expects to 
> able to lunch R from anywhere - say the Command prompt.

This is the normal behaviour of Windows applications.  There are several 
reasons, including length limits on the Windows PATH (which are 
version-specific) and that shells are not normally used -- most Unix 
shells hash the path contents so lookup is (almost) independent of the 
number of applications on the path.

If you run a shell (e.g. the Command prompt) you can set the path for that 
shell, and indeed I have my system setup to use a different path in shells 
than used from the desktop).

Finally, those Windows installers that do add to the PATH frequently fail 
to uninstall correctly.

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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