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How to Set Environment Variables in PowerShell

How to Set Environment Variables in PowerShell

To get environment variables in PowerShell, we can use Get-ChildItem env: to list all the environment variables and $env: to return the value of a specific environment variable. This blog post should help explain this as well as how to set new values for Environment Variables.

An environment variable is a value that is stored on a computer and can be accessed and used by programs to alter their behaviour. For example, in the AWS CLI you can set an environment variable called “AWS_REGION” and assign it a value such as “eu-west-1”. Then, you could have a program that reads this environment variable and uses it to specify the AWS region when making API requests.

In PowerShell, you can access environment variables using a number of different cmdlets. This post covers cover two of the most common methods, Get-ChildItem and Get-Item.

This post will cover the following:
List All Environment Variables
Get Value of a Specific Environment Variable
Set New Environment Variable

List All Environment Variables

To list all of the environment variables on your system, use the Get-ChildItem cmdlet with the Env: drive. This displays a list of all the environment variables and their current values.

You can also run gci which is an alias for Get-ChildItem as displayed in my screenshots below.

# List all environment variables
Get-ChildItem Env:
PowerShell gci env:

Get Value of a Specific Environment Variable

To return the value of an environment variable in PowerShell, run the following:

# Get the value of the aws_default_region environment variable

# Do the same but alt (easier) syntax
PowerShell Show Environment Variable Value

Set New Environment Variable

To set a new value for the AWS_DEFAULT_REGION environment variable with PowerShell, use the following command:

# Set the AWS Default Region Environment Variable
PowerShell Set Environment Variable