Gone, but not forgotten.

For the longest time, one of the things that people liked to poke fun at in Windows was a dialog box used to add fonts to the system. The rarely used dialog used Windows 3.1-era icons and fonts, even in Windows Vista, making it a weird anachronism. Microsoft tidied up that bit of Windows legacy in Windows 7 by removing the box entirely, but other relics remain.

One of the most annoying is the environment variables dialog. This box hasn’t been updated for what feels like millennia, and it’s cramped and awkward to use as a result. Environment variables can be lengthy, and they almost never fit in the current dialog. This is particularly acute for one of the most important variables, PATH. The PATH variable stores the names of all the directories that the system should search when hunting for executables, and many applications and development tools like to add their directories to the PATH. It quickly gets unwieldy.

The current annoying dialog.

And unlike the add font dialog, which people only ever looked at just to point and laugh—it was rarely used to actually install fonts—the environment variables box is actually useful, as it’s the easiest and best way of changing Windows environment variables.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments