AutoIt Script to Set the JAVA_HOME Environment Variable

April 24, 2009

Recently I had to help some remote users setting up one of those Java applications that requires a JAVA_HOME environment variable pointing to the base directory of the Java SDK.

The manual process is not that complex, but apparently it can be very mind-boggling to a less versed computer user. It seems that the biggest problem is to find the correct value for the variable.

To overcome the problem I created an AutoIt script that reads the Java Home path from the registry, presents a confirmation dialog to the user and then sets the environment variable by creating or changing some registry keys.

AutoIt scripts can be compiled into a standalone executable so the user's task becomes as easy as double clicking in a file.

Here's the confirmation dialog shown by the script:

Confirmation dialog shown by the script

The entire AutoIt script code:

#include <WindowsConstants.au3>
#include <GUIConstantsEx.au3>

; Obtain the JDK current version from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Development Kit\CurrentVersion
$currentversion = RegRead("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Development Kit", "CurrentVersion")
If @error <> 0 Then
	MsgBox(0, "Error", "The Java Development Kit installation path could not be determined")

; Obtain the JavaHome path from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Development Kit\<current version>\JavaHome
$javahome = RegRead("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Development Kit\" & $currentversion, "JavaHome")
If @error <> 0 Then
   MsgBox(0, "Error", "The Java Development Kit installation path could not be determined")

; Create the GUI

; Enable event notifications:
Opt("GUIOnEventMode", 1)

; Create main window
GUICreate("Set Environment Variable", 400, 165, -1, -1, $WS_DLGFRAME)
GUICtrlCreateLabel("Name:", 10, 10)
GUICtrlCreateLabel("JAVA_HOME", 60, 10)
GUICtrlCreateLabel("Value:", 10, 30)
GUICtrlCreateLabel($javahome, 60, 30)
GUICtrlCreateLabel("Scope:", 10, 52)
$radiouser = GUICtrlCreateRadio("USER", 60, 50, 120, 20)
$radiosystem = GUICtrlCreateRadio("SYSTEM", 60, 70, 120, 20)
$okbutton = GUICtrlCreateButton("OK", 90, 100, 100)
$cancelbutton = GUICtrlCreateButton("Cancel", 210, 100, 100)

; Set event handlers
GUICtrlSetOnEvent($okbutton, "OnOk")
GUICtrlSetOnEvent($cancelbutton, "OnCancel")

; Check SYSTEM
GUICtrlSetState($radiosystem, $GUI_CHECKED)

; Set focus on the OK button
GUICtrlSetState($okbutton, $GUI_FOCUS)

; Show main window

; Prevent the application from closing (button event handlers will terminate the app)
While True

; Functions

; OK button event handler
Func OnOk()
	; Disable buttons
	GUICtrlSetState($okbutton, $GUI_DISABLE)
	GUICtrlSetState($cancelbutton, $GUI_DISABLE)
	; Set the environment variable
	If BitAND(GUICtrlRead($radiouser), $GUI_CHECKED) = $GUI_CHECKED Then
		; USER scope
		$result = RegWrite("HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Environment", "JAVA_HOME", "REG_SZ", $javahome)
		; SYSTEM scope
		$result = RegWrite("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment", "JAVA_HOME", "REG_SZ", $javahome)
	If $result = 1 Then
		; Refreshes the OS environment
		; Notifies user of success
		MsgBox(0, "Information", "JAVA_HOME was set to '" & $javahome & "'")
		MsgBox(0, "Error", "Error setting the environment variable")

; Cancel button event handler
Func OnCancel()

You can download the script here.


  • KB104011 - Explains how to set environment variables using the registry and how to propagate changes to the system
  • KB821761 - Explain why changes made to environment variables do not affect services that run under the Local System account until Windows is restarted
  • Deploying the JRE on Windows - Explains the registry keys created by the JRE installer (the JDK registry keys are similar but instead of residing inside HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\JavaSoft\Java Runtime Environment they are inside HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\JavaSoft\Java Development Kit)