How do I specify C:\Program Files without a space in it for programs that can't handle spaces in file paths?


A configuration file needs position of another file,

but that file is located in "C:\Program Files",

and the path with space in it is not recognized,

Is there another way to specify the location without space in it?

3/12/2016 3:55:10 PM

Never hardcode this location. Use the environment variables %ProgramFiles% or %ProgramFiles(x86)%.

When specifying these, always quote because Microsoft may have put spaces or other special characters in them.


In addition, the directory might be expressed in a language you do not know.

>set|findstr /i /r ".*program.*="
CommonProgramFiles=C:\Program Files\Common Files
CommonProgramFiles(x86)=C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files
CommonProgramW6432=C:\Program Files\Common Files
ProgramFiles=C:\Program Files
ProgramFiles(x86)=C:\Program Files (x86)
ProgramW6432=C:\Program Files

Use these commands to find the values on a machine. DO NOT hardcode them into a program or .bat or .cmd file script. Use the variable.

set | findstr /R "^Program"
set | findstr /R "^Common"

Use the following notations:

  • For "C:\Program Files", use "C:\PROGRA~1"
  • For "C:\Program Files (x86)", use "C:\PROGRA~2"

Thanks @lit for your ideal answer in below comment:

Use the environment variables %ProgramFiles% and %ProgramFiles(x86)%



I think the reason those suggesting using the C:\PROGRA~1 name have received downvotes is because those names are seen as a legacy feature of Windows best forgotten, which may also be unstable, at least between different installations, although probably not on the same machine.

Also, as someone pointed out in a comment to another answer, Windows can be configured not to have the 8.3 legacy names in the filesystem at all.


The Windows shell (assuming you're using CMD.exe) uses %ProgramFiles% to point to the Program Files folder, no matter where it is. Since the default Windows file opener accounts for environment variables like this, if the program was well-written, it should support this.

Also, it could be worth using relative addresses. If the program you're using is installed correctly, it should already be in the Program Files folder, so you could just refer to the configuration file as .\config_file.txt if its in the same directory as the program, or ..\other_program\config_file.txt if its in a directory different than the other program. This would apply not only on Windows but on almost every modern operating system, and will work properly if you have the "Start In" box properly set, or you run it directly from its folder.


There should be a way to use the full c:\program files path directly. Often, it involves encapulating the string in quotes. For instance, on the windows command line;

c:\program files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe 

will not start Internet Explorer, but

"c:\program files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" 



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