In summary, there are entries in my $PATH that i don't know where they are added. Help!

My general question is: At which places is my $PATH variable modified when starting up a terminal? My specific question is, where the /usr/local/games folder is introduced to my $PATH variable.

What i found out ('believe') so far: in /etc/login.defs the first definition of $PATH occurs. By default the games folders are added here, but they remain persistent when i remove them at this place. I have the following lines in there:

# *REQUIRED*  The default PATH settings, for superuser and normal users.
# (they are minimal, add the rest in the shell startup files)
ENV_SUPATH      PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin
# ENV_PATH      PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/local/games:/usr/games
ENV_PATH        PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin # note i removed games here

then there is /etc/environment which i am not yet sure when it comes into play and how it relates to logins.defs. It reads

~$ cat /etc/environment

then, as nicely presented in the answers to this and this question, there are ~/.profile and ~/.bashrc, both of which i control very well. The latter contains the two lines

PATH=${PATH/":/usr/games"/""} # remove games from $PATH

when out-commented, the two games folders appear in my $PATH. So, where do these two folders come from? what places are parsed where the $Path variable is modified on startup?

  • /etc/profile – bac0n Mar 26 at 14:56

By default, /etc/environment, which is read at login, includes both /usr/games and /usr/local/games. So it looks like you edited that file also, which ought to be sufficient to drop those directories. It's unclear to me why you would need to involve ~/.profile and/or ~/.bashrc for the purpose.


The above is based on how it works on standard Ubuntu. It's possible that the WSL default setup is slightly different.

| improve this answer | |
  • i included ~/.profile and ~/.bashrc here because they seem to be referenced in most "how to add folder to $PATH"-tutorials. – Dr-Nuke Mar 26 at 15:22
  • @Dr-Nuke: Fair enough. Given the info you gave, I can't tell how the games folders are added on your system. – Gunnar Hjalmarsson Mar 28 at 3:26

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