GitHub Tutorials For Noobs?


I thought this was no longer the case with the v5 installer. Well i guess i need to do some testing next time i have access to a windows machine.
<rant> Who the fuck thought it is a good idea to set KiCad specific variables at the operating system level? And why would only the windows installer do something like this? Windows of all systems where you would not expect users to have deep knowledge about such things. Where you can not even rely on the fact that every version of it even exposes a user interface to change this stuff. </rant>

@LHC i sadly can not really offer a solution right now. I have no way to test if a solution i find on the internet works.
You could check if the variables are defined in the tool shown here:

If they are then you hopefully can remove them using said tool.


Gents - Thanks very much for the fast responses. I did some digging and found that yes, it appeared that the environment variables were being set at the system level in Windows. So, a bit more googling and I found how to delete them. I deleted one (the symbols) as a test, and then went back into Kicad and sure enough, that one was not greyed (more like blacked) out anymore. I set it to the github repo location on my machine and exited, then re-fired up Kicad and it’s correct. So, looks like I have this sorted.

Might be a good idea to put some note in the docs somewhere as to why some of the environment variables are possibly blacked/greyed out. I was initially looking at them and wondering “why are some of these highlighted and I can still seem to edit them”? lol Ah the life of a noob…

@Rene_Poschl It’s possible that this has been set on my computer from way back when I installed version 4, and never had the time to start learning/using KiCad. I since have re-installed 5.0.2 and did have some “remnant” issues that I had to deal with, but looks like this was sort of “locked into” the system. I know very little about environment variable stuff so didn’t really know what I was doing as far as these go.

Anyway, hopefully I am sorted out now. Thanks !


Thanks for beta testing my tutorial :wink:

I will test the environment variable stuff for my self sometime this week. I will add something about them to the tutorial once i am confident that i understand whats going on.


Still does not work properly. I turned the computer on again after powering down for awhile. went into KiCad - the environment variables had all been reset to the blacked out defaults from the initial installation.

I went back to the Windows “change environment variable” window - they were not listed in there ! Then when I went back and launched KiCad again - they were all back to the correct ones that I had set hours earlier before I powered the computer down !!!

I powered the computer off and on again and the above behavior repeats consistently. Something happens when Windows powers up.

Going into the change environment variables in windows every time I need to use Kicad the first time after powering up does not seem like a productive way to operate…

Any ideas ?


Another place where the variables can come from of is the registry.


Yeah, I have used regedit.exe to find and remove all kicad related variables. It has worked. (Warning: be sure what you’re doing with regedit, don’t make mistakes.)

…or you could just open the help by clicking the Help button in the env variable dialog of KiCad :slight_smile:

AFAICR v4 installer set the env variables by default, v5 not.

Here’s an advanced level document about KiCad path environment variables:


Another day, and another session with KiCad. Thanks for the tips on the registry. This all cloak and dagger stuff to me, but I will have a read of that advanced level document and do some searching on the registry editing and report back:thinking:


So I am in the regedit command - how does one find/identify the items that are possibly setting the environment variables for KiCad to the original library locations?

I did a “find” for “KICAD_SYMBOL_DIR” and nothing was found…

I have no clue what all this stuff is in the registry and am doubtful I am going to be able to fix this without seriously bricking my computer in the process…


Which variables have grey background in KiCad UI?


Here’s a screenshot via phone camera -

Looks like


Would doing an uninstall of the 5.0.2 help me I wonder? …i.e. Go in and delete anything and everything that’s left in the register that looks like KiCad after that, then reinstall again ?


I doubt that uninstalling helps now. After all you uninstalled your previous version.

I can look into your problem tomorrow. (At the earliest. ) Maybe a regular windows user can help you out earlier.


Thanks Rene
I think I may start another thread as this is an issue that’s completely unrelated to the title of this one and it’s buried under the original thread subject as well. We can continue to work on it there and it may attract more windows users. Thanks very much for your help with this.


Some time, it may be much simplify if you can utilize relative path in personal lib instead of environment variables without lose too much of flexibility unless you need to store 3D Model, PDF datasheet, symbol, and footprint in complete random places. I like to put my 3D model and footprint near by/relative to each other. Datasheet and Symbol are near by/relative to each other.


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