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How to add SSMS to the PATH variable with Powershell

28 January,2020 by Tom Collins

Question: I've installed the latest SQL Server Management Studio onto a server. I can find the ssms.exe through the directory - but I cannot start the SQL Server Management Studio through the cmdline - i.e type "ssms" in the command line. How can I fix this problem?

Answer: I had a similar problem recently when installing SSMS 18.4. I downloaded the binary  - installed without any errors - but then couldn't execute "ssms" from the command line. 

To solve this issue I added the directory with ssms.exe into the PATH variable and applied this as a machine wide change , i.e all users on this server could now access SSMS through the command line. 

The Powershell code used was : 


$PATH = [Environment]::GetEnvironmentVariable("PATH")
$ssms_path = "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio 18\Common7\IDE"
[Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable("PATH", "$PATH;$ssms_path", "Machine")

Applying "Machine" on the last line - applied this environment variable to all users

Read more on SSMS and command line 

SQL Server - Open SSMS on the Command Line (SQL Server DBA)

How to start SSMS as Administrator

Author: Tom Collins (


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