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DOS program doesn't inherit path.

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I'm using XP Pro with SP-3.
When I run cmd.exe it does inherit the path from Windows, but when I run any of my dos programs from cmd.exe they do not inherit any path from cmd.exe. I verified this by putting the line "system("path")" in one of my C programs and the response is "No Path". Interestingly enough, when I delete the path in cmd.exe by typing "path = ;" and then typing "path", the response is "path = NULL". My programs have been working for years and did inherit the path just fine until I installed a Nero CD burning program, so I presume they did something to the registry. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks, Marv
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