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parentheses in environment variable name

I have the problem described here -

Basically, I've installed cygwin plus openssh for the purpose of remotely logging into my windows machine from a linux machine over ssh to run an executable on the windows machine.

My first problem was that my original executable I was trying to run (written in FoxPro) insisted on attempting to create a GUI window even though there was no desire to have visual feedback or user interaction, so attempts to call the executable through cygwin resulted in a hung command in the shell.  It appears that FoxPro can't actually create an executable that doesn't also create a GUI window.  After reading lots of comments about services interacting with the desktop and limitations that MSFT has put on recent versions of windows with respect to that feature, I abandoned this approach.

I decided that perhaps I could accomplish the same thing I was trying to accomplish with the FoxPro executable with a simple C# console application that would not attempt to create a GUI (with an oledb connection to the FoxPro data I'm trying to access).  The C# program works well outside of cygwin, but the cygwin+openssh shell (apparently) doesn't contain lots of the environment variables that .NET expects, so it blows up opening the oledb connection with some complaint about MDAC 2.6 or greater not being installed.  It's been a while since I've had to install MDAC, so I knew that was a false error message.  Google-fu (and the link I referenced above) suggests that perhaps some environment variables are missing, which of course is true.  I understand the logic for not creating said environment variables, and although I tend to disagree with that logic, frankly I just don't know enough about it and I'm probably biased due to banging my head against this particular problem.

Anyway, at least one suggestion I found was that my problem may be caused by the CommonProgramFiles(x86) environment variable needing to be set to 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files'.  So, can anyone suggest how to set an environment variable whose VARIABLE NAME (not just the VALUE) contains parentheses?!?  The standard backslash escape character doesn't appear to work in this scenario.  That, or perhaps I'm on the wrong track altogether.  I'm open to any suggestions.


-BJ Quinn

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