This is documentation for Mathematica 6, which was
based on an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.
View current documentation (Version 11.2)


gives the base directory in which systemwide files to be loaded by Mathematica are conventionally placed.
  • Typical values are:
  • The value of $BaseDirectory can be specified by setting the MATHEMATICA_BASE operating system environment variable when the Mathematica kernel is launched. It cannot be reset from inside the kernel.
ApplicationsMathematica application packages
Autoloadpackages to be autoloaded on startup
FrontEndfront end initialization files
Kernelkernel initialization files
Licensinglicense management files
SystemFilesgeneral system files
  • These subdirectories are, if possible, created automatically the first time Mathematica is run.
  • Appropriate subdirectories are automatically included on $Path.
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