You can easily set any system properties in java using System.setPropoerty method, However it may not have any effect in case of CLASSPATH property. This is mainly because the Java system class loader is initialized very early in the JVM startup sequence. The class loader copies the classpath into its own data structures, and the classpath property is not read again. Therefore changing it after its already copied does not affect anything. There are mainly two reasons for this – First most important reason is security. You do not want a malicious code change the classpath at runtime and load some unwanted classes. Second reason is performance, since reading the classpath every-time its needed may not be efficient.