Java System getProperty() Method

The System.getProperty() method in Java is used to retrieve the value of a specific system property.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. getProperty() Method Syntax
  3. Examples
    • Basic Usage
    • Default Value if Property is Not Set
    • Common System Properties
  4. Real-World Use Case
  5. Conclusion


The System.getProperty() method is a static method in the System class that returns the value of the system property indicated by the specified key. System properties are key-value pairs that provide information about the runtime environment, such as the Java version, file separator, user home directory, etc.

getProperty() Method Syntax

The syntax for the getProperty() method is as follows:

public static String getProperty(String key)


  • key: The name of the system property.


  • The string value of the system property, or null if there is no property with that key.


Basic Usage

To demonstrate the basic usage of getProperty(), we will retrieve and print the value of some common system properties.


public class GetPropertyExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String javaVersion = System.getProperty("java.version");
        String osName = System.getProperty("");
        String userHome = System.getProperty("user.home");

        System.out.println("Java Version: " + javaVersion);
        System.out.println("Operating System: " + osName);
        System.out.println("User Home Directory: " + userHome);


Java Version: 1.8.0_144
Operating System: Linux
User Home Directory: /path/to/user/home

Default Value if Property is Not Set

You can use the overloaded version of getProperty() that allows you to specify a default value if the property is not set.


public static String getProperty(, String defaultValue)


public class GetPropertyWithDefaultExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String nonExistentProperty = System.getProperty("", "defaultValue");

        System.out.println("Non-Existent Property: " + nonExistentProperty);


Non-Existent Property: defaultValue

Common System Properties

Here are some common system properties that you might find useful:

  • java.version: Java Runtime Environment version
  • java.vendor: Java vendor-specific string
  • java.home: Java installation directory
  • java.class.path: Java classpath
  • Operating system name
  • os.version: Operating system version
  • User account name
  • user.home: User home directory
  • user.dir: User's current working directory
  • file.separator: File separator ("/" on UNIX, "" on Windows)
  • path.separator: Path separator (":" on UNIX, ";" on Windows)
  • line.separator: Line separator ("\n" on UNIX, "\r\n" on Windows)

Real-World Use Case

Configuring Application Behavior

In a real-world scenario, system properties can be used to configure the behavior of an application at runtime. For example, you can use system properties to specify configuration files, debug modes, or environment-specific settings.


public class ConfigExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String configFilePath = System.getProperty("config.file", "/default/path/to/");

        System.out.println("Configuration File Path: " + configFilePath);

        // Load configuration settings from the specified file (simulated)
        // loadConfiguration(configFilePath);

    // Simulated method to load configuration
    // private static void loadConfiguration(String configFilePath) {
    //     // Logic to load configuration from the file
    // }


Configuration File Path: /default/path/to/


The System.getProperty() method in Java provides a way to retrieve the value of specific system properties, which are key-value pairs that provide information about the runtime environment. By understanding how to use this method, you can access specific properties, set default values, and use them to configure application behavior. Whether you are retrieving system information, managing configuration settings, or customizing application behavior, the getProperty() method offers used for working with system properties in Java.