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Thankyou sarith and rpg777

in the end the answer was many small issues...

  1. When adding radiance to the system path you should use the symbol "%" not "$" as used in the honeybee batch files

  2. when adding radiance to the system path, it much be appended to the end: PATH= %PATH%; C:\Program Files\OpenStudio\openstudio 2.4.0\Radiance\bin

(even putting at the front - "PATH=C:\Program Files\OpenStudio\openstudio 2.4.0\Radiance\; %PATH%" will not work)

(3. I also managed to confuse myself by leaving a space after the rad path which makes problems! It became visible in VS Code - that's why we don't code in notepad :-) )

  1. The current realise of genBSDF (rad 5.2.0) does not work (on my work and home computer) for windows 10. The radiance packaged with openstudio (os 2.4, rad 5.0.a.12) does work.

I hope that's useful to other windows users getting this problem. Thanks again guys!