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5 Fixes For Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command on Windows

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When you get the error message saying the ‘command’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program, or batch file, it is a usual error with command-line environments, such as the Command Prompt or the terminal in Unix-based systems. It tells you that the system does not recognize the command you want to execute.

The cause of this error may be a misspelled command, command not installed, incorrect path, environment variable issues, or permissions issues. You will notice this error if you hit Enter to execute the command. We will help you see ways to eliminate this error in this article and other possible Command Prompt issues.

1. Use File Explorer

The File Explorer built-in Windows utility allows users to browse, manage, and view files and folders. It can also be instrumental in fixing the error by adding the path to the command’s executable file to the Windows PATH environment variable. Use the following steps to accomplish this:

  1. Press the Windows + E keys simultaneously to open File Explorer.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  2. When it opens, right-click This PC and click Properties on the context menu.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  3. Then, click Advanced system settings.
  4. Open the Advanced tab, then click Environment Variables.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  5. Scroll to the System variables section, click Path, and click Edit.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  6. Afterward, click New, paste the command below, and click OK:
    %systemroot%\system32
  7. Once you enter the code, click OK to save the setting.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  8. Then, click Apply and OK.
  9. Finally, restart the PC.

2. Use The Full Path To The Executable File

Using the full path to the executable file informs the command interpreter where to find the command you intend to execute. This fix can help when the command is not recognized as an internal or external command if the command is not in the system’s PATH environment variable or is in a directory that is currently inaccessible.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Press the Windows key, type the word command in the search field, and press the ctrl + shift + Enter keys simultaneously to open the Command Prompt as an admin.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  2. Then, the confirm operation by clicking Yes on the UAC prompt.
    wabbajack failed unknown error
  3. When in the prompt, enter the full path of the executable you intend to use and tap Enter.
  4. For instance:
    C:\Users\<name>\Desktop\xyz\xyz.exe

3. Enclose The File Path With Double Quotes

Specifying the full path to your executable file is not foolproof and can lead to the “is not recognized as an internal or external command” error if not executed correctly. The issue typically arises from inaccuracies in the path specified within your Command Prompt window.

When your executable file is full path contains spaces, it triggers the error because the utility cannot interpret the spaces. Instead, it considers the characters up to the first space as the program name, an incorrect path, resulting in the error.

To address this problem, you can employ the following solution. When entering a path with spaces, wrap the path within double quotes. This approach will ensure that the system correctly recognizes spaces, and the command will execute without errors.

Command Prompt will then recognize the whole path as one item and start the program appropriately on your machine.

4. Move The File To System32 Folder

When a user attempts to execute a command from Command Prompt, it accesses the System32 folder of the Windows computer and opens the file, as long as it is available there.

You could move your executable file into that folder and access it through the Command Prompt. This fix is possible, provided you have admin access to that computer. Ensure you copy the file along with other associated files. The file path is usually C:\Windows\System32.

After moving the file, close the Command Prompt if open and relaunch it. You may then enter the executable file name without specifying a path, and the file will launch successfully. This technique functions well and helps to fix the error.

However, use it with caution because every time you intend to use something from the Command Prompt, it requires moving the appropriate executable into the System32 folder, cumbering the folder with lots of files.

Also, it doesn’t work for executable tools that require it to be in a specific directory. Moving those into the System32 folder is not possible because the installation path is defined in the Windows Registry. We recommend only using this solution if other methods do not work.

5. Add The Executable File Path To Environment Variables

Adding the executable file path to the PATH variable ensures that the system will always find the command file, regardless of location. This solution can help to fix the error, which occurs when the system cannot find the executable file for the command you are trying to run.

To add the executable file path to environment variables, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows + E keys simultaneously to open File Explorer.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  2. When it opens, right-click This PC and click Properties on the context menu.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  3. Then, click Advanced system settings.
  4. Open the Advanced tab, then click Environment Variables.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  5. Scroll to the System variables section, click Path, and click Edit.
    Not Recognized as an Internal or External Command
  6. Then, click Browse on the right to add a directory to the list.
  7. Look for the folder that contains your executable, click it, and click OK.
  8. The new path will then appear in the variables list on the Edit environment variable window.
  9. Click OK to save the changes.
  10. Afterward, click Apply and OK.
  11. Finally, restart the PC.

In conclusion, we perused the problem relating to the command not being recognized as an internal or external command in Windows. We identified possible causes of this error and provided five effective fixes to help resolve it. Always be sure to contact Microsoft support where you get stuck.

Understanding your system’s environment variables, verifying the command’s path, and considering alternatives to the Command Prompt can help you tackle this problem with skill. For remarks on which solution worked best for you, write your comment below using the comment box.

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Richard Omachona
Richard is a techie in providing fixes and solutions for computer issues of various kinds. Among his contemporaries, he is a preferred choice. His experiences are vast in Windows operating systems, and several other skills in programming such as Python, Web Frontend designing implementing at industry standards, best practices in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. and basics in Web Backend. He also loves traveling, gaming and music.