This is actually one of the most common errors you can encounter with the command prompt. As the error itself suggests, the tool you were trying to use with the command prompt could not be recognized. There are various reasons for this and there are various ways to avoid the “not recognized as an internal or external command” error on your Windows PC.
Why The “not recognized as an internal command” Error Occurs
Before you start applying fixes, it’s a good idea to understand why the error occurred so that you can make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.
Other Apps Messing Up Your System
One of the most common reasons for this error on your PC is that another installed application has changed your system variables. This prevents the command prompt from recognizing commands to start other applications or tools.
Not Having The Program Installed On Your Computer
The second possible reason why “it is not recognized as an internal or external command” is that you do not have the correct program installed on your computer. It is possible that the installation program did not install the application files in the proper location, or the installation program did not allow the tool to start from the command prompt.
Fixing The “not recognized as an internal or external command” Error In Windows
Regardless of the cause, there are ways to correct this error and make the command prompt recognize the program you are trying to use.
Ensure The Program Actually Exists On Your PC
The first thing to do is verify that the program you are trying to use with the command prompt is actually on your computer. You may have used a fake installer that told you that the program installed successfully on your computer, but that may not be true.
There is an easy way to verify that the program is actually installed on your computer.
- Launch a File Explorer window on your PC.
- Head over to the following path.C:\Windows\System32\
- Make sure the executable you want to run from the command prompt is available in this folder. If not, the program is probably not installed on your computer.
The above is not a safe way to check if you have a program installed on your computer. This is because not all programs save their files in the Windows System32 folder. However, it should help you find most of the programs.
Use The Full Path To The Executable File
The “not recognized as internal command” error usually occurs because the computer cannot find the executable file it is trying to start. However, you can provide the full path to your executable and then it should run without any problem.
- Launch a Command Prompt window on your PC.
- Type in the full path of the executable that you want to use and hit Enter on your keyboard.
- For example, if you’re trying to use adb.exe that’s located in a folder called adb on your desktop, you’ll type something like the following.C:\Users\<username>\Desktop\adb\adb.exe
- The file should launch without an issue.
Enclose The File Path With Double Quotes
Providing the full path to your executable is not a foolproof method. It can also cause an “not recognized as an internal or external command” error if it is not used correctly. The problem is with the path you provide in the command prompt window.
If the full path of your executable contains spaces, this will cause the error. This is because the utility cannot recognize spaces and uses the characters up to the first space as the name of the program. Since this is not the correct path, you will get the above error.
You can use the following method to solve this problem.
- While typing in a path that has spaces (whether single or multiple), enclose the path with double quotes.
- Command Prompt will then recognize the entire path as a single item and launch the program appropriately on your machine.
Move The File To System32 Folder
By now you know that when you try to run an executable file from the Command Prompt utility, look in the System32 folder of your Windows installation and then open the file if it is available there.
What if you could put your executable there and then access it from the command prompt? You can do this as long as you have administrative access to your computer.
- Copy the executable file along with all other files associated with it to the following folder on your computer.C:\Windows\System32
- Close Command Prompt if it was already open and relaunch it.
- Enter the name of your executable file without any path, and you’ll find it launches successfully.
While this method works great and will help you resolve the “not recognized as an internal or external command” error on your computer, it should be used with caution.
This is because every time you want to use something from the command prompt, you must put the appropriate executable in the System32 folder. At some point, the folder will get bigger and it will have a large number of files in it.
It also does not work for executable tools that require installation in a specific directory. You cannot move this to the System32 folder because the installation path is defined in the Windows registry.
We recommend that you only use this solution if you cannot use the other methods to solve the problem and as long as the application does not require installation.
Add The Executable File Path To Environment Variables
The most efficient way to resolve the “not recognized as internal command” error is to edit the environment variable and add the appropriate file path there. This is because the command prompt utility examines these paths when you enter a command and then opens the file if it is in one of those directories.
By adding the file path there, you tell the command prompt where a particular executable is located if you want to use it by its short name in a CMD window.
It is quite easy to edit your variables and add a new path there.
- Launch Control Panel using the Cortana search on your PC.
- Click on the option that says System and Security.
- Find and click on System on the following screen.
- Select Advanced system settings from the left sidebar on your screen.
- A box will open on your screen. Click on the Environment Variables button which is located at the bottom of the box.
- You’ll see all the user variables for your account. Click on the one that says Path and then click on the Edit button.
- Now you can add the new path to the application you want to use with the command prompt. Click Browse in the right sidebar to add a directory to the list.
- Navigate to the folder where your executable is located and select it.
- You should see that your newly added path is in the variable list. Click OK at the bottom to save your changes.
- Click on OK in all other boxes as you close them.
- Open a Command Prompt window and type the name of the executable file. You’ll see that the file opens without CMD throwing any errors on your screen.
The “not recognized as internal command” error can sometimes be very frustrating because it does not allow you to use a program that you know you have installed on your computer.
With the above methods, you should be able to resolve this error and run any program from a command prompt window with no problem. If any of the above methods helped you fix the problem, we’d like to let you know in the comment section below.