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I'm using WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) on windows 10, and installed the Amazon AWS cli on it. When I start WSL (C:\\WINDOWS\\System32\\wsl.exe in PowerShell) and then aws it works fine. If I try to run it as a one-liner (C:\\WINDOWS\\System32\\wsl.exe aws) it doesn't find the aws command. I need it as a one-liner to be able to use it from a VS Code task.

PS C:\Users\pablo.DCA> C:\\WINDOWS\\System32\\wsl.exe aws
/bin/bash: aws: command not found
PS C:\Users\pablo.DCA> C:\\WINDOWS\\System32\\wsl.exe
pablo@DCA-WS01:/mnt/c/Users/pablo.DCA$ aws
usage: aws [options] <command> <subcommand> [<subcommand> ...] [parameters]
To see help text, you can run:

  aws help
  aws <command> help
  aws <command> <subcommand> help
aws: error: too few arguments

A simple echo command does work:

PS C:\Users\pablo.DCA> C:\\WINDOWS\\System32\\wsl.exe echo Hi
Hi

And so does Python (which I used to install aws):

PS C:\Users\pablo.DCA> C:\\WINDOWS\\System32\\wsl.exe python
Python 2.7.15rc1 (default, Nov 12 2018, 14:31:15)
[GCC 7.3.0] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>>

Why does this happen? And how can I fix it, or what could I try to figure out what is going wrong?

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Most likely AWS is not in a system path, like /usr/bin/. If you are adding it to your $PATH, e.g. in ~/.bashrc, it normally won't be executed unless you restart your terminal.

One option would be to use the full path to aws in your one line call from Windows:

c:\\windows\\system32\\wsl.exe /home/username/.local/bin/aws

Or you could force bash to behave as if it was invoked as a login shell with the -l (or --login) option

 c:\\windows\\system32\\wsl.exe bash -l aws

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