When I try to get the output of a command in a batch file by using single quotes I am getting the following info:

C:>for /f "tokens=2 delims=:." %a in ('chcp') do (echo %a)

'chcp' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

This command can be run from the same location directly:


Active code page: 437

I have already checked env variables and they seem to be set correctly. Above problem occurs also when I use 'dir' instead of 'chcp'.

Any ideas what can be the reason and how to fix that?

OS: WIN 10

  • 2
    Not that it helps, but it works fine for me. Have a look at stackoverflow.com/questions/8142058/… For me, chcp is in c:\windows\system32 Aug 1 '19 at 9:42
  • C:\>where chcp C:\Windows\System32\chcp.com C:\Windows\SysWOW64\chcp.com Seems like it's in a proper place. I was able to run this command directly from command like with no issues but for some reason it doesn't work from bat file. Also, my PATH includes C:\Windows\system32
    – Matt
    Aug 1 '19 at 10:14
  • Welcome to SuperUser. Can you edit your question to include the complete contents of your batch file?
    – Doug Deden
    Aug 1 '19 at 13:11
  • Hi Doug. The for loop I pasted in the original question is indeed the content of the batch file. After some search I see that the problem I'm having looks identical to the one described in the following thread: stackoverflow.com/questions/9668011/command-line-for-f-fails but unfortunately, provided solutions did not work in my case.
    – Matt
    Aug 1 '19 at 13:47
  • What if you reduce the batch file down to just "chcp". That'll narrow down the problem to one of not finding chcp, thus probably a path issue, or something odd with the For construct.
    – Doug Deden
    Aug 1 '19 at 13:49

As you found, your ComSpec environment variable contained two values: C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe;C:\Windows\SysWOW64\cmd.exe. This causes the for /f command to choke when it tries to find out how to find chcp.

Changing your ComSpec environment variable to the typical value of C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe will make the for / mechanism work.

You are not alone:

  • According to this question, you aren't the only one to get both the System32 and SysWOW64 versions of cmd.exe listed in ComSpec.
  • And in this question, a differently malformed ComSpec caused the same "... is not recognized as an internal or external command..." error.

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