I installed Windows Subsystem for Linux and turned it on under windows turn ON OFF features. And then restarted my Pc. I did check on cmd soon after restarting the PC by typing "wsl" and it works. But when i run my script from its folder which has the command "wsl -e xxx.sh", i get an error

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

Could you guys help me with it please. Thank you.

My PC is running on Os: Windows 10 Pro; Microsoft windows version: 1903; Os Build: 18362.418

  • Did you try using wsl.exe instead? – lol Nov 12 '19 at 16:51
  • Yes tried now still no luck. Now i get the error as "'wsl.exe' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file." – anand s Nov 12 '19 at 17:02
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    Is your script clobbering the PATH? That is the only logical answer that I can think of. AND.. from CMD.EXE, you don't EVER need to add ".exe". – Señor CMasMas Nov 12 '19 at 17:04
  • Yes @SeñorCMasMas i do believe wsl.exe is not required to be added. just wsl works fine. On normal command line if i type wsl and hit enter, i get ubuntu terminal window – anand s Nov 12 '19 at 17:07
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    1. echo %PATH% from the command line (when it works) 2. echo %PATH% somewhere from within your script. Add a pause statement after if you need to (when it doesn't). 3. Compare the two paths. You will probably find your answer there. – Señor CMasMas Nov 12 '19 at 17:12

The most common reason why a command which runs an executable program works on the command line, but not in a batch script, is that, in the script, prior to the line containing the problem command, the user has created a variable %path%. It might seem a handy name for a variable that holds, well, a path. The problem is that this variable name is used by Windows to hold a semicolon-separated list of folders which are searched when an executable is called. It is a system variable. If you have redefined it, then all executables (e.g. .exe, .bat, .vbs, etc) that Windows uses, will not be found, and the script will fail with exactly this message, where xxx is the program or file that is expected:

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

This can be confusing because commands which are internal to the cmd environment (dir, cls, set, copy, move, etc) (list here) still continue to work in this situation.

You can debug a script where this is suspected by inserting the path command immediately before a problem line. The Windows path variable starts with these folders, and may be extended as programs are installed:


  • Hi, I check the PATH under Windows path variable, it already had the path %SystemRoot%\system32 So i went back to my script and specified the full path as "wsl -e C:/Users/<user>/setup/xxx.sh" and it worked! Might be silly of me but i realized that the windows linux subsystem command wsl was not able to find the script. And specifying the full path did the trick. Thank you guys for your valuable time to help. Much appreciate it. – anand s Nov 18 '19 at 12:01

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