222

Is there an equivalent of the Unix whereis command in Windows?

So that I could figure out where commands I can run actually is.

1
  • I think for the sake of seacheability it would make sense to inculde type and which in the question title, along with whereis which I personally used only occasionally. type is a popular Bash built-in and which is a variant of whereis restricted to searching commands (whereis can also search for man pages and the like). Jul 29 at 9:11

11 Answers 11

277

The where command does what you want and goes back at least to the resource kit for Windows 98, and is included by default in Server 2003, Vista, and newer:

C:\>where csc
C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\csc.exe
C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\csc.exe

If executed with no arguments (on Vista), it results in one of my favorite messages:

C:\>where
ERROR: The operation completed successfully.

If executing in PowerShell, be sure to include '.exe' to distinguish from any 'where' aliases or scripts along the path. ('where' is a typical alias for Where-Object.ps1)

C:\> where.exe where.exe
C:\Windows\System32\where.exe
5
  • 8
    Everyday I learn something new... Jan 25, 2013 at 4:00
  • 5
    Kind of sad where just returns usage help now in Windows 7. Wanted to see it for myself :p
    – Svish
    Feb 6, 2014 at 13:48
  • 2
    where not available in XP Feb 10, 2014 at 1:55
  • 2
    @TomRoggero, I could have been more clear. It's part of the optional resource kit starting with Windows 98, and only included in the base install for version after XP.
    – Kevin
    Feb 10, 2014 at 17:32
  • 3
    For anyone searching for this with windows 10: you are looking for Get-Command, or gcm in the powershell, and don't try it without arguments Jun 2, 2020 at 18:00
11

Please, use where command:

> where app.exe

It is the best way to achieve your goal.

You can also use PowerShell command:

> $env:path.Split(';') | gci -Filter app.exe

and expanded version looks like this:

 > $env:path.Split(';') | select -Unique | ? {$_ -and (test-path $_)} | gci -Filter app.exe
0
9

2021 - Windows 10/11

gcm <command>

Get-Command

7

hackerish which.cmd:

@echo off
@set PATH=.;%PATH%

@rem 
@rem about:  something similar like the unix-alike-which, but with
@rem         within pure cmd
@rem 

if "%1" == "" (
    @echo Usage: 
    @echo.
    @echo   which 'cmd'
    @echo.
    @echo.if 'cmd' is not found, ERRORLEVEL is set to 1
    @echo.  
) else (
    ( @for %%f in (%1 %1.exe %1.cmd %1.bat %1.pif) do if not "%%~$PATH:f" == "" ( @echo %%~$PATH:f ) else @set ERRORLEVEL=1) 
)
2
  • 1
    This is a good fix for older systems, but you should know that it results in a few quirks. It matches directories, only returns the first result found in the path for each extension, and should include every extension found in the PATHEXT environment variable.
    – Kevin
    Sep 11, 2009 at 14:48
  • yah, this is a bit older hack of mine, when i pasted it here i instantly saw the potential for %PATHEXT% :)
    – akira
    Sep 11, 2009 at 18:08
3

Somewhere "out there" I found this batch file whereis.bat:

@for %%e in (%PATHEXT%) do @for %%i in (%1%%e) do @if NOT "%%~$PATH:i"=="" echo %%~$PATH:i

Update: maybe I found it here.

2

There is at least a Windows port for the which utility.

2

I was searching for this today and since I'm on XP without the resource kit, I turned to powershell with the following command:

dir -path c:\ -filter ffmpeg.* -r
2
  • I'm not proficient in powershell but it seems you're searching through the whole directory tree. This is not equivalent to where which only searches in the %PATH%. Moreover it's much slower and gives errors for folders you don't have read permission
    – phuclv
    Apr 30, 2017 at 3:07
  • Agreed... I did not require an exact copy of the functionality, just the ability to locate a program.
    – KalenGi
    Apr 30, 2017 at 9:44
1
function find ($string) { 
   Get-ChildItem -Path 'c:\' -Recurse -Filter $string; 
}

function whereis ($string) { 
   $superpath = "$env:Path;C:\Program Files;C:\Program Files (x86)";
   (echo $superpath).Split(';') | Get-ChildItem -Recurse -Filter $string; 
}

Example:

PS >find Mozilla.admx

    Directory: C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions                                                                                     

Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                           
----                -------------         ------ ----                                                                           
-a----        1/27/2016  12:22 PM          37146 Mozilla.admx                                                                   

PS >whereis firefox.exe

    Directory: C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox                                                                                 

Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                           
----                -------------         ------ ----                                                                           
-a----        9/21/2017   5:30 PM         477136 firefox.exe        
1

Using the where command on windows 10, in cmd, I used the following command to recursively search c drive for copies of the c# compiler, csc.exe.

c:\> where /r c:\ csc.exe

Sample: using where to find all copies of csc.exe

0

which.cmd

@echo off

if "%~1" equ "" (
    echo usage: %~n0 [command] & exit /b 0
) else where $Path:%1 2>nul || (
    echo | set /p x=%~n0: no '%1' in & path
)

doskey.exe

doskey which=where $1 2$Gnul

Usage:

> which.cmd git
C:\Program Files\Git\cmd\git.exe

> which.cmd foo
which: no 'foo' in PATH=C:\Windows\system32;C:\Windows;C:\Win
dows\System32\Wbem;C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0
\;C:\Windows\System32\OpenSSH\;C:\Program Files\PowerShell\7\;
-1

You can try searching for the command using the following:

dir /s type-whatever-you-are-searching
2
  • This does not work for me. For example, the exp command is in my path, but dir/s exp or dir /s exp.exe just gives "File Not Found".
    – bobmcn
    Sep 10, 2009 at 21:12
  • 5
    This would work if a) you search from the root of the drive, b) your path is all on one drive, and c) your path is in lexicographical order. Even under these conditions it will be ridiculously slow.
    – Kevin
    Sep 10, 2009 at 23:09

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