The Term Is Not Recognized as the Name of a Cmdlet, Function, Script File, or Operable Program (PowerShell Error Fixed)


Have you ever encountered this error in PowerShell: “the term is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again”

If so, this article will help you find out exactly what this error is, what causes it, and how to fix it.

What is PowerShell?

Windows PowerShell prompt

The PowerShell command-line utility and the scripting language is a robust successor to the command prompt utility found on Windows computers. It has a wide range of features and commands (cmdlets) like automating repetitive processes, setting up new machines, forcing Group Policy updates, and allowing coders to control access to numerous files or handle batch files. 

PowerShell also supports various programming constructs like conditional statements, which makes it easy for beginners to create complex scripts. As a result, PowerShell is incredibly popular and useful, but it’s still not without errors.  

If you’re new to PowerShell and you see the particular error we are discussing, here are the things you should know and do.

What Does “The Term ‘_’ Is Not Recognized As the Name of a Cmdlet, Function, Script File, or Operable Program” Mean? 

When you’re greeted with this type of error, it means that PowerShell doesn’t understand the command you’re trying to run. The program is telling you that it can’t find the specific cmdlet, function, script file, or program you’re looking for. 

This error usually occurs because the cmdlet, function, script file, or program you’re trying to use doesn’t exist (due to spelling errors or missing modules). It could also be the case that the cmdlet, function, script file, or program exists, but it’s not in the PowerShell path (incorrect pathing). 

To find out more about these specific causes, move on to the “causes” section below. 

What Do You Mean By The ‘[blank]’ in the PowerShell Error Message? 

When you see the PowerShell error message: 

“The term ‘[blank]’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.” 

It means that the ‘[blank]’ is replaced by the cmdlet that is not being recognized. For example, if you’re trying to run something in PowerShell and run is not recognized, it would appear as such:

The term ‘Run’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
Example of Run error

Run: the term ‘run’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.”

The iteration of this error message will look different to you than to someone else, as it is based on what you’re trying to do. If you are trying to stop a process instead of trying to run something, the error might read: 

Stop-Process: the term ‘Stop-Process’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.”

What Are The Causes Behind the “The Term Is Not Recognized As the Name of a Cmdlet, Function, Script File, or Operable Program” Error Message?

PowerShell is infamous for having obscure error messages, and this is one of them. If you’re new to using the command-line utility and don’t know where to look in your script to find out where you’ve gone wrong, there are 3 common reasons why you get: 

“Term is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.” 

1. Spelling Error(s) in the Cmdlet 

The most common cause for the error is a spelling mistake, either in the cmdlet or the function name. If the name of the cmdlet or function is incorrect, then PowerShell can’t recognize it and throws the error. 

2. Incorrect PowerShell Paths  

When you install PowerShell on Windows, the PowerShell path gets added to the environment variables. The PowerShell path is the location of all the PowerShell-related files and folders on your computer. 

The PowerShell path is important because it tells the command line utility where to look for the cmdlets, functions, script files, and programs you’re trying to use. If these elements aren’t in the path, then PowerShell won’t find it, and you will see this error:

Incorrect PowerShell path can cause the term is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet error
Example of an incorrect path in PowerShell

“Term is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.” 

3. Your Modules Are Missing (Not Imported)  

PowerShell modules are like mini-programs or libraries that you can use to add functionality to the application that isn’t natively available in PowerShell installation.  

Modules are written in PowerShell, and they contain PowerShell functions, cmdlets, variables, and workflows. 

If the cmdlet, function, script file, or program you’re trying to use is contained in a PowerShell module that isn’t imported, then you’ll get the error message: 

missing command - import module example
Example of missing command – import module

“Term is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.” 

6 Ways to Fix the “Term Is Not Recognized As the Name of a Cmdlet, Function, Script File, or Operable Program” Error?

Now that we know the common causes of the error, let’s take a look at the different ways you can fix it. 

Fix #01: Check the Spelling of the Cmdlet or Function Name. 

The first thing you should do when you see the “term is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again” error message is to check the spelling of the cmdlet or function name. 

PowerShell is a case-sensitive language, which means the cmdlet or function names have to match exactly the way they’re spelled in the PowerShell installation. If the cmdlet or function name is spelled incorrectly, then PowerShell won’t be able to find it, and you’ll see the error message. 

Fix #02: Verify the PowerShell Paths.

The second thing you should do when you see the said error is to check the PowerShell paths. 

As we mentioned earlier, the PowerShell path is the location of all the PowerShell-related files and folders on your computer. If the cmdlet, function, script file, or program isn’t in the PowerShell path, then the utility won’t be able to find it, and you’ll see the error message we are talking about.

verify path with command to fix the term is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet error message.

To check the PowerShell paths on your computer, you can use the $env:Path variable. This is a built-in PowerShell variable that contains the PowerShell paths. To view the contents of the $env:Path variable, you can use the Get-Content cmdlet:

Get-Content -Path $env:Path

Fix #03: Import the Missing Module.

The third thing you should do when you see the particular error message we are discussing is to import the missing module. As we mentioned earlier, PowerShell modules are like mini-programs or libraries that you can use to extend the functionality of PowerShell. 

If the cmdlet, function, script file, or program you’re trying to use is contained in a PowerShell module that isn’t imported, then you’ll get said error message. 

import module command

To import the missing module, you can use the Import-Module cmdlet. This cmdlet allows you to import PowerShell modules into the current PowerShell session. To use the Import-Module cmdlet, you need to specify the name or path of the module you want to import. For example, to import the Active Directory Module, you can use the following command:

Import-Module -Name Active Directory

Fix #04: Run PowerShell as an Administrator.

The fourth thing you should do when you see the same aforementioned message is to run PowerShell as an administrator. 

Some cmdlets, functions, script files, and programs require administrator privileges to run. If you try to use one of those mentioned without administrator privileges, then you’ll get the error message we’ve been talking about. 

run powershell as administration

To run PowerShell as an administrator, you need to launch the PowerShell application with administrator privileges. To do this, you can right-click the PowerShell shortcut and select “Run as Administrator” from the menu. Alternatively, you can search for PowerShell in the Start menu and select “PowerShell (Run as Administrator)” from the results. 

Fix #05: Restart the PowerShell Session.

The fifth thing you should do when you see the error message in question is to restart the PowerShell session. 

Sometimes, the error message can be caused by a corrupted PowerShell session. To fix this problem, you need to close the session and start a new one.

To close the PowerShell session, you can use the Exit-PSSession cmdlet. This cmdlet closes the PowerShell session and exits the PowerShell console. To start a new PowerShell session, you can launch the PowerShell application again. Alternatively, you can use the New-PSSession cmdlet to create a new PowerShell session.

Fix #06: Uninstall & Reinstall PowerShell. 

Finally, If you’re still seeing the error message, then, you may need to uninstall and reinstall PowerShell. This will delete the PowerShell application and all the cmdlets, functions, script files, and programs associated with it. 

To do this, you can use the Windows PowerShell Uninstall-Application cmdlet. This cmdlet uninstalls an application and all the PowerShell cmdlets associated with the application. After you’ve uninstalled PowerShell, you can reinstall it by downloading the latest PowerShell release from the PowerShell GitHub repository.

Uninstalling and reinstalling PowerShell is a last resort when trying to fix the “term is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again” error message. Before you uninstall PowerShell, you should try the other fixes listed in this article. 

Final Words

If this article has helped you fix the PowerShell error problem we discussed, please let us know in the comments below!  

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