Solving the 'Ruby Not Recognized' Error: Solve the Internal or External Command Issue

If you've recently been faced with a "Ruby not recognized" error message, don't worry! This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to solve this common issue among developers. By the end of this tutorial, you'll know how to troubleshoot and fix this problem, allowing you to get back to coding in no time.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the 'Ruby Not Recognized' Error
  2. Step-by-Step Solution
  3. FAQ

Understanding the 'Ruby Not Recognized' Error

When working with Ruby, you may encounter the following error message:

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

This error occurs when the Ruby executable cannot be found, meaning that the system is unable to locate the ruby command. This issue is often related to the system's environment variables, specifically the PATH variable, which is used to locate executable files.

Step-by-Step Solution

To fix the "Ruby not recognized" error, follow the steps outlined below:

Step 1: Verify Ruby Installation

First, ensure that Ruby is correctly installed on your system. You can do this by running the following command:

ruby -v

If Ruby is installed, you'll see the current version number. If not, you'll need to download and install Ruby before proceeding.

Step 2: Locate Ruby Executable

Next, locate the Ruby executable on your system. On Windows, this is typically found in the C:\Ruby<version_number>\bin directory. On macOS and Linux, it's usually located in /usr/local/bin or /usr/bin.

Step 3: Add Ruby Executable to PATH

Once you've found the Ruby executable, you'll need to add its location to your system's PATH variable. This allows the system to find the ruby command when it's called.


  1. Open the Start menu and search for "Environment Variables."
  2. Click on "Edit the system environment variables."
  3. In the "System Properties" window, click on "Environment Variables."
  4. Under "System variables," find the variable named "Path" and click "Edit."
  5. Click "New" and add the path to the Ruby bin directory (e.g., C:\Ruby<version_number>\bin).
  6. Click "OK" to save your changes.

macOS and Linux

  1. Open your terminal.
  2. Open your shell configuration file (e.g., ~/.bashrc, ~/.bash_profile, or ~/.zshrc) in a text editor.
  3. Add the following line to the file, replacing <ruby_bin_directory> with the path to your Ruby bin directory:
export PATH="<ruby_bin_directory>:$PATH"
  1. Save the file and close the text editor.
  2. Restart your terminal or run source <configuration_file> to apply the changes.

Step 4: Verify the Solution

Finally, open a new terminal or command prompt and run the following command:

ruby -v

If your issue has been resolved, you'll see the current version number of Ruby displayed.


1. What is the PATH variable?

The PATH variable is an environment variable used by your operating system to locate executable files. When you run a command, the system searches the directories listed in the PATH variable for the corresponding executable file.

2. How do I find my shell configuration file?

Your shell configuration file depends on the shell you're using. For Bash, it's typically ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile. For Zsh, it's ~/.zshrc. You can find your current shell by running echo $SHELL in your terminal.

3. Can I have multiple Ruby versions installed on my system?

Yes, you can have multiple Ruby versions installed on your system. To manage different Ruby versions, consider using a version manager like RVM or rbenv.

4. Why isn't my Ruby script running after fixing the PATH?

Ensure that your Ruby script has the proper file permissions and includes a shebang at the beginning of the file (#!/usr/bin/env ruby).

5. What other issues can cause the "Ruby not recognized" error?

If you've followed the steps in this guide and are still experiencing the error, it's possible that there's an issue with your Ruby installation. In this case, you may want to reinstall Ruby or seek assistance from the Ruby community.

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