How Come Git Commands Don’t Work On Command Prompt

Have you ever encountered the frustration of trying to run Git commands on the command prompt, only to be met with error messages or seemingly unresponsive behavior? Trust me, I’ve been there too. As a developer who relies heavily on Git for version control, I understand how important it is to have a smooth experience when working with Git commands.

So, why exactly do Git commands sometimes fail to work on the command prompt? Well, there can be a few different reasons, ranging from simple configuration issues to more complex technical problems. Let’s explore some of the common causes and potential solutions.

1. Git not installed or not in PATH

The first thing to check when Git commands aren’t working is whether Git is installed on your system. You can do this by opening the command prompt and typing git --version. If Git is not installed, you’ll need to download and install it from the official Git website.

Another possible issue is that Git is not added to the system’s PATH variable. The PATH variable is a list of directories that the operating system uses to look for executable files. If Git is not in the PATH, the command prompt won’t recognize the Git commands.

To add Git to the PATH, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel and navigate to the System settings.
  2. Click on “Advanced system settings” and then “Environment Variables”.
  3. In the “System variables” section, find the “Path” variable and click “Edit”.
  4. Add the path to the Git installation directory (e.g., C:\Program Files\Git\bin) at the end of the list.
  5. Click “OK” to save the changes.

2. Incorrect Git commands or arguments

Another common reason why Git commands fail on the command prompt is due to incorrect usage of the commands or arguments. Git has a wide range of commands, each with its own syntax and set of options.

It’s essential to double-check the spelling of the command and ensure that you’re using the right arguments and options. For example, if you’re trying to clone a repository, the correct command is git clone <repository-url>, not git clone repo-url.

If you’re unsure about the correct usage of a Git command, you can always refer to the official Git documentation or use the git --help command to get detailed information about a specific command.

3. Repository not initialized or not in the correct directory

When working with Git, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re in the right directory or repository. If you’re trying to execute a Git command in a directory that is not a Git repository or if the repository is not properly initialized, the command will not work as expected.

To initialize a Git repository, navigate to the desired directory using the command prompt and run git init. This command creates a new Git repository in the current directory.

Once you’re in a Git repository, you can use various Git commands to manage your project’s version control.


Running Git commands on the command prompt should be a seamless experience, but sometimes issues can arise. In this article, we explored some of the common reasons why Git commands may not work on the command prompt, such as Git not being installed or configured correctly, incorrect command usage, or working in the wrong directory.

If you’re facing difficulties with Git commands, I hope this article has provided you with some insights and troubleshooting steps to help you resolve the issue. Remember to double-check your Git installation, verify the correct usage of commands, and ensure you’re in the right directory. With a little troubleshooting and attention to detail, you’ll be back to smoothly running Git commands in no time!