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How to fix the installing packages with yarn trace error spawn yarn enoent error

Along the way, there might be different errors arising when using the Node.js package manager (npm). One of them is the Installing packages with yarnTrace: { Error: spawn yarn ENOENT at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (internal/child_process.js:240:19) error. This is not an error that is self-explanatory so you might be confused about how to fix this. Let’s see how we can fix this error and when does it occur.

When does the installation of packages with yarn trace error spawn yarn enoent occur?

Most of the time, the error arises when there is no specific tool in the system. Let’s take an example to illustrate this. So we want to create a Nuxt.js project. During the setup, we are being asked different things, such as how you want to call your project, what are the libraries you want to install, etc.

One of those configurations asks what development tools you want to use. And there are two options: either yarn or npm. As the npm is already on the system (because we need npm to even start creating Nuxt.js), choosing npm will install the needed modules. However, if you choose the yarn, another package manager, then you will need to have yarn installed. And in case there is no yarn installed globally, you will get this error:

Installing packages with yarnTrace: { Error: spawn yarn ENOENT at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (internal/child_process.js:240:19)

This case was mentioned in the Nuxt project creation post.

Anyway, there is a simple solution to this problem. All you need to do is to install yarn globally:

npm install -g yarn

Usually, it doesn’t really matter what were you trying to achieve or what to install. The problem occurs when there is some problem with yarn. Either the installation is corrupted, there is no path set for the yarn, or you don’t have it installed at all. Installing it globally solves the problem in case you don’t have it in your system.

But what if the yarn is installed and it still doesn’t work?

If you know that your yarn installation is valid and not corrupted, then the previous solution won’t help. Anyway, it is still related to some of the commands or working directory not existing. But how do we know where is the problem specifically? The generic error message doesn’t help that much, except that it says there is a problem with spawn. It can be a big headache to understand what is the problem if your application has a big codebase.

There was a great solution for finding the problematic code place shared by the user Jiaji Zhou on StackOverflow. You need to add this code snippet into the file that starts your application (by default, it is called index.js):

(function() {
    var childProcess = require("child_process");
    var prevSpawn = childProcess.spawn;

    function debugSpawn() {
        console.log('Spawn was called');
        var result = prevSpawn.apply(this, arguments);
        return result;
    childProcess.spawn = debugSpawn;

And when the error occurs again, the information needed to identify what is this all bout, will be printed to the console. In this way, you will know where you should focus to fix it.

Spawn was called
{ '0': 'hg',
  '1': [],
   { cwd: '/* omitted */',
     env: { IP: '' },
     args: [] } }

So you know what command was failed to execute. How you should fix it right now? There are a few things you should check:

  • If you are using Windows, a possibility is that there is a problem with the path variable. Check if the path is set correctly in the environment variables.
  • You are using an outdated/corrupted version of a package. Reinstalling it could fix the problem.

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