X11 desktop GUI apps for Windows Subsystem for Linux

Linux X11 GUI programs often work great on Windows Subsystem for Linux. Install a Windows X11 server to enable graphical Linux applications on Windows as follows:

Install VcXsrv and add to WSL ~/.bashrc

export DISPLAY


To run any X11 Linux GUI app in WSL, start VcXsrv first from Windows. You don’t have to do this before starting WSL.


  • do NOT open a port in your firewall for X11 if asked by Windows.
  • old Xming X11 server