X11 desktop GUI apps for Windows Subsystem for Linux

Related: Install Windows Subsystem for Linux

Linux X11 GUI programs including geany, meld, and Spyder work great on Windows Subsystem for Linux. Install a Windows X11 server to enable graphical Linux applications on Windows as follows:

  1. install VcXsrv
  2. add to WSL ~/.bashrc

    export DISPLAY
  3. 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.
  • older: Xming X11 server