Launch GUI App from WSL


I wanted to run an login app (aws-azure-login) from WSL which display GUI, but it could not run showing the following error — Unable to Open X-Display

Since WSL distro does not come with GUI, we need to install a X-Server on our Windows Host and Connect to it from WSL.

Install and configure

Follow the steps below to install and configure X-Server.

  1. Download and Install VcXsrv Windows X Server which is available from
  2. Configure according to screenshots below:

3. Enable Outgoing Connection from Windows Firewall -

Windows Security -> Firewall & network protection -> Allow an app through firewall -> make sure VcXsrv has both public and private checked.

4. Configure WSL to use the X-Server, you can put that at the end of ~/.bashrc to load it every log in

export DISPLAY= (wsl1)

export DISPLAY=windows_host_ip:0.0 (wsl2), replace windows_host_ip with win dows host real ip.

5. Create a .xsession file in the user home directory e.g.

echo xfce4-session > ~/.xsession


To test the above, install the following app and run it

sudo apt install x11-apps

You should be able to see a window pop up like below

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