Ubuntu – Run ubuntu-desktop on WSL (Ubuntu 18.04 LTS)


I am running 18.04 LTS on Windows subsystem for Linux (WSL). I have installed the Ubuntu Desktop by running

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

However, when I start Linux only the terminal starts.
How do I get the Desktop to start?

Best Answer

  • Windows 10 itself does not support GUI. In order to run GUI in wsl you need to install a X server and get it to configure correctly.

    I would suggest you to install VcXsrv to display GUI.

    I am not able to run GUI successfully by sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop. However, I successfully installed mate-desktop GUI in Debian and ubuntu.

    Here are the steps for me to display GUI by wsl. You can check my videos on detailed steps Install GUI (mate desktop) to Microsoft Windows Subsystem Linux

    step 1: install Debian or Ubuntu Linux subsystem: - PowerShell as administrator: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux - Microsoft Store: install "Debian" or "ubuntu"

    step 2: install mate tesktop for Debian: - open Debian in windows 10. Type the following commend - sudo apt-get update - sudo apt install task-mate-desktop

    OR install mate-desktop for Ubuntu - open Ubuntu console in windows 10 - sudo apt install tasksel - sudo apt update - sudo tasksel install ubuntu-mate-desktop

    step 3: install VcXsrv in windows 10: - download from: https://sourceforge.net/projects/vcxsrv/ - open XLauch, and use the following options for setup - select: "One large window" - Display number: 0 - next - Start no client - next - finish

    step 4: setup display in linux console: - export DISPLAY=:0 - export LIBGL_ALWAYS_INDIRECT=1

    step 5: start Mate-desktop environment: - run mate-session

    Step 3 and step 4 are extremely important to display GUI in windows 10 wsl.