How to Geek says that Windows 10 will only give CLI access to Linux.

Is there possibly any way to run, specifically, Firefox from this bash shell?

  • you want to run a shell from windows to run a firefix from linux ? why not run firefox from windows directly ? If the question is "I want to run X (X11) program on my windows" then this is a different question. (see vnc or Xming) – Archemar Dec 15 '16 at 12:04
  • I didn't want to make it overly broad. It would just be for this one application. – Thufir Dec 15 '16 at 12:05

How to Geek was quite wrong, as readers quickly pointed out (q.v.), but was never corrected.

One can run Linux X applications on the Windows Subsystem for Linux, provided that they don't do something else that the WSL does not support. One just needs a Win32 X server running on the machine (or indeed an X server running elsewhere) to point them at. One has quite a few choices of Win32 X server for that.

This was reported within days of the initial beta release. Running Firefox was even in the reports.

There are far better sources on this than How to Geek. Reading through the article, that wasn't the only glaring factual error that leapt out. There are several there, including one that was even pointed out as an mistake not to make in the WSL release notes, which the How to Geek author did not read or check, obviously.

Further reading


Try installing and running MobaXterm (basic functionality is freeware) on Windows 10. It comes with a polished X Window server. You don't even need to use MobaXterm, just launch it, it starts a local X Window server automatically.

Log in from the MobaXterm console onto your WSL instance to see what the DISPLAY variable value is set to, and export that value into your WSL console session prior to attempting to launch firefox. It worked for me on Ubuntu 16.04 on WSL.

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