A X server is needed on Windows if you SSH to remote Linux computers and wish to start X or GUI applications from there. It is also necessary if you are working with a Linux distribution running inside Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). VcXsrv is a free open-source X server that can be used for all these purposes.
- To install VcXsrv, download its installer from here and install it.
- Launch XLaunch from the Windows start menu. This brings up a wizard to pick the X server configuration options. I choose Multiple Windows and go with the default options for the rest. Now the X server is running in the background.
Local: Go to your WSL shell (say Ubuntu) and set the
$ export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0
Launch any X or GUI app and its window should now be displayed in its own individual Windows window.
- Remote: Remember to SSH to the remote system with trusted X11 forwarding using option
-Y. On the remote system, set the
$ export DISPLAY=your-windows-ip:0.0
When you start XLaunch you may want to choose to Disable access control. Otherwise you may get errors like this:
$ xeyes Authorization required, but no authorization protocol specified Error: Can't open display: 10.0.0.99:0.0
Tried with: VcXsrv 18.104.22.168 and Ubuntu 18.04 WSL