Install desktop software and remote desktop protocol (RDP)

RDP provides a remote desktop from Windows to WSL. The RDP client is run on Windows and displays the Linux desktop running in WSL.

Install the RDP server and the XFCE4 desktop:


            sudo apt install -y xfce4 xrdp

Set XFCE4 as the default desktop:


            echo xfce4-session >~/.xsession

If systemd is running the xrdp server will start automatically on install, but it needs a restart after modifying .xsession:


            sudo service xrdp restart

Check if xrdp is running:


            systemctl status xrdp

If xrdp is not running, start it:


            sudo service xrdp start

Print and save the IP address of the WSL instance:



Install ifconfig if it is not installed:


            sudo apt install net-tools -y

On Windows, start the remote desktop viewer, mstsc. It is also called Remote Desktop Connection on the Windows application menu.

Enter the IP address you saved in the box.

Click Yes that you really want to connect.

Enter the Linux username and password for the WSL Linux distribution.

Install desktop software and use VNC for a remote desktop

VNC can also be used for a virtual desktop.

Refer to VNC for details. The instructions work the same for WSL 2.