Running VS Code in WSL

There are four ways to run VS Code in WSL:

  • Native on Windows
  • Native on Linux
  • Use VS Code Remote Tunnels
  • Use OpenVSCode Server

This Learning Path will explore each of these options.

Native on Windows

Download Visual Studio Code for Windows Arm64 and run the installer.

With WSL running, use the Remote Explorer on the left side and find the WSL Targets.

Right click on the WSL instance to connect to and click Connect to WSL. A new instance of VS Code will open, some software will be installed in WSL, and the connection will complete.

Use the Terminal menu at the top to select New Terminal. The terminal prompt will confirm a Linux connection to WSL.

Native on Linux

Download Visual Studio Code for Linux Arm64. For Ubuntu or Debian use the .deb file or select one of the other Linux options.

If the download is done from Windows, copy the .deb file into Linux from a Linux prompt.

Substitute the filename with the filename of your download:


            cp /mnt/c/Users/<username>/Downloads/code_1.77.1-1680650504_arm64.deb .

Install the .deb file:


            sudo apt install -y ./code_1.77.1-1680650504_arm64.deb

Run VS Code:


            code . 

VS Code will appear on the Windows desktop as a graphical Linux application.

There may be a prompt (so don’t launch code it in the background) recommending the Windows version instead.

The prompt can be eliminated using the environment variable:


            export DONT_PROMPT_WSL_INSTALL=1

Use VS Code Remote Tunnels

You can use the install guide for VS Code Tunnels to install the VS Code CLI inside a WSL Linux distribution and and connect to it from any other machine running VS Code, including the local Windows on Arm machine.

Use OpenVSCode Server

You can run VS Code on WSL using OpenVSCode Server.

Look at the install guide for OpenVSCode Server for setup information.

VS Code can be accessed from a Windows browser using localhost:3000 without any special port forwarding.

Click the link displayed when OpenVSCode Server is started. This will open the Windows browser and connect. Hold Ctrl key and click the link.