Anytime you want to run Linux graphical programs (such as the emulator) from Windows or Mac, you need an X Window Server running on your local machine.

Windows Install

  • Install an X Windows server. There are many, but I suggest you download and install VcXsrv Windows X Server.
  • Run this in your WSL terminal: This needs to be run on your local machine terminal. Do NOT run this code after connecting to a remote machine.

    echo "export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0" >> ~/.bashrc 
  • Restart your terminal.
  • To run the X server, find XLaunch in your start menu and run it. (Press Windows key and type XLaunch).
    • Click Next on the options windows, leaving the default options alone.
  • You can test that your X server is working by running xeyes. If the X server is running correctly, this will create a pop-up window with a set of animated eyes that follow your mouse cursor. (You may need to install xeyes using the command sudo apt install x11-apps).
  • When running, the XServer will display in your Windows system tray. If you restart your computer, or close the XServer, you will need to run XLaunch again.


If you happen to be running WSL version 2 (unlikely unless you specifically upgraded to this version), you will need to do a few extra things.

  • Change the last line of your ~/.bashrc file to: export DISPLAY=$(cat /etc/resolv.conf | grep nameserver | awk '{print $2}'):0
  • When you run XLaunch, make sure to check the Disable access control box.
  • If it still doesn’t work, it could be a firewall issue. To fix this, run the Windows Incoming Connections troubleshooter.
    • Open Windows Settings (Win + I)
    • Click Update & Security
    • Click Troubleshoot in the left-hand pane.
    • Click the Additional Troubleshooters link.
    • Click the Incoming Connections troubleshooter (If you have trouble finding this there are some pictures to help here [[https://www.howto-connect.com/troubleshoot-incoming-connection-windows-10/]]).
    • When the troubleshooter runs, it will hopefully provide you with an option titled Allow other computers to connect to VcXsrv windows xserver”. Select that and click Next. You will then need to click *Try these repairs as an administrator’’, and then *Apply this fix. Then Close.

macOS Install

  1. Go to XQuartz and download XQuartz. XQuartx is the X-server for Macs. Do the standard stuff for installation.

  2. Logout and then log back in. This step is important because your environment will not be setup properly otherwise.