All About Fix gedit Error on Windows Subsystem for Linux

All About Fix gedit Error on Windows Subsystem for Linux

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) has become a popular choice for developers and users alike to run Linux tools and applications on their Windows machines. However, while using WSL, some users have reported encountering an error with the gedit text editor. This can be frustrating as gedit is a commonly used tool for editing and managing files on Linux systems. In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind this error and provide step-by-step solutions to resolve it, so that you can enjoy a seamless experience on WSL without any hindrances from the gedit error.

How to Fix ‘gedit’ Error on Windows Subsystem for Linux?

I will walk you through the steps to troubleshoot and fix the ‘gedit’ error on Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables natively on Windows 10. It allows users to run their favorite Linux commands and tools directly on their Windows machines.

One of the great features of WSL is the ability to access and edit Linux files directly from the Windows File Explorer. This makes it convenient for users to work on Linux and Windows files seamlessly. However, some users may encounter an error when trying to use the ‘gedit’ command on WSL. The error message usually reads “unable to initialize gtk, is DISPLAY set properly?”

Here are some steps you can follow to fix this error:

1. Check if Display Environment Variable is Set Properly

The error message indicates that there is a problem with the DISPLAY environment variable. The DISPLAY variable is used to specify the display server where graphical applications should be shown.

Type the following command in the WSL terminal:


If the output is blank, it means that the DISPLAY variable is not set. You can set it by using the following command:

export DISPLAY=:0

This will set the display to the default server, which is usually the X server on the Windows machine. If you are using a different server, you will need to substitute :0 with the appropriate server address.

2. Install an X Server on Windows

If the DISPLAY variable is still not set even after using the export command, it means that there is no X server installed on your Windows machine. You will need to install an X server such as Xming or VcXsrv.

Once you have installed the X server, launch it from the Start menu on Windows. This will open the X server on a separate window, and the DISPLAY variable will be set automatically.

3. Verify X Server Connection

If the DISPLAY variable is set and an X server is installed, but you are still encountering the error, it could be due to connectivity issues between the X server and WSL. You can verify the connection by using the following command in the WSL terminal:


This will open the xeyes application, which is a simple X server demo to test the connection. If you can see the xeyes moving, it means that the connection is established successfully. If not, you may need to troubleshoot the X server or firewall settings.

4. Check Gedit Installation

If the above steps do not work, the error may be due to a problem with the gedit installation. Make sure that gedit is installed on your WSL system by using the following command:

sudo apt-get install gedit

If gedit is already installed, try reinstalling it by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install –reinstall gedit

5. Use a Different Text Editor

If none of the above steps work, you can try using a different text editor on WSL. There are many alternatives available, such as nano, vi, or emacs. You can install them using the apt-get command and use them as a replacement for gedit.

In conclusion, the ‘gedit’ error on Windows Subsystem for Linux can be fixed by setting the DISPLAY variable, installing an X server, verifying the X server connection, checking the gedit installation, or using a different text editor. Follow these steps to resolve the error and continue using the W


In conclusion, being able to use gedit on Windows Subsystem for Linux is a convenient and efficient way to edit files in a Linux environment on your Windows system. However, encountering errors while using gedit can be frustrating and hinder your productivity. By following the steps outlined in this article, you now have the knowledge and tools to fix gedit errors on Windows Subsystem for Linux. Remember to always check for updates, verify installation files, and troubleshoot any conflicting software. With these tips, you can continue using gedit seamlessly and enjoy the benefits of a Linux environment on your Windows system.

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