Resources: Using the Windows Subsystem for Linux with a Windows Editor
Edit in Windows, Build and Run in Bash
You should use a good editor to create code. By that, I mean you should use an editor that allows you to focus on the code you want to create, without getting in your way.
Let’s say that editor is inside of Visual Studio, Sublime Text or Atom in the Windows OS. Meanwhile, you need to build and run your program in the Windows Subsystem for Linux.
- Choose a location in your Windows system to store the project.
- Make that location accessible to the bash prompt.
- Edit files using your editor in Windows.
- Build and run in the bash prompt.
Choose a location in your Windows system to store the project
For most people, this is in
Documents or some other folder where
they naturally put most files. It’s important to find the
full path of the top-level folder. For example, it might be
You can find this full path using the windows file explorer window. Once you find the location you want, click on the address bar and it will show you the full path. Write down, or remember that location.
Make that location accessible to the bash prompt
Open the bash prompt. Put a symbolic link to the project location,
so you don’t have to type the long path all of the time. Translate
the previous path by replacing
/mnt/c/, and replace
/. Then use the following command, with your
path instead of the one shown here.
ln -s '/mnt/c/Users/fred/Documents/Projects/RubiksCube' './RubiksCube'
The quotes are important if you have any spaces or special characters in the
path name. The only problem is if you have quotes in your path. At this
point, you should be able to open a bash prompt and issue
to enter the work area. Try the
ls command to list the contents of the folder.
cd RubiksCube ls
Edit files using your editor in Windows
Edit/Create/Delete files in your project using your Windows editor.
For example, open up Visual Studio, and use it to create files in
the location identified above.
C:\Users\fred\Documents\Projects\RubiksCube in my example.
In your bash prompt, you should be able to see new files, using the
command, assuming you have already
cdd into the directory. You can
look at the contents of the files with
cat filename, whatever the
actual filename is. This is only to verify that you are in fact
creating content in Windows and seeing it in the bash prompt.
Build and run in the bash prompt
In your bash prompt,
cd into the project folder, as listed above. If you’re
already in the directory, no need to do it again. Each bash prompt has
its own current working directory, and they start at your bash home directory.
Assuming you’ve built a
Makefile with correct project information, you should
be able to build the project with:
If the build is successful and builds the desired program, you should be able to run it here as well.
rubiks_test should be the name of the program you built with the
Last Updated 01/08/2020