Windows 10 WSL2 Can Now Run Kali Linux With Full Native Graphical User Interface Win-KeX Available On Microsoft Store

Kali Linux, preferred widely for its performance and other security-related functionalities, has received the ability to run with a complete Graphical User Interface (GUI) in Windows 10. The Win-KeX GUI is now available for free on the Microsoft Store. Windows 10 as well as Linux users who need the Windows Operating System base can download and install the GUI and then operate Kali Linux.

Windows 10 has Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) which can support entire Linux distributions with native-like performance. Microsoft Store already has several popular Linux Distros available for download and use. Kali Linux is one of the available Linux distributions. Now Kali Linux has received a package called ‘Win-Kex’ on the Microsoft Store. The system essentially spawns a Windows VNC client connected to an Xfce graphical desktop environment running within WSL.

Kali Linux Gets Complete GUI Desktop System Win-KeX in Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2):

The Kali Linux Team now utilizes the advanced and powerful Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) by spawning a graphic desktop environment that is shown directly within Windows. The Win-KeX is an entire GUI system for Kali Linux and it essentially allows smooth operation of the Linux Distro from inside a virtual environment in Windows 10.

With the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2), users of Windows 10 can run Linux applications on their PC. The earlier version was rather limited in functionality. The first version of Windows Subsystem for Linux utilized a Linux-compatible kernel that translated Linux systems calls into system calls that could be executed by the Windows kernel. However, the WSL2 is a real Linux kernel that runs on top of Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization architecture.

Apart from providing native compatibility and performance benefits, WSL2 allows users to launch Windows executables directly from within an installed WSL Linux distribution. Needless to add, this is one of the highest levels of operations for two completely different operating systems.

Kali Linux has created a package called ‘Win-Kex’ that essentially spawns an entire Windows VNC client connected to an Xfce graphical desktop environment running within WSL.

How Can Kali Linux Users Get The New Win-KeX Environment In Windows 10?

The Win-KeX GUI provided by the developers of Kali Linux is displayed in a window under Windows 10 and offers users a second, full-fledged desktop interface. The GUI system is available as an app on the Microsoft Store. After the software has been downloaded, the Win-KeX user interface still has to be installed manually.

After Windows 10 OS users download the Kali Linux as well as the Win-KeX GUI system, two commands “sudo apt update” and “sudo apt dist-upgrade” must first be entered in the command line. Then the user has to execute the instruction “sudo apt update” and “sudo apt install -y kali-win-kex“. The desktop environment can be opened with the help of the “kex” command. Once the latest version of the Linux Distro and the latest updates are installed, run the command “sudo apt install -y kali-linux-default” to install all of the Kali Linux tools.

After completing the above steps, Windows 10 OS users will get a new ‘kex’ command that they can use to access the Kali Linux GUI desktop. At the back-end, Win-Kex launches a VNCServer with the Xfce desktop environment within the Kali Linux WSL instance. It then starts the TigerVNC Windows client and automatically passes the commands to connect to the VNC server.


Alap Naik Desai

A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.