I am trying to open Bash in Windows 11. However, I can't get it to open. The best that happens is it opens and then immediately closes (in a fraction of a second).

I understand there is already a question posted regarding opening bash in Win 10 Anniversary. I tried those fixes, but they were not effective. Since Windows 11 has significant changes (especially compared to Win 10 feature updates), I argue that it deserves its own post.

The steps that I have taken:

  1. Turn on developer mode (significantly different in Win 11. I followed this guide on How to Enable Developer Mode in Windows 11.
  2. Turn on WSL (following this guide to Enable Bash on Windows 10) and start Bash.

I have gone through these steps several times, but had no success. In addition to following the instructions set out about, I have:

  • Restarted my computer many, many, times.
  • Uninstalled/reinstalled WSL from 'Turn Windows features on and off' several times.
  • Tried the solution set out in the parent question (opening in Win 10) and tried enabling legacy console. I have tried with legacy on and off, without success.
  • Tried typing the command (in CMD prompt), "bash". Another post about Bash opening and closing mentioned (first answer by '-Mr Happy') about typing "Bash" into CMD prompt. I tried that and CMD responded with "Windows Subsystem for Linux has no installed distributions. Distributions can be installed by visiting the Microsoft Store: https://aka.ms/wslstore". This took me to the Windows Store to install a program to "Run Linux on Windows". As such...
  • I installed the Ubuntu app. I had no idea what this would accomplish, but I was happy to try anything at this stage. When opening the Ubuntu app, it just opens a shell window (not sure about terminology) which says "Press any key to continue..." (closes the window immediately). I don't know what this was supposed to do, but I basically uninstalled/reinstalled WSL just to check.
  • Additional to -Mr Happy-'s advice above, he suggested to check the contents of the folder: C:\Users%USERNAME%\AppData\Local\lxss. At no point was the folder 'lxss' created. I imagine this is why bash.exe never worked. Nothing that I did caused the folder to be created.

All of this is to install zsy on my computer. I appreciate any advice on the matter.

  • Have you installed a distro through the windows/microsoft store? Bash is not part of windows (even 11). Bash comes with a distro (or multiple) that you install through WSL. WSL does NOTHING on it's own but allow you to install Linux distros. Don't give up! WSL is b@d a$$! :) Jan 18 at 5:08
  • S**t.. I should have read your post better. Your problem lies in getting a distro installed. Try a different one. I myself run ubuntu and debian with ZERO issues. If that fails, you can skip the rest of your problems and jump right down to the fact that you can't get a distro to install from the ms store. Jan 18 at 5:10
  • WSL hasn’t required Developer Mode be enabled for more than 3 years now.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 18 at 6:07
  • @Ramhound, does that mean I can just switch it off without issues? Jan 18 at 16:34
  • I know next to nothing about your system, what I can tell you, is that Developer Mode is NOT required for WSL on any supports version of Windows 10 or any version of Windows 11.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 18 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


In keeping with the parent question, through the assistance of Señor CMasMas, I may have found the solution to my own question.

Below is the journey that I took to reach the solution. Short version: update to WSL2 to enable Bash/Ubuntu/Debian.

  1. I downloaded Debian. Debian didn't install, but it told me to go to Docs: Install WSL.
  2. Through a series of PowerShell code typed into CMD Prompt and various web searches, I stumbled upon the idea of changing to WSL 2.
  3. In doing this, PowerShell informed me that I needed to enable the virtual machine feature.
  4. Then, I returned back to change to WSL 2 (step 2 above) and then Bash/Ubuntu/Debian worked fine.

Thank you for your assistance.


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