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Starting the default associated Windows program on WSL

ยท 2 min read
Markdown, WSL and Docker lover ~ PHP developer ~ Insatiable curious.

Starting the default associated Windows program on WSL

Very often, I'm in my Linux console and I'd like to open a pdf file that I've just generated or, more simply, to open an html file. But how can I do this?

Without knowing the tip that is the subject of this article, at the moment I launch Windows Explorer from my console, I get then the well-known file explorer interface and there I double-click on the file I want to open and leave it to Windows, which knows which program to launch to open this or that extension.

In fact, it's much simpler...

The tip: start powershell.exe followed by the filename to open like powershell.exe guide.pdf or powershell.exe index.html.

Not available in Bash

powershell.exe only works in the console. You can't use it in a Bash script (.sh), it won't be recognized there.


You can also use xdg-open to start your default browser so xdg-open index.html will open the file in your Windows browser.

If you get the error below, you'll find a solution in the article Windows Explorer

Start : This command cannot be run due to the error: The system cannot find the file specified.
At line:1 char:1
+ Start "readme.html"
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo : InvalidOperation: (:) [Start-Process], InvalidOperationException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : InvalidOperationException,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.StartProcessCommand