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Installing the IC SDK on Windows

There is no native support for dfx on Windows. However, by installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), you can run dfx also on a Windows system as described below.

Installing WSL

Follow Microsoft's instructions for installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Make sure you are running Windows 10 (version 2004 or higher) or Windows 11.

Supported WSL Versions

Theoretically, WSL 1 and WSL 2 should both allow you to run dfx. However, we recommend WSL 2. WSL Comparison explains the differences between WSL1 and WSL 2.

Check your WSL version

Run the command wsl –list –verbose (wsl -l -v) to check the Linux distributions installed on your Windows machine. Below is an example output.

  NAME      STATE           VERSION
* Ubuntu Running 2

To learn more about the wsl command, check the command reference for WSL.

Upgrade to WSL 2

If you have WSL 1 installed, follow the upgrade instructions to upgrade to WSL 2. Basically you need to:

Running Linux

After you have WSL installed, you can launch the Linux distributions by name.

For example Ubuntu.exe is the command to start the Ubuntu distribution from the command line.

Installing dfx

Once you have WSL installed, you can install dfx within your WSL Linux terminal as described in Installing the SDK.


Node.js is not properly installed

WSL 2 has node.js 10.x.x installed by default. But the latest dfx requires node.js 16.0.0 or higher, please check Node.js for more information.

Permission Denied when running dfx start

Projects created from the dfx new command need to be on the Linux filesystem instead of the Windows filesystem. Usually cd ~ or cd $HOME in the WSL terminal will bring you to the home directory, and creating projects in there should work.

No internet access on WSL

If you don't have internet access on WSL, for instance you cannot ping any server successfully, probably the nameserver on WSL is set to an internal WSL proxy nameserver. You can check the /etc/resolv.conf file to see if it's the case. If it's true, please follow the below steps to set to a valid nameserver:

  • Create the /etc/wsl.conf file and add the below content to it, this will prevent WSL from regenerating the /etc/resolv.conf file after restarting.
    generateResolvConf = false
  • Modify the nameserver in the /etc/resolv.conf file to a valid one, for example the google nameserver
  • On Windows, restart WSL to let this fix take effect.
    wsl.exe --shutdown