CLion 2021.2 Help


WSL (WSL 2) - Windows Subsystem for Linux - is a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables natively on Windows 10. Currently, it supports several Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and SLES.

With WSL toolchain set up for your project, you can build using CMake and compilers from Linux, and run/debug on WSL, without leaving CLion running on your Windows machine.

Configure WSL

  1. Download and install a WSL distribution (for instance, Ubuntu) from Microsoft Store.

    For this step, be sure to use Windows 10 with the latest “Fall Creators Update” (minimum version 1709, build 16299.15). See the official guide Install the Windows Subsystem for Linux for instructions.

    To work with WSL 2, your Windows version should be 10 build 18917 or later. Follow these instructions to switch the distributive.

    Note that CLion does not support legacy WSL, which you may have installed before upgrading your system to the build 16299.15 or later of Windows 10. In this case, you need to update your WSL distribution.

  2. Run Ubuntu.

    Upon the first launch of Ubuntu, the system may prompt you to enable the Windows optional feature. In this case, you need to do the following:

    • Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator and run

      Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

    • Restart your computer.

Configure a WSL toolchain for your project

  1. In CLion, go to Settings / Preferences | Build, Execution, Deployment | Toolchains.

  2. Click plus icon to create a new toolchain and select WSL.

  3. In the Environment field, select one of the available WSL distributions. The list includes the distributions detected by wsl.exe --list, which includes the imported ones.

    WSL toolchain

    Wait for all the tools to be detected and save the settings.

  4. Now to start using the toolchain, do one of the following:

    • Set the WSL toolchain as default. This way, it will automatically connect to the default CMake profile.

    • Create a separate CMake profile, connect it to the WSL toolchain, and select this profile in the configurations switcher:

      CMake profile for the WSL toolchain

Last modified: 29 May 2021